?

Log in

No account? Create an account
tsn { i made a deal with god

antistar_e in veritasrecords

Fic: Place Between Here and the Destination [The Social Network/Doctor Who][1/4]

Title: Place Between Here and the Destination
Fandom: The Social Network/Doctor Who
Characters/Pairings: Mark/Eduardo, Sean/there's-a-snake-in-here!Amy, River, the Doctor (and if you squint sideways through 3D glasses, some Doctor/TARDIS and Mark/River)
Summary: You know what's cooler than one million dollars? Eduardo Saverin, time traveler.
Word Count: 40,004
Notes: For lynnmathews, who, wonderful gorgeous girl that she is, donated double her winning bid for help_japan. She wanted a sequel to Place That Don't Know My Name, in which Eduardo goes swanning off with the Doctor after the depositions and saves human existence as we know it. Reading that one is necessary to get this one, as this is the story of how Mark and Eduardo are reunited.

Well. Eventually.

[also available @ AO3]




Warnings/Spoilers (highlight to read): There's a happy ending. Shhh.






Place Between Here and the Destination


When you're alone,
silence is all you hear.





1.

It's a little past sunrise on a Saturday, and Mark Zuckerberg is still in his office, spinning in low circles in his office chair and answering e-mails on his phone instead of using the desktop set up right in front of him.

The brilliant thing about Facebook being on six continents and over one hundred countries is that, no matter the time of day, there's always somebody who's awake and demanding Mark's attention somewhere in the world, so he's never felt particularly inclined towards keeping the same normative sleeping habits as his employees, who have other responsibilities. He goes home when he's tired of sitting in one place and he sleeps when he doesn't want to be awake.

He reaches out idly with one foot, the sole of his shoe catching against the desk edge and stilling his momentum.

It's a little past sunrise on a Saturday, and the offices are lightening of their own accord. Mark can make out the carpet pattern in the hallway, although technically the sun doesn't come streaming in through the windows until almost high noon due to the positioning of nearby buildings on High Street. It's part of why Mark and Sean had agreed to this location when Peter Thiel suggested it: you don't keep important machinery like the Facebook servers in direct sunlight, but neither do you keep your programmers and interns locked in a windowless sardine can.

Mark sends out an e-mail with a flick of his fingernail against the screen of his iPhone, and wonders vaguely what it said. When he's greeting the morning from this side of the night, he loses that filter that stops his correspondence from sounding like an SAT vocabulary guidebook.

"I need to eat something," he informs his desktop, which sits there in quiet, stoic support of his every decision, like it usually does.

He sets his phone down on the edge of his desk and stands, slipping out into the hallway. He didn't use to have his own office with a door that closed, but he didn't use to have a lot of things.

Nobody's here. There used to be support staff that did the overnight shifts, answering belligerent Help e-mails and monitoring activity and eyeballing Mark like they were contemplating assassinating him for his flex time, but those jobs had been outsourced to their offices on the other side of the globe and there was no graveyard shift at Facebook anymore, so Mark's alone in the forest of quiescent desktops, their standby lights glowing in soft pulses.

Yesterday was Friday, which means there's pizza in the break room. The lights are off, so he has to rely on his feet scuffling with the change from carpet to linoleum to help him navigate, and when he pulls the fridge door open, he squints a little against the brightness.

There's a box from Pizza My Heart on the bottom shelf, which makes him hum contentedly -- out of the two pizza places within walking distance of the office, it's either that or California Pizza Kitchen, and while scallops and thin crust from the Kitchen are all right, you can't beat the classic. He flicks open the lid, snagging a cold slice and stacking another on top of it. He grabs a Red Bull from the top shelf (although technically it's not a Red Bull, as Red Bull is more difficult to get a hold of in northern California than its organic equivalent, but energy drinks are essentially universal in taste, all-natural cane sugar or not) and closes the door, pivoting on his heel.

He comes face-to-face with himself.

"Jesus fu--" he yelps, recoiling backwards. His shoulder slams hard into the fridge handle, jarring the pizza and the drink right out of his hands. The can hits the linoleum and punctures, fizz spitting out with alarming force and propelling itself across the room like a miniature rocket.

Mark doesn't pay attention, because he only has eyes for himself, which would be an odd thing to say if it weren't so literally and frighteningly true.

It's himself, live and in the flesh, and in the space of a heartbeat, Mark circumvents the possibility of hallucination because he's not that sleep-deprived and is mentally in perfect health, which leaves no other solution except reality.

"Shit!" he concludes.

The other him is wearing different clothes, clothes Mark recognizes from his own closet, which he doubts is something he would have made up on his own. If his subconsciousness was going to imagine a copy of himself, it would probably appear in binary or in pixels, not an extra-large Santa Cruz shirt and cargo shorts.

True to form, Mark doesn't make himself wait. He steps forward, coming into the break room, and as he does, Mark notices that something is wrong with his eyes; the irises have been smudged over in a strange golden color, blurring into the whites like he's looking at him through glasses that have fogged up. The only reason he notices is because inside the dark break room, it's almost as if the other Mark's eyes are giving off their own light, the way you can see the glow of a lamp through fog.

But he doesn't get a chance to comment on it, because his copy holds up a phone.

"You're going to need this," he says flatly, handing it to Mark.

Mark takes it from him, the palm of his hand slippery with pizza grease: an old Blackberry, criminally out of date, but functional, given that when he thumbs the unlock button, it lights right up. He's instantly greeted with a background of Eduardo Saverin, his Eduardo Saverin who he hasn't even thought of in weeks and hasn't been seen in the last third of his life, squeezed messily into a frame with four other people; a man in a bow tie with his mouth pulled to the side like he's been caught mid-sentence, a redheaded woman, and a nervous-looking man holding a child, all of them smiling so wide they look slightly demented.

He blinks a little, the pressure in his chest momentarily unbearable. "Why have you given me Eduardo's old phone?" he asks blankly, looking up.

The other him is gone.

"What the hell?" Mark breathes out. The phone sits in his hand and in the corner, the can of energy drink burbles out the last of its organic contents.





2.

It's a little past sunrise on a Saturday and Mark goes home.

He lives a hop, skip, and a run away from the Facebook offices. He tells people he lives on East Meadow (which always earns him a bemused look from anyone who's local, because East Meadow is for the firmly blue-collar middle class, with its closing schools and graffitied corner shops) when in reality he lives a block removed, so he isn't bothered as much by traffic.

His two-bedroom, two-bath is economically squeezed in between two other houses, close enough that he could toss sugar across to his neighbors through their kitchen windows if they wanted it. He has a postage-stamp yard, the majority of which is taken up by a garden; the high-maintenance kind with sprawling trellises of star jasmine, a pebble-path, and a birdbath. It's actually quite zen, if you're into that kind of thing, and it certainly gives Mark's house a curb appeal it wouldn't, otherwise.

Mark is about as good at gardening as Elmer Fudd is at hunting rabbits, but it doesn't matter, because the neighbor across the street has the greenest thumb on the block. Mark doesn't talk to her very often, but the last time he did, he learned that her daughter discovered the duplicitous going ons of her husband via several unfortunately-tagged photos on Facebook. He gets the feeling that the neighbor has wanted the daughter's husband gone for quite some time, and seems to hold Mark responsible by sheer virtue of being the Facebook founder.

