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The Social Network: the kink meme!

It's Complicated: But sexy!


zuckonitkinkeme zuckonitkinkeme wrote in tsn_kinkmeme
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[PART EIGHT]
sorry about the delay in getting this up! please put all new prompts here.

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 * PART FIVE * PART SIX * PART SEVEN


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 three, four, five or six over here again. the delicious is around for people to find prompts they may not have already seen. (prompts for parts one and two are now up for reposting.)

NEW RULE;

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

Eduardo/Mark

(Anonymous)
Post deposition. The one where Mark informs Eduardo he's ready to accept his apology and Eduardo laughs him out of the room. (That's only the jumping off point, of course, because Mark's not going to let things go.)

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (1/?)

(Anonymous)
I can't promise I'll finish this, so if someone else wants to jump on this fill please please go ahead. I just re-read the prompt and can see that you said post-deposition. um, this kicks off literally at the end of the depositions. close enough?
//

There are certain things that Mark feels should not be his fault.

The main one that no one else seems to appropriately sympathize with is that there was no logical reason for Mark to know what he had in Eduardo without sufficient examples of comparison.

He’d had Erica and she was clever and nice, but certainly not as satisfying a conversational partner as Eduardo, or as comforting pressed up against his side, or as flexible and accepting of his personal quirks. But, in all honestly, he’d always thought he could do better than Erica. Which is, in retrospect, likely the reason she dumped him. To return to the point, however: Mark had thought he could pretty much do better than everyone in Yale or BU or Harvard. He always knew he would do something better than most of them. It wasn’t their fault, but there it was.

Sean was shrewd and could open doors that Mark desperately needed to enter, but if he didn’t make Mark feel quite like Eduardo did (didn’t make his stomach twist, calm his nerves with a brush of a hand, rev his pulse up when tucked into soft sweats and damp from the shower), well Mark assumed this was just additional information he could put to good use. There were things he liked about Sean, and he’d add them to his list of requirements when he got around to finding a new, better best friend.

He hadn’t imagined it would be too hard, not once he’d shown the world what he’d known he was capable of, once Mark Zuckerberg really meant somebody.

*

People are replaceable. He’s never been wrong about that.

The person who'd replaced the earnest, easygoing boy he'd known as Eduardo Saverin is busy laughing at him while refilling a glass of water, after Mark had generously offered to accept his apology and let bygones be bygones.

*

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (2/?)

(Anonymous)
*

Erica is still something (he can hear Eduardo say "someone" in the back of his head) that drives Mark nuts, up the fucking wall, which, again: should be perfectly understandable for all thinking beings.

It's been established that he could do better, that if either of them had been lowering themselves it would have been Mark, absolutely, no doubt about it. So the fact that she could just brush off his general existence, like they, like he had been nothing, is/are nothing – it's maddening, it has to end, and he will make it end if he has to create a second global phenomenon and trade Dustin in for a multilingual programmer who's better with javascript libraries.

(Mark's already mentioned, off hand, that it's very inconvenient that Dustin doesn't know Spanish or Chinese, and he should get on that.)

Erica does not accept his Friend request after Eduardo cracks up like some mangy hyena in Mark's face and then has to draw out his whole sob story for the lawyers about how Mark had a few unprofessional and morally questionable moments, as if Mark has ever made it a goal in his life to adhere to any code of conduct.

And then when Mark motions to him afterward with some very pithy commentary about the ends justifying the means, Eduardo has the gall to laugh again about how a Harvard student should know Machiavelli was being satirical, like he wasn't well aware that Mark passed all his Lit General Ed via google and Cliff Notes. Mark doesn't know why he even misses this asshole sometimes.

Okay. That's a lie.

And admittedly, if he'd gone with less Cliff Notes and more non-CS lecture attendance, he might have some witty rejoinders about Sun Tzu's "Art of War".

He remembers "A Modest Proposal" pretty clearly from high school, but that would be more likely to further Eduardo's cause than his own.

*

Mark distracts himself from refreshing his Friends info for the fortieth time by forwarding Eduardo an online copy of "A Modest Proposal" to his last known email address with,

if it would be helpful, I reaffirm my lack of support for the institutionalization of baby eating.

and consuming the flesh of elderly just sounds gamey.


It bounces.

*

When he forwards it to Chris with the subject header "sometimes i try", Chris calls him within 10 minutes but then just sits there on the phone after saying his name a few times.

