Genre: slash, drama
Word count: 4000
Beta: awesome twivamp92
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Summary: Post-deposition. Mark's life is pretty okay until Eduardo Saverin stars in an advertisement for gay rights and Mark starts losing control over his own mind
A/N: For the winter TSN-A-THON. Team Winklevoss FTW!
It’s Thursday. 10PM.
Letters and numbers start dancing on his blue screen.
Mark leans back against the office chair and rubs the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes as tiredness catches up with him. He calculates the possible scenarios of fixing the bug in the last code, eye squeezing shut. He has work that approximately takes two hours, so he’ll try to finish it in an hour and forty.
He sees the numbers behind his heavy eyelids before he snaps open his gaze.
Mark’s eyes slowly travel around the office through the glass of his personal cabinet. He counts 8 people, blinking as if through the fog and then jerks his head back, concentration pulled back towards the open laptop.
Mark’s cell phone goes off in his hoodie pocket and he fishes it out irritably, lips tightening into a thin line, urge going back to coding buzzing in his fingers.
It’s a text from Dustin, “i’m sending you a link to this video before the whole internet explodes in the morning. and because I am the bravest one to show this to you. please, don’t crush anything in the office, mark. people need the work places they come back tomorrow to.”
Mark scowls as his eyes run through the message.
He clicks on the link and freezes instantaneously when those big brown eyes that sometimes chase him in his dreams are looking back at him. Mark stares at the screen while his grip on the phone tightens, knuckles white.
By the end of the video, Mark’s face is pale and frozen.
The video ends and Mark has to do something with his hands. Has to use them for something else instead of coding.
He puts his cell phone down on the table, movements careful and slow. Touching it as if it’s antique artifact that can turn into ashes.
Mark breathes out and keeps controlling his breathing, tilting his head to stare at his computer screen as it fades into black. Mark doesn’t blink. Doesn’t think.
Everything is back to normal.
Next moment, Mark snatches the phone off the table and jerks up to his feet, throwing the piece of plastic against the opposite wall.
It’s suffocating in the office. Too hot. Mark finds it hard to breathe.
Next day Mark comes to the whole office buzzing with the news of one of the shareholders starring in social AD.
It’s an advertisement for gay rights where Eduardo Saverin allows himself to talk openly about intolerance and ignorance in society while unashamedly leaning his naked chest against the buff half-naked body of an unknown guy.
Mark sits behind his desk and doesn’t pay attention to anyone.
He spends two hours of his time digging every detail about the man Wardo touched. Male model.
Bound to be an idiot, Mark sizes up and closes his laptop shut.
Dustin digs a hole in Mark’s back. Mark keeps painstakingly ignoring him and clicks on keyboard in capacity of additional irritant for Dustin.
“Mark, I’ll hack Facebook again and delete that post from his wall if you write it one more time. You can’t post on person’s wall ‘You need to get rid of few pounds and gain some IQ points’ purely because he made an AD with Wardo. Mark, it is only advertising after all.”
Mark doesn’t say a word.
If Dustin decides to check the model’s FB page one more time, he’ll read the last post about being offered a new exciting job and leaving Singapore.
Mark has a deft, efficient assistant named Victoria. Sometimes, Mark thinks of her as a smart person. But not now, obviously.
– He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is extremely hot, – she throws, bringing Mark coffee and a pile of useless papers.
Mark levels her with a particularly hard glare and keeps silence.
– Every girl in the office, and some guys dream to take that model’s place. But I was the fastest to occupy the front of the line.
Mark tries not to scowl, gaze intense and wary. He doesn’t comment but his fingers clench into the fists and he wants to throw something heavy at her. He glances away to distract himself and his gaze lands on the table. No, not laptop. Laptop is Wardo’s prerogative.
Who is extremely hot, Mark mocks her words in his head.
Victoria leaves under Mark’s hostile stare she deliberately ignores, and Mark seriously contemplates changing her sexual orientation on Facebook page into gay one.
Later that night, Dustin enters Mark’s space and starts bubbling something insignificant. Mark mutes him out. After, he turns him on when a bottle of beer appears under his nose.
Sometimes, Dustin can be very useful.