She doesn't bring it up directly, and Mark doesn't ask why his garden only seems to get more beautiful whenever he's not around, but last spring he noticed a couple cuttings from his own flowers newly planted in her yard, so he figures that says all it needs to say.

"Good morning, Mr. Zuckerberg," comes from the next-door, who's sitting out on his front porch, thermos in hand and sun on his face.

"Paul," Mark answers, shutting the car door. "You can call me Mark, you know."

"I'm aware of that, sir," says Paul, nodding congenially and scratching at his beard, same as he does every time Mark says this. "But 'Zuckerberg' is a lot more etymologically interesting, wouldn't you say? More fun to say. You don't get a lot of nicely rounded 'z' sounds anymore, it's quite palatable. Zuckerberg."

Mark ducks his head, spinning his lanyard around on his knuckle. "Okay, Paul," he goes tolerantly.

Paul is good people, despite his tendency to sit out on his front porch at odd hours of the day, contemplating fate and wearing nothing but his whitey-tighties. Trouble with public indecency notwithstanding, he calls everybody "ma'am" and "sir" no matter the age and seems to have an opinion on everything, from contemporary linguistics to the comparative uses of antihistamines in dog therapy. Neighbors like that are the kind you never go looking for, and at the same time are not unhappy to have.

"You have a visitor," Paul remarks.

Mark's mind hiccups over this for a second, thinking bizarrely that his self-copy is back, chilling in his house with creepy eyes and some more cryptic comments and Mark still hasn't figured out how to compartmentalize that experience, but Paul might have mentioned it if a second Mark had gone by.

Paul gestures helpfully with his thermos, and Mark looks over, realizing what he meant: a hummingbird hovers in front of one of the feeders, flitting away and back.

He smiles despite himself. There are more hummingbirds in Palo Alto than there are pigeons, and he never really gets over it. There are simple things in the universe that you stop and admire every time, no matter who you are or whether or not you can help it: trees that go fire-engine red in autumn, fingers dancing expertly over a piano, and hummingbirds, for example.

Hopping up his porch steps, Mark tilts his head, and there it is -- the jewel-tone of the hummingbird's throat, a familiar pattern. "Morning, Jasmine," he goes, and she disappears, startled by his voice. She's his most faithful stray, and she'll be back, because contrary to popular opinion he can, in fact, remember to fill the bird feeder.

"All the hobbies in the world you could have taken up now that money is no object, and you picked hummingbirds," his sister commented on her last visit, when he recruited her help in making nectar for the feeders.

"Say that any more derisively, and I'll call my lawyers up and change my will so that you don't get the yacht," Mark had deadpanned in reply, feeling her roll her eyes at his back; it's the sixth sense of anyone with younger siblings.

He has an average car and an average house because while he can buy the whole street, he doesn't actually need to be a Winklevoss. He learned the "don't know what you got until it's gone" lesson quite early in life, thank you, and is perfectly content with what he has.

Letting himself in, he shuts the door behind him, tossing his keys onto the end table with more routine than aim. It's cool inside the entryway, and he kicks his flip flops off, spreading his toes out on the tile in a universal kind of welcome-home gesture.

And then he pulls the Blackberry out of his pocket, like he hasn't been thinking about its weight since the moment he pocketed it at the office.

The first thing anyone ever does when they illicitly get their hands on another person's cell phone is to go through the messages. He thumbs the phone awake and immediately tabs over to text messages, and scowls when the inbox reads as empty. The web browser is equally unhelpful: Google is the homepage and the Internet browsing history is blank.

"What the hell, Wardo, usually you're not even capable of remembering to sign out of Hotmail whenever you borrow someone's laptop," he grumbles, not paying attention to where he's going and glancing against the doorframe to the kitchen. "Ow," he grunts, rubbing at his shoulder and tabbing over to the contacts.

He sucks in a breath through his teeth. "Bingo," he goes, because there's something here, at least.

90% of the people in here are completely meaningless to him, but half-way down he notices that a couple of them have little red x's next to the names. Among these are Dad's publicist, Christy, something called the Ood High Matchmaking Council, Home (Miami), and (his heart does a very valiant attempt at flipping over in his chest) Mark, so it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to figure out that these are the ignored numbers.

Next is the recent calls, and Mark stops dead in his tracks, because the name at the very top of the list, the last person to talk to Eduardo alive was --

The last person to talk to Eduardo alive was Dustin (office).

He frowns, eyes flicking to the time stamp, which is dated --

Tomorrow.

His brows come down hard. "The hell," he says again. As if July 10, 2011 isn't weird enough, there's the fact that Dustin's office phone is calling a missing person, full on have you seen this person? posters-in-community-centers missing. The call had lasted 1:20 minutes, and the log for it woefully lacks any useful information, like hows, whys, and what fors.

He thumbs down, his frown deepening, because the next incoming call is December 22, 2006, from TARDIS (which he figures is an organization of some kind, given the all-CAPS, but that's not important.)

There's no explaining a five-year gap between phone calls, much less a five-year gap on an out-of-date phone that belongs to someone who's vanished from all known records. He scrolls further: TARDIS, TARDIS, Mom, TARDIS, the Ood High Matchmaking Council (which lasted for 34:50 and had a return phone number entirely comprised of obscure grammatical symbols, which Mark doesn't know what to do with -- and seriously, is that an interrobang?), TARDIS, and then, 15 incoming calls down ...

Mark.

He drifts sideways, pulling out a chair from the dining table and sinking into it, because it takes more concentration to stand than he can afford right now. If seeing his name on the blocked numbers hadn't been enough to do it, he is now completely convinced that the Blackberry isn't some very, very clever hoax. This is really Eduardo's phone.

Because he remembers that phone call.

With a slow, cold feeling dripping down his spine, Mark starts going through the pictures folder.

It's full of impossible things; shots of nebulas and galaxies that have to have been downloaded from the NASA site, except each photo stoutly claims to have been originally taken by the phone, and one of them even includes a partial shot of the deck of a spaceship, so maybe it's a movie set. There are pictures of people in period dress, people with more than the required number of limbs, sunsets in colors that the Blackberry's 16 color-bit screen can't seem to handle, and even one of a bug-eyed plant caught mid-gesture with one broad leaf like it's giving a museum tutorial.

It doesn't make much sense, so Mark focuses firmly on the familiar: a face that pops up every third picture or so, with sallow cheeks, lantern jaw, and a dinky red bow tie like an out-dated caricature of a gentleman.

He appears in various faculties, this man does: laughing, grinning, bounding colt-legged through the edges of frames, wielding what looks like a penlight that blurs green light in arcs, and in one, wearing a mop head on his head and coyly brushing the dingy grey ropes out of his eyes, in so close that he must have been only a foot or so away from Eduardo when the picture was taken.

They go on like this. Eduardo appears in a couple of them, and Mark's not expecting it, so he badly startles each time. Most of them are one-handed over-the-head shots, self-taken and blurring the ear-to-ear grins, because Eduardo was one of those people that didn't like bothering strangers by asking them to take his picture. Mark doesn't remember the sound of Eduardo's voice anymore, but he remembers that.

