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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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sorry about the delay in getting this up! please put all new prompts here.




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)
♥ 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.






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 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.)



Eduardo/Mark, Stacey Kent

"Pour être à vous
Faut être à moitié fou."

For to be with you
I'd have to be half crazy.

(And Eduardo maybe is a little bit crazy, after all.)
After-deps, please.

FILL where I want to be (1/?)

Singapore is warm and clean and never stops feeling a little foreign, even though there are tiny echoes of places like São Paulo and Miami.

Eduardo wakes up every morning and goes to sleep every night, and he is healthy, if a little thin.

Eduardo works hard.

Eduardo runs.

Eduardo watches the weather and tracks storms.

Eduardo smiles at the people he meets, because Eduardo is still friendly.

Eduardo goes to work (his own office space.) Eduardo goes home.

Eduardo's home is modern and chic. Tasteful, masculine furniture that's very fashionable and in, or so he'd been assured.

Eduardo's home feels empty, especially when he's there.

Eduardo's home feels a prison, but the windows are tall.

Through the windows in Eduardo's home, he can see the ocean.

When Eduardo looks at the ocean, he can feel the distance. It feels like an uncomfortable itch, or a craving that can't be satisfied. He has the feeling that he could put the entire universe between himself and the rest of the world and it still wouldn't feel any better.

Eduardo avoids his windows, but it never helps.

He wonders why he ever bothered trying, but he can remember that it had felt like the solution; leaving had felt like the only choice.

Distance, distance, distance, like a mantra. Banishing himself to an island, as if it were a santuary. It's taken him awhile (years, in fact) to realize that this isn't protection at all; this self-imposed separation is punishment.

Eduardo is good at punishing himself.

He hopes, sometimes, that maybe it's just more time that he needs. Maybe after x number of years he will stop feeling like he has cut off his own hands and feet.

Except he's had plenty of that, too. How much more is it going to take?

Maybe there is no magic algorithm here. There seems to be nothing in history or his own experience to suggest that this kind of misplaced guilt and longing follows any sort of rules or logic.

Eduardo doesn't have any answers.

So Eduardo works.

And he works some more.

And he eats and sleeps and wakes every morning in this city that will never feel like home.

a/n: Not completely sure what this is going to be yet, but I'm working on more!

Re: FILL where I want to be (1/?)

This seems an interesting character study

FILL where I want to be (2a/?)

Eduardo's alarm is a guttural, repetitive sound that makes him wish he was deaf. It's the only way he can consistently get up on time, because otherwise he just curls into himself and he lets the sound (maybe the radio, people talking over one another, popular music) wash through his half asleep state and shape the muddled outline of his dreams.

He's an early riser, but not naturally. If he had his way, he'd conduct the first half of his day from bed. Technically he could; phone calls and e-mails can be answered in any state of dress, they don't require a pressed suit and slicked hair. But he prefers to stick to a more traditional routine.

Or maybe he was told that he should prefer a more traditional routine; it's one of those things that's been a part of his personality since such an early age that he can't be sure of its origin. His father follows rigid schedules, that much he knows. His mother, too, is always awake and active before the sun, so maybe he's just an echo of their habits. He doesn't feel particularly substantial or unique or individual when he's stumbling around his apartment at five in the morning and getting his hand soap mixed up with his moisturizer. He feels like a recording on playback, just a few phrases set to repeat every morning.

Sit up, hit the button that silences his alarm with fumbling hands that feel rubbery and take too long to find the right one. Stay sitting up, rather than falling back onto the sheets, pulling his knees to his chest and napping in the fetal position until his mind catches up and informs him that he's late and lazy. Incredibly lazy.

Stay sitting up, swing legs over the side of the bed, touch bare feet to the carpet and feel goose bumps on his bare skin because the air conditioning kicks in around the time that he gets up.

Up, out of bed, no excuses. Eyes bleary and crusted with sleep (not enough) and limbs a little heavy, sluggish and slow to respond.

In the kitchen the stove light is perpetually on, simultaneously somber and optimistic in the quiet, still space.

Switch on the coffee machine, open the fridge, take out milk (eggs, too, if he feels like eating.) Open the cupboard to the left of the stove, take out the sugar. Maybe he should stop using real sugar, maybe there's an artificial sweetner that would be better for him. He already eats his fruits and vegetables and he gets his protein and his meals occur three times a day like clockwork, but maybe eventually, because of a small amount of cane sugar every morning (and in the afternoons if he's still groggy, and in the evening if he needs to keep working) he'll go softer with time. Maybe it will build up over the days, days, days (there are a lot of those) and become a problem.