Mark wakes up in his bed with a splitting headache and a horrid suspicion of making something tremendous that will make him feel ever worse.
Mark opens his eyes and winces, mentally cursing himself and Dustin.
His cell phone occupies the place next to him, turned off. Mark sits up straight and turns it on, sinking suspicions forcing his stomach to churn.
The last received message in his inbox is from Eduardo at 3AM.
With stiff fingers Mark taps the cell screen to read the text.
“Go fuck yourself, Mark. GO FUCK YOURSELF.”
Mark wants to vomit.
He scrolls and reads his own message sent to Eduardo in a clearly drunken state of mind.
“Facebook is profoundly proud of your AD, Eduardo. I only have one question for you: have you been paid money for this or you were generous enough to be satisfied by fucking that guy?”
Mark’s breath hitches in the back of his throat, but he concentrates on the fact that even in drunken state he keeps correct spelling. And the rest–
Mark sets his mind on not thinking about the rest.
Eduardo Saverin is coming to California, because GLAAD is honoring him with an award for presenting LGBT community rights in advertising.
Mark holes up in his office and barks at everyone who attempts to enter. At night he snuggles with a whiskey bottle and silently worries the label after every gulp.
He wishes he could go back to coding and lost himself in it. He wishes War–
Mark wakes up with his cheek pressed against the keyboard.
Mark stretches, feeling as if his back is stiffened for forever. There’s a nasty taste in his mouth and the marching bands are drumming in his head.
His cell phone is switched off and Mark closes his eyes for a brief moment, gulping audibly, before turning this phone on. He doesn’t expect anything pleasant.
The last message is from Wardo.
“You are such an asshole, Mark.”
Mark scrolls up and finds three messages he sent to Wardo.
First. “Does your going to gay parties indicate that now you’re planning to bend over and offer your ass to every guy?”
Second. “Hate you.”
Third. “Wardo, Wardo, I miss you. I miss you, Wardo.”
The walls are closing in on him. It is suffocating. Everything around him is suffocating.
Mark spends a whole day at home. Whole day with switched off phone and without any drop of alcohol.
He pushes the windows wide open and tries to breathe in deeply, mouth open. But it’s still not enough air. Not enough air for him.
He receives message from Dustin through Facebook.
“wardo landed. please, don’t do anything stupid, mark. just leave him alone.”
Mark gasps in the mouthful of air and his heart beat turns rapid, but the oxygen finally fills his lungs.
To receive invitation to GLAAD ceremony is not as effortless as Mark considered, he gives them credit for that.
Mark shamelessly uses Chris’ connections and makes an anonymous donation of one million dollars.
Mark offers the organizers another donation of the same amount if he gets the place at one table with Eduardo Saverin.
Organizers’ answer starts with the fact that all the places at the table are already occupied and Mark plows through the long text of pointless words mixed with unwanted gratitude before he sees what he was looking for – them making an exception for Mark.
Mark snorts in response and his lips quirk in attempt to smile.
Day after, Mark receives another email from the organizers with unexpected offer to be the one giving the award to Eduardo, due to it apparently holding a special meaning to him.
Mark writes a rejection letter immediately, drudgingly ignoring the way his fingers tremble lightly.
Mark puts on navy blue suit, his best suit, and when he’s knotting the same colored tie, the panic starts rising. Mark exhales deeply and tries to push it down. He needs not to think. Not to think.
There’s an escaped thought on the surface that gives him a shallow shudder. A thought of sitting next to Wardo. To Wardo.
Who hates you, Mark reminds himself coldly and tightens his tie with a steady fingers.
Mark hears Eduardo’s laugh long before he sees him. He stops dead and allows himself to soak in sensation of being next to him before Eduardo sees him.
Mark’s hands itch and demand tactile sensations. In answer Mark digs his nails into flesh of his palms as he shakes off his numbness.
Mark corners the table on the wadded legs and appears next to Eduardo.
Eduardo’s laugh dies abruptly when Mark’s gaze finds his, Mark’s face blank and guarded.
Mark never understood why Wardo was always so keen on talking about his feelings as his eyes always delivered his emotions non-verbally but very efficiently.
Right in this moment, Eduardo’s gaze is clouded with naked hatred. Mark scringes and wonders how it feels – to have such hatred towards someone?