There's a sour sensation fermenting in the pit of his stomach, his head tilting dizzy with questions.

When Eduardo made the missing persons list years ago, Mark hadn't been altogether concerned about it. Why would he? They'd spoken that once, that final time, when he'd needed to know where the rent papers were for the original Palo Alto house so they could sell it. Eduardo answered, mistaking him for someone else, calling him "doctor" and sounding so overwhelmingly happy that Mark had tripped over his own words. At the time, his possessive streak made it rankle, the idea that if Eduardo had checked the caller ID, he might not have picked up, but because he did, he'd given Mark a glimpse into somebody else's happiness, and that had been unforgivable enough that he hung up as soon as Mark identified himself.

And that's why Mark isn't worried that Eduardo has, for all intents and purposes, vanished off the face of the earth. He'd been happy, and he hung up like he had absolutely no problem blowing Mark off. That's not the behavior of someone in trouble, now is it?

He assumes that wherever Eduardo went after the settlement, he's content there. After all, if you had that kind of money, who wouldn't think about disappearing off the face of the earth?

It's none of Mark's business, not anymore; that part is abundantly clear.

And now here in his hand is the evidence of what Eduardo's been living all this time, and Mark doesn't understand a single bit of it.

He thumbs the lock button on the phone, resisting the urge to pitch it across the kitchen.

"It's like not being allowed past the bike room all over again!" he complains, resentful and bitter and very tired all of a sudden.

A dark flit of something outside the window tells him that he's scared Jasmine off again, and he sighs, leaning his elbows on the table and rubbing his knuckles against his bottom lip in thought. He'd left the windows open before going to work yesterday, so there's a cross-breeze going through, cold on the back of his neck and making a door somewhere upstairs creak. Mark's used to the sounds of an empty house, and doesn't bother getting up.

After a bit, an impulse comes over him and he pulls out his iPhone, propping it up and tapping it awake.

He video-calls Dustin, who he knows will be up. They frequently meet each other on this side of night, Dustin rising early and Mark crashing late.

"Mark, hey," Dustin answers, voice crackling clear. The video lags, frozen on the vague, dark outlines of things.

"Dustin," Mark replies, and the video finally catches up, showing Mark the background of Dustin's bedroom (which means he's answering from his laptop, not his phone,) and Dustin himself, wearing a grey sleep shirt and cradling a bundle in the crook of his elbow. "And offspring," Mark adds, politely, tilting the phone up to clear the glare.

"You know her name, use it," returns Dustin, sleepily and without rancor, trying to get his daughter into some kind of amorphously-shaped green jumper, holding her head steady with one hand and attempting to put her flailing limbs in the appropriate holes with the other. Her skull is impossibly tiny in Dustin's palm. "What's up, man?"

"Did you ever talk to Stephanie?" Mark blurts out.

Dustin's face does something along the lines of, Mark is four steps ahead of me and I'm confused; do I admit it or do I pretend I know what's going on? "Er," he says blankly. "Was she the networking lady that was doing all the company-wide log-in changes? Crap, was I supposed to talk to her?"

"The netwo -- what? No," Mark blinks back, and clarifies, "The girl from my OS lab. Sophomore year, you asked me if I knew if she was dating anyone. I can only assume it was because you were interested."

Dustin looks at him, fish-eyed, and Mark pushes out a breath, impatient.

"Remember?" he says. "Right before the site went live for the first time, you walked in and you sat on the edge of my desk in the lab, and you said --"

There. The light bulb goes on. "Jesus, Mark," he goes, almost too soft for the phone to pick up. "No. I. No. Well," he corrects himself, shaking his head. "I guess I did, and we were sort-of acquaintances for awhile, but nothing ever came of it, if that's what you're asking."

"What happened?"

"Well, for one, we moved to California that summer, and it's a little rude to strike up a relationship with someone if you're just going to leave." There must be something on Mark's face that he doesn't like, because he leans in, tucking his infant against his sternum and saying earnestly, "It's fine to let those kinds of friendships go, though, Mark. Friendships fade naturally: that's part of why we all use Facebook, isn't it, so that we can pretend that we're going to stay in touch. It makes it that much easier to let go, knowing that if you ever need to talk to that person, their Wall is right there."

Mark makes a noncommittal noise, turning that over his mind.

"Is that Mark?" asks a woman's voice on the other end, muffled by her distance from the mic.

"Yeah," Dustin answers, scooting back so that his wife can duck into the frame with him.

"Good morning, Mark."

"Razia," he answers, watching her absently run her fingers along the edges of her hijab to make sure none of her hair is showing. He's seen her head uncovered once or twice when she's walked past Dustin's computer without realizing that he was video-conferencing with somebody, but he's never brought it to her attention, because it would embarrass the hell out of her and Mark actually respects Razia: she wears t-shirts that say WWPMD (What Would the Prophet Mohammad Do?) and her headscarf always seems to match the weather. She met Dustin at the Whole Foods on Homer, during an educational lecture on the different components of pig and how to tell if there were pig parts in your food: Mark hasn't kept kosher since high school, but Dustin still tries.

Mark learns these things about their relationship and remembers them methodically, like someday there'll be an exam on his friends and he's going to need to do well on it, score somewhere above "acceptable" on a scale of let's not be a crap friend and try that for awhile.

"You haven't been to bed yet, have you," Razia says, not a question. "Thought so," she nods when Mark shakes his head no. "You only start asking my husband existential questions about the purpose of your company when you've pulled an all-nighter."

"Right," monotones Mark, because it's either that or ask Dustin why Eduardo's phone is telling him that his office will be calling him tomorrow, and that might be an even stranger question than wondering if Dustin ever tried to get to know OS-lab Stephanie. "I'll let you go and get on with your morning, then. Razia, Dustin, and," he waves his hand vaguely. "Baby-like thing."

When the call cuts out, it freezes their expressions, the both of them caught with their eyes rolled tolerantly up.

Some friendships are worth the work you put into them, are worth what you get in return.





3.

He goes upstairs and drops into bed, where he sleeps until some odd hour of the afternoon, when an inter-department office buzzes through his phone and wakes him up. It only goes to his phone if it's been flagged top priority, the you should probably come in and handle this, and soon kind. He reaches out for the end table, snatching it up and pawing at it until he gets it to send back an automated, I'm on my way.

At this rate, Mark wouldn't be surprised if his phone could run Facebook for him.

He pushes himself out of bed, making a vague attempt at throwing on something clean and brushing his teeth. On his way out the door, his eyes fall on Eduardo's Blackberry, still sitting on the dining room table. He pockets it.

He can tell something's up the instant he steps out of the elevator onto the main floor of Facebook, because there's a deliberate kind of hush that falls over everybody. Mark gets by just fine being socially oblivious, but there's something about the expectant way people's eyes unobtrusively follow him over the tops of their monitors that makes him wonder if he's about to get Silly String shot all over him. He mentally double-checks to make sure it's not his birthday.

Dustin looms out of nowhere like a poltergeist. He smells faintly of formula and baby powder, but that's not unusual these days.

"What's going on?" Mark asks, feeling more than a little wary by this point.

"There's somebody waiting for you in your office," Dustin sounds far more interested than this announcement probably merits.

"Okay," says Mark blankly.