Eggs into a pan, electric stove on high.

Spoonful of sugar into his favorite mug. Coffee. Splash of milk.

Perfectly rehearsed, he doesn't have to think about it, and until he's more alert he won't have to think about anything else, either.

FILL where I want to be (2b/?)

Today, a morning in the middle of September, the apartment feels a bit cold, and Eduardo has a robe on to stave off the odd chill. He shuffles around his kitchen easily, the tiled floor cool against the soles of his feet, and lets his hands trail over the things he own.

Possessions are reassuring; the physical manifestation of the life he's built here that acts as a backdrop while his brain starts to whir and put itself to work. Investments, people, projects.

All the threads of noise, traffic outside, the fabric of his clothes, his thoughts sputtering to life with increasing speed, condense and compile into the picture he's come to recognize as Eduardo Saverin.

He is in between motions, half at the stove with a wooden utensil in one long fingered hand and half reaching for his coffee mug, when he hears the quiet, high tone of his cell phone from the other room.


He hesitates.


Eduardo turns off the stove and takes long steps to his bedroom. It's too early to be a call from a client, he's fairly specific about the hours in which he can be reached (compartments, boundaries, always predetermined) so it has to be someone he knows personally.

The name Dustin Moskovitz blinks up at him affably from a small screen. Eduardo looks down at the cell phone in his hand. There are notifications waiting for him in the upper corner, and Dustin's name monopolizes the rest of the display.

He and Dustin talk sometimes. It's always Dustin who calls first, and it was Dustin who established the tentative relationship a few years ago. A few months after the settlement and Eduardo's move (his retreat across the pacific.) They don't speak often, and never for very long, but it's less awkward with each repetition.

It always leaves Eduardo a little satisfied and a little disappointed at the same time. Dustin's voice in his ear is always like the first breath of California air he gets when he leaves LAX after a ridiculously long flight. He needs it, and it puts a sated feeling in his stomach, but the reminder of

I need you out here

left behind

is often too much. Years, and he still feels raw in the places those words have burrowed into his skin, getting more sensitive over time instead of building up a callus.

Eduardo answers the phone and presses it to his ear. "Hey." Casual, like another day in their dorm rooms, transferred to their respective places on the globe.

"Wardo." The voice on the other end is tinny with distance, but unmistakably Dustin. It lacks its usual enthusiasm, though. If Dustin's voice is usually a great balloon, it's now a piece of rubber on the ground.

Eduardo straightens. He sounds tired. Eduardo is tired too, but with something, someone else to concentrate on, his awareness moves away from the heaviness of his body and makes him feel alert. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," Dustin says quickly. "I just wanted to let you know- I mean I didn't want you to see anything online about it first, because they're blowing it out of proportion, because that's what they're always doing-"


"Sorry. Right, um."

Eduardo breathes through the long pause that follows. "You know it's half past five, right? In the morning?"

"Right, yeah, of course it is. Time difference. I'm really sorry, I just wanted to call you. Except now I feel pretty stupid, because like I said, it's not a big deal, and maybe you didn't need to know, I just... Mark got into an accident, and the details that are out right now are pretty vague." Dustin sucks in a breath, "I just didn't want you to jump to any conclusions if you... see anything about it."

Eduardo is still. The parts of his brain that had been chattering on about cold eggs and california air and corporate money have fallen silent.

FILL where I want to be (2c/?)

"It's not a... serious event. So I just though you might want to know that."

"Uh-" Eduardo clears his throat, but he doesn't say anything after that, not immediately, because he's trying to figure this out, he's trying to rearrange the words

Mark accident event serious not serious

into an idea that makes sense.

"I don't understand. What happened." His voice sounds flat in his own ears, a little far away.

"Fender bender, you know, it was nothing, and Mark just has to wear a neck brace. It's sort of funny, actually. But apparently seeing a billionaire strapped to a stretcher sends people into a gossiping frenzy."

They haven't talked about Mark since- everything. They don't talk about Mark. They don't talk about the fact that they don't talk about Mark.

"Dustin," Eduardo clears his throat again, "I haven't spoken to Mark in years. Mark isn't part of my-" He breaks off there, because the words feel thick and, if he's honest with himself, dishonest.

"No, I know," Dustin says quickly. He probably does know. "I just. Sorry. I couldn't decide if I should call. I've been up since... yesterday, and I just didn't want you to worry. About anything. That's all.