"uh, Chris?" Mark says, and then Chris says, a little faintly, "I have to go make the world a better place now, in exchange for being your friend."

But then Chris was always sort of a weird guy, and Mark isn't really interested in whatever obvious emotional turmoil he's going through, so it's simple to head off for the next meeting of the day and not think too much of it.

"Dustin, get me Eduardo's current email and home address," he says, and Dustin says, "ok".

This is why Dustin is his favorite.

Mark decides to try and remember that, and maybe hold off on the language immersion CDs in his desk for at least two or three weeks.

*

Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (2/?)

"I have to go make the world a better place now, in exchange for being your friend."
*stares at screen and snickers at this line for like 5minutes* Oh Chris, you win at life.

and wardo flatout laughing at mark, this is glorious

Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (2/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-01 05:41 am (UTC)(Expand)

Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (2/?)

oh gosh, this fic is a delight!

Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (2/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-07-31 07:14 am (UTC)(Expand)
Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (2/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-07-31 07:20 am (UTC)(Expand)
OP HERE - (Anonymous), 2011-07-31 10:58 pm (UTC)(Expand)
Re: OP HERE - (Anonymous), 2011-08-01 05:35 am (UTC)(Expand)

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (3/?)

(Anonymous)
[lol why am i anon when everyone knows who this is? eh, I'm still pretending that I'm not writing this.]


Yet another way people generally get Mark all wrong: behind all the decisive, straightforward trappings, if there is one thing Mark is, it's not diabolical (thanks Chris), or a robot (thanks Dustin), or a continual source of ulcers and fat fees (thanks private counsel) or boring (fuck you entire graduating class of 2002).

Mark is very, very patient.

This is something a lot of people don't understand about programming, scripting, database design – it takes patience. Patience and tons of trial and error.

At first it didn't occur to him that he'd have anything to be patient about. Mark had gotten rid of Eduardo for a reason. Multiple reasons. Obviously, the biggest reason was that he didn't expect it would bother him too much that Eduardo was gone. Mark deserved the best, and how likely was it really that you'd find the best at a local Jewish fraternity mixer.

But evidently that was a rhetorical question that Mark, again, had no way of knowing was entirely rhetorical. Since, as it turns out, that's exactly what had happened to him.

It's not that he didn't meet everyone he thought that he would meet (people who were smarter, more conventionally attractive, eager to discuss the intricacies of system engineering, enticingly ruthless). It's that they just weren't—there isn't actually a qualitative measure for "best", when it comes to the person who makes everything feel more real and interesting just by experiencing it with you.

(Chris cannot convince him that this is not typically a difficult concept to grasp. Chris cried during The Titanic. Chris does not get to talk to Mark about feelings.)

Not having Eduardo: it isn't eternally galling, like Erica's stubborn refusals. It's just—things are dimmer. Flat like old soda. Mark might call it a little empty, even, if he felt like being a maudlin, melodramatic teenager about it.

(spoiler: he doesn't)

(he leaves that for people who sob at clearly fake DiCaprio ice cubes)

And then he knew he had to be patient, but Mark could do that. He thought, okay, Wardo just needs to get it out of his system before showing up again with that look on his face, the tentative wobbly smile. That could take some time.

And a while after that he thought, okay, when Wardo doesn't get even half of his shares back he'll realize it was a waste of everybody's time, and it was stupid, honestly, to have thought Mark would be always watching his back or something, like they were musketeers or some other outlandish and unrealistically devoted fictional characters. Especially when Mark hadn't realized there was anything all that special about Eduardo yet, other than being unusually enjoyable company.

So Mark had no problems putting that segment of his life on hold for a couple years, when he knew the problem would resolve itself so soon. Eduardo just needed to get this off his chest. And then when he saw Mark again he'd realize how bad he totally fucked up in making Mark wait so long.

In his mind, since around 2005, this was usually followed by blowjobs.

*

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (4/?)

(Anonymous)
*

Not that Mark was daydreaming or anything.

Mark does not daydream. This is just not a thing that he does.

*

Sometimes he visualizes possible future outcomes.

But that's more like vigilant preparation.

A whole different story.

*

Now, Sean: he was completely, easily replaceable.

Not in the metaphorical sense, since guys like that don't really change (until the inevitable stint in rehab). But it was a nice, straightforward process to start phasing him out once he became more trouble than he was worth.

