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The Social Network: the kink meme!

It's Complicated: But sexy!

AwkBerg Marks
The Sarcastic Kitty oresteia wrote in tsn_kinkmeme
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Part 10 is open and prompts from 1-4 can be re-posted here if they were not filled.




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 ;))


♥ 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)
♥ Please do not repost prompts from earlier rounds
♥ put [GEN] before GEN prompts.


♥ 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.

It's finally time for part 10, it's been a few months but even after the article of doom, we're still open.

If you have any questions or ideas that I can help you with, feel free to PM me. I'll be around.



have fun!

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


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 re-post prompts from parts five, six, seven, eight, or nine. the delicious is around for people to find prompts they may not have already seen. We know there's been some issues but we're working on it with pinboard. No duplicates from this round either. THANK YOU.


Another stepbrothers prompt, but like. Can we have their parents marrying when they are really young so they grow up as brothers, kind of. I mean they know they're not related, but that is how they think of each other. And then puberty happens and idk, Mark is jealous because Eduardo, who is older has a girlfriend? And then, eventually, really sneaky make outs and sex happens. Because their parents probably wouldn't be cool with it.

A Plant of Slow Growth [1a/?]

"Stop touching your hair, Eduardo," said his mother.

Eduardo straightened automatically and mumbled something contrite as she shooed his fingers away from the gelled lock of hair he'd nervously poked at the whole twenty-minute drive there. He didn't relax again until she laid a hand his shoulder and tugged him close to her hip, and then he sighed and rested his head against his dress, surreptitiously keeping one eye on the door as he did. Her dress was soft and floral, and it smelled like springtime. He closed his eyes when she stroked a hand over his hair, picturing himself lying in the big meadow behind their house in Singapore with the sun smiling down on him, the breeze ruffling blades of grass until they danced like waves in the ocean.

He opened his eyes again when the door swung open and a harried-looking man with a mass of curls appeared before them. He was hugging a bowl of something and had a dark stain smeared on his collar, his color high like he'd sprinted to the door. When he saw Eduardo's mother, his eyes softened at once. He stepped back, adjusting the bowl in his arm, and held the door open for them.

Eduardo looked up at his mother. She nodded at him. He swallowed and straightened off her hip. "It's nice to meet you, Mr Zuckerberg," he said to his feet. There was a scuff on the toe of his best black dress shoes. He angled his foot in, hoping Mr Zuckerberg wouldn't notice.

Mr Zuckerberg smiled. It stretched his moustache out in a way that made Eduardo's stomach tickle with laughter. He gritted his teeth against it. "It's nice to meet you too, Eduardo," Mr Zuckerberg said. "You can call me Edward."

Eduardo startled. His cheeks heated. "Thank you," he said. Mr Zuckerberg laughed. It was a deep, playful laugh, all crinkled eyes and dimples. Eduardo let his posture relax just a bit, lips quirking automatically into an answering smile.

His mother's hand found his shoulder as she led him through the dim hallway. The walls were lined with framed photos up high and little shoes down low, too small for Eduardo, even, and spaced very precisely, like someone had taken great care to keep them all the same distance apart.

Mr Zuckerberg stopped in the doorway to a brightly lit room, shifting the metal bowl to his free hand. He pointed toward a door to the left. "My son Mark is in the living room. He's a few years younger than you, so his toys probably won't interest you, but you're welcome to pick out something to watch. I hear you're a Ninja Turtles fan."

Eduardo scowled at his mother a moment before he remembered himself, betrayed she'd pass on such an embarrassing fact. She just laughed and bent down, pressing a kiss against his forehead.

"Go say hello to Mark."

"Yes, Mãe," he said, peering around her into the living room. The couch blocked his view of anything important. He looked back in time to see his mother and Mr Zuckerberg disappear into the kitchen, and then he shoved his hands into the pockets of his new slacks and walked slowly toward the living room, not sure what he might find. Eduardo's little cousins were always running in and out when they'd visited in Singapore, knocking into anyone who didn't pay close enough attention.