There's silence on the line, just a rush of white noise from Dustin's end when he sighs quietly.

"Ok," Eduardo murmurs, because Dustin sounds like he's trying to walk across hot coals, and that's stupid. They're friends, they shouldn't have to be so careful.

"It's more than sort of funny, actually. It's hilarious. The interns keep taking pictures of him when they think he isn't looking."

Eduardo swallows. He pushes back what feels like trepidation. "I bet he went straight to the office from the hospital."

Dustin exhales a laugh that sounds like immeasurable relief. "He tried. Chris and I convinced to go home first and sleep."

"I'm impressed."

"We've developed certain techniques."

"Sounds very clandestine and secret."

"You have no idea. Well, I mean. You kind of do. You're the original Zuckerberg-whisperer, after all."

"Finally, the title I deserve."

They've ventured into dangerous territory, but there's a smile stealing across Eduardo's face, he can feel the warm pull of it. And while the nervous feeling in his stomach hasn't dissipated, it isn't entirely unpleasant.

Re: FILL where I want to be (2c/?)


Re: FILL where I want to be (2c/?) - (Anonymous), 2011-12-15 09:48 am (UTC)(Expand)

FILL where I want to be (3a/?)


After they say their goodbyes and Eduardo hangs up the phone, he looks down at it, cradled innocuously in his palm. There is a sensation of calm throughout his body, but also a steady thrum of either excitement or anxiety, as though he's just narrowly avoided something terrible.

He can't quite remember what he'd been doing before Dustin had called. It takes a few moments, a few careful, steady breaths, before he returns to the kitchen. Coffee. Eggs.

He's running late now, but he doesn't hurry. He feels disjointed, thrown off by the interruption. The drowsiness of 5am has gone, replaced by restless hands and buzzing thoughts that don't make any sense.

Eduardo tries not to think about that split second (or had it been minutes long?) where his stomach had dropped and there had been nothing but an icy apprehension in its place.

In the course of an ordinary day, Eduardo doesn't think of Mark. He's moved past that. He's learned certain things about himself, and he knows how to keep his thoughts (relatively) healthy, now.

And when he does think of Mark, he isn't really Mark. It's become like thinking of a ghost; Mark is just a face on the edges of his vision, in the public eye and in the background at the couple of public events Eduardo has been brave enough to go to. Not something real, not something Eduardo can actually touch or speak to.

It's a pathetic way of looking at things, and makes him feel more than a little crazy; it's pathetic that Eduardo has to dehumanize his (former) best friend in order to keep himself under control, but it had been crucial in the midst of and immediately after the deposition.

He can't count the number of times he had wanted to call everything off and retreat to a corner of the world with nothing, just so he could put some distance between himself and what had happened. Thankfully, he'd held off until the settlement.

Eduardo wishes he was a little crueler. A little more self-centered. He thinks that maybe things would have turned out better for him if he was.

His eggs are still on the stove, half cooked, and his coffee is cold. He stands in the middle of the kitchen, looking between the two and chewing on his lower lip before he decides to throw out the eggs.

After he's had a shower and he's dressing for the day (sleek, dark button-down, jacket, slacks) he thinks about something Dustin had said, right at the end.

"I'm really glad we can talk, Wardo." Somehow Dustin always manages sincerity without the awkwardness and caution that usually happens between grown men.

"Me too," Eduardo had sort of laughed, tired and bemused.

"Things are never really the same without you. Nothing ever... nothing ever replaced you. You know?"

Eduardo scrubs his face with the heels of his hands, harsh, frustrated. Why would Dustin say that? The last thing Eduardo needs is to have the idea planted in his mind that he's still somehow welcome. That they're saving him a seat, that there's still space him.

But it isn't Dustin's fault. It's not like Dustin knows that something like that would be such a punch to the gut. It's not like Dustin knows how much it makes him want to--

He fastens his watch around his wrist, feels the comforting weight of it. Sitting on the edge of his bed, he listens to the sounds of his own breath.

Eduardo is scared senseless by how desperately he still wants to go home.

It isn't just the deep seated, seething quality of the desire that strikes him. It isn't just the way he shakes with it sometimes, lying in bed or sitting at work or navigating his way through the city on errands.

It isn't just that. If it were just that, he could handle it, he's always been the sort of person who feels a little too deeply and intensely. He's always had to dampen his reactions and push back the dramatic (unbecoming) qualities of his personality. (Sometimes he is successful. Sometimes he isn't.)