Dustin drops back, stopping to lean casually against Danny's desk. Danny lifts his eyebrows, bluetooth headset clinging to the side of his head like a misshapen fly, his long hair frazzled around it. Mark watches them both with narrowed eyes, and rounds the corner outside his office.

"Woah," he goes, coming to an abrupt halt.

Lounging in his chair is a woman, sitting behind his veritable fort of computer screens like she came installed. A stunningly white dress wraps around her figure, trailing across the carpet like the train of a wedding gown, and her wild coils of hair spring every which way around her head. Mark wonders, kneejerk, if she could pick up signals for HBO with that hair; it seems like a conceivable concern.

At the sight of him, her eyes widen fractionally, and her mouth curves at one corner, slow.

She uncrosses her legs, gliding to her feet in one smooth movement, the dress rustling as it settles around her. "Mark," she greets him, like she does it all the time: Mark isn't entirely unused to this, because the more famous you get, the more magazine articles there are about you and the more movies are made about your life, the more complete strangers come up to you and apparently know everything about you. It never stops being incredibly creepy.

"Sweetie," she says warmly, showing teeth. "You're going to need this, it's psychic," and then she hands him a toilet paper roll.

Not even a full one, either, but the cardboard center. There are still small scraps of tissue clinging to it.

So many different scathing things cluster at the tip of Mark's tongue, clamoring to be said at once, so of course he misses his chance and when he looks up, roll propped on the end of his finger, she's gone in a swish of taffeta. His programmers and staff don't even pretend that they're not watching her go, openly curious faces peeking out above their monitors.

Mark has never before cried in public, but right now he feels like he might be a heartbeat or two away from bursting into frustrated tears.

Dustin rematerializes. "Mark!" he exclaims, sounding almost accusatory. "A beautiful woman in a wedding dress shows up in your office, and you chase her off in less than thirty seconds!"

"I have no idea who that was!" Mark gestures angrily after her with the toilet paper roll. "How did she get past security?" he demands, and then, "hang on." He holds the paper roll up, and, frowning, begins to peel the cardboard apart. He feels ridiculous, like he's checking his cereal box for a toy, but instinct doesn't lead him wrong: there's a piece of paper taped to the inside of the roll.

It's thick, strange, and unwieldy, and something about the way it feels between his fingers makes him feel like he's holding the flexible part of a touch screen, but he's more than aware that they're years away from that kind of nanotechnology. Still, he could swear it's tech. He rolls it up, experimentally, and when he smoothes it out again, he startles, because there are words on the paper now, where before it had been blank.

Ask Amy about Ask.

"Oh, come on," Mark groans. "What."





4.

People like Amy annoy the hell out of Mark.

She has a BA in French and now she's a graduate student at Stanford, looking to someday earn a PhD in anthropology, get called "Doctor," and sit behind a desk somewhere, looking important and occasionally appearing on PBS specials.

Which is perfectly admirable, don't get him wrong, Mark has no problem with that -- he likes PBS! -- except that Amy can navigate Java script like she learned it coming out of the crib, and she was more or less the head of the development team for the boom sale that is World of Warcraft.

I have an eye for what's freakishly addictive, she'd gone when Sean introduced them for the first time, shrugging, and Mark stared at her like he couldn't quite believe she was real, this petite blonde thing on Sean's arm who was the brains and grunt work behind the reinvented gaming platform singly responsible for the burgeoning hermititude of socially inept boys and girls all over the country; the ones that hadn't yet been purloined by Facebook. She's by far the most impressive person Sean's ever introduced him to, and that's including the Victoria's Secret model and Peter Thiel.

(Of course, the fact that she's dating Sean is what Mark considers to be her worst character flaw -- why would you do that to yourself? -- except then months turn into years and Sean stays on the straight, the narrow, and out of jail. Amy, Mark had figured out quickly, is the kind of woman you would do anything for, including, apparently, monogamy. Mark didn't think Sean had it in him, so that was a surprise.)

All of Mark's programmers adore her, but whenever he offers her a job with Facebook -- which, people like her are not exactly a dime a dozen, you know, and some of his best programmers aren't half as proficient as she is, and come on, Facebook! versus ... anthropology -- she just smiles and says no thank you, she's content with her career path as it is.

To put it simply, it makes Mark want to stab her in the face.

Respectfully.

Dismissing Dustin with a busybody job (Dustin knows it, rolling his eyes and sauntering off, like he isn't going to beeline straight for the break room to gossip with the PR people about the woman in the wedding dress,) he pushes into his office, pulling his iPhone from his pocket and putting it to his ear. He doesn't know Amy's schedule off the top of his head, and he straightens his spine instinctively when he hears her pick up, even though she can't see him and she's only a year older than him, regardless.

"Mark," she greets him, bemused. "You're initiating a phone call. Is the world ending?"

"What's up with Ask?" he goes, no preamble.

There's a beat of silence, and when she next speaks, her tone carries a completely different weight. "How did you hear about that?"

He glances over his shoulder at the remnants of the toilet paper roll. "You wouldn't believe me even if I told you."

She makes a noise, like she's sucking air in between her teeth. "Hmm. Well. You have my attention. What are you doing, oh, now?"

"Working," Mark says, kneejerk, sitting down in his chair like that might make it true.

"No, really. Are you doing anything important?"

"I'm the CEO of a multibillion dollar company," he reminds her, and immediately cringes a little bit. It gets tacky to state the obvious after so many times; even Mark knows this. "Oh, like you weren't addicted to Facebook as an undergraduate," he retorts at her slightly judgmental silence.

"All right," she fires back without missing a beat. "If you're so busy, then why did you ask about Ask?"

Mark purses his lips. "... are you on campus?"

He can hear the smile in her voice. "Yes. Your car's parked at the office, right? Thought so. I declare a field trip! I'll start up your way. No, yes, I'll explain when I get there. It might take me fifteen minutes or so, the shuttles run slower on Saturdays."

"Just take your bike, Amy, Palm Drive isn't that long," Mark tells her, and then tries to interpret her reluctant silence. "And nobody's going to be looking at your thighs, honest, nobody cares what you look like biking in shorts." Belatedly, once he says it, he realizes how that must have come out.

It startles Amy into laughter, however. "Oh, thank you for putting the most vain-sounding words into my mouth. Like you have room to talk anyway, I've seen you and your receding hairline."

"Barely!" Mark's free hand flies to his temple, as if her words alone might cause the spontaneous advancement of a bald patch. "You can hardly tell," he continues, quieter.

"Yeah, I know, your fro covers it." She sounds darkly amused by this point. "I just wanted to mess with you. All right, I will bike up there, then. See you in a few."

"Yup," he goes, and then, "-- wait, Amy."

"Hm?"

"Have you ... have you gotten anything of Eduardo's delivered to you recently?"

"Ummm." There's a rustling on the other line, like she's shuffling papers back and forth, looking for something. "I don't think so. Do I know Eduardo?"

"No. No, you wouldn't. Never mind."

"Right."

Hanging up, he goes back out into the main office, not even bothering to wake his computer station out of hibernation since he's just going to be leaving again; emergencies he can handle from his phone, he's made sure. That's the beauty of living in Silicon Valley in 2011: you can efficiently run said multilbillion dollar company and only occasionally do you have to show your face to your employees, shareholders, and competition, just to show them you're still alive.