A little boy sat on his knees in the center of the room. His hair was as curly as his father's, and it fell in ringlets into eyes that were locked on the block in his hand, his mouth screwed up in concentration. On each side of him, there was a row of blocks, each of the same color.

Eduardo wandered over slowly and knelt down. Mark didn't look up until they were on the same level, and then he blinked at Eduardo's chest, quiet as if patiently waiting for Eduardo to explain himself.

"Can I play?" Eduardo asked. He was too old for blocks, had been for a long time, but he wanted something to do with his hands, something to distract himself when Mr Zuckerberg came back.

Mark's fingers tightened around the block he was holding. "They're my blocks."

A Plant of Slow Growth [1b/?]

"Oh." Eduardo picked at the carpet. "How old are you?"

Mark leaned over and grabbed another block, sliding it on top of the one he'd been holding until it clicked into place. He didn't answer.

"Okay," Eduardo mumbled to himself, careful not to knock over any of Mark's rows as he straightened off his knees. He spun slowly, hands once again securely in his pockets, until he caught sight of a shelf of DVDs.

He sat down on the couch once he found one he liked, folding his hands carefully on his lap. The couch was leather and more unyielding than he was used to, and it felt too awkward to scoot back, so he sat on the edge, trying not to nervously jiggle his knee because his father had once said it was a "telling habit." He didn't know if he was supposed to put the movie in himself, didn't want to be reprimanded by his mother for touching someone else's things without permission if he wasn't; so he waited.

Eventually, Mark pushed all his rows together into one long, striped rectangle that dominated the center of the room, and then he looked up at Eduardo, finally. His eyes were big and blue, like Eduardo's friend Gabriel's baby sister, who his mother had told him never to mention was adopted. She'd had to explain what that meant.

"My name's Eduardo," Eduardo offered, for want of anything else to say. Mark's eyes narrowed.

"That's Daddy's name."

Smiling, Eduardo said, "Yeah, almost."

Mark scowled immediately. "It's my house," he said, and Eduardo flushed, thinking of their little apartment across town and the big house they'd left back in Brazil.

"I know."

Mark went back to his blocks again, removing the rows from his rectangle one by one and then carefully detaching each block and setting it back in the clear plastic tub. He kept on doing this even after their parents came back and his father called him in for dinner, and his father waited patiently for him to finish with an expression that made Eduardo abruptly jealous.

They ate dinner around a small, oval table. Mr Zuckerberg had made a lasagna. It was good, but Eduardo picked at it anyway, rescuing the slices of mushroom with the prong of his fork. He thanked Mr Zuckerberg when he was finished, basking in the warmth of his mother's approving smile.

Mark went with Mr Zuckerberg when he saw them out. Mr Zuckerberg kept a hand on Mark's head as he gave Eduardo's mother a hug.

"Goodbye, Mr Edward," Eduardo said politely. Mr Zuckerberg chuckled and gave him a hug as well, which Eduardo endured stiffly, thankful it was quick. Mark watched them.

"See you, Mark," Eduardo said, looking down at him. Mark's brow furrowed, as if he were thinking seriously about something, and then smoothed out again.

"Bye, Wardo," he said, and then he turned around and disappeared back into the living room, pausing to straighten a pair of the little shoes as he went.

It was the last thing Mark said to him for three months.

Their parents married a year later.


It wasn't Eduardo's house, and it wasn't Eduardo's family.

Eduardo moved into the guest room a few days before the wedding, and he spent an hour sitting on the bed staring at the flowered wallpaper, missing his tiny room in their hot, stuffy apartment. Mr Zuckerberg offered to paint over it, any color he wanted, and Eduardo almost ached with the desire to say yes. He knew, though, that there was only one acceptable answer. He didn't want to see that disappointed look in his mother's eyes.