FILL where I want to be (3b/?)

What really frightens Eduardo, what really gets to him and keeps him up at night, the thing that sits in the back of his mind at inconvenient moments and festers and bruises, ripening like fruit, is the fact that he's not sure what he even means by home.

He can't understand it. Is he craving the half remembered colors of Brazil? Is he looking for his school days in Miami when everything was formulated, was a formula, had an answer? Does he want his father's hand resting unbearably heavy on his shoulder agian? Does some sick part of him want that weight? (Maybe. He has spent a significantly larger portion of his life avoiding his father than Mark. Yet somehow Eduardo can remember Mark's face, immovable and burning, with clearer sharpness than his father's stoic anger.)

Had New York begun to feel like home at some point, without his notice?

Or maybe it's Harvard and Boston and the simultaneously comforting and strenuous work that had let him wring out his frustrations and channel them into neat, orderly, elegant equations. (He's not sure he ever truly enjoyed economics, but he can't deny that the curriculum had been cathartic in some way. If only because he felt he was finally, finally on the right path, finally onto something that might be enough.)

These are the things that Eduardo thinks about, agonizes really, and all the while carefully, studiously avoids the pieces of the puzzle that feel tender and raw.

Eduardo gets to his feet, not because he means to do anything, but because his legs feel restless. He can feel the tension of a frown on his mouth and his brow, and forces himself to relax, forces his face to smooth.

There's a mirror in the entryway, and after he puts on his shoes and picks up his bag (a satchel, because briefcases always feel a little silly to him) he examines his face. He looks carefully untroubled.

nothing ever replaced you

He can't think about what it means. Dustin is kind and Eduardo doesn't need anyone's pity. He doesn't need to be reassured. He needs to stay focused.

The simplest of memories have become the most dangerous; it's always sensory, like the smell of the cologne his father used to wear. Cold Boston air, visible in front of his face in the midst of heated conversations. The strained, strung out feeling after an all nighter or after a phone call from home (that word again, it never feels quite right) that would cool and settle into something like relief when he would see Mark.

The tiny sounds that had been such a vital part of understanding Mark, the things he had actually worked to pick up on, had consumed like real nourishment. Dismissive scoff, incredulous scoff, resigned exhale, amused exhale, exhale in preparation of some barb. The undefinable murmur that was just a sliver of Mark's thoughts slipping through the shell. The abortive attempt at the beginning of a sentence, the rapid rewind and recalculation of whatever he'd been about to say. (That one didn't happen often, and there's something about it that still baffles Eduardo, but if Mark could be understood completely then he wouldn't be Mark.) The minute changes in tone when he spoke to someone else and when he spoke to him.)

These are the land mines, and once Eduardo stumbles over one, the rest tend to follow in a terrible domino effect. They rush through him in rapid succession, grinding just a little further into the parts of him that ache.

He's getting so much better, though. And he can handle a phone call. He can handle this.

FILL where I want to be (3c/?)

Eduardo likes his office space. It's not too large and the lights are not too bright, and it's either filled with the quiet rustle of paper and the tap of keyboards or whatever radio station Eunice has decided to put on. (His assistant likes pop music, but she also likes classical piano, and Eduardo finds himself enjoying both.) She has a habit of conducting her work according to the rhythm of whatever's on, bouncing along to something upbeat or typing with adorable poise to the sound of Mozart.

There are a few pieces of modern artwork on the walls, all of them colorful, also thanks to Eunice. Shortly after being hired she had, in her usual frank fashion, informed him that the place looked like a gas chamber, and that she'd be taking the liberty of sprucing it up a bit.

'If that's alright with you, Mr. Saverin.'

He tells her, every once in awhile, that she's invaluable. She brushes off such complements like dust, but it's true. And not just because she's efficient and tough and unbelievably organized.

"Good morning, Eunice." When Eduardo arrives the door to the office is unlocked, as usual. She's always there before him, another early riser. He doesn't recognize the piece of music playing softly from the radio on her desk, but it's nice.

"Good morning," she chirps. She has a voice that is quiet but never timid. "Don't forget you have a teleconference with Mr. Balkin in an hour."

"Yes, thank you." There's coffee on his desk and the spreadsheets he had asked for last night.

