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the fuse is burning

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Eduardo’s standing on the empties-littered front porch of this unfamiliar house, drenched and fuming, just about ready to turn around and get back in the overpriced cab he should never have had to take here in the first place, when the front door bangs open and Sean fucking Parker is standing there, voice tense as he tells the cordless phone he's holding, "I’m gonna call you back."

What the fuck? Eduardo thinks: first, because what the fuck is he doing here - then, second, because this isn’t quite the Sean he remembers. This Sean’s not talking a mile a minute, not confident and collected and cool as a cucumber: instead he looks stressed out, strained around the eyes, face drawn and - not scared, that can’t be right. Nervous maybe?

"Fucking finally," he says, which also can’t be right, and turns right back around into the house again, leaving the door open. "About time you got here. I can’t do shit with him," and Eduardo follows him dumbly inside, digging discreetly at his ears, because they must still be clogged from the flight over. He’s obviously mishearing.

"Mark was supposed to pick me up at the airport an hour ago," he tells Sean’s back, since he’s still feeling pretty abandoned and pissed-off and wet. "I’ve been calling -"

"Yeah, no, he - hasn’t been answering his phone." Sean doesn’t even turn around, just keeps up that hurried, worried stride. "You’ll get why not."

Eduardo, now completely confused, steps into the living room - and stares around in disbelief. He’s plenty familiar with the chaos a handful of college guys can wreak on their living space, but this is...above and beyond. There are more bottles here, broken, picture frames askew or knocked off the wall entirely, game and video discs in bright shards on the carpet, blinds torn down, stuffing spilling out of a long tear in the couch, a hole kicked in the drywall, and is that dried blood on the coffee table?

"What happened here?" he says.

"Mark," Sean answers tersely, just as Dustin bursts into the room, clutching a laptop defensively to his chest, and says, "Wardo!"

"Hey man," Eduardo says, the end of it lilting up like a question. "Is everything -?"

"You’re supposed to be keeping an eye on him," Sean’s barking at Dustin, who holds up his hands and says, "Dude, he’s acting really weird though."

"I fucking know he’s acting fucking weird," Sean snaps. "Last time I tried to go in there, he threw the fucking Xbox at my head."

Eduardo restrains a snigger.

"Not that kind of weird," Dustin says, glancing nervously back over his shoulder. "Weird like - okay, so I open the door to check on him, right, and he’s right there on the other side, like pressing his hands right up against the door, and when he sees me he grabs my arm" - miming a hand shooting out with frightening rapidity - "and like yanks me all up in his business for a second, just like, breathing on me? And then all of a sudden he just freezes up, right, and just stares at me" - doing an uncannily accurate impression of a dead-eyed glare - "and then he pushes me away, like, so hard I practically go sprawling, and then he slams the door. And me and Eric just heard him breaking more shit in there."

Sean rounds on Eduardo and hisses, "You know, if he doesn’t get his shit together - I already had to postpone the Thiel meeting once, and the way the user numbers are climbing we don’t have time to dick around, I don’t know what he thinks he’s - "

"What is going on?" Eduardo interrupts, raising his voice to cut through Sean’s panicky tirade. "Are - you’re talking about Mark? What’s the matter with him, is he sick or -"

Dustin glances back over his shoulder again, and jumps.

"I guess you’ll see soon enough," he tells Eduardo, gripping his laptop a little tighter and sort of flattening himself against the wall. Beside them, Sean is backing slowly away, towards the kitchen.

Eduardo hears a step he recognizes, the familiar shuffle of flip-flops, and a moment later Mark rounds the corner.

Someone who didn’t know him that well might not notice anything off, certainly not at first glance. The rumpled, unwashed, wired-and-tired look is just business as usual, but his face...He doesn’t look sick, exactly, but he does look - just weird somehow, Dustin was right about that, weirder than normal Mark even, which is really saying something. He’s sucking slowly on a licorice whip, lips reddened and cheeks hollowing; his eyes are all dark and heavy-lidded, and they zero right in on Eduardo.

A slow smirk breaks over his face and he stalks forward, ignoring Sean and Dustin so entirely that they might as well not even be there in the room, and gives Eduardo a half-slap, half-grab that catches him partly on the elbow and partly on the side of his ass.

"Wardo," he says, in a strange low purr that would almost sound like a come-on - how *you* doing? - except for the fact that Eduardo’s seen Mark with girls and therefore knows that Mark isn’t any good at hitting on people and (probably precisely because he isn’t any good at it) considers that sort of thing beneath his dignity anyway.

Under ordinary circumstances, that is, though it’s fast becoming apparent to Eduardo that these circumstances are anything but ordinary.

"I waited an hour for you at the airport," he says, because he’s still annoyed - whatever else is going on here, Mark’s obviously not too ill to leave the house, or anything - and soaked and exhausted and now also confused and worried on top of all that. But Mark just tilts his head a little back and to the side, meeting Eduardo’s gaze dead-on, and his eyes burn like a brand into Eduardo’s skin as he replies, "I’ve been waiting longer than that for you."

And, okay. Yes, Mark has in fact been trying to get Eduardo to come out to Palo Alto for months now. And admittedly Eduardo is jetlagged as hell so maybe he’s just not thinking clearly here. But that also sounds a lot like a -

He glances at Dustin, whose eyebrows are raised about as high as they’ll go, and at Sean, who’s doing his best to sneak surreptitiously out of the room, and then back at Mark. Mark eyes him and works his mouth around the candy in a way that’s more than a little obscene, and Eduardo suddenly feels like they could use a little privacy.

"Want to talk to me alone for a minute?" he says, and Mark says readily, "Sure," and herds Eduardo firmly, not quite hurriedly, through one of the doors with a gesture that Eduardo’s used on him a million times but can’t remember ever before being reciprocated: namely, a hand low on his back.

Very low on his back.

Like, about to dip into the back pocket of his jeans, low on his back.

Eduardo hastens his step, they emerge into a narrow little hallway lit only by a dim yellowy bulb, the door swings closed behind them, and Mark backs him up against one wall.

"How’s it going?" he says distractedly, eyes flicking to Eduardo’s face, away and then back again. "How’s the internship, how’s..." he snaps off the end of the licorice with a vicious bite and it’s like Eduardo can feel it, almost, those sharp little teeth sinking into his own neck instead. "Christy?"

"I quit the internship, ages ago, I told you. And Christy is...crazy," Eduardo tells him, and Mark smirks again, a predatory curl of the lip, and says, "Is that fun?"

"No, I mean she’s actually psychotic," Eduardo says, not mentioning the fact that Mark’s coming off a bit psychotic himself right at the moment. "I had to cancel on this date we had planned so I could fly out here, and she totally flipped her shit. Since I left she’s texted me" - pulls out his phone to check - "28 times. So far." He sighs and rubs a hand over his face. "I think I’m going to break up with her when I get back."