He didn't see much of Mr Zuckerberg's son, who went to daycare Monday through Friday while Eduardo was at first grade, and spent the remainder of his time reading little picture books and playing with flashcards. He was a quiet kid, quieter than any of the boys in Eduardo's class, and he didn't seem to take to Eduardo at all. He once caught Eduardo looking at his flashcards and snatched them away so quickly that the edge of the one Eduardo had been holding sliced a line clear across his palm. Eduardo took care not to touch any of Mark's toys after that.

A Plant of Slow Growth [1c/?]

"I can read more tomorrow," Eduardo told him quickly. Mark shrugged, closing his own book and hopping off the couch without looking back.

That night after Eduardo brushed his teeth, he quietly pushed open Mark's bedroom door, padding across the wood floor nervously in his socks and settling cross-legged on the ground beside Mark's bed. The bed was shaped like a racecar. Mark didn't have any toy cars, and Eduardo couldn't imagine him playing with one.

Only Mark's head was peaking out from under the covers. He watched Eduardo's every move suspiciously. Eduardo cleared his throat, flipped the book open, and said, "Okay?"

Mark's gaze flicked down to the book. His eyes drooped, dim and drowsy, but all he said was, "Please."

He was asleep before Eduardo finished the first chapter. Eduardo came back the next night anyway.

Mark was smart in a sharp way, so evident that it shone through even despite how little he said. He knew all his letters, could read basic words, and could count to fifty, which he'd only demonstrated when Eduardo had been foolish enough to try to count his blocks for him. Mark played with them constantly, even though Eduardo thought maybe he was too old for them too—Eduardo certainly hadn't been playing with blocks at three, but then, Eduardo would only have built a haphazard fort out of them anyway. Mark made patterns with the colors and big, complicated shapes.

But Eduardo didn't truly understand the extent of it until that day at the park, when he'd been hoisting himself onto the jungle gym, and Billy from down the street had knocked him forcefully off. Billy had kept one hand and one foot on the bars as he'd leaned over to look down at Eduardo, who hissed and shook the mulch from his palm.

"Sorry," Eduardo said.

Billy considered him. He wrinkled his nose. "My mom says you're a Mexican and your whole family brings down the quantity of our street."

"I am not from Mexico," said Eduardo, affronted.

There was the crunch of feet on the mulch, and Eduardo looked over to see Mark watching the spectacle, a determined expression on his face that Eduardo didn't recognize. "What do you want?" Billy demanded when he spotted him as well, making a face.

Mark's little fists clenched by his sides and relaxed again. "Your mom has red hair."

"Yeah?" said Billy, hopping off the jungle gym and sidling over to Mark. Eduardo stood and inched closer as well, uneasy now.

Mark nodded in that precise way of his. "Daddy and me saw her kissing a big man at that grocery store. Daddy said not to talk about it."

Billy went red to the tips of his ears, his eyes narrowing. His father was a short, balding man with speckles all over his face and hands. "You're a liar."

"I don't lie," said Mark, and Eduardo grabbed his hand and yanked him over to the bench where his mother was reading just as Billy took a purposeful step toward them.

Billy's mother started banging on the door during dinner that night, and then she spent an hour in the front hall yelling at Eduardo's mother while Mark and Eduardo sat in Mark's room, their food growing cold on the table.

Eduardo read Mark an extra story that night.


A Plant of Slow Growth [1d/?]

A year after Eduardo and his mother moved in, Mark started throwing tantrums.

Mark had never grown out of being possessive of his toys. He'd follow Eduardo's every move obsessively if Eduardo went into his bedroom, and he'd yell if Eduardo touched any of his toys, glaringly angrily from time-out if he was reprimanded. "Don't let it hurt your feelings," Eduardo's mother told him. "Sometimes that's how children behave."

Eduardo tried not to take it to heart, but it only got worse, never better. And then one day, he got bored and wandered into Mark's room, quietly watching Mark color for a bit before lying down on the carpet and looking up at Mark, grinning goofily. Mark peered down, looking curious.

"You wanna play catch?" Eduardo asked. Mark wasn't very good at catching the ball when Eduardo threw it to him, and he had terrible aim, but Eduardo thought if he kept convincing Mark to play, maybe one day he'd be better. Mr Edward told him you had to practise at sports.