"Did you have a good weekend?" She always asks him that, and he always says yes, because he does have nice weekends. He manages to stay busy, even though his social life is somewhat bleak at the moment. (Eduardo never mentions this to Eunice, because she has tried to set him up with a few different women. She isn't intrusive about it and they were all very nice women, but for some reason dating feels strained and contrived. He thinks maybe he's been made a bit nervous about the whole thing after dating Christy.)

"I did."

"Did you like the muffins?" She already knows he likes everything she bakes. "I could bring you some more."

"Are you trying to make me fat?"

She sends him a sidelong glance. "Yes."

He feigns a look of horror. "Are you planning on cooking me? Is that the secret to your pies?"

"You're too skinny. I'm afraid that if I don't send food home with you you'll waste away one night and come to work a skeleton the next morning."

"Well, we'll never have to find out, will we?" He switches on his computer, a helpless little smile on his face.

Eunice nods firmly. "That's right."

Eunice has a family. There are pictures of them on her desk, of her husband, who is quiet and kind, and of her 5 year old daughter, who is sunny and unbearably sweet. Eduardo has not met her personally, but he has a handwritten note that says, in slightly misshapen letters,

Thank you for being so nice to my mommy.

It is accompanied by a crayon drawing of a triangular woman in a familiarly colorful cardigan and a rectangular man wearing a neck tie.

Eunice had tried valiantly to keep from teasing him about how misty eyed he'd gotten after receiving that. But she has a hard time with that sort of thing.

FILL where I want to be (3d/?)

Eduardo makes dinner that evening (he does eat) and takes it into the living room, puts the news on for background noise and looks over some paperwork.

As long as his hands are busy, everything feels normal. His hands are busy and steady and his mind feels clear.

He goes to sleep that night untroubled, listening to the white noise of traffic outside his bedroom window and his own breathing.





It's Mark's voice and it's Mark's face. And there's the hoodie and those stupid Adidas flip flops and there are headphones around Mark's neck.

"Why are you calling me that?"

"That's your name," Mark says, except Mark's lips aren't moving. Everything about him is still, he isn't blinking and his face is like stone. Everything else is still too; the air is stagnant and uncomfortably thick.

"Get up, Eduardo."

He can't. His body is gone. He can tell because looking at Mark should put a tightness somewhere in his ribcage and it isn't there.

"Get up."

"I can't." He can hear the words but he can't feel them.

"Get up, Eduardo, why are you just sitting there?" Mark sounds so angry, but his face is so still.

"I can't." And suddenly Eduardo is angry too.

He is frustrated and so angry. He is so fucking angry with himself. It feels like his insides are on fire with something he can't even name or define, they're just twisting tighter and tighter and the fierce ache of it is getting worse every second. He can't look away from Mark's face.

"You're going to blame me?"

Eduardo tries to speak, but there's only silence. He is so angry, and he is angry about so many things at once that he can't understand any of it.

Every quickfire thought doesn't have time to register or make a difference but manages to overwhelm him all the same.

What does any of it matter? His ridiculous suits, his desk with its organized drawers and clean lines, his windows with the curtains drawn tightly shut so that he won't have to look out at the water separating him and the rest of world; none of it means anything.

None of it means anything, because now everything is so quiet and Mark's face is so still.

"Get up."

'I hate you,' he tries to says. "I hate myself," is what comes out.

He hates that he knows that he doesn't actually hate Mark, he hates the way he remembers the stupidest details (tuna straight out of a can, eyes that could look straight at him and lie), he still hates Sean Parker, even, still feels like his stupid, smarmy face is waiting for him under his bed, his own personal bogeyman. He hates how easy it would be to go back, just to get on a plane right now and go back and just ask for everything to be ok again. It would be so easy just to beg for it.

"Wardo, get the fuck up." Marks doesn't sound angry anymore, just tired. Eduardo tries to remember the last time Mark sounded like that, but suddenly there's a buzz rising out of the silence, something uncomfortable and right underneath his skin. He can feel his skin.

"Get up," Mark whispers.

Eduardo opens his eyes. It's dark, but it's always dark when wakes. There is a noise somewhere that isn't his alarm.

He blinks and swallows and tries to remember something. Why is so angry?

There is a buzzing. He turns his head and sees his cell phone on the bedside table, the display suddenly bright. He had put it on vibrate, and it's slowing buzzing its way across the wood.

He turns onto his side and gropes for it with one hand, squints at it until his eyes adjust to the light. An unknown number. He frowns at it for a moment, sleep addled. Then he hits 'Ignore'.

He turns over and goes back to sleep.