Dustin, who has no sense of self-preservation at all, is shamelessly waiting on the other side of the door. Not even Mark's best and flattest look deters him. Looking him up and down, focusing on the car keys dangling from his fingers, he grins and lifts his eyebrows. "Does this have anything to do with our runaway bride?"

"Dustin," says Mark, perfectly level.

Dustin has no trouble translating his tone, having known him longer than any other person in the building, and backs off, his grin loosening somewhere around the eyes. "You're lucky that guest lecture of yours is tomorrow," he says loftily. "And you can get away with disappearing again."

Mark picks up a paperweight off of Danny's desk -- flat, square, with the blue Facebook "f" inlaid in tile in the middle -- and pitches it at Dustin's retreating back. It glances off his shoulder, hitting the carpet, and Tara, passing by with iPad in the crook of her elbow the same way Dustin cradles his newborn, crouches at the knees to pick it up, returning it to Danny's desk. Neither of them stop the work they're doing (traffic monitoring, communicating with the other side of the world to consolidate the user switch-over, as the western hemisphere goes to bed and the eastern hemisphere wakes up, making sure the servers won't overload; everything always comes back to the servers.)

Some days, Mark is really proud of his employees.

3505 University Ave sits on the second floor of the glass-walled building at the corner of University and High, with only El Camino -- Silicon Valley's main thoroughfare -- separating it from Stanford campus. It's above 2505, a Persian restaurant called Junnoon, which owns the small courtyard opening out onto the street. Like most restaurants in downtown Palo Alto, Junnoon is only open for a short span of time at lunch, closes during the slow part of the afternoon, and opens again for dinner.

They have patio tables set up in the courtyard, boxed in with wrought-iron trellises grown thick with ivy, to give a sense of privacy and seclusion. Facebook employees tell the time of day less by the digital clocks in the corners of their computer screens and more by whether or not they could hear conversation and clinking cutlery coming from downstairs: the noises of the dinner rush is their visceral cue that it's almost time to go home. Everything smells like herbs, olive oil, and eggplants, every single day. Mark can't smell eggplants anymore without his stomach knotting, the sense memory of those early days is so strong, back when he was nauseous all the time from being twenty-one and trying to run his own company, partnerless.

He's at the window when he sees Amy pedal up, swinging her leg up off the seat so she glides the last distance balanced just on one foot, bumping easily onto the bike rack. She's wearing a Stanford sweatshirt, cut at the neckline and at the elbows, and a pair of white Bermuda shorts, which she tugs down self-consciously. Mark smirks.

On his way out the building, he passes Rami, the cook from Junnoon, who's out on a cigarette break in the back alley, leaning against the wall. The screen door is propped open so he can yell instructions to the sous chefs inside.

Rami grins at him, the kind of grandfatherly jovial that you can't help but return, "Mr. Zuckerberg! Good to see you out and about! How's the wife?"

"Don't have one, Rami," Mark goes, sidling by. "You know that."

"I do," Rami allows, nodding his head magnanimously. "But I gotta pretend you got someone I can ask after, or I get all sad. I don't like the idea of you being alone. People-folk are not made to be alone, Mr. Zuckerberg, it is our greatest pain."

"I manage," Mark says, and he has no idea what his tone comes off as (that's always been his problem,) but Rami holds up a hand, apologetic and unperturbed.

Amy catches up to him when he's half-way across the parking lot, greeting him with a slightly breathless, "hey." He bobs his head in acknowledgement. The afternoon California sunlight beats down on their heads, setting her hair to a couple different shades of gold as she brushes it back.

Probably the biggest perk of being CEO is getting your own parking spot, which in downtown Palo Alto on a weekday is more valuable than a private island.

Rounding his car to get to the passenger seat, Amy's face twists wryly and she drifts her fingers over the roof, catching on the color change: an incident involving a blind stop sign on West Meadow and sleep deprivation cost Mark his passenger side door, so while most of his car is an olive-green color, the side door is a clownish shade of orange. Mark unlocks his door, slides into the hot interior, and leans over to hand-crank her window down.

"You know, I've never asked," she remarks, tossing her bike helmet into the backseat and then hiking herself up, shimmying in through the window with a grunt. "But you've got something like a bazillion dollars by now. Why haven't you bought yourself a new car instead of keeping this old junker?"

"I like this car," Mark answers, defensive, the same way he says, I like my clothes, I like my shoes, I like my house. Seriously, why does everyone insist on having a problem with it? "I came out west in this car, and it runs perfectly fine still --" Nothing rusts in California, it's too dry. Mark does not miss scraping frost off his windshield and kicking slush out of his tire wells in the winter, that's for sure. "-- so why would I want a new one?"

Amy looks at him sideways, buckling her seat belt and kicking her sandals into the footwell. "Have you done anything frivolous with your fortune?"

"I bought my sister a car," Mark offers. "When she turned sixteen. One of those big American-made SUVs with the build-in GPS and On-Star and," he gestures vaguely, "all the cool extras kids these days are into. I wanted her to be as safe as she could be."

Amy is laughing at him, he's pretty sure; she hides her mouth behind her hand. "Did she appreciate the gesture?"

Mark's lips quirk at the corner. "She threatened to disown me, change her name, and move to Norway rather than be caught dead driving it." He shrugs, smiling despite himself when she barks laughter, flicking on his turn signal and pulling into traffic, bumping over the cobblestone on University Ave.

The rest of the world makes it kind of difficult for him to forget the fact that he's a billionaire, given that he only made the Guinness Book of World Records because of it. And no matter his own personal attitude towards being rich, he knows what it means to others. Around the same time he bought a car for his sister, he wrote his parents a check big enough for his father to retire early on. Everybody knows and nobody's saying it, but it was probably Mr. Zuckerberg's saving grace: his back wouldn't have made it to 65 without permanent injury. His mother called him shortly thereafter and made nothing but tearful noises at him, the way parents do when they're so proud of you they can't form a coherent sentence. Mark said, "oh, Mom," but didn't hang up, until finally she composed herself and asked him about Jewish girls.

There are some people to whom their parents' approval mean everything, and some to whom it couldn't matter less, but Mark's had his parents' love and support since the beginning, unflagging and unconditional, and he feels that paying them back is the least he can do for them.

He tilts his chin at Amy. "And I take it we're going to San Jose?"

She sits up, coming to attention. "Right."

It takes fifteen minutes to drive from Facebook to the Yahoo!-Ask compound, and ten of those are usually spent trying to merge onto the 101. Technically, the compound exists on the fringe where San Jose meets Sunnyvale, but it's the same way Mark has to go to Menlo Park just to use the post office: all the densely-populated cities in northern California bleed into each other, so you can cross the street and find yourself in a completely different area of jurisdiction without a single change in scenery.

"What's up with Ask?" Mark asks, coming to the point. "What's got you dropping everything in the middle of the day?"

"It's not just Ask, Yahoo!'s up to something, too," says Amy instantly. "Which is why I'm sure it's a location thing, because do you ever see those two work together otherwise? About three days ago, I started to notice an insane surge of connectivity through their gateways. You go to their webpage, you search for something, and it's like your browser gets jolted with pure caffeine. Zoom!" she smacks her hands together.