Mark’s smirk widens at that, wolfish. Eduardo braces his own hands on the wall at his back and says cautiously, "But anyway, that’s not the - Mark. What is going on?"

"You gotta move out here, Wardo," Mark says, slowly, licking his lips, and when he blinks the soft fringes of his eyelashes shiver like aspen leaves.

"Mark, did you hear me?"

"The...connections," Mark says, tongue flickering out again. He plants one hand against the wall next to Eduardo’s shoulder, and for someone like Mark - touch-averse and unpresent in his body - the gesture's so loaded, so heavy with deliberate intent, that the air practically sparks with it. "The energy..."

Eduardo looks at him, at Mark’s flushed cheeks and blown pupils, and. He'd meant to ask what the fuck Sean’s doing here - but his initial wave of sick jealousy ebbed significantly when he'd seen exactly how close Sean looked to dropping Mark and Facebook and the whole business like a hot potato, out there just now. And besides apparently Mark’s been chucking game consoles at the dude’s head, so Eduardo kind of figures that there’s not enough of an immediate threat there for him to even bother getting into it right now - although he does have to check: "Are you - drunk or, or on something, I don’t know, did Sean - ?"

Mark peers up at him, frowning, and that look at least is familiar, one that Eduardo sees on Mark’s face all the damn time: the one that says that Mark simply cannot understand why his valuable time is being wasted with irrelevancies.

"The house looked," Eduardo says, gesturing helplessly, "and they," faltering off into nothing when Mark plants his other hand on Eduardo’s other side and takes the last step that’s left between them to take. "Sean said you freaked out on him. Dustin said you freaked him out - what’s -?"

"They didn’t smell right," Mark says, shaking his head, brows knitting into a dark frown. "They came near me, but they smelled all wrong and I -"

Eduardo manages a laugh. "Pretty ripe of you to say that, pun very much intended." Although up close like this Mark doesn’t smell unshowered-bad, exactly, so much as - he doesn’t know what. It’s this musky, pungent scent, heady almost, like an animal in -

"You’re an improvement though," Mark says, and then he’s shifting his weight forward and nosing Eduardo’s neck, lips practically brushing Eduardo’s collarbone. "Fuck, you smell good."

"Thanks, it’s Obsession," Eduardo responds absently, staring down at his tangled curls. "Mark -"

"Wardo," Mark says, back straightening. He tilts his chin up and looks Eduardo in the eye for once, gaze black and crackling in the jaundiced light of the hallway, and for the first time Eduardo hears it, way back behind Mark’s curt monotone: the keen edge of something desperate, excited, yearning. "I need you out here. I need, I -"

Eduardo hears it; and because he hears it, his voice softens a little, automatically. "I’m out here now, Mark." I’m here for you, he remembers saying, and not so much has changed between then and now, after all. "What d’you need?"

"I want," Mark breathes, "I want -" and then he rocks up onto the balls of his feet, hands twitching fretfully where they’re caging Eduardo against the wall, and kisses him on the mouth.

Eduardo’s hands shoot up in sheer shocked instinct to cup Mark’s face. If given the choice, he likes to kiss softly, slowly, warm and languid as the south - but this is not slow, not soft. This is hard and deep and wet with tongue and utterly impossible to mistake for anything other than what it is, this is Mark making a hoarse sound low in his throat and rolling his hips, his chest, his whole body up against Eduardo’s. And with a kiss like that it probably shouldn’t surprise him to feel it, feel the hard brush of Mark against his inner thigh: but it does, it does, God, it jars him down to the bone.

"Mark," he says, muffled against Mark’s lips at first, then a little louder, clearer, over the slick sex sound of their open mouths parting. "Mark!"

Mark’s hands are fisted in the soggy fleece of Eduardo’s jacket collar and he’s still pressed stubbornly up against him, face mulish, clearly beyond peeved about having to stop for even a second. Eduardo’s body sympathizes, God, does it ever sympathize, but his higher brain takes over long enough to make his mouth say, breathless with concern and kissing: "What - Mark. What are you doing?"

"I need you, Wardo, I -" and Mark sags into him just a little, and even in Eduardo’s worried, weirded-out state it makes his stupid heart grow three sizes. "You told me. You said if there was something wrong, if there was ever anything wrong, then I could tell you, that I should -"

"Yeah," Eduardo says, because he hadn’t even thought Mark was listening to him when he said that, but he meant it and he still means it now. "So talk to me, okay. What’s wrong?"

Mark huffs out a noise of pure frustration, squeezing his eyes tight shut. He’s not going to explain of his own volition, Eduardo realizes, not the kissing, not any of it, can’t do it or won’t, and he’s just trying to figure out the most delicate possible phrasing of Are you by any chance finally cracking under the enormous pressure of masterminding something that’s blowing up as fast as Facebook is right now? when Mark grits out, "This," and he grinds his hard-on up into the one that’s rapidly appearing in Eduardo’s own jeans, bites down sharply on Eduardo’s bottom lip, and his hands clamp down like iron on Eduardo’s shoulders and his spine shudders through an S-shaped wave, and then it’s over and he’s slumped and shaking against the wall and Eduardo’s side while Eduardo gapes like a fish and tries to figure out what the fuck just happened.

Or, well. Technically that’s inaccurate. He knows what the fuck just happened; what he doesn’t know is why.

Finally, into the stunned silence, he says very, very carefully: "Did you just -"

"That’s what’s fucking wrong, okay," Mark snaps, and Eduardo can feel the warmth of his blazing cheeks, his breath close and humid against Eduardo’s throat, the sticky heat of him down there. "I can’t sleep it’s so bad, Wardo, I - I can’t be around anyone, it makes me want to fucking break shit -"

Anyone but me, apparently, Eduardo thinks, and then has to guiltily tamp down the little frisson of delight that prickles up the back of his neck at that thought, because - bizarro hair-trigger aside, even - something is very obviously the matter with Mark.

"I hear you already did some shit-breaking," he says instead, gently, trying for wry humor.

"I can’t get any work done on Facebook," Mark blurts, and now his voice spikes in genuine anguish, like that’s the worst part of all this. Hell, to him it probably is. "I’ve been trying to keep working on my own but I can’t concentrate, I can’t code - and I can’t make it stop, I’ve tried to jerk off a million times but it didn’t work, I couldn’t -"

He groans weakly and pushes his hips against Eduardo’s, and at first Eduardo thinks it’s just an aftershock, until it registers.

Mark is hard. Rock-hard. Mark just fucking came, and he’s still hard.

"Wardo," Mark mutters, and he reaches out blindly for Eduardo’s hand, pulls at it, tugging it downward. "I can’t fucking think, Wardo, come on, please," and that right there pretty much undoes Eduardo, so he lets Mark do it, watches in a haze of hot bewilderment as Mark curves his palm around the backs of Eduardo’s knuckles, skin pale against Eduardo’s tan, and gets both their hands together between his legs, gropes at his own dick, drooping forward in helpless pleasure and sucking what’s definitely the beginnings of a hickey into Eduardo’s neck while he jerks their combined grip up and down his stiff length through his sweatpants - once, ahh, shit - twice, ohh - and he’s coming, again, for the second time in as many minutes, which, yeah, Mark may still technically be a teenager, but Eduardo’s never heard of that short a reload time ever.