Re: FILL where I want to be (3d/?) - (Anonymous), 2012-01-12 12:23 am (UTC)(Expand)
Re: FILL where I want to be (3d/?) - (Anonymous), 2012-01-13 04:20 pm (UTC)(Expand)

FILL where I want to be (4a/?)

a/n: Thank you for the all of the comments so far. I really appreciate it so much.

Eduardo wakes up a few minutes before his alarm, and he can't immediately discern why. His bedroom is quiet, but he is wide awake, blinking in the dark.

He shifts; the rustle of his bed sheets is abrupt in the silence. He sits up and thumbs the corner of one eye where sleep usually gathers, then reaches out to grab his cell phone from the bedside table. His fingers fit around it immediately; it's always in the same place.

Eduardo looks at the time. Then he looks at the single notification.

Missed call. A number he doesn't recognize. He doesn't remember waking in the middle of the night, but maybe he had. No way to be sure.

He sits for a moment, indecisive. Then he dismisses the notification and switches off his alarm prematurely.

He pushes off the blankets and gets to his feet.

On the subway, his eyes feel heavy. Like they're made of cotton. The people around him are a blur of shape and color that he can't bring himself to pay attention to. He isn't usually drowsy.

But he is as buttoned up and orderly as ever. (Nowadays he tends to style his hair less carefully than he used to. The need to impress the people immediately around him has diminished somewhat, though not entirely. Maybe it never will. But having a shit load of money can change ones view the world in little ways like this.

That's not quite how Eduardo thinks of it; he tries not to say things like 'shit load of money' in his head. He tries to think of the actual numbers, the sums. The profits, the deficits. The changing tides of wealth that are comforting as long as he doesn't get too caught up in them; money can be like undertow. And that reserve, the uncomfortable lump that isn't actual, physical money but a number in a system in a bank account in cyperspace, the money left over from initial investments after the settlement that he doesn't touch.

He had tried donating some of it; someone told him once that charity feels good. Giving money away for no end except to do good makes one feel good.

It hadn't, really. To be perfectly honest. The numbers had changed. Maybe there had been some tangible consequence elsewhere to be had by other people that he doesn't know and never will, but Eduardo had felt next to nothing. He had watched the numbers change, and he had tried it a few more times just to be sure, because he believes in taking a scientific approach. A hundred thousand here, a hundred thousand there, schools, charity events, he had given it his best shot, thinking that maybe giving to a specific cause would make a difference.

Just a change in the numbers in his name.

And he knows that that isn't the point of charity; the point of giving something away isn't the metaphorical carrot at the end of the stick. He knows that. There doesn't need to be a carrot. If he's made someone else's life better somewhere, then that's good. He's glad. He's glad that he's done something good. It hadn't felt particularly selfless and it hadn't been a feat of great courage (giving one's money away is just the click of a button, it's just numbers) but that's not the point either.

He just thought it might have made him feel differently.

And he hasn't been able to bring himself to touch that money, to change that uncomfortable sum sitting in cyberspace for any other reason since.

The subway stops; Eduardo shifts his weight easily, out of habit, just a little lean to the side to stay upright. His shoulder bumps a bit too abruptly against someone else's on the way out. Someone with a briefcase and a suit like his but probably less expensive (Eduardo still likes nice clothes, if anything he savors a good wardrobe even more carefully than before.) They both murmur apologies simultaneously, half smiling in the vacant sort of way that strangers smile at each other.

FILL where I want to be (4b/?)

Public transportation in Singapore is always an ungodly swarm of unfailingly polite people. It's one of the strangest things about this city, maybe. There are so many people, living on top of one another, crammed into space with one another, that part of him keeps expecting someone to crack. On a daily basis, really. Maybe in a cafe or in the middle of the street, he just has the feeling that someone should be going postal by now.

So far they haven't. Not that he's witnessed, anyways. He watches strangers with cursory, uncommitted wariness and files along behind them, exchanging 'excuse me's and 'thank you's.er

Metropolises are supposed to be cutthroat, he thinks. And certainly everyone is in a hurry, they're all impatient, they all want to be somewhere other than where they are at that exact moment in time. But they're so polite about it. It would irritate him if it wasn't so nice.

Above ground, the air is warm. He likes the humidity, the slight heaviness that it has, and the way it makes each breath feel languid.