Mark takes his own place at the table and gives a brief examination to his surroundings, while Eduardo’s hard stare burns on his skin.
Mark is almost satisfied. He’s got Wardo’s attention. Full attention. The cause of this attention is not relevant.
Mark turns his head and meets Eduardo’s intense gaze openly. They don’t tear their eye off each other and Mark is dizzy with it, holding the gaze and soaking in every emotion Eduardo feeds him. He gives Eduardo a light nod when the urge to have more is impatiently rising from the inside.
It appears to be a mistake.
Eduardo blinks in confusion for a few seconds and then, averts his eyes. Mark catches a glint of disappointment in his eyes before Eduardo slips on nonchalant mask.
Eduardo is not looking at him at all. Mark swallows thickly. He needs to get his attention back.
A young woman sitting next to Eduardo starts talking to him and Eduardo nods gratefully, attentively listening while his long fingers worry the tablecloth.
Mark looks at them, glooming, and fixes Eduardo’s neighbor with a scrutinizing stare. She’s brunette, about 25 years old. Beautiful.
Mark’s gaze turns malignant.
“Mark Zuckerberg,C Mark begrudgingly shifts his gaze off Wardo and turns his neck to look at the guy sitting next to him who looks like he can be their age. “I’m a big fan of yours. It’s so unexpected to find you here.”
“Indeed,” Eduardo inputs. “What has brought you here?”
Mark all but forgets about the guy as his gaze jerks and focuses intently on Wardo. Mark almost smiles, barely containing himself from a happy grin under Wardo’s judging gaze. Wardo’s attention is back on him.
“I have my personal reasons.”
Mark has only one reason and currently this reason gives him a look as if Mark’s killed a few people on his way here.
Eduardo snorts and returns to talking with the woman and Mark doesn’t even try to pretend he’s not staring at Eduardo. He paid two million dollars not for keeping good manners.
When the talk shifts to another side of the table, Eduardo leans down towards Mark and hisses.
“Who let you in?” Eduardo is looking at him with alarm in his big eyes and Mark is confused who does he worry for.
“Two million dollars can do wonders,” Mark keeps his voice intentionally neutral. He didn’t come here to pick a fight.
Eduardo inhales through the nose audibly and opens his mouth to answer when his name is being called out from the stage.
Eduardo stands up raising his head and smiles perplexedly for а few seconds, before his face expression switches into impenetrable and he buttons his jacket with firm fingers. Mark watches hungrily his every movement, eyes following Eduardo walking up the stairs to get his award.
Eduardo receives an award and says thank-you speech in answer, and Mark idly wonders if Eduardo finishes his speech with “and special fuck you goes to Mark Zuckerberg.”
Applause and cheers wash over Eduardo while he returns to the table, and Mark can’t help but being excited, smiling with his dimples shown because this stupid award means a lot for Wardo.
He tries to pick the right words in his head in order to make Eduardo stop looking at him with such a blindingly hateful gaze.
Eduardo leans and abruptly grabs Mark’s wrist on the table.
Mark’s body turns hot and he desperately wants to loosen his tie but he’s afraid that any slightest movement will force Eduardo to let him go.
“You are not welcomed here, Mark. By anyone.” Wardo says the words quietly, emphasizing the last ones, only for Mark to hear, with a cold unnatural smile playing on his lips.
Mark’s whole body jerks away as if he was hit but he forces himself to sit still, eyes on Eduardo.
Mark obediently gives a nod in answer. He doesn’t need to be told twice. He bites his lips, feeling as if the suit he wears makes him awkward and uncomfortable all over, his whole body stiffening, while his wrist tenses in Eduardo’s hand.
There’s a deep ache in Mark’s chest and he wants to rub a hand against it to make it go away, but he keeps looking at Eduardo with intense gaze, not willing to turn away.
Eduardo lets him go, gaze impassive, and turns his whole body to another side, letting Mark know that their talk is over.
The temperature in the room rises up, and it gets insufferable with every minute. Mark shifts in his seat and waits for people to start panting for air. They don’t.
Mark’s gaze travels across the place but everyone keeps talking and laughing. As if nothing is happening to them.