Mark tilts his head at her quizzically.

He opens his mouth to say something, but she cuts him off with a sharp gesture. "No, it's not just a fortuitous patch of high-speed Internet, I tried it on my roommate's phone, even. She has Sprint. High-speed on Sprint is something to be concerned about. And when you navigate away from the Yahoo! or Ask search bars, then oh, hey, all of a sudden you're back down to average speed.

"Don't," she talks over Mark again, catching the expression on his face. They're on Alma, which is shady and always Sunday-slow until you get to the freeway; the sun comes in through the window, dappled through leaves and flickering across her legs and face. "I'm not the only one who thinks it's odd. I saw some chatter about it on the Blizzard forums, that's why I looked into it in the first place."

"Right," says Mark, because that's legitimate: the entire World of Warcraft empire depends on connection speeds. The RPGers would naturally be the first to notice abnormally fast connections.

"Either they're growing the world's largest ganja supply in that building and that's where all the power's going," says Amy. "Or they've got their hands on something a little more sinister."

"What makes you say that?"

"The WoW crowd I know also know some Internet theorists --"

Mark snorts. That's the politically correct term for "conspiracy nut," the paranoid Seans of the world who hide in their basements and never see enough daylight to form a cohesive enough thought about the people who move around it. (Not that Mark exactly has room to talk about people who type angry things from dark rooms, but still.)

"-- who've been monitoring the output since these surges started, again, not much longer than a week ago. If you peel down to the source code, there's a repeated meme in there. It makes no sense for function, so why is it even there? But," she fumbles in her pocket for a second. "It's buried deep, your and my level kind of deep."

She holds out her phone -- older model iPhone with a lime-green casing -- and Mark shifts his grip on the steering column to take it from her. It's a beat or two before his brain registers that he's looking at Java, and switches away from English accordingly. His eyes flick to the road and back.

"They have --" appears uselessly within the code, and he frowns, because the next part doesn't make sense upon translation.

"They have the phone box," Amy confirms.

Mark returns the phone, breathing out slowly to try and dispel the knot of frustration in his stomach.

"I am," he says. "Extremely sick and tired of this cryptic Blues Clues routine!" He leans forward to look out the windshield, yelling in the general direction of the sky, "Some solid answers would be really helpful!"

They lapse into silence for a moment, Mark fuming. First he has to see himself walk into the break room and hand him a phone full of impossible true things, and then there was the woman in the wedding dress with a toilet paper roll and a secret message, and all that led him to this, the heavily-encrypted ghost in the machine, and none of it tells him anything.

"Why Yahoo! and Ask?" For exmaple. "If you're going to manipulate a search engine, then Yahoo! and Ask have nothing on the Google regime. Nothing can touch Google," though not for lack of trying. Mark, Sean, and a number of his PR staff have spent so much time negotiating with the Googlites that they pretty much have long-standing reservations to each other's weddings. Mark can't walk into Trader Joe's without somebody in a Google polo recognizing him. "In fact, they've dropped so much in traffic that --"

"After seriously rearranging their infrastructure," Amy points out. "Remember that?"

"Are you trying to say --"

"I'm saying that as a reasonably Internet-savvy graduate student with a stake in search engines, I'm worried. It's suspicious."

"Fine." Mark worries his bottom lip between his teeth, trying to think of what this means.

Amy jabs at his shoulder. "Hey, speaking of," and points. "Google alert."

Mark glances out the window and catches a glimpse of the tall, glittering glass skyplex that's the home of Google Headquarters, USA, right on the edge of the federal airfield. The airfield is a strictly off-limits, no-fly deadzone, a mysterious hangar the size of a small Midwestern town its sole distinguishing feature. Dustin and Sean are convinced the proximity can't be accidental, and it's impossible to drive by when both of them are in the car together and escape without somebody bringing it up the possibility of top-secret Google experimentation with mind control.

Think about it, Dustin always bellows whenever somebody tries to crank up the music in order to drown them out. They've probably got some whole Stepford village thing inside that hangar and pretty soon Google's going to perfect subliminal mind control through the changing Google logos! Come on, it's plausible!

He exchanges a look with Amy, who grins, and they both extend their middle fingers in salute as they sail by on the freeway. It's a habit they picked up from Sean, not unlike tapping the roof when you run a yellow light, because Sean's good-natured contempt towards Google is contagious. No matter how large Facebook gets or how many years in a row they're the most-frequented searched webpage, Google will always have them beat on the scale of Internet hierarchy. Sean feels this requires an expression of vitriol.

Amy falls back into her seat, laughing and kicking her feet up onto the dashboard, true Cali girl style. "That is such a bad habit," she complains.

"No one saw, it's fine," Mark drums his fingers on the steering wheel, grinning.

Sean and Amy tell people they met at the 10-year anniversary party for the Warcraft franchise (which was also the announced release date of World of Warcraft, the true money-maker of the series,) which technically isn't a lie, because they got reaquainted there, in a hey, didn't I see you naked once, oh hey, yeah, well, this is awkward kind of way. They did one night stand ("you made me think there was a snake in my dorm," Amy says every time, "I couldn't sleep for a week, you dick!"), then introductions, then parting of the ways, and now years later, they're dating. Kind of. Mark doesn't know if you can call it dating, and what is dating in California anyway, definitions vary.

We didn't necessarily do things in the right order, Amy likes to say, with that smile that shows of all of her teeth. But I don't think you have to, not really. Doesn't mean it's not real, doing it your way.

I really, really like the way she laughs, Sean told him on a different occasion, flopping over the foot of Mark's bed and smelling like Cuervo. Sean likes to crash at his place when he's falling up standing down drunk, because, quote, "your address is easier to say to the cab guy without slurring." This is why Mark has a spare bedroom. He'd been considering a one-bedroom over by the high school, but he figured Sean was going to crash with him no matter what kind of house he had and he might as well have a bedroom for him; Sean's had enough experience waking up in uncomfortable places already.

No, really, I do, Sean had insisted, propping himself up on his elbows. Mark had studiously filed that away under the list of things he's methodically learning about his friends, because while Sean may have turned out to be as shit a business partner as Eduardo, he's still his friend. You know what I think?

What, Sean?

He remembers this conversation vividly, it's strange.

I think that out of love and laughter, love came first, Sean pointed a finger at him. Love had to have come first, and then laughter was invented after that. They invented laughter so that you can deal with love, it's the only way.

Is that so? And then twitched his feet out of the way when Sean tried to pinch one of his toes, because Sean is handsy even when sober, and it comes out manifold when he's drunk.

Sean had regarded him for a moment. You know what I mean. The people that make you laugh the most. The ones you love the most. It's the only way you can deal with that kind of love, is to laugh about it. Everyone deserves people to laugh with.

And then, why didn't you try to find him when he went missing?

Mark had all but frog-marched him to the spare bedroom at that. The memory of it still makes his fingers clench.

"Hey," says Amy, breaking him out of his reverie. "Did you call Rhiannon and let her know we're coming?"