He only has to cross the street to reach his office, rented in a tall, ambiguous building, mild in its architecture and utterly unimposing compared to the surrounding skyscrapers. There is a certain sleekness to it, both the interior and exterior, that seems to be shared by everything modern in this city. Nothing is halfhearted or camp. Clean lines, tasteful colors. Professional and fashionable without being terribly extraordinary in any way. Like the suits he sees on the subway everyday.

He takes the stairs, always, because he's not going to be young forever and he has to be sensible about these small, everyday things. He likes looking good in his clothes, though he thinks he's not so very attached to being young.

He opens the door to his office space.

Eunice has on a surgical mask, stark white and carefully fastened around the back of her head so that her hair is still smooth and undisturbed. A yellow cardigan today, he notices automatically, the one with the wide collar and big buttons and the little white brooch on the front of it.

"Good morning," she says without looking up, writing something in her neat, sloping hand on a memo pad. Her voice is slightly muffled behind the mask.

"Good morning," he says back, hesitating with his hand still on the door handle and examining her profile. "Are you feeling alright?" It seems impolite, somehow, to ask explicitly if she's ill, as if she were carrying some contagion. He's still unused to the custom of wearing surgical masks, though it's fairly common. He sees them quite often, especially on the subways, and it never stops being a little alarming.

Eunice has never been sick before, he realizes. Not that he can remember. She's never worn a surgical mask to work, at least. That much he's sure of. She doesn't look particularly ill now. She looks as healthy as ever.

Noticing his stillness, Eunice glances over at him, and he sees her eyes crease with a smile. "I'm not diseased, don't worry. You look like I've gone green and sprouted gills."

He huffs a laugh, letting his hand fall away from the door and taking a few steps further into the office, feeling suddenly ungainly and awkward.

"My husband has a bug, so Mary and I are just taking precautions." Eduardo's imagination superimposes a surgical mask over the bright face of little Mary, looking down at a photograph of her on Eunice's desk. "I can't have you getting sick either, so I've got hand sanitizer. I put some on your desk, too, you should use it." She's typing now, but she smiles up at him again, that curious half squint above the surgical mask.

"If you need to take time off," Eduardo offers, crossing the space to his desk and looking down at the innocuous little dispenser that has appeared beside his moniter.

"Don't be silly. It's not serious."

Surgical masks look serious, Eduardo thinks. They make Eunice look like she's doing something far more grave than office work.

Later, when she picks up the phone, he almost expects to hear something like, 'I'm sorry, we did everything we could.' Like the pretty doctors in medical dramas who have to deliver bad news. Instead he hears the crisp, ordinary greeting she always delivers, made slightly comical by the muffled sound of her voice.

FILL where I want to be (4c/?)

Eunice is the sort of person who has friends. She is a sociable, well mannered person with a life outside of her work. She goes out for drinks fairly regularly with the people she's close to.

Eunice likes to invite Eduardo along, and he can tell that she's always genuine about it. Eunice possesses the rare quality of being genuine about everything. She isn't the sort to do nice things dishonestly out of misplaced pity or because she feels obligated.

Every week or two she smiles and casually mentions that they're getting together 'for drinks and conversation and would he like to come with them?' It's never pointed or veiled, just a genuine offer. He likes it; he likes the way she's able to do those kinds of things so easily. Would you like to go for drinks with me and some of the people I have populated my happy life with?

He says yes sometimes. He felt uncomfortable the first time, irrationally worried. They're a bit older than him, ironically enough. They're only in their early thirties, no real distinguishable gap between him and them in the way they speak and dress and behave, really. But it's there, and there were other things that made him nervous. He's Eunice's employer. He's also Eunice's friend, somehow. He's a little out of practice in that area. Being someone's friend rather than friendly acquaintance or business associate.

So he's met some of her friends. (Though still not her husband; he likes to stay in more often than Eunice does.) They're a lot like her: friendly. They dress well, though Eunice is still the most colorful. They have business related jobs, mostly. One of them runs a flower shop. They are genuine, also like Eunice, and manage to make all of their actions look comfortable.

So Eduardo likes them; they're impossible not to like. Just like Eunice is impossible not to like. And he enjoys they're company very much. But they are not his friends. They are separate from him, somehow. Eunice is too, in a way, though she is so integrated into his daily life that this separation is much less pronounced, it's something he doesn't usually notice or think about.

But Eunice's friends, even as he makes conversation, good conversation, and laughs with them, are removed. They occupy a different space; they breathe a different kind of air. And he can't explain it in a way that makes sense to himself, even.