"Did you take something or what?" he asks, wondering if he should risk Mark’s Xbox-flinging wrath to try and drag him down to the nearest ER, see if they can get him a - stomach pumping? sedative? exorcism? But Mark shakes his head, sweaty and trembling, and Jesus, Eduardo can still feel him, throbbing there under Eduardo’s slackened fingers, bigger and hotter and harder than ever, and oh man, there is something the matter with Mark, all right. Is this shit even medically possible? He casts back fruitlessly to the one human bio class he took back in freshman year and promptly forgot most of, like, ten minutes after finishing the final.

Finally he wrenches his brain back online long enough to take his hand off Mark’s - Mark’s dick, Jesus, and Mark gives this whine of mingled discomfort and loss, curls into him and mouths sort of piteously at Eduardo’s jawline, lips brushing the sore spot he raised there, and okay, okay, before anything else, it is so far past time to get them out of the fucking public hallway that it’s not even funny.

"Where’s your room?" he says, which is apparently the wrong thing to say or, depending on where you’re standing, the right one, because Mark’s hips do a staccato jolt up into Eduardo’s own, and when he hits Eduardo’s erection - raging full-on by now, trapped uncomfortably inside his boxer-briefs - the grin that curls around the corners of his mouth is so intolerably cat-got-the-cream smug that Eduardo would want to smack it off him if he weren’t too busy being inappropriately aroused by the fact that it’s Mark’s face and it’s a smile and Eduardo put it there.

"This way," he says, and it sounds relieved and impatient all at once, like he can’t believe it took Eduardo this long to finally get with the program. "C’mon," and Eduardo follows him through another door, up a short flight of carpeted steps, through a suspiciously dented-in door and into something along the lines of a bedroom. There’s no bed proper, just a big futon, and half the room’s filled with computers (mercifully intact; the Eduardo Saverin Foundation is only going to cover so much in the way of replacements for shit that Mark’s apparently been Hulking out on).

One of those bendy-necked desk lamps is clamped onto the computer chair, and the soft white cone of light it’s shedding over the littered floor is enough for Eduardo to be able to see the matted-looking sheets, the food and drink trash scattered everywhere. Actually it wouldn’t be that much different from any other place he’s ever seen Mark use as a crashpad - a little messier, maybe - except for how the whole room smells like some kind of sex dungeon, the scent of blood and sweat and come heavy and sharp in the air.

He skirts a bunch of lethal-looking glass splinters embedded in the carpet (Mark does not warn him to watch his step) and eyes the futon in some trepidation, because that’s definitely where Mark is trying to steer him, Mark’s insistent touch on his wrist more forceful, in its quiet, inexorable way, than an outright shove in the back.

"C’mon," Mark repeats, and Eduardo sits gingerly down on the edge of the pillow. The sex reek is even stronger there, disgusting and exciting in equal measure, and it doesn’t exactly help when Mark sprawls out beside him, hard cock tenting his sweats so obviously that Eduardo has to look away.

"You have to have taken something," he says, partly because he’s legitimately freaked out - who wouldn’t be, Jesus - and partly in a desperate attempt to buy some time, to figure out what to do. To be honest he’s never had much precedent for anything Mark does, any relevant past experience that could have prepared him to deal with Mark and his peculiar brand of jagged-edged intensity, but this - "This isn’t normal."

"Didn’t," Mark mumbles, "I swear," legs falling open a little. "I dunno, maybe...we went to some club the other night - you have to see this place sometime, Wardo, the architecture was sick - and maybe, maybe something in the drinks...or some kind of allergic reaction, maybe, one of these crazy fucking California plants...see, this is why I avoid going outdoors," and he’s rolling over to press his face into Eduardo’s thigh, the muscle there jumping reflexively.

"That doesn’t even make sense," Eduardo says faintly, trying to hold still as Mark nuzzles dangerously close to his crotch. "Mark, I really think we should get you to a - hospital or something -" He has a brief, horrifying mental picture of Mark acting this way in a public ER. "You need - "

"I need this," Mark says, and shifts over a crucial four inches, exhaling warm and shaky over the bulge in Eduardo’s jeans, fucking sniffing him on the inhale and Eduardo remembers, they didn’t smell right, remembers, fuck, you smell good.

He closes his fingers in Mark’s hair, intending to pull him away (no matter how much his hard dick’s protesting the thought with Mark’s mouth right there, so close to it) - but that kind of defeats the purpose because Mark tugs against it, shivers and whimpers at the way it yanks his curls taut, rubs himself down against the futon (sweatpants slipping precariously low on his hips and Eduardo looks away, looks back) and then he’s - definitely coming. Again. God damn it.

"Come on, come here, fucking let me already," he breathes unhappily, mouthing along the solid ridge of Eduardo’s cock through his pants, and Eduardo closes his eyes, because fuck, he’s only human. "I need you to - I need your help, Wardo, I. You promised."

It’s true, sort of: he did promise (I’m the guy that wants to help), but never in his wildest dreams did he actually think that that having Mark’s back would ever entail - this. He’d be lying if he said he’d never thought about it, just a stray idle thought here or there - it’d be hard not to, as much time as he’s spent orbiting Mark like a satellite, drawn in and trapped by the gravitational field of his singular personality. And it’s not that he doesn’t want it, at least physically - the effect Mark’s head in his lap is having on him is sufficient proof of that - but:

"I still technically have a girlfriend," he reminds Mark, who just looks up at him and rolls his eyes, and that too is familiar: the Your ethical dilemma is boring me expression that Mark gave him when Eduardo asked him, all those months ago, You think this is such a good idea?

"You’re gonna dump her anyway," he says flatly, and punctuates it by leaning up for another kiss, single-minded and thorough. It holds and lingers and grows and Eduardo can’t help it, lets himself sink into it - at least, until he feels Mark dragging an unsubtle thumb up the inside of his thigh.

"Don’t you think you’re kind of. Compromised right now?" he gets out, shifting uncomfortably on the futon, and Mark pulls away long enough to slant a real glare at him, eyes dark slits, sharp enough to slice you to pieces. Mark has always taken exceptionally poorly to people daring to question his mental control in any way, shape or form.

"You’ve already made me come three times, don’t you think it’s a little late for moral quandaries?" he says, and his tone’s cold but his mouth is warm when it meets the open corner of Eduardo’s own, the pad of his thumb a hot pressure against Eduardo’s inseam, the denim still damp with rainwater (and if Mark keeps that shit up much longer, it’s gonna be damp with other stuff too).