Mark tilts a dark look at her. Rhiannon Arnolds became the representative face of Ask around the same time Facebook broadened from being strictly college-exclusive to high schools too, sometime in 2006. A tall, intimidatingly articulate (this is coming from Mark, who could write the book on cutting articulation) middle-aged woman, she once told Mark at a gala at the Googleplex that if he was going to wear suits, he could at least try to look like he wasn't hiding the Russian circus inside first. After that, whenever he knew that they were going to be at the same function at the same time, he wore that mammoth of a suit just to annoy her.

"Oooooh," goes Amy when he keeps mum, grinning that big grin of hers. "She's going to be so mad at you."

Mark snorts, craning around to check his blind spot before he merges into the exit lane.

They have the phone box.

Come on, really?





continue to the next part -->

Comments

I just STARTED SCREAMING MY HEAD OFF. I AM THAT EXCITED ABOUT THIS.

AND I CANNOT READ THIS UNTIL TOMORROW, OH MY GOD, I'M GOING TO GO CRY NOW.
AAAAAHHHH OMG HIZA. asdfghjkjhgfs, I hope it lives up to your expectations, I am actually incredibly nervous about this one @____@
They have the phone box

OHSHIT

So, um, I really like this. It may be one of my favourite crossover 'verses ever, actually.
!!! That's quite an honor, thank you so much! ♥
so I was flailing like crazy when this popped up on my flist & then future!Mark appeared with Eduardo's old phone and my excitement level meter went to FULL. THEN RIVER SONG POPPED IN WITH "SWEETIE" & I Haven't Stopped Yelling Happily. & there are photos of the Doctor with Eduardo and everything is glorious & lovely!

They Have The Phone Box. OMGOMGOMGOMG It makes so much sense! but it's so scary, to consider the implications.

I will say this as well, I was a bit worried at Amy/Sean at the listing at the top before figuring it wasn't Amy Pond. :P
!!!! I am so glad you are excited about a sequel, this relieves a lot of worries I had about this fic just stretching out a crossover too far.

I was a bit worried at Amy/Sean at the listing at the top before figuring it wasn't Amy Pond.

AHH THIS. I know how you feel. The moment I realized I wanted Sean's one-night-stand Stanford!Amy to be one of the main characters, I was like, OKAY BUT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE HER A DIFFERENT NAME. NOT AMELIA. And then when I finally got around to seeing the movie again, I realized that Sean actually addresses her by her full name, Amelia Ritter, and I was like, ARE YOU KIDDING ME. FINE. This will probably confuse some people, but LET'S DO IT ANYWAY :DD


OMG
Okay, I love this so much.

And this:

"I need to eat something," he informs his desktop, which sits there in quiet, stoic support of his every decision, like it usually does.


I laughed so hard, omg.
Okay, okay, so I have been meaning to comment on Place That Don't Know My Name since I first read it and, er, haven't, because I am clearly just rubbish, but it is my actual favourite in this fandom. I cannot adequately express my sheer love for it without just gushing all over the place (sliiiightly like this, whoops), but ajhsgfjhsd IT OWNS THE ENTIRETY OF MY HEART. AND THEN I HAVE JUST SEEN THIS AND BASICALLY EXPIRED, OH MY GODDD, I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS YOU DON'T EVEN KNOOWWWWW, I LOVE YOUR WRITING AND ALSO YOU. <3333

(also, hello!)
I am answering this comment from beyond the grave. Thought you should know.

I was sitting there, minding my own business, when Gmail was like, hey, hun, you have a LJ comment from moogle62.

And I was like, lol Gmail u so funny, stop lying to me.

And Gmail was like, no really. Look, I can show you.

And then I made a noise like a SEAL getting SHOT in the ASS and fell out of my chair. And I was like, oh my god, it's moogle62, WHAT DO I DO HOW DO I BEHAVE IS THIS REAL LIFE OR IS THIS JUST FANTASY. Okay, okay, you can handle this; be cool, be smooth, be respectful and kind and politely admiring.

And proceeded to spend the next forty minutes staring at my screen a little like this:



Because what do you do when the person you admire most in the entirety of the TSN fandom comments on your fic? YOU THROW YOUR ARMS INTO THE AIR AND YOU YELL "LET ME DIE," THAT'S WHAT YOU DO.

Like, seriously, I think I recced There is a Place in my Heart to my flist, like, three times in a row. And someone pointed it out, being all "we've seen this before," and I was like, THEN YOU SHOULD READ IT AGAIN. Your writing -- it is adorable and hilarious and EVERYTHING ANYONE COULD EVER WANT. EVER.

I haven't read your bakery!AU yet, because I try not to read WIPs because I am selfish and I WANT EVERYTHING AT ONCE, but believe me when I say that I use it at a carrot, being like SELF, you have that bakery!AU to look forward to, it will be the best thing you ever --

HOLD THE FUCKING PHONE.

I JUST CHECKED YOUR JOURNAL.

AND IT IS FINISHED.

BRB NOT DOING ANYTHING COHERENT OR PRODUCTIVE FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT.

OH MY GOD OH MY GOD LET ME DIE.
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT oh my god, what even, you do not even know how in love I am with your fics. Like, I am aware you do not have this knowledge because I am so head over heels with your writing that I have been trying to write coherent comments for aaaaages and just NOT MANAGING IT. WHEN GMAIL INFORMED OF YOUR COMMENT JUST NOW I LITERALLY KEELED OVER TO PUT MY HEAD IN THE PILLOWS. HOW. I. AGFHGSDHFGJS HEARTS ALL IN MY EYES FOREVER.

I STILL HAVE NOT COMMENTED ON THIS FIC BUT THAT IS BECAUSE I GENUINELY COULD NOT SEE THE SCREEN WHEN I HAD FINISHED BECAUSE I WAS WEEPING ALL OVER THE PLACE. I LOVE YOUR WRITING, AND ALSO YOU, AND DID I MENTION THAT YOU ARE MY FAVOURITE TSN AUTHOR? BECAUSE, I MEAN, YOU ARE.

haaa oh god, I should be asleep so this comment is maybe not my finest hour, but my love still staaaaands. <333

aahsgfhsd also THANK YOU homg, I cannot believe you like There Is a Place in My Heart, I have been over here stanning your fics to everyone who will listen to me for basicles all the time. THE HOGWARTS AU. THE DARK MATERIALS AU. THE DOCTOR WHO CROSSOVERS OF MY SOUL. AUUUGH oh god this is just embarrassing now, but all the hearts in my eyes are belong to youuu. LIKE THIS: ♥ _____ ♥

edit: ay, okay, you can handle this; be cool, be smooth, be respectful and kind and politely admiring. - this is what I was trying to do too. CLEARLY I ACHIEVED THIS SPECTACULARLY WELL WITH THIS COMMENT :S ajgshjdsfs NEVER MIND. HERE IS SOME CAPSLOCK AND RIDICULOUSNESS INSTEAD.

Edited at 2011-04-27 01:31 am (UTC)
Okay, okay, I feel like I should let you know that I read the bakery!AU in one very, large sugary sitting (like seriously, sugary -- I kept going, omg that sounds amazing right now, and then I'd go make something with chocolate and strawberries BECAUSE I COULDN'T NOT, Mark and Eduardo made it so it was completely vital to my very existence to have something sweet that very second. My mother and brother benefited from this, so they appreciate you and all you do as well, they told me to tell you that) and went to bed at like 2. THERE WAS NO STOPPING ME, any life decision that involves reading bakery!AU is a good life decision.