But the few times he has gone out with them and drank and ate and generally enjoyed himself, he has come home feeling worse than ever. Like the curtains on his windows are going to swallow him up and force him, night and day, to look at the water as shout at him, 'You. You are an island. You are always going to be an island. You are always going to be like this and you are always going to be alone.'

He thinks that maybe he had a dream like that once. He thinks that maybe that's where the feeling comes from.

The morning passes. Eunice takes lunch at a small bistro down the street and brings him back something that he likes. He eats.

The afternoon passes. When Eunice leaves it's getting dark outside. She puts on a jacket, adjusts the surgical mask still fitted over her face, and says goodbye. She tells him to eat dinner and she smiles/squints. She leaves on soft music in her absence, which Eduardo shuts off when he gets tired of a particular song that he has heard too many times lately.

The evening passes. Eventually Eduardo is not doing anything particularly productive anymore, just using his office computer to surf the internet in a perfunctory fashion and contemplate buying a new kitchen appliance. (Juicers are wildly popular again.) So he leaves the office and gets on the subway and goes home.

The night passes. He has a beer and checks on the progress of a hurricane that's been making it's way across the Atlantic. He records the numbers. Wind speed, air pressure, temperature. He eats something that's been sitting in his refrigerator for a couple days, reheats it until it's a bit rubbery. He has a glass of wine and watches a little television.

He goes to sleep.

FILL where I want to be (4d/?)

Eduardo wakes with a sense of anxiety. His breathing is quick and he can feel his heart in his chest. His bedroom is dark and quiet for a moment.

And then his phone, set to vibrate the night before, buzzes across the surface of his bedside table.

His heart continues to beat too quickly.

The phone buzzes.

He tries to remember what he'd been dreaming of, but can't.

He picks up the phone. It's just past three in the morning; there is a number he doesn't recognize across the display. He thinks it's the same that had called the night before, but he's not completely sure. His eyes and his head are still fuzzy. For a moment he waits, let's the phone buzz one more time, scrubs a hand over his face. Then he answers it.

"Hello?" His voices catches, hoarse with sleep.


"Mark." It slips out of his mouth before he can stop himself. The voice is immediately recognizable, and he is caught off guard.

"Wardo," Mark says, the word clipped.

Dead air. Eduardo's brain won't seem to start; there is not a single thought in his head, and the anxiety from whatever dream he'd been having is forgotten. He doesn't notice if his heart is beating quickly anymore, just the faint sound of static in his ear.

He sits up very slowly. He waits, and when there is only more of this thick silence, he says, carefully, "Mark, can I help you?"

"No," Mark sounds annoyed, as if it were a genuine offer. Eduardo's hand reaches up automatically to massage his temple, as if anticipating a headache. It's an old habit, and he catches himself, lowering his hand in a fist and pressing it against the bed.

"May I ask why you're calling, then?" It comes out a bit more pointed than he had intended, though he cannot for the life of him think of what he actually intended.

There is silence again. Impatience and something else that he can't name wells up in Eduardo. His mouth tastes suddenly sour.

"It's three in the morning, Mark," as if that means something.

"Right. Singapore. Time difference."

When it seems like Mark isn't going to continue, Eduardo takes in a deep breath and says, "Mark, do you know why you're calling?"

Eduardo pictures Mark's face, but he can't picture a particular expression. He can't imagine what Mark looks like right now. He pictures Mark's face but it's blank. Stone.


The impatience sharpens into anger. Hot, quick anger that he has to swallow and grit his teeth against. He is tired. His eyes and his mouth feel like cotton.

"Ok. Well then how about you call back when you do know." His voice sounds flat in his own ears. Without waiting for a reply, he takes the phone away from his ear and hangs up.

Slowly, Eduardo lies back against the bed. He looks at the ceiling for a long time, listening to the quiet of the room and the white noise of the streets outside.

He looks at the phone still in his hand, at the bright, display.

Call time: 01:12

A number that he doesn't know.

2:47 am

He looks at the numbers and thinks, 'That happened.' That event just took place, the undeniable proof is right in front of his eyes. His eyes that had felt bleary and sleep addled but now feel surprisingly clear.

He feels his breathing pick up like a change in the wind, and notices again that his heart is beating quickly.

Eduardo lies in bed with the phone in his hand and does not fall asleep again that night.

Re: FILL where I want to be (4d/?) - (Anonymous), 2012-01-25 07:31 pm (UTC)(Expand)
Re: FILL where I want to be (4d/?) - (Anonymous), 2012-01-26 08:23 pm (UTC)(Expand)