"I didn’t make you do shit," Eduardo protests, stung and on edge from the effort of trying not to just jerk helplessly into Mark’s touch. "You came on me!"

"W-e-e-ell, not technically," Mark says, "but if you’re offering," and he reaches his other hand up to cup Eduardo’s chin, rubbing over the stubble there, smirk fading slowly into a look of glassy-eyed fixation that tells Eduardo plain as day that Mark is imagining it, right now, coming on his face.

"You don’t think three’ll do it for tonight?" he says, but without much hope: he can already see Mark’s dick jerking back to life under the wet patch in his sweatpants, and if it hasn’t quit by now, like a normal reasonable non-sex-magicked human penis ought to, then Eduardo sees no logical reason why it should choose to do so now.

Mark snorts. "God no," he says. "That didn’t even take the edge off," and he climbs into Eduardo’s lap and presses him back into the pillows, rolls his hips down and hisses out a pleased yesss when Eduardo’s own stutter up to meet him.

The thing is. Eduardo’s never been any good at saying no to Mark, not ever - it’s why he flew out, why his money’s paying for this house, hell, it’s why Facebook ever got off the ground in the first place - and the real bitch of it is that right now, no matter how much he knows he shouldn’t, he wants this too: wants it, if he’s being honest, nearly as bad as Mark does.

"Fuck, okay, just - one second," he says, and wrests his phone out of his pocket.

"The hell?" says Mark, frowning.

Eduardo bangs out a hasty Im breaking up w/ u. sry, sends the message and then, after a second’s consideration, another one: & sry to do it over txt, dick move i kno, u prob deserve a better bf neway im rly sry. He hits send again and then lets the phone drop, forgotten, as Mark sneaks a hand in between them and squeezes.

"Fuck, one second! Let me at least get these - open," he says, fumbling for his own belt, but Mark slaps his hands away (like actually slaps, hard enough to smart) and does it himself, groaning in undisguised relief when he gets Eduardo’s cock out through the slit of his underwear, like even undressing him and seeing him and touching him is enough to ease the agony a little.

"Shit," he breathes, pressing a hand to his own crotch. "Ah - fuck, fuck."

Eduardo raises an eyebrow at him. "You okay there?"

"What a stupid question," Mark says dismissively. "Clearly not," and then he bends his head. Eduardo swears, bracing himself, but he needn’t have worried because the minute Mark’s lips touch the head of his cock Mark is curling in on himself and, yep, coming.

"Christ almighty," Eduardo says, almost too amazed to be frustrated.

"Yeah," Mark gasps. "Sorry. Hang on, I just need one second -"

"Wait," Eduardo says, getting himself (and his junk) back under control long enough to stand up on unsteady legs. Mark’s eyes fly open and he makes a wounded, despairing noise, and Eduardo says hastily, "No! I mean I’m just gonna go get a - washcloth or something, I’ll be right back, I promise."

Fortunately the bathroom turns out to be just down the hall, and Eduardo grabs the cleanest towel he can find, rinses it with hot water and wrings it out, all the while dodging his reflection’s eyes in the mirror over the sink.

"Okay," he says, slipping back into Mark’s room (making sure to close the door tight behind him). "Okay, let’s get you -" and he turns to see Mark on the futon, on his back, sweatpants pulled down around his thighs, cock an angry red, face twisted like he’s in pain and jerking himself with both hands like his life depended on it.

"Off?" Mark finishes for him, smirking but with barely enough breath to get it out, and Eduardo crosses the room in three quick strides and drops to his knees beside the futon.

"What can I -" he starts, unsure, because Mark kind of looks like he’s got it covered, so to speak. But Mark just grunts, "Kiss me," and Eduardo’s barely slipped his tongue into Mark’s mouth when, sure enough, Mark arches up and comes all over his stomach.

Eduardo gropes for the forgotten towel, still watching Mark’s face as he comes down, the way the muscles unclench themselves, relaxing as Mark’s eyes finally flutter open, glazed and dark.

"Let me -" he says, crawling onto the bed properly so he can strip away the now totally hopeless sweatpants entirely and start cleaning Mark off. When the terrycloth rubs over his cock Mark hisses and twists away, like it’s too much, but then his face contorts in surprise and he twists right back into it with an entirely different sort of hiss.

"Again?" Eduardo says, and it must sound as exasperated as he feels because Mark sort of grins, a half twist on just one side of his mouth, and tugs him down.

"C’mere," he says, fingers busy getting Eduardo’s underwear off too. "Let me finish what I -"

Mark, it transpires, sucks cock about as spectacularly as that oral fixation might’ve led Eduardo to expect (might’ve, that is, if he didn’t spend so much time determinedly not speculating about any such thing). He has to pause twice in the middle of it to come - what even is that, now? five? six? - but Eduardo’s not exactly going to complain, especially not when the second one catches Mark off-guard, wracks his body while he’s still got Eduardo’s cock half in his hand and half in his mouth, and Eduardo gets to experience the low vibration of Mark’s surprised moan and the spastic clenching of his muscles, like, pretty much first-hand.

"Mark," he gasps, at length, and presses a palm flat against Mark’s fever-hot forehead. "You have to stop or I’m gonna - gonna be really useless to you really soon, ’cause as far as I know, I don’t have my freakish unlimited orgasm capability feature enabled today. - Shit, oh shit, pull off already."

Mark laughs around him as he complies, which very nearly pushes Eduardo over the edge anyway, and he has to look away hastily when Mark licks his reddened lips.

"Maybe not," he says, moving up to flop against Eduardo’s side, "but I bet I can get more than one out of you," and he swallows the sound from Eduardo’s mouth when their cocks slide wetly together, bare on bare, finally. "And after that, you still have hands. And a mouth, if you’re into that."

"Not helping," Eduardo bites out, and Mark laughs again - which shouldn’t be as hot as it is, it really shouldn’t - and rocks up against him, squirms a hand down to wrap around their cocks, kisses him again and again.

"I knew it," he’s breathing, all triumphant at his own discovery, ridiculous and ridiculously Mark. "I knew this’d work, it’d be better, this way, with - you, oh, God."

Eduardo mouths at the salty hollow of Mark’s throat and abandons himself to it, to Mark’s bony knees and the soft hair on his thighs, to the sweaty curl of Mark’s clever fingers and the rough-smooth rub of every ridge and vein of Mark’s cock against his own, and this time Mark lasts a little longer, long enough that Eduardo’s really fucking worked up by the time he feels Mark’s rhythm falter, groaning himself when Mark spills hot onto his stomach and squirming closer, not caring that he’s making a mess of them both, just desperate to rut harder into the wet-hot space behind Mark’s balls.

Mark sort of wriggles underneath him and lets his legs fall open a little further, lets Eduardo do it for a second before he loses patience and rolls them over. Kneeling over Eduardo’s thighs gives him enough room to reach down and grasp the head of Eduardo’s cock, darkened and swollen with suffusing blood; he fists it and twists his wrist, and Eduardo inhales so fast he gets momentarily lightheaded.