"I'm coloring," Mark said.

Eduardo grinned wider. "But we could go outside. Mom said we could."

"I'm coloring," Mark said again, scribbling furiously. "And she's not mine."

Eduardo blinked and sat up. "What?" he asked.

"She's not my mom." Mark cocked his head, considered the picture, and reached for the red crayon. "She's your mom."

"She can be your mom too," Eduardo replied, though a bit doubtfully. Now that Mark mentioned it, he wasn't sure of the rules.

"No," said Mark.

"Fine," said Eduardo, offended on his mother's behalf. He jumped to his feet and ran for the door, not as keen on playing with Mark now. Maybe later, once Mark was in a less difficult mood.

There was a crack. Eduardo whirled around.

Mark was staring down at Eduardo's feet, eyes narrowed. Eduardo looked down at his toes to see Mark's piggy bank with a crack straight down the center, coins and dollar bills spilling out like innards. His mouth worked of its own accord.

"I—" He swallowed, eyes watering. Mark glared at him. "Mark, I'm really sorry."

Silent, Mark hopped off his stool and marched past him. Eduardo scrambled after him, clearing his throat anxiously.

"Mark?" he called. "Mark, where are you going?

There was no reply. Eduardo whipped into the bathroom. It was empty, so he ran out again, almost barreling past his own room and doubling back. And then he stopped, because he'd found him. There Mark was.

"What—what are you doing?"

Mark stood atop Eduardo's desk chair, fingers reaching high onto the top shelf of Eduardo's desk. He jumped up on his toes and teetered forward, knocking the picture he'd been aiming for over the side, where it hit the wood floor.

Again, there was a crack.

A Plant of Slow Growth [1e/?]

Eduardo flew forward, turning the picture over frantically. He sobbed when he saw the crack, which started at the left hand corner and fractured like a lightning bolt across his father's face, splintering the top of Eduardo's head.

"You're—you—you're such a brat," he said, holding the frame up and wishing the glass whole again. When that didn't work, as he'd known deep down it wouldn't, he switched tactics.

"Mãe, Mãe!"

There was a thump from somewhere downstairs, and then he heard footsteps. His mother appeared shortly after, searching the room for them for a moment before she registered that they were there.

"Eduardo, what is the meaning of all this noise," she said immediately, scolding. Eduardo's fury dimmed at once.

"He did it on purpose, Mãe, he ruined Pai's picture," he said, clutching at it.

She came closer and pulled it from his hands. Her face changed when she looked down at it. "Mark did this?" she asked. He nodded. "I'm sure it was an accident."

"It wasn't," he said. "He was mad I broke his piggy bank, so he came in here and pushed it over!"

"You broke his piggy bank?"

Tears sprung to Eduardo's eyes again. "It was an accident!"

"Eduardo, lower your voice," said his mother. "So you accidentally broke Mark's piggy bank, and Mark broke your picture. You know it was an accident for you, so how do you know it was not an accident for him as well?"

"Because I do," Eduardo insisted.

Stroking his face, his mother said, "That's not a very good reason. Now, I can fix this, Eduardo. It isn't a big deal. I'll just replace the glass. I know we have an old frame around here somewhere this size. And I'm sure your brother is sorry."

Here, she looked at Mark, who'd stood silently on Eduardo's desk chair the whole time, arms at his sides. "Mark?" she said.

Mark said nothing.

"Aren't you sorry, Mark?" she asked again.

He looked down at the seat of the chair.

"Here, Mark, Eduardo will tell you he's sorry first, for breaking your piggy bank." She nodded to Eduardo, who was content enough with the situation now to oblige, replying obediently, "I'm sorry, Mark."

At first, it seemed like Mark would refuse again. And then his little tongue came out between his lips, and his head cocked to the side. "I didn't—" he said, paused a moment, and then said, "I shouldn't have done that. I didn't know you'd be so sad about it."