Mark actually worked up an equation on the conference room whiteboard.

The bitch of it is, most all of what Mark had liked so very much about him was based on the idea that it was profoundly cool to be Sean, to know the people he knew, to be able to tell the stories he could tell, to have something he made become a household name. But now Mark was, and could do, all those things. And Mark was well aware that there was nothing cool about himself whatsoever.

This kind of took the shine out of Sean Parker. That, and--

The problem with the Sean Parkers of the world, Mark has come to realize, is that they make their every suggestion sound like a good idea.

And of course Facebook is sort of completely unlike Napster and Mark's high school media player project, because downloadable freeware doesn't create massive ongoing, ever increasing costs for the creator. Actually, the more popular it is, the more expensive it is for you to just own it. It's a total pain in the ass.

It was just like Eduardo, to get himself fired only a few months before they started having to establish contracts with advertising firms, to sell data and insert site ads.

He probably laughed about that too.

*

"I don't think you took my words in the spirit in which they were intended," Mark says, after "just one minute," when Eduardo answers the phone.

"Did you intend me to beg your pardon for having unrealistic expectations and making you think I wasn't worth it, and then agree we'd all learned a valuable lesson?"

"Not in those precise words". It had sounded much more politic in his head.

"I think I got it then," Eduardo says and hangs up.

*

Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (4/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-01 10:36 am (UTC)(Expand)
Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (4/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-01 11:11 am (UTC)(Expand)

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (5/?)

(Anonymous)
*

Eduardo is equally unimpressed with the successfully re-sent satirical email. Nor does he seem to have much interest in the knowledge that there is now an opening at Facebook for a Program Director. There's no reply to the notice for the shareholder meeting that Mark had decided they needed.

This is just like when he wouldn't quit school and move across the country to live with Sean Parker because Mark wanted him to and because a geographically dispersed team would mean having to think about other people's priorities and schedules. Which Mark is not very good at.

It must be the golden glow of nostalgia that makes that memory almost endearing, because he knows it was seriously vexing at the time. Mark does not like to be thwarted.

"Have you ever considered that you have a disturbing amount of control issues?" Dustin says.

"No one is supposed to take any breaks until the next iteration is done, so I don't know why I hear you talking," Mark says.

He'd never managed to get all the interns fully trained that summer either. Half of them kept looking up whenever the doorbell rang.

*

The whole nostalgia angle had become more of a problem the closer Mark came to the realization that Eduardo was, in fact, the preferred alternative to everyone ever.

It was only a slight complication, though, while Mark had no significant doubts about Eduardo's imminent outreach and his sincere interest in putting aside their differences.

There was this moment, in front of Divya's smug face and the Winklevii's smugger lawyers, when Eduardo proved that he still knew Mark, understood him with perfect clarity, and Mark had thought--

He'd been so sure then, of how their next conversation would go.

*

He can see now, how that knowledge might not always be beneficial, per se.

*

"Do you remember how Wardo would spin around on the carpet and fuck up his hair? When something big was coming together."

"Mark, I was in a meeting. I thought this was important."

"It's always about you, isn't it?" Mark snaps.

Chris hums in recollection. "Hah, remember how Wardo used to say that and stare at your room like he could see through walls?"

"Actually, no," Mark says.

"Oh, right," Chris muses, "that was when you'd leave the room mid-conversation or do that verbal stabby thing." He hums again warmly. "I always thought he looked so hot when he got all emo and laid back on my bed with his arms up under the pillow. His shirt would ride up sometimes and he'd bite his lip." Chris pauses. "I probably shouldn't have told you that. I was a terrible friend."

"Great, now I have to go jerk off," Mark says.

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (6/?)

(Anonymous)
*

"Do you remember how Wardo would curl behind my neck on the couch when we'd been drinking all night and I had my laptop out?" Mark says, and receives a low groan.

"It's 4 o'clock in the morning."

"I know," Mark says, "I just pulled into the office 20 minutes ago."

"I'm not telling you anything," Chris says firmly, though muffled by his pillow. "I still feel dirty from Thursday."

"I waited until we got off the phone," Mark points out, then adds, "He never had hangovers when we'd only done straight shots. Only mixed drinks. I think it was the syrup. That's weird, isn't it?"

There's a pained noise. "yeah, Wardo's definitely the weird one here."