"What do you want?" Mark slurs into his ear, sounding sex-drunk, dazed with it. Eduardo manages a shaky laugh, says, "Isn’t that supposed to be my line?" but Mark just looks down at him with dark, serious eyes and says, "This helps too," and it’s true that the pained look on his face has eased up some, tight lines smoothing out a little.

"You sure?" Eduardo mumbles, shifting his hips up into Mark’s strokes: it’s harder than he ever touches himself, normally, but for right now it’s perfect, the aching pressure helping him to not go off immediately-like-yesterday. He’s only asking for politeness’s sake, good form and all that, but Mark narrows his eyes and says snippily, "Unless you don’t like it - " (and, God, only Mark could sound that abruptly defensive and suspicious with someone whose stomach he just came on) "- but in that case you should probably pass the message on to your dick, ’cause I don’t think it got the memo."

"Don’t be an asshole," Eduardo breathes, kind of grinning despite himself (he blames it on the handjob. Whatever.) Mark pays absolutely zero attention to that, though, because he’s finally managed to discover that weird erogenous zone right beneath Eduardo’s right earlobe and is now proceeding to exploit it for all it’s worth, hard teeth and soft tongue until he’s got Eduardo’s thighs shaking.

"Hey," Eduardo forces out, still trying to hang on, distract himself. "Hey, you haven’t gone off in like five whole minutes now. Are you - feeling any better?" and Mark glances incredulously at him, then looks pointedly down at his dick where it’s bouncing off his stomach, hard as nails once again.

"Seriously?" he says, and Eduardo abandons all pretense and just stares at it too, flushing defiantly when Mark’s eyes flick back up and catch him at it. Having an eyeful of someone else’s hard-on - like, that’s actually right there in front of him, not just attached to some ugly porn dude on a screen - while his own’s getting worked over like this is a brand-new experience, and it’s fucking weird but it’s also really, really doing it for him.

"Quit making those noises," Mark warns, too breathless to sound as cranky as he clearly wants to. "You’re gonna, it’s gonna make me -" and his other hand comes up to squeeze the base of his erection, to hold himself off, but that just provides Eduardo with the visual of Mark with two fistfuls of cock, and that doesn’t help him stop making those noises at all.

Through the blur of his half-closed eyes he can see Mark’s face stilling in concentration, like he’s timing something - and sure enough, when Eduardo hits that familiar point where his hips jolt violently upwards half a dozen times in lightning-fast succession and he has to fling an arm over his face to keep from saying anything inadvisable, Mark loosens his grip on himself and lets go too, a moment later, not perfectly simultaneous or anything but with just enough overlap that Eduardo’s able to get a good look at how the last straw that pushes Mark over is his own come hitting Mark’s belly and dripping down hot over his balls, a really good look at the way it makes Mark groan and bury one long, deep thrust in between the wet clench of Eduardo’s thighs, shoulders shuddering finally to a halt.

They sink slowly back into the now distinctly storm-tossed pillows, Mark struggling to get his breathing back under control, Eduardo wondering distinctly if the rabbit-quick beat in his own chest is more because he just got off or more because he’s freaking out. Fortunately, right now he’s too fucked-out to care.

"How’re you doing?" he manages, eventually, lifting his head and catching Mark’s eyes not quite by accident.

Mark makes a considering sort of face and reaches down to poke gingerly at his (actually halfway soft for once) dick. "Well, it doesn’t actively hurt anymore," he reports, "but it still feels like I’m gonna have to come again, like, really soon," and by now the sensation of his cock re-hardening against Eduardo’s abs isn’t unexpected, but it’s pretty damn strange nonetheless.

Eduardo remembers Mark’s smirky throwaway comment, you have a mouth...if you’re into that, and he wonders what blowing Mark would do to him, how long it would take for him to come again, how many more Eduardo’s mouth could wring out of him. Even just the act of imagining it weirds him out, albeit in a hot, squirmy sort of way that’s not precisely unpleasant. It’s just - getting blown is one thing, obviously he’s got some life-experiences precedent there, but Eduardo has never actively wanted to suck anybody else’s cock before and he doesn’t really know how he feels about it. Or - doesn’t know how to feel about how he feels about it. Whatever.

Mark must mistake his silence for something entirely different from blowjob fantasies, because he rolls off of Eduardo and says, in a voice so especially flat that it’s got to mean he’s also experiencing some flavor of actual emotions: "So I know you got yours, but if you stick around long enough to get it up again, you can fuck me," and Eduardo promptly chokes on empty air.

"You really - don’t have to," he sputters out, eventually.

Mark looks at him like he’s stupid and says, "I told you, Wardo, I’m still gonna need more, here," and Eduardo wants to say You don’t have to bribe me to stay (only he gets the sense that Mark would be really insulted to hear it) and he wants to say Or you could fuck me (only he doesn’t have the balls to get the words out).

"We-e-ell, the whole getting off part hasn’t really proved difficult for you so far," he says instead, letting a little smile creep in around the edges of the words, "so, uh, let’s see what we can do to help with that," and Mark visibly relaxes, rolls back over and hooks a foot over Eduardo’s knee, climbs in between his legs, half on top of him again.

Eduardo thinks, again, you still have hands, and he raises one of his own up to Mark’s face, kind of hesitant and feeling kind of stupid about it (Mark just rubbed off on him, just jerked him off, just sucked him off and Eduardo’s seriously considering returning the favor in a minute - touching his fucking face should not be a big deal, yet it feels weirdly intimate). He taps tentatively at Mark’s bottom lip with two fingertips, and - like he’d secretly hoped it would - that makes Mark’s mouth open right up, just like clockwork, warm and wet and welcoming for Eduardo to slip his fingers in. Mark’s tongue rasps along them, licking and twisting, flicking and sucking, and for an embarrassingly long time Eduardo totally forgets what he was trying to do and just lets Mark hump his leg while basically fellating his fingers, way too caught up in watching Mark’s juicy red mouth suckling round his knuckles, in feeling Mark stiffen slowly against the muscle of his thigh.

Mark’s still obviously hot for it, still wants too badly to be able to hide it the way he normally does, locked behind the blank wall of his face; but at least he seems less frenzied than he was earlier (and thank God for that; granted, Eduardo had always kind of figured that Mark’s ridiculous hyperfocused fervor might carry over into bed, but there’s standard Mark levels of ridiculous hyperfocused fervor and then there’s...whatever that was). Eduardo’s not doing that great of a job keeping track of quantifiable shit like duration right now, but he’s pretty sure Mark’s elapsed times between orgasms are slowly increasing - which has to be a good sign, right?

"Were you planning to actually use those," Mark says, voice garbled as he finally lets Eduardo’s fingers slip from his mouth, "or just trying to get me to stop talking?"