Eduardo's mother smiled at him and came forward to lift him from the chair. He wiggled out of her grip the moment his feet his the floor, and then he stopped to look up at Eduardo.

"I still want you to read me stories," he said. Then he turned and wandered out of Eduardo's room, leaving Eduardo to stare after the retreating mop of curly hair in bewilderment.

Eduardo's mother came over to rest a hand against his head. She leaned down to press a kiss to his hair. "Be easy on him, Eduardo," she said. "It's hard for him. You still have Pai in Brazil, but his mother is—she passed on, not too long ago. Mark was young, but some things you don't forget."

"I'm sorry," Eduardo said, sniffling.

"No, no." She knelt down next to him. "Baby, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that. Things can be important to you too. I know this picture is special."

Eduardo wrapped his arms around her neck and buried his face in her hair. She patted his back for a while, and then she gave him a kiss on the cheek and let him go. Eduardo took a moment to scrub at his eyes with his fist before he straightened up and left his room.

A Plant of Slow Growth [1f/?]

Mark was back at his art table, but he wasn't coloring. He just stared down at his California Raisins coloring book blankly, the brown crayon tight in his fist. Eduardo sat down on the ground next to him.

"I really am sorry."

Mark's chin dropped to his chest. "Yeah," he said. Then he added, "See?"

"See what?" Eduardo asked.

Mark set the crayon down carefully. "That she's your mom."

That guilty feeling grew in Eduardo's chest. "It wasn't like that," he said.

Mark shrugged. "It's okay. I don't need a mom," he said, and then he picked up his crayon again and reached for a new coloring book.

Eduardo didn't know what to say to that, had no idea if that was true or not; so he said nothing. Mark colored his Alvin & the Chipmunks picture in somber browns and black, then he marked his initials on it like Eduardo had shown him how to do last week. Eduardo couldn't read it back, the letters still too imprecise and jagged, but he told Mark it was great anyway, because it was.

After dinner that night, he loitered around his mother as she did the dishes, resting against the fridge. When she'd finished, she turned to him. The way she cocked her eyebrow always made him worry she could read his mind and knew all the things he did that she told him not.

"What do you need?" she asked.

He thought about it. "I think," he said, "I think you should give Mark a cookie before you put him to bed."

Both her eyebrows went up this time. "Oh? Why?"

Eduardo thought about it, casting around for the right words. "It's hard for him," he said finally, and left it at that.

Mark's tantrums stopped soon after.


Eduardo turned seven and then eight at the new house, settling slowly but surely into his new life. His mother found a job as a receptionist at a local salon, and she'd come by and pick him up after school every day to take him for ice cream before they had to pick up Mark at pre-k. He heard her tell Mr Edward once that she thought it was important there was no sibling rivalry between Mark and him, but he wasn't sure what that meant, exactly, and soon forgot about it.

Billy from down the street moved away with his mother, though Eduardo and his own mother still saw Billy's father at the supermarket sometimes, his thin shoulders drooping as he slumped over his cart.

Soon after Eduardo's eighth birthday, Mark turned five, and when Eduardo started third grade in the fall, Mark entered kindergarten. Every day, he saw Mark with the kindergarten teachers during lunch, picking at the peanut butter sandwich their mother packed him each day because it was all he'd eat that month, and sometimes during recess as well. Mark always sat alone, usually with one of the picture books Eduardo didn't think was supposed to leave the classroom, so when Eduardo saw him, he made a point to sit out of tag and read as well, pretending not to see the curious looks his friends sent him. He'd sneak away from his own lunch table to sit with Mark as well, and both his teacher and Mark's would pretend not to see him.

Mark didn't sleep very much anymore. One morning, Eduardo woke up to see him sitting on the carpet in front of Eduardo's bed, playing with the Electrolab set Edward had gotten Eduardo for his birthday. It was supposed to teach him how to build a motorboat—and a few other things, but the boat was the coolest—but Eduardo had barely played with it before Mark had commandeered it. Edward said Mark was still too young to understand it, but he never seemed to get bored of trying.