*

Mark finally sits down to type out a short but conciliatory email that does express some genuine remorse that his well-reasoned actions made Eduardo so upset and everything. Maybe Eduardo had overreacted, but the reaction itself was—unpleasant. And undesirable.

In retrospect.

He's never written a conciliatory email before, or felt this conciliatory towards anyone, but Mark is not as unreasonable as people keep claiming. And evidence strongly suggests that the situation warrants it. Mark doesn't even mention the whole "overreaction" part.

It should probably help matters, that Eduardo's well aware of how glaringly unusual this behavior is for Mark.

There's also the fact that, well, Mark does mean it. When he actually allows himself to think about it now, Eduardo being upset makes Mark feel upset himself. This is why he wasn't great about looking Eduardo in the eye during the depositions. Eduardo had not been what Mark had expected. Despite Mark's still lingering confidence, he couldn't help but note that Eduardo did not appear to have gotten anything off his chest.

That had been when waiting really started to be the opposite of fun.

*

Mark is not a blithering idiot, and so of course he set a read receipt for the email. Thus, he knows Eduardo read it and that Eduardo doesn't care to hide that he read it.

After three weeks have passed, Mark has to concede that Eduardo does not care to respond either.

*

Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (6/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-02 08:39 pm (UTC)(Expand)
Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (6/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-02 03:30 am (UTC)(Expand)
Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (6/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-02 03:43 am (UTC)(Expand)
Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (6/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-02 06:56 am (UTC)(Expand)
Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (6/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-02 08:28 pm (UTC)(Expand)
Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (6/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-02 11:22 am (UTC)(Expand)
Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (6/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-02 08:47 pm (UTC)(Expand)

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (7/11?)

(Anonymous)
[Thanks to everyone who's following this. <3 I knew the little story I wanted to tell, but I wasn't sure people would be interested. I am surprised and happy.]

*

After two months, neither Erica nor Eduardo has accepted his Friend request.

"You are an expert in public relations. Wardo is part of the public."

"I'm not writing your apology for you," Chris says, a decision that is apparently impervious to bribery and blackmail.

*

Mark is generally very skilled in getting people to do what he wants.

This is not because he is especially talented in social engineering. Nor he was captain of the debate team, especially (or at all) (seriously, not even a tiny bit) empathetic, sexually promiscuous, or cruelly neglected in his formative years and forced to learn how to manipulate others to supply his basic needs. (The closest cousin to manipulation of which Mark is capable is the simple, intimidating fact that Mark cannot be made to give a shit, full stop, if he doesn't want to. This tends to change the tone of an encounter very quickly.) Mostly, it's that he just ceases listening whenever someone is telling him no (or other things he finds it unpleasant to hear) and can stare at people without blinking longer than humans find socially comfortable.

That may sound more like ignoring when people aren't doing what he wants, and sure it's less about convincing people and more about emotionally exhausting them to the point that they can't manage to care very much at the moment either. But the point is, Mark tends to get his way almost all of the time.

This explains why he keeps sending Chris draft after draft (through email, IM, and once via UPS).

He even asks his assistant to pull up Sean's contact info and sends one over, as Sean is still the most slick, manipulative person that Mark's ever met and sort of knows (resulting in a terse exchange that boils down to: Sean opinionating that Mark should fuck right off, Mark being unwilling to fuck off right now and wondering where exactly his loyalty is anyway, and Sean finding that inquiry to be really really hilarious).

*

"The domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea," Dustin says one afternoon, and looks at Mark meaningfully until Mark asks him to come in or out but quit lurking in the doorway.

"An idea or impulse," Dustin remarks gravely two hours later, "that continually forces its way into consciousness," and repeats the phrase every morning that week while dropping off bagels.

"A compulsive, often unreasonable desire or emotion," he starts adding between conference calls, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes," Mark says on day nine, slapping a hand over the mute button. "I bite. What?"

"I'm just listing all the various definitions of obsession," Dustin says blithely, "until you recognize that you are having one."

"I've been made aware of a problem," Mark corrects. "And I'm fixing it."

"What a coincidence," Dustin says. "So was I."

*

"You could just ask me to stop calling you," Mark tells Chris that night.

"I have," Chris says, "Several times," but then they have a whole conversation that is not at all related to Eduardo (the kind Mark used to have all the time, because Eduardo wasn't something he had to think about much, Eduardo was a given) and it's kind of nice.

When Mark looks at the time and says, "I have to go," Chris is silent for a bit and then confides, finally, "I don't think this is an email sort of problem."