Eduardo takes a deep breath, in through his nose so it won’t be obvious he’s gearing himself up, and goes down.

It’s worth it purely for the look on Mark’s face, and also - whoa, wow, okay, so he definitely doesn’t hate the sensation of Mark swelling to full hardness inside his mouth, the way his body responds instantly and wholly to Eduardo, to what Eduardo’s doing to him. He takes the fingers that Mark got wet for him and reaches in to circle and trace the base of Mark’s cock with them, carding through the soft curls there, his hand meeting his lips on every downstroke, and Mark gives a strangled whimper-moan hybrid and reaches down with a hand of his own to touch, soft and disbelieving, all around Eduardo’s mouth and the hot hard flesh it’s sliding over.

As Eduardo gains confidence he’s able to go deeper and deeper, until he doesn’t even need his hand anymore; but when he goes to pull it away Mark makes a noise of loss - Eduardo’s pretty sure he’s actually shaking his head up there (or else he's tossing it from side to side on the pillow) - so instead he experiments with rolling the pads of his fingers gently over Mark’s balls, and when that makes Mark jerk up into his mouth like mad, Eduardo tries ghosting them down and back a little, just against the smooth, pale skin of the crease at the top of Mark’s inner thigh, and this time Mark bucks up so hard that Eduardo has to fling his other arm across his hips to physically hold them down.

Mark’s the one being loud, now, and Eduardo would flip a teasing Quit making those noises right back at him if his mouth weren’t otherwise occupied. He wonders if the rest of the house can hear them, Dustin and the interns and - fuck, Sean can probably hear them, hear what he’s doing to Mark, and Eduardo flushes hot all over just thinking it. He settles for pinching Mark’s side, low down where it joins his hipbone, but clearly Mark doesn’t give a fuck: if anything, he just gets noisier.

Things are getting kind of sloppy, Eduardo’s mouth watering from all the sucking, his wrist dragging through the precome that’s smearing up and down Mark’s shaft and into the cleft of his thighs, everything so wet it almost reminds him of giving head to girls (aside from, you know, the part where he’s got a throatful of dick). Which is why when Mark slings one leg up over Eduardo’s shoulder, and the shift in position splays his legs wider and tips his hips up into a sharper angle, Eduardo’s fingers accidentally skid further back than he meant them to and hit places he really didn’t intend to go.

Up the bed, Mark bursts out, "Jesus fucking Christ."

"Sorry!" Eduardo says, pulling back right away and glancing up anxiously, as a consequence of which he’s just in time to get the first stripe of come (and how does Mark even have anything left to come?) right across his jaw and throat and collarbones, just barely missing his mouth. He’s already wet from nose to chin so for a second he can’t even tell, only gets it when another streak lands pale against the dark cotton of Mark’s t-shirt - his fucking t-shirt, Jesus, they’re practically at the point of putting things in his ass and he’s still fucking wearing his stupid old needs-laundering Ardsley shirt, of course he is -

He stares down at Mark, laid across the futon all trembling and panting and nearly as stained and sticky as Eduardo himself, and tries very hard not to jump to any premature conclusions regarding Mark’s ass and what Mark might or might not actually want put in it. The state Mark’s in right now, a stray breeze could probably set him off, right? But Mark just stares back up at him, eyes dilated dark, and Eduardo shivers and shifts around the ache that’s growing, again, between his thighs.

Mark’s eyes dart down, immediately, and when he sees it he says "Oh, good" and struggles up onto his elbows, licking his lips and crooking a finger to beckon Eduardo in and down.

Eduardo tugs at the hem of his t-shirt, says, "Will you take that off already, it’s disgusting," and he puts up a token resistance until Mark snorts and sits up the rest of the way, quickly stripping it off and flinging it carelessly aside. "Fuck, where’d the towel go?"

"Dunno," Mark mumbles, and he leans down and licks a pearly splash off the ridge of Eduardo’s shoulder.

"Or that," Eduardo says, after a second, a little faintly. "That works too."

Mark grins that sharp-edged grin again and clambers back on top of him, sliding his still-filthy stomach down deliberately against Eduardo’s hard-on. It should be disgusting and objectively it probably is - the last time they cleaned up was so many orgasms ago that Eduardo’s lost count - but the fresh come on his skin is slippery-warm and the patches where it’s getting tacky catch and tug stickily against Eduardo’s shaft, the hint of friction sweet and maddening, and fine, fuck the towel, he’s way past caring. He thrusts up hard, sliding along Mark’s hipbone, more affected than he’d expected to be by the way it feels to have Mark all - naked on top of him.

He wraps a hand around the bottom of Mark’s asscheek and feels Mark’s mouth part wetly at the junction of his neck and shoulder, Mark’s cock stir feebly against his leg. Already. This is ridiculous, he thinks, just as Mark glances down and says flatly, "This is ridiculous."

Eduardo’s startled into laughing. He’d never really thought about the ability to go all night as being anything other than awesome, but he’s seeing the downside now: Mark looks even more exhausted than his usual, the shadows under his eyes a delicate near-violet in this pale light, and the skin all around his cock and balls is flushed and irritated. When this wears off (it’d better wear off) Mark’s going to be half dead, for real. Eduardo bets he’ll need at least another day before he’ll even be able to get out of bed.

Smoothing a (hopefully cool and soothing) hand over the chafed flesh, he bends in closer to look at Mark and asks - not going for sexy or anything, he’s honestly curious - "What’s it like?"

Mark gets that pinched look on his face he always does when Eduardo prods him about personal stuff. "Did I not provide an adequate description earlier?"

"I can’t believe you trashed the house like that," Eduardo says, half to himself. "Oh man," and Mark says, blasé, "You should see the chimney."

"The what?"

"Never mind. Can you - ah, yeah." He shifts their combined position, sighing as their bodies slot together just a few degrees differently, and Eduardo echoes it because fuck, he’s nowhere near sick of that yet, him hard and Mark hard and their hips rolling just right against each other. "Like wanting to fuck the world."


"To answer your question. What it’s like." His eyes have gone distant, hooded. "Like wanting all of it, like I want to take it all, all at once, everything," and for a moment Eduardo wonders - sex aside - exactly how different that is from standard-issue Mark, after all.

He noses up into the little curls by Mark’s ear, remembering something else Mark said earlier, jerky and disjointed as it was - I knew it’d be better with you - and, keeping his grip loose, his voice low, he hazards another query. "So why’d you come to me?"

Mark turns his cheek to look blankly at him, and Eduardo clarifies, "For this. You - why did you think I’d do it?"

"Does it matter?" Mark retorts, arching a little as Eduardo smoothes his palm along the swell of his ass. "Evidently I thought right."