After that, Eduardo learned to expect Mark in his room when he woke up. Mark never said anything, rarely even looked at him; he'd just play quietly until Eduardo had woken up, and then he'd wander out again, and Eduardo would find him in his own room after he'd gotten dressed, as if he'd never been there at all.

A Plant of Slow Growth [1g/?]

Eduardo honestly never thought to mind until the day of his tenth birthday party, when he and his friend Matthew had run in after an epic water-gun battle to find Mark sitting cross-legged on Eduardo's bed, reading one of Eduardo's old chapter books. Eduardo smiled automatically, but Matthew came to a stop and looked between them as if expecting something to happen.

"You should come play with the water guns, Mark," Eduardo said.

Mark shook his head.

"Okay," said Eduardo, smiling. "We're gonna go back outside."

"Okay," said Mark, flipping the page of his book.

Eduardo cocked the water gun and chased Matthew down the hall at gunpoint, laughing even though he'd never truly spray water in the house like that, because Matthew didn't know that and wasn't that quick on the uptake. Eduardo ran ahead and pulled the sliding glass door open for the both of them, then took off when he saw Matthew's gun pointed straight at him.

"So you're not mad about your brother being in your room like that?" Matthew asked later, the words muffled around the second piece of cake he'd gotten as Eduardo hovered by the picnic table, waiting for him.

"Why would I be mad?"

Matthew licked a smear of icing from his fork. "My brother hates it when I go in his room. I'm not allowed to."

"Mark never messes anything up," Eduardo replied, doubtfully.

"Still," said Matthew. "He's touching your stuff. It doesn't bug you?"

"Nope," Eduardo said, and he dismissed this line of thought entirely at first, because Mark honestly never had broken anything of his, and was almost obsessively careful about putting everything back where Eduardo had had it.

And then one morning, he woke up to Mark leaning back against his desk, a book open on his knees. He yawned and stretched out his legs, Mark disappearing between long blinks. "G'morning, Mark," he mumbled.

"Wardo," said Mark without looking up.

Eduardo sat up and rubbed his eyes, giving Mark a tired onceover. Their mother had just taken him for a haircut, and it was odd to see him sitting there in his pajamas without him pushing curls out of his eyes.

"Why do you come in here?" Eduardo asked him.

Mark's eyes stopped scanning the page. He was quiet a moment, and then said, "Mom made pancakes."

Eduardo could smell them now that Mark mentioned it. His stomach growled. Still, he wanted to know. "Is it dark in your room in the morning?"

Mark sent him an incredulous look.

Eduardo grinned. "What, then?"

Mark closed his book. "You didn't used to live here," he said.

"Well, yeah," said Eduardo, surprised. Whatever he'd expected Mark to come back with, it hadn't been this. "You were really little, though. Like, three."

Mark shrugged. "I remember."

Eduardo swung his legs over the side of the bed. "Mom and your dad are married," he said. "We're not gonna leave."

"Married people don't have to stay together," said Mark, and Eduardo frowned.

"No," he said slowly. Mark was staring down at his toes. "Hey, Mark. Look at me."

Mark's head came up. He had no expression on his face at all, but his bottom lip was stuck firmly between his teeth, like before he'd had a tantrum when he'd been little. "I promise," said Eduardo, thinking very carefully about his words, "I promise if something happens and I have to go somewhere, I'll tell you first."

Mark said, after a beat, "Okay." And then he stood, tucking his book under his arm. "The pancakes are cold now. Mom told me to come get you."

Eduardo rolled his eyes. "Why didn't you wake me up?"

He watched Mark's shoulders rise up around his ears and fall again as he slipped out of the room, quietly pulling the door shut behind himself; then he grinned to himself and followed Mark downstairs.


A Plant of Slow Growth [1h/?]

The summer after his fifth-grade year, Eduardo spent the entirety of August in a constant state of excitement. He'd never been so thrilled to be dragged down aisles and aisles of identical fall clothing, to pick out a dozen erasers he'd lose a week into classes and binders his mother wasn't sure were on the list of approved items.