*

When he's spent a full Sunday sitting on the doorstep of Eduardo's apartment building, working from his Blackberry and forwarding Dustin the occasion antonym for 'humorous', until security asks him to please leave or the police will be notified, Mark finds himself calling again. "You didn't mean this was an in-person apology sort of problem, did you?"

"No," Chris says, in this obnoxiously gentle way that makes Mark want to break lots and lots of things.

*

Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (7/11?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-03 05:48 am (UTC)(Expand)

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (8/12?)

(Anonymous)
*

It is appropriate, then, that it's only now that Mark comes across the video.

He'd like to say that YouTube, the tool of the enemy, has no ties to his day to day existence. But this would be a pointless lie, because sometimes people post videos of themselves handling lethally venomous spiders and reptiles, and Mark lives in hope of someday seeing one bite someone. Darwin's Law at action. Also: occasionally electronic-cave dwelling individuals upload odes like The Day The Routers Died, Write in C, and The PHP Anthem.

The video is on his recommended list (likely because he's watched a few clips from Harvard guest speakers that were on an alumni channel).

Mark would have skimmed over the link, but: it's small, and it's blurry, and it's definitely Eduardo's lean build and self-protective posture -- Eduardo's ambushed face.

The kid running the webcast has this look splashed across his everything that says he's about to be a dick. Mark's fifteen second diagnosis is that he's the new generation of Divyas (jaded, entitled, and only just brilliant enough). Whomever gave him press credentials for that convention has a seriously overblown assessment of Harvard student editorials.

Mark has never been one of those people who rubberneck at highway accidents. He's the guy who wishes everyone would just drive forty times faster and contemplates vehicular homicide. So this is a new experience for him. The whole horrified-fascination pull, this is new. (He's kind of still contemplating homicide, though, because this is the last thing he needed to be happening lately. Seriously, this asshole's account is toast).

This asshole has moved on past some grad from '97 who's shopping a new electronic organizer, and wants to know if Eduardo Saverin is the person he obviously is, and if he graduated when this asshole obviously knows he graduated, and if he was aware that a new Corporate Contract Law seminar had been added to the summer curriculum, and if he would have any particular personal insights to offer the first round of students.

Eduardo doesn't appear to breathe for five to ten seconds.

But Eduardo doesn't retreat, doesn't flush and look away. Eduardo gets serious.

(Eduardo never did quit school)

(Eduardo never did move in with Sean Parker.)

(Sometimes--just sometimes--Eduardo cannot be pushed around.)

(Eduardo can take a stand, when he really thinks it matters.)

(This is actually one of the reasons, Mark realizes, that he's fucking crazy about him.)

"People always ask that, you know?" Eduardo says, with a dangerously causal lilt. "They want to know, they want to hear me say that I've learned my lesson. I think because it makes them feel better. About their choices, about the way they live their lives."

Eduardo doesn't lean into the kid's mike. He makes it come to him. "But the truth is: no, I didn't. I still believe that we should be able to have a certain measure of trust in each other, presume a certain level of fidelity, some basic consideration from the companies we work for and the people and companies we do business with. I think maybe if more people believed in that," here he delivers a sardonic grin, "then we'd have less collapsed bubbles, less people losing their life savings due to other people's ambition."

Eduardo shrugs and the camera refocuses closer, zeroing in a little late. "I don't know how I'd approach the subject matter in a class environment. But I don't think that's a lesson that anyone should have to learn."

*

It should not be taken as an indication of his relative emotional intelligence that this is when is finally occurs to Mark that things might never be okay again. Not ever.

*

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (9/12?)

(Anonymous)
*

"Everything was manageable when I assumed the situation was temporary," Mark informs Dustin, unnerved.

Dustin blinks at his monitor, and then up at Mark. "You occasionally sleep with people you don't give a shit about, clock a 90 hour work week, and viciously resent any achievement of happiness in others. And I'm pretty sure that the looming presence of your superiority complex and sublimated despair are the reason I can't keep a girlfriend."

"But I could do that for a 3 or 5 year stretch," Mark argues, redistributing the weight of the headphones hanging around his neck. "No sweat."

"Not for the remainder of your natural life, though."

"That was not in the plan," Mark admits.