Mark shifts his confused and worried gaze at Eduardo but he is too busy listening to the woman next to him. She tells another stupid joke and Eduardo throws his head back to laugh.
The place lacks of oxygen. Mark opens his mouth in attempt to suck in some air, but his attempts are futile.
He hurriedly pushes back his chair with a loud scraping noise, jerkin up to his feet, his head is foggy. Under people’ surprised stares Mark stumbles towards the exit, ripping the tie off his neck.
Mark stands outside the building, leaning against a marble column, hiding in a corner where he won’t be bothered.
His eyes are closed as he’s panting desperately for air. He feels as if he’s under water and oxygen in his mask is ending.
This is Eduardo. So close. Within hand reachable distance.
And Mark needs air to breathe.
He snaps his eyes open and grabs Eduardo by the shoulders, dragging him in. Eduardo’s body is a center of gravity under Marks’s hands and Mark gets himself grounded against Eduardo until there’s no space between them.
Mark kisses Eduardo until their lips are swollen, bitten red. Mark finally can breathe. And he gets to have this.
Eduardo pushes Mark away, and jerks back from him, swaying like he’s drugged or drunk. Mark can’t lose the ground he found, blindly following Wardo’s body, the gravity he can’t control.
Eduardo dives back in, shoving Mark’s body against the cold marble wall with his own and pushing his tongue into Mark’s mouth roughly, teeth scraping over Mark’s lower lip.
Mark moans and blindly tries to get attached to every part of Wardo. He thinks he can die right in this moment.
Abruptly, Eduardo lets him go, stepping back, and Mark almost falls. Losing the ground. Mark moves forward, but Eduardo’s hand gets centered on his chest to keep him in place.
Mark breathes hard and stares at Eduardo. He waits with eyes wide and not hiding a thing. Next move should come from Wardo.
Eduardo shakes his head lightly, gives Mark a disappointed look, and turns around. He leaves.
Mark looks at his retreating back, puzzled, and he thinks that his life will be much easier if one Eduardo Saverin was never born.
Next day Dustin throws Mark out of the office yelling that Mark is unbearable and his employees should not suffer from his nasty mood swings.
Mark provides Dustin with all range of insults he knows and fights the urge to punch his face.
Mark spends a few days working from home with the wide open windows and freshly bought fans. There’s no use for conditioners. They don’t seem to provide cool air anymore.
Mark often stands in front of the fan and tries to swallow the air.
It’s the first time that Mark hates California. Climate is way too humid.
One time Mark gets a message from Wardo through Facebook, and Mark’s breath gets caught in his throat painfully before he reads the text.
“I don’t why the hell I’m writing to you, Mark. You don’t even have any intention to apologize.”
Mark doesn’t understand what Wardo wants, but he understands his own needs.
“I can’t breathe without you, Wardo.”
Mark refreshes the page every few seconds despite auto refresh he set himself.
His gaze is fixed on top of the page, but expected number 1 doesn’t appear.
Half an hour later he clicks on appeared number, his head turning into a mess of frustrated feelings, but it’s a message from his sister.
Mark snaps the laptop closed, chest clenching, and he drags his feet to open the door.
He leans against the doorway and swallows the air with his mouth wide open.
Mark returns to the office. Everyone treats him like he’s sick. Almost tiptoeing around him.
Mark is not sick.
He thinks he’s losing his mind but he’s not sick.
With each passing the evaporation rate increases.
Mark analyzes every meteorological website, but no source points to an anomaly.
Mark’s hands instinctively reach to dial Wardo’s number, remembering his passion for meteorology, but he jerks his hand away. Mark highly doubts that he’ll get an answer to his question.
Seems like he’s the only one dying without air.
At nights Mark gasps in his sleep more frequently and wakes up scared that one day he won’t get enough air in his lungs.
He stops sleeping at all. It is better. Safer.
He prefers to occupy himself with coding or swimming in the pool.
Mark doesn’t see any advantage of going into the office. He works better and more productively at home. He doesn’t waste time in maintaining useless social interactions.
Sometimes Mark looks at the mirror and sees broken capillaries in his eyes, redness that doesn’t match with unhealthy paleness of his skin.