Eduardo’s not prepared to explain that it does matter, at least to him, let alone why - for one thing, he’s not entirely sure of the answer himself - but he still fixes Mark with a look until Mark scrunches up his face and drops his mouth to Eduardo’s neck, probably just as an excuse to break eye contact, the asshole. When he speaks again his voice is half muffled in skin, broken up by nips and licks, stilted in the same jerky rhythm as their bodies moving together. "Because you like" - for an awful moment Eduardo is absolutely convinced that the next word out of Mark’s mouth is going to be guys, and he tenses all over, but Mark continues obliviously - "to give me things. If it’s something you can do and you think it’ll make me happy, then - usually - you try."

And there’s not much Eduardo can say to that, because, well - yeah, yes, and if it’s obvious enough that even Mark has noticed, noticed that about him, then there probably isn’t much point to denials. Fortunately he’s saved from having to say anything whatsoever when Mark laps gently over the bitemarks one last time and then sits up, still straddling him, enough to lean back and trail his fingertips through the line of dark hair leading down from Eduardo’s navel, wearing an expression of almost clinical curiosity that’s distinctly at odds with his bitten lip and half-mast eyes.

By now they’re both covered waist to thigh with a wet layer of sweat and saliva and semen, and that means that when Mark settles back on his haunches a little, the better to see him, the sudden movement makes Eduardo’s erection slip smoothly as anything into the cleft of his ass. Mark sucks in a startled-sounding breath and his hips snap back, making it happen again.

It feels good, incredibly good, makes Eduardo’s cock throb with the need to push up, take more (you can fuck me). But when he opens his mouth (if you stick around), what comes out is a soft, "Hey, easy. Easy."

"I told you you could -"

If Eduardo flat-out turns him down for sex on grounds of not being in his right mind, Mark is going to be really pissed off. Accordingly, Eduardo treads carefully. "I know, just - here, c’mere, okay?" and he draws Mark down, gentle, to lie beside him in the wreck of the sheets.

"I’m not a girl," Mark says shortly, totally out of nowhere, and Eduardo snorts.

"Yeah, I just went down on you," he points out (the words actually send a wash of red across Mark’s cheekbones, which is both unexpected and kind of priceless). "I think it’s safe to say I’m aware of that." And before Mark can make an asshole of himself with any further girl-related shit-talking, he touches his hip and adds, "Turn over."

Mark eyes him for a long moment, and does.

The line of his back is delicious and Eduardo wants to draw his forefinger all the way down Mark’s spine, a long slow touch to soothe and ground himself while he tries to get his head (and dick) under control. But he’s afraid that that would fall squarely under the heading of whatever girly shit Mark’s trying to avoid here, so he sighs to himself and rubs the heel of his hand up over the back of Mark’s thigh instead, up to the curve of his ass. Mark sort of flinches, but into the touch, not away from it, and Eduardo takes a breath and shifts up, swings a leg over Mark’s body so he can kneel straddling the backs of his thighs, effectively trapping Mark’s lower half against the futon. He can feel the muscles of Mark’s calves tighten, the bowstring tension that Mark always carries through his entire body.

When it comes to his brilliant, difficult best friend, Eduardo is no stranger to feeling way out of his depth, so the situation doesn’t feel as foreign to him as it probably should, all things considered. In fact - he kind of hates himself for thinking it, but in a way it’s almost comforting that for once in their lives Mark has no more idea of what he’s doing than Eduardo does. Hell, he might have less of one.

He exhales, shakier than he'd like, and Mark twists his head to one side and looks up at him with that glint in his eye, the same one with which he’d pinned Eduardo when they’d first seen each other out there in the living room. Mark’s poker face has never been quite as good as he likes to think it is, and Eduardo, looking at him now, can tell exactly how turned on he is (very) and exactly how pissed off he is about it (very) and exactly how hard he’s trying to hide both of those things (very).

He curls one of his feet up - good thing he’s flexible - and edges it in between Mark’s knees, uses it to nudge them apart a couple of inches. There’s almost no force behind it, but Mark gets the picture and after a split second of rigid resistance he yields and goes with it, spreading beneath Eduardo, just a little bit, enough.

Eduardo sucks his fingers in between his lips, pulls them back out with a noise so porn-lewd that it makes him harder even though it’s his own damn hand and mouth. Even Mark’s breathing beneath him sounds dirty, loud and ragged in the low-lit room, the only other sounds the white-noise hum of CPUs and the rain still beating down outside. Mark’s hips are already moving, grinding into the futon in tiny circles, rhythm wavering when Eduardo touches him.

"Is that just spit?" he says, closing his eyes, breath hitching but tone still clipped and flat as ever. "Wardo, that is a hideously poor idea. How did they ever let you into Harvard?"

Eduardo huffs. "Excuse me if my International Baccalaureate program didn’t cover the mechanics of - this," he says, and starts to get up, off of Mark, only meaning to go dig through the bathroom in hopes of finding something; but at that Mark whines (involuntarily, it sounds like) and swears at him (that part’s definitely voluntary) and jerks his elbow towards the orange crate that’s serving as a bedside nightstand.

"Vaseline," he says, and adds unprompted, "We use it to fill in scratches in LCD monitors."

"Jesus," Eduardo mutters, can’t help but laugh a little as he unscrews the jar lid, because...fuck, Mark. "Okay, let me just. Here - "

On finger number one Mark’s hips slam down into the futon and then back upwards again just as hard, taking him a knuckle further than Eduardo meant to: but Eduardo’s the one who gasps, has to, because Mark is so damn hot inside. The look on his face as he pants into the pillow is indescribable, and Eduardo’s dick is so hard he’s practically stabbing himself in the stomach with it, and great, now for the rest of his life he’s going to associate the scent of petroleum jelly with this -

Two fingers only means that Mark curses him out until he makes it three, slitting his eyes open and glaring daggers when Eduardo tries to ask if he’s okay; and then, it’s just, Eduardo’s already all the way down in there in the wanton V of his legs, close-up and focused so he can see what he’s doing, hot breath hitting the base of Mark’s spine, palms spreading Mark’s ass and fingers disappearing inside, and everything’s all pink and open and smeared over with slick anyway and he wonders what would happen if he just -

"Fuck," Mark hisses, vowel stretched long, and Eduardo quits licking for the five seconds it takes Mark to babble out, "no no I didn’t mean fuck just go -"

He’s barely even gotten his tongue back inside - sliding velvety-wet between his own fingers where they’ve got Mark splayed open, going deep - before Mark’s moaning like he’s dying and shaking all over as he comes, not much of it this time. When he’s done he collapses into a limp puddle, wracked and wrecked, and despite his own now-painful hardness Eduardo kind of smiles to see it, because usually Mark isn’t even this relaxed when he’s sleeping.

Mark stirs, eventually, and fumbles clumsily for Eduardo, too boneless for fine motor coordination and too exhausted to even speak. And Eduardo should really do the right thing here and see if he can’t get Mark to finally pass out and give himself a break for a few hours - but it’s Mark quite literally reaching out to him, and Eduardo doesn’t kid himself into believing he even stands a chance against that shit. Plus he’s so turned on he’s sick with it, a dull burn way low down in his stomach, and it feels so goddamn good when he stretches himself up, stretches himself out all the way along Mark’s back, flush on top of him, draped all over his lax laid-out body.