He was so thrilled to be going into middle school that he almost forgot it meant, ultimately, leaving elementary school behind. Eduardo had always loved school, had liked all his teachers, had clung on to every monkey bar time after time. But that wasn't why he was sad to go. He'd miss all those things, but it was a good kind of missing, the kind that meant he was getting older and ready for better things. He didn't want to go back for them.

Mostly, it was about Mark.

Mark had one friend from class who sometimes came over, a goofy kid who shouted everything he said and liked to tag along with Eduardo into his room when he wanted to be by himself. But Mark sat quietly and read at lunch whenever Eduardo didn't sit with him—a rare occurrence to begin with—and never played with anyone at recess. The teachers called him a "problem child" because he refused to stop reading in class and would put his head down on his desk and do nothing if they took his book away. Eduardo wasn't supposed to know that, but Mark's father had forgotten by the tenth or eleventh call in to Mark's teachers after school, too busy ranting about how the educational system was failing them all. Mark never said anything about it to Eduardo, but Eduardo once caught him talking to their mother. He'd said, "They teach stupid things," and then he'd seen Eduardo watching them and gone back to picking at his peas.

The closer September came, the more Eduardo dreaded getting up early to take a bus before Mark even got out of bed, like that was a betrayal somehow, even though he barely saw Mark once they'd both stepped off the bus in the mornings. He thought maybe it helped Mark to see him before school and at lunch, like Mark was one of those toy cars with wheels you had to wind back, like if he didn't get enough attention from Eduardo, he'd just stop going.

His mother told him not to worry so much.

She sent him off to school that morning with a packed lunch in his new Spiderman lunchbox and a kiss on the cheek. Mark, who had appeared silently sometime between Eduardo finishing his cereal and packing his things into his backpack, hung back behind their mother's legs.

"Bye, Mark," Eduardo called, swinging his backpack over his shoulder. Mark looked down at his bare toes against the sidewalk.

Middle school was everything he'd thought it would be. Suddenly, he had the freedom to walk to class without being followed by the watchful eye of a teacher. He could choose where he sat in some classes, depending on the teacher; that turned out to be a mixed blessing come science class, where all the kids from Eduardo's elementary were ones he didn't know, and he ended up sitting next to a weedy blond boy from some other elementary school who only looked up the whole period to mumble, "Present," when the teacher called, "Chris Hughes."

Still, Eduardo jiggled his leg the whole ride home, bursting with the thousand things he wanted to tell his mother, from how great math class had been to how he'd had to try his locker combination twice before he got the thing open because it stuck, but he did it in the end. As soon as they reached his house, he raced off the bus, jumping off the last stair onto the sidewalk and racing up to the door, which he flung open, and then—

There was Mark, alone in the hall by the door.

He was sitting with his knees to his chest, face hidden. There was a book next to him. Eduardo guessed he'd planned to pretend to read when Eduardo came in, but he'd fallen asleep accidentally, like he did when he pushed himself too hard. Eduardo set his backpack down softly and went to his knees. He laid a hand on Mark's back. Mark stirred, turning his face in Eduardo's direction.

He had a black eye. There was dried blood beneath one of his nostril.

"Mark, what the heck," Eduardo muttered to himself. Mark blinked awake, stiffening when he registered that he wasn't alone.

A Plant of Slow Growth [1i/?]

"Mark, what the heck," Eduardo muttered to himself. Mark blinked awake, stiffening when he registered that he wasn't alone.

"Wardo," he said, rubbing his eyes. He winced when his fist accidentally knocked his into the reddened tip of his nose.

"What happened to your face?" Eduardo asked. When Mark shuffled like he wanted up, Eduardo jumped up first and hauled him to his feet.

"Nothing," Mark said, shrugging. He pointed down the hall. "Mom's in the kitchen." And then he ran off, sticking his hands in his pockets and ducking his head as he turned the corner.

"Mark!" Eduardo called after him. There was no answer.