One day, Mark tears his eyes away from his laptop because Wardo tugs at the sleeve of his gray hoodie, and Mark turns his head to focus his tired but happy gaze on him; listening while Wardo chatters something about his econ exam.
Mark’s fingers reach to rub his own numb neck and after, when he opens his eyes wider he finds himself not in Kirkland, but in feverish California.
But Wardo was here.
Sometimes, Mark walks down the hall towards the kitchen and Wardo walks next to him, their shoulders brushing, Wardo’s cool hand on Mark’s nape.
“I need to go to the library, Mark.”
They walk down the campus roads covered with fallen yellow leaves. The leaves rustle under their feet.
“No, you don’t,” Mark says desperately and helplessly, still hoping for something.
He leans his forehead against Wardo’s shoulder and Wardo turns silent for some reason.
When Mark opens his eyes, he stands in the kitchen, leaning against the wall.
Mark’s cell phone rings and he searches for it turning over the couch cushions. The caller is patient and irritating in not ending the call.
“Mark,” Wardo says. He sounds exhausted. He studies too much.
“Yes,” Mark answers, out of breath.
“Dustin and Chris tell me that something is wrong with you,” Mark doesn’t understand what happened with Wardo’s usual illogical optimism.
“I’m working on creating the website, Wardo, which is you are perfectly aware of,” Mark tries not to get irritation seep into his voice. “I don’t have time to work on keeping an adequate image for public.”
“Which website, Mark?” He sounds alarmed.
“The Facebook.” Mark barely strains himself from snapping. Since when Wardo forgets about the thing that is so important for them?
Wardo ends the phone call and Mark sighs heavily.
Next time Wardo comes into the dorm, Mark should give him more attention. It always solves the problems between them.
Mark lies on the floor and looks up at the ceiling. Everything is spinning, his head, this room. Everything is spinning with a wild speed and Mark lies with open mouth trying to swallow in some air.
Wardo’s hand is cool. On Mark’s heated forehead it feels like a salvation.
“Wardo,” Mark croaks, “Wardo, don’t go away anymore.”
Mark opens his eyes and he lies in his own bed. The smell of crispy bed sheets surrounds him. And air. Air is all around him.
Wardo comes with a bowl of soup and quiet whispers, “Mark, Mark, please you have to eat.”
Mark completely recovers a few weeks after, but he waits. Waits with desperation of condemned to be told that judgment must be executed now, and he doesn’t have to wait anymore.
They sit on the couch in the living room.
Wardo is on the phone, discussing some business, and he frowns when he listens to the answer. Mark sits close, sharing one space and not letting his gaze fall from Wardo because he has nothing to lose.
Mark reaches, gets a deathly grip on the phone and throws it aside. He kisses Wardo with greed of a man who has everything being taken away from. Wardo has wet mouth and dry hot lips, and Mark should leave a sign on him, should leave a trail. Every place he is allowed to.
Wardo’s hands strip off Mark’s t-shirt and Mark needs more, way more.
Mark presses Wardo down, getting him underneath and when Wardo moans, Mark’s fingers digs into his shoulders until they leave red prints.
Mark wakes up in the middle of the night because the stream of oxygen decreases, and he starts chocking.
He opens his eyes and sees Wardo slipping on his black jacket, his back is turned to Mark.
In another life Mark will be watching silently Wardo walking out of his life. But not now.
“Wardo, don’t!” Mark’s throat is scratchy, but the plea in his croaking voice is clear.
Eduardo turns and gives him a long intense look. Mark doesn’t know what Wardo wants to find at the lines of his face, but he doesn’t tear his eyes away. Wardo shakes his head and averts his gaze.
“I just got better, Mark. I can’t start this again–Sometimes– sometimes I feel like there is no me and only you exist. Like you’re suffocating me, Mark.”
Mark has to let him go. Mark’s fingers start trembling. But he has to let him go.
Wardo turns to leave and when his hand land on the doorknob, providing himself an exit, Mark’s voice breaks through silence.
“You always take all the oxygen away, Wardo. “
Eduardo’s back tenses. He slowly turns around and Mark’s body starts to vibrate with not knowing.
Wardo gives him a soft and wistful gaze when he draws Mark in.