The sheer force of Mark’s personality, hard will and cool intellect, makes his presence commanding enough that Eduardo tends to forget he’s physically taller than him; but right now he’s aware of it for once, the way he can cover Mark over, curl the tops of his feet along Mark’s soles and still be able to catch hold of Mark’s wrists and press them down into the mattress, wanting desperately to drop a kiss on the top of Mark’s curly head, not doing it.

When he slides his length along Mark’s crack, hot and dripping, Mark moans again and rears up onto his hands and knees, twists his head back over his shoulder to catch Eduardo's mouth. Eduardo kisses back deep and frantic, tongues slipping out of their mouths, and he’s feeling almost as crazy for it as Mark’s looked for the past - shit, how many hours now? Ever since they started (Eduardo’s stream of consciousness flails for a suitable term, settles on messing around) his sense of time’s been dilating like crazy, like he’s stoned, and he has literally no idea how long it’s been since the rainy porch, the guys in the living room, the claustrophobic hallway.

He snakes a hand underneath them to tweak one of Mark’s nipples, and the harder he pinches the harder Mark rocks back against him, and Eduardo wants inside so bad. Mark’s been fingerfucked wide open (tonguefucked, God, Eduardo can’t believe they did that) and it would be so easy to push forward a little further and breach him - But instead he just lets the swollen head of his cock rub right up against Mark’s asshole, getting off on the not-quiteness of it almost as much as he would on actual penetration, shaking sweaty hair out of his eyes and grinning a little when Mark tosses his head back, lips pressed tight like he’s swallowing back the pleas that threaten to burst from behind them.

He curves his head over Mark’s bare shoulder, chin nesting into Mark’s neck, and Mark moves against him and with him and oh, God, Eduardo is so damn close, stupid with it. He can’t figure out whether he’s getting off on denying Mark or denying himself - or both - but it’s too hot for him to care.

He puts his lips right up against Mark’s ear and whispers, like a secret: "I do like to give you things."

Mark jerks, the muscles of his ass flexing around Eduardo’s cock, and spits out, "Then why don't you shut your fucking mouth and fucking fuck m-"

"No," says Eduardo, soft, clear.

Mark’s eyes widen and he makes a strangled noise as he comes, one more time, totally dry now, rocking back on his hands and knees for a last grind onto Eduardo’s dick, and Eduardo ruts into him and follows, all over the place, on Mark’s ass and probably a little bit in it too.

There’s a very long moment of slumped-together silence, after.

Eventually Eduardo moves, rolling off of him, and Mark reaches down gingerly, grimacing when his thumb swipes into the come running warm down his inner thigh.

"What," Eduardo mumbles, blinking sluggishly as his vision starts to return. "You came on my face."

Mark tilts his head a little, lips quirking. "I did."

"Yeah. You done?"

Mark glances down to where he’s got his hand right now. "Seems like, yeah." He hesitates for a too-long moment, offbeat and awkward as always, and then he adds, terse: "Thanks."

Eduardo seriously cannot remember whether Mark’s ever said that to him before, like actually verbally communicated it about anything, so he’s too surprised for any response besides an automatic nod of acknowledgement. Mark looks really relieved that no further Talking About It seems to be required, though, and he melts back into the sheets with a sigh of profound weariness.

"I know you wanna crash," Eduardo mumbles, finally, "but we really need to shower. And then maybe burn these sheets."

"No, what we need to do is show you the Wall," Mark says, suddenly animated, and he actually reaches out and drags a laptop off the floor beside the futon, flips it open. "Now that that's over I’ll finally be able to finish it. - Check it out, Wardo: so it’s right there on your default profile view for your friends to come by and leave you notes on, you know, like a whiteboard on your dorm door? And how it works is - "

For a second Eduardo lets himself just look at him, Mark’s technogabbling mouth that he kissed and licked and bit not ten minutes ago, Mark’s flushed cheek half turned into the pillow, Mark’s bright, tired eyes. And it’s probably just all those - postcoital endorphins or whatever making him sentimental, but there’s this one moment where he really realizes for the first time how much he’d been feeling like his best friend was slipping away, lately, arguments and distance slowly but surely stretching out a gap between them. How close they might’ve come to losing it, ruining it, close to saying things that couldn’t be unsaid, doing things friends don't bounce back from - and Eduardo has to drop his eyes hastily when he feels them stinging.

Once they’re safely clear he looks back up again, focusing as best he can on the prototype webpages Mark’s flipping through. The site’s clearly advanced a great deal in a short while, upgrades and new features all over the place, more and more server space for more and more users, and Eduardo wonders if maybe Mark had a point about his summer location after all. He’s been keeping track of Facebook’s numbers from the East Coast, obviously, but the bare statistics hadn’t gotten all of this across. Maybe he really does need to be out here, in person, to keep a handle on how fast it’s all going, how huge it’s growing. He no longer has the internship or girlfriend to keep him in New York, and honestly his efforts courting advertisers back there aren’t going all that great, and if he moves out here instead then he could at least keep an eye on Mark lest he go into random heat again and end up chafing his dick clean off or (worse) finding somebody else to sleep with -

The gray light of dawn is just beginning to creep in around the corners of the curtains, birds starting up outside, and Eduardo groans and flops down, digging his fists into his eyes.

Mark smirks, says, "This is when I normally go to bed"; but he helps Eduardo clear the ruined sheets off the futon completely, locates the lost towel and lets Eduardo mop futilely at both their bodies for a minute. It’ll have to do for now. Eduardo can feel sleep slipping in around the edges already, soothing away the freakout he would probably, under ordinary circumstances, be having right now. Unless tonight’s events have finally broken his freakout-ometer and now nothing can actually faze him anymore. Either way -

The California air is balmy enough to sleep coverless and naked, and Eduardo closes his eyes and lets his forehead fall against the sharp blade of Mark’s shoulder, lets it rest there, just lightly. Tomorrow he’s going to have to deal with Dustin and the others, the Sean situation, the logistics of moving out here for the rest of the summer. But for now that can wait - wait until after he and Mark have gotten about sixteen hours of well-deserved rest - wait until tomorrow.

"Hey," comes Mark’s muzzy slur from beside him. "So now that you’re here, you’ve gotta come along to this meeting we’ve got next week with Peter Thiel. If he’s thinking of investing he should meet you, after all, you are my CFO."

"’Course I’ll come." Eduardo’s assent is a sleepy murmur. "Sounds great."

"Yeah." Mark’s silent for so long that Eduardo thinks he’s drifted off, until: "The Peter Thiel - fuck, Wardo, this. This could really be something. You know?"

"Yeah," Eduardo says. "Yeah, I think it will be."