*

The kid in the video had looked like he had no idea what to say to Eduardo's response, because it should have sounded naïve, but there was this fierce authority in his voice and in his eyes. The kid looked like he knew that if he laughed right in Eduardo's face, Eduardo wouldn't give a shit. That Eduardo isn't the one who'd look childish.

"Then you don't have any regrets?" he'd fumbled out.

"Oh, I do," Eduardo had said smoothly. "Of course I do. There are choices I'm not proud of."

*

Eduardo probably meant it too. Not just because Eduardo has always been plagued by debilitating self-esteem issues that Mark had taken advantage of on innumerable occasions, but because Mark can indeed think of several things Eduardo should not feel great about.

Eduardo had been more like Mark than people gave him credit or censure for: he was appallingly bad at packaging his thoughts and ideas. He had not been able to win an argument to save his life (possibly because arguing with Mark was terrible practice).

His supportive intentions were not always well executed. He would remember everyone's birthdays but forget when someone didn't want it celebrated. He'd invite himself along to lectures he could only halfway comprehend and then fidget incessantly. He'd read your every blog entry without fail, but never comment. Sometimes he bought light beer (which everyone agreed was the worst).

There was the time when extreme sleep deprivation was mixed with a B-movie marathon and rubbing alcohol grade vodka, but less dwelling on that night of infamy the better.

He should have figured out that there was no way to get any company to take him seriously when he couldn't obtain the CEO's presence or visible backing.

Eduardo would run a thing into the ground like that.

He'd try to do twenty things at once, ten more than he could handle.

He'd been foolish to think he could shock Mark into seeing him, shock Mark into second-guessing himself, when (as previously established) that was patently impossible until Mark was ready for it. Eduardo had managed to scare the crap out of him, but that was foolish as well. Mark had places to be, things to show people, someone to become, and realistically, logically, he knew that of course a short-term account freeze wasn't going to cripple the site or do anything but maybe tack a late fee onto a few of their bills, but it hadn't felt like that. This is one of those things that are not Mark's fault, how that moment when the check bounced had made him feel.

But--but maybe, maybe some of the things that came before. Some of the things that came after.

Mark isn't sure when or how he'd forgotten that the best thing about being him is that he has the intelligence, opportunities, and power to pick what will be left undone, to select his own regrets.

*

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (10/12?)

(Anonymous)
*

There comes a time in every man's life, Mark thinks, when you have to admit the fact that your entire lifestyle is centered around, and funded by, a symbol of that time you devalued the person you love for the sake of an inanimate object and rejected their status as a thinking, feeling person of equal worth.

So, it probably has to go.

*

Mark thinks he may have known this for a while; he just hadn't been willing to face it yet.

*

It takes two weeks and a great deal of assistance from certain chat rooms to write the mobile code that can get past any gatekeeper function and execute a worm that will propagate itself swiftly and silently from system to system (including remote users logged on under VPN), network to network, and wipe out any stored Facebook related data exactly two days later.

It's not a problem to gain access to all backup tapes and every Facebook server, being who he is, and reformat then magnetize them. (He doesn't do this personally, of course. He hires a professional.)

*

Mark picks up when he sees Eduardo's number and says,

"I take it you've seen the news."

"That's not exactly what I meant about responsible employer conduct," Eduardo says weakly.

"So you were sending me a message?"

"What?"

"In the--with the asshole."

"What are you talking about?"

"The interview with the asshole."

"You saw tha--Mark, it was the entire point of why I could sue you. You do recall the mountains of paperwork and the hours of testimony."

In Mark's defense, he'd done a lot of scribbling. And there was the whole resentful impatience angle. "Right."

"Mark, believe it or not, everything I say or do is not about you."

"I don't believe it," Mark says.

Eduardo sighs in that exact warmly resigned tone he used to use when he sighed at Mark. (It would probably be best to never forget how much he'd missed that sound.) "What about all the people employed by you, trying to support themselves or families? What are they supposed to do when they suddenly have no source of salary, out of the blue?"

"I'm not firing anyone. I'll just have them work on making something else."

"You just came up with that right now, didn't you?" Eduardo says. The narrowing of his eyes is almost audible.

"Absolutely not," Mark lies shamelessly.

In the most literal sense: Mark does not believe in shame and tries to erase it from his life whenever possible. It gives him a headache.

As he just performed his biggest eraser ever, he's experiencing a truly exceptional level of relief.