AND THEN ALL OF TODAY I WAS RUNNING UP TO PEOPLE I KNEW, GOING, "ALL THE FEELINGS!" AND FLINGING MY ARMS AROUND THEM. I HAD ALL THE LOVE IN THE WORLD FOR EVERYBODY, YOUR WRITING IS BETTER THAN CAKE, BETTER THAN THE BEST SUGAR HIGH, THAT'S WHAT IT DOES TO ME. And the cool friends just kind of patted me on the back and were like, "the bakery!AU?"

I THINK I SHALL KEEP THEM.

AND ALSO THIS COMMENT, BECAUSE OH MY GOD, IT IS LIKE SHAKING HANDS WITH THE PRESIDENT. I am going to faint, I honestly feel like that little hometown person and suddenly there is this ROCK STAR named moogle62 on my JOURNAL, going, hey, you're kind of cool. LET ME DIE, I AM FOREVER HAPPY, HOW IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME.

I think I am also failing at polite, but that's okay, because I am fluent in CAPSLOCK ADMIRATION.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Just popping in to let you know I rec'd this

http://raveninthewind.dreamwidth.org/1109064.html and cross-posted on LJ.

I have to say, it was a timely story for me personally. I needed something to pull me away from reality, and your lengthy, absorbing tale helped me through a rough day. This was also cathartic wishful fulfillment for the bereaved, and that is both satisfying and painful (when one is forced to face the current universe that has a person-shaped hole).

But I do thank you for creating this.

Re: Just popping in to let you know I rec'd this

!!! Oh, wow. Thank you so much for the rec, that's incredibly kind of you.

And I'm so sorry you had a rough day, I wish you the best at everything *hugs!* ♥
When you write a non-fanfic novel and get it published on the market, you're going to have to tell me so I can run off to the nearest B & N to buy an advance copy. Not even kidding.

Intelligent, insightful (but really just ecstatic gibberish) comment forthcoming.
Sequel! *does a dance*

Mark takes it from him, the palm of his hand slippery with pizza grease: an old Blackberry, criminally out of date, but functional, given that when he thumbs the unlock button, it lights right up. He's instantly greeted with a background of Eduardo Saverin, his Eduardo Saverin who he hasn't even thought of in weeks and hasn't been seen in the last third of his life, squeezed messily into a frame with four other people; a man in a bow tie with his mouth pulled to the side like he's been caught mid-sentence, a redheaded woman, and a nervous-looking man holding a child, all of them smiling so wide they look slightly demented.
He blinks a little, the pressure in his chest momentarily unbearable. "Why have you given me Eduardo's old phone?" he asks blankly, looking up.

Oooooooooo!

He learned the "don't know what you got until it's gone" lesson quite early in life, thank you, and is perfectly content with what he has.
*wibbles*

90% of the people in here are completely meaningless to him, but half-way down he notices that a couple of them have little red x's next to the names. Among these are Dad's publicist, Christy, something called the Ood High Matchmaking Council, Home (Miami), and (his heart does a very valiant attempt at flipping over in his chest) Mark, so it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to figure out that these are the ignored numbers.
*laughs and then cries*

Next is the recent calls, and Mark stops dead in his tracks, because the name at the very top of the list, the last person to talk to Eduardo alive was --
The last person to talk to Eduardo alive was Dustin (office).
He frowns, eyes flicking to the time stamp, which is dated --
Tomorrow.

What? AWESOMESAUCE!

Mark.
He drifts sideways, pulling out a chair from the dining table and sinking into it, because it takes more concentration to stand than he can afford right now. If seeing his name on the blocked numbers hadn't been enough to do it, he is now completely convinced that the Blackberry isn't some very, very clever hoax. This is really Eduardo's phone.
Because he remembers that phone call.

*sniffles*

It's full of impossible things; shots of nebulas and galaxies that have to have been downloaded from the NASA site, except each photo stoutly claims to have been originally taken by the phone, and one of them even includes a partial shot of the deck of a spaceship, so maybe it's a movie set. There are pictures of people in period dress, people with more than the required number of limbs, sunsets in colors that the Blackberry's 16 color-bit screen can't seem to handle, and even one of a bug-eyed plant caught mid-gesture with one broad leaf like it's giving a museum tutorial.
This just makes me so happy.

He appears in various faculties, this man does: laughing, grinning, bounding colt-legged through the edges of frames, wielding what looks like a penlight that blurs green light in arcs, and in one, wearing a mop head on his head and coyly brushing the dingy grey ropes out of his eyes, in so close that he must have been only a foot or so away from Eduardo when the picture was taken.
OTP OTP OTP

"It's like not being allowed past the bike room all over again!" he complains, resentful and bitter and very tired all of a sudden.
Ouch.

"I'll let you go and get on with your morning, then. Razia, Dustin, and," he waves his hand vaguely. "Baby-like thing."
*snerk* He's kinda like the anti-Eleven, with similarities to Eleven as well.

Lounging in his chair is a woman, sitting behind his veritable fort of computer screens like she came installed. A stunningly white dress wraps around her figure, trailing across the carpet like the train of a wedding gown, and her wild coils of hair spring every which way around her head. Mark wonders, kneejerk, if she could pick up signals for HBO with that hair; it seems like a conceivable concern.
Her hair is full of secrets!
Dustin rematerializes. "Mark!" he exclaims, sounding almost accusatory. "A beautiful woman in a wedding dress shows up in your office, and you chase her off in less than thirty seconds!"
*sporfles* ILU Dustin.

To put it simply, it makes Mark want to stab her in the face.
Respectfully.

Bahahahahaaa.

It startles Amy into laughter, however. "Oh, thank you for putting the most vain-sounding words into my mouth. Like you have room to talk anyway, I've seen you and your receding hairline."
"Barely!" Mark's free hand flies to his temple, as if her words alone might cause the spontaneous advancement of a bald patch. "You can hardly tell," he continues, quieter.
"Yeah, I know, your fro covers it." She sounds darkly amused by this point.

*sporfles* Bond with Wardo about receding hairlines, Mark! And then make out!

"I like this car," Mark answers, defensive, the same way he says, I like my clothes, I like my shoes, I like my house. Seriously, why does everyone insist on having a problem with it?
Heh. Oh Mark …

"They have the phone box," Amy confirms.
Dun dun daaaaaaaa!

"I am," he says. "Extremely sick and tired of this cryptic Blues Clues routine!" He leans forward to look out the windshield, yelling in the general direction of the sky, "Some solid answers would be really helpful!"
*giggles* Blues Clues …

Sean likes to crash at his place when he's falling up standing down drunk, because, quote, "your address is easier to say to the cab guy without slurring." This is why Mark has a spare bedroom. He'd been considering a one-bedroom over by the high school, but he figured Sean was going to crash with him no matter what kind of house he had and he might as well have a bedroom for him; Sean's had enough experience waking up in uncomfortable places already.
Heh, oh Sean …

And then twitched his feet out of the way when Sean tried to pinch one of his toes, because Sean is handsy even when sober, and it comes out manifold when he's drunk.
I'm not shipping Mark/Sean, I don't know why you're looking at me suspiciously … *blushes*
dragonmen

March 2014

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com