Eduardo took off for the kitchen, leaving his neglected backpack by the door. Their mother was at the kitchen table, her head in her hands. She straightened when he came in, and the worry smoothed instantly from the downward turn of her mouth.

"Baby, how was your first day of school?" she asked.

Eduardo came to a stop by her chair, bouncing on his feet. "Good, it was cool. What happened to Mark?" he said in a rush, biting his lip.

She shook her head, pushed her chair back, and stood. She went over to the sink, tearing a paper towel from the roll and running it under the tap. "He got into a scuffle with another boy in his class. They called me to pick him up early," she said as she wrung it out.

Eduardo nodded. It wasn't precisely the first time that had happened, though it hadn't ever ended in injury before. The nurse knew to call Eduardo to sit with Mark before their mother got there. It made him feel antsy to think of Mark sitting in there alone, staring at the overly-cheerful yellow wallpaper. "What were they fighting about?" he asked.

She sighed. "He would not say. He would not do anything but sit by the door. Can you take this up and see if you can wipe the blood from under his nose?" She handed him the paper towel and gave him a kiss on the forehead before she sent him off.

He found Mark on his own bed reading one of the "choose your own adventure" books he'd gotten as hand-me-downs when Eduardo grew out of them. Mark professed to hate them ("Why don't you just go back if you don't get what you want?" he'd asked when Eduardo had landed them at a page detailing the knight's unfortunate demise at the hands of a deadly dragon. "That's cheating," Eduardo had answered, and Mark had scrunched his nose like he didn't quite understand), but he read them when no one was looking.

"Mãe said I should clean you up."

"I don't like it when you call her that," Mark said without looking up. Eduardo rolled his eyes.

"You don't like being left out. Mom told you she would teach you Portuguese. Sit up," he said, and Mark did, grudgingly, slipping his book beneath his pillow.

"Are you guys going back to Brazil?" he asked.

Eduardo stilled, the towel centimeters from Mark's face. He hadn't thought of going back to Brazil in a long time now. Years, maybe. "We live here now," he said.

"Then why isn't English good enough?" Mark squeezed his eyes shut as Eduardo ran the towel over the blood.

"It's not that it's not good enough," said Eduardo. "It's like—it's like books, I guess. That one about the rabbit used to be your favorite, but now you like the one Dad got you for Christmas best. But you still like the book about the rabbit, right?"

Mark was silent as Eduardo dabbed at his upper lip. "That's stupid," he said finally, but he didn't sound too sure.

"I think you should learn," Eduardo said. "It'd be fun. We could talk to each other and no one would know what we were saying."

Mark tilted his head away from Eduardo's touch. "Maybe," he said, after a pause. "I don't know. Maybe."

"Okay," Eduardo said. Then he grinned and added, "Dad wouldn't know what we were talking about either," pleased when Mark snickered at the idea.

The next week, Mark started asking their mother the Portuguese words for the different foods their father made for supper. Chris Hughes, after lending Eduardo a pencil one period, started sitting with him at lunch. Mark was sent home again early for pouring glue in a little girl's hair after she accidentally spilled milk on his book at breakfast.

It seemed like everything was changing. Eduardo just wasn't sure what it was changing to.

End of update one.

Re: A Plant of Slow Growth [1i/?]

This is so so good.

Re: A Plant of Slow Growth [1i/?]

This is wonderful! Good job so far, anon :) Can't wait till the next update!!

Re: A Plant of Slow Growth [1i/?]


Re: A Plant of Slow Growth [1i/?]

this is adorbs

Re: A Plant of Slow Growth [1i/?]

awww, this is so adorable!
I'm looking forward to the next update.

Re: A Plant of Slow Growth [1i/?] - (Anonymous), 2012-10-02 05:05 am (UTC)(Expand)
Re: A Plant of Slow Growth [1i/?] - rmcautumn, 2012-10-08 07:17 pm (UTC)(Expand)
Re: A Plant of Slow Growth [1i/?] - xbriyeon, 2012-10-08 09:44 pm (UTC)(Expand)