*

Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (10/12?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-04 01:27 pm (UTC)(Expand)
Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (10/12?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-04 01:13 pm (UTC)(Expand)
Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (10/12?) - (Anonymous), 2011-08-04 08:40 pm (UTC)(Expand)

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (11/12)

*

One thing that Mark has always been absolutely wretched at is being reassuring. Sean always said it was his cold, dead soul, but then Sean was always sort of a dick--even when Mark was under the mortifying misconception that he was the most fascinating person alive. His mom says it's because Mark doesn't always need the same things other people need, and that makes it difficult for him to find the right words. Dustin says it's because he doesn't try very hard.

They're probably all a little right.

When Eduardo shows up at the office that next morning, Mark had already let everyone know not to come into work for a couple days until he figures out what they're all going to be doing. He thinks the announcement went over fairly well. (Probably because they all blame foreign government subsidized hackers or CIA subsidized hackers or Yahoo or Bill Gates or Rupert Murdoch). (Absolutely none of them blame Steve Jobs. Though that just might be because Apple is so terribly inexperienced when it comes to security concerns that the thought of them planning any sort of successful attack boggles the mind.)

Most of the lights are off and it's completely deserted.

"It was mine," Mark says before they can start arguing again.

Eduardo stands in his doorway, appearing to waver between astonishment and shell-shocked blankness. "It belonged to quite a few investors by now. Including myself."

Mark shrugs, shoving his hands into his hoodie's pockets.

"Mark," says Eduardo, entering to pacing back and forth a bit, "people were using it, people had contacts and memories, and--"

"And what makes you think I care about any of that?"

"...nothing, actually." Eduardo halts, stumped. "Okay. But this is--you wouldn't do this."

"I clearly did," Mark says. "It was a calculated risk. And since you're going to kiss me within the next 5 minutes, I'd say it's paying off handsomely."

It doesn't even take thirty seconds, in actuality. Eduardo is on him before he finishes that last syllable, final vowel lost to the sweep of Eduardo's tongue, soda sweet and wet.



Edited at 2011-08-05 05:36 am (UTC)

fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (12/12) - end

When Mark breaks the kiss, Eduardo's fingers continue carding through the hair at the back of his neck.

"I proved I could do it. That I could make people want it. That's all I ever really needed anyway," Mark says, a little breathlessly. "Before things got a little screwed up."

"Just a little," says Eduardo sourly, but then he must remember that Mark just threw away a billion dollar global enterprise for him (and for justice or something) and his eyes widen, a light flush spreading down his neck, and his parted lips look really good, and so Mark says,

"Are you going to let me blow you or what?"

And then Eduardo kisses him again. Obviously. (Clutching at his waist and backing them up against the wall of Mark's office, making a shuddering gasp when Mark slides a hand up to stroke at the bare, hot line of his spine.)

"Dustin is pissed at me," Mark confesses against his mouth when Eduardo lets him breathe.

"Chris thinks you're reckless and deranged," Eduardo says and does this cheek nuzzling thing that makes Mark's skin prickle. "And also amazing. And in need of an airtight alibi."

"Handled. Wait--Chris?"

"Chris is the one who told me this wasn't a zany terrorist plot," Eduardo says with a strongly implied duh. "Or Google."

"I didn't tell him I was doing this."

The look of disbelief on Eduardo's face reminds Mark that, though it may not always seem immediately useful, there are people that know him utterly and completely and like him anyway (and wait for him for hours, and still defend him against crew-rowing Teutonic twins, and reply to copious insulting diatribes, and let him dial them at 3 in the morning)-- because they've always been sure that someday he would earn it, that he could be a different kind of better. And that's probably why he didn't have to ask Eduardo to come. It's definitely why Dustin will forgive him.

"So, I expect some long term gains from this gesture," Mark says, to drown out the weird things happening in his sinus and chest areas. "You should probably move in, do some research on civil unions. And nag me less about doing small horrible things."

"But no big horrible things."

"We'll leave the big horrible things for special occasions," Mark says, smirking a little, and then, very softly, mouth up against the delicate rim of Eduardo's ear,

"I couldn't actually be sorry and--still. That wouldn't be sorry."

"I know, Mark," Eduardo says, and smiles a wondering, tremulous Eduardo type smile.

The kind Mark's come to realize he loves more than anything else in this world.

/end

Re: fill: The Means - Eduardo/Mark (12/12) - end - (Anonymous), 2011-09-29 11:36 pm (UTC)(Expand)