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11 April 2012 @ 07:07 pm
fic: now you see me (mark/eduardo); 1/3  
title: now you see me
word count: 15,336
summary: originally posted here at the mark_eduardo comm.
(or; eduardo never got touched as a child - and now every touch means everything to him.)
rating/warnings: nc-17; warnings for slightly d/s overtones and incredibly stupid boys.
disclaimer: these are not my boys and i don't think this is real.
notes: wow. this is, uh. one of the longest things i've written for fandom (second only to still another day, i think) and one of the most self-indulgent. i didn't do any planning before this other than eduardo gets off on being touched? gotcha and panicked a bit when i realized this. but i think it turned out all right!  :)


now you see me

It’s always been this way, if Mark makes himself remember that far back.

Back at Harvard, in between too much Red Bull and too many Red Vines, between night and day (his night and day, not everyone else's, because night is when he isn't working and he only isn't working when he can't anymore, and days stretch on and on for him, until he can barely stand, can do nothing but fall into bed), Eduardo was always there.

Until he became Wardo, permanently fixed himself into Mark's life, a constant stream of touches, feather-light on his skin.

And - the thing is - Mark loved it. He didn't realize what was going on, didn't see it for what he should have, but he loved it, more than anyone should love being touched in the most innocent of senses – more than he ever has, because he’s never been the type for casual affection, for touches without a purpose.

A hand on his back, though, or an almost-forced (though not really, of course) hug – it’s okay, when it’s Wardo. Most things are okay, when they’re Wardo.

Mark's never been a touchy-feely person. He's never been one for this sort of thing - whenever Dustin got too drunk and too handsy Mark extricated himself from the situation, because it reminded him too much of his family, of what he left behind for his dreams (he doesn’t regret it, though, can’t regret it, and he knows they’re okay with him having left – they get it).

(He feels strange, calling his life's work his dream, but he supposes that's what it is - a dream that took over, everything, until everyone that wasn't Facebook, that he wasn't positive had Facebook's best interest at heart, was shut out.

His mother sends him messages on his website, sometimes, and he has to shake his head at the surrealism of it all, at the way things worked out, somehow.)

But Wardo - Wardo was there from the beginning, and he gave Mark's shoulder a squeeze the first time that he saw him.

That's how it started, Mark thinks - with a touch on the arm, the gentlest of touches, barely there. Compared to everything else, nothing - but it meant everything, even then, even if he didn't realize it.

It took him a long time to figure out what it all meant - it wasn't until after point zero three percent and I was your only friend, after too many nights missing him, that Mark realized anything, that he understood what it all was, what it all meant.

Mark Zuckerberg doesn't miss people. Mark's never really missed anyone - until Eduardo left, until he didn't have that anymore.

He'd thought Wardo would be there for the long haul. They all did, all wanted him to be there until the end.

He could have been, too, Mark thinks - even now, years after the fact. He could have been there until the end, until Mark got it together enough to - confess something. To touch back, in a way, because Wardo always seemed to love it when Mark reciprocated, though the times were few and far between.

He sees it, now.

Now, if he were to have Wardo back, he'd give his all, because he knows - Wardo's worth it, what Wardo and he might have been if Mark weren't so stupid were worth it.

He closes his eyes.

//

He's happy, these days.

He tells himself that he's happy - or if that he isn't, he's at least content with the way that his life has gone, with what he's become. He got what he wanted, in terms of Facebook, and he wouldn't change that for anything.

Not even Wardo - because as much as he might miss him, he's not an idiot. He made the decision that he should have, in picking Facebook. It’s infinitely more than he could have hoped and it’s fantastic, wonderful, worth it.

The thing is - it's that he almost regrets it, sometimes. He's not used to regretting things, not used to changing his mind about decisions made in the past, and now when he looks at pictures of Wardo, of them, he feels a pang in his chest.

He's moved on, but not enough. Not totally.

He doesn't know if he ever will.

//

Dustin gets him drunk, one night.

"You look like a kicked puppy," he'd decided, "and it's the anniversary of the dilution and I think you need to get drunk."

(Dustin always says it like that - blunt, matter-of-fact, while Chris tiptoes around any mention of Wardo. Mark prefers Dustin's ways. It's harder to feel guilty when people aren't worried about setting you off.)

And so Mark is sitting in Dustin's apartment, and they're smashed beyond belief, and Mark is thinking about things he shouldn't be thinking about.

It's been a while since they've done this - since Dustin's managed to get Mark to drink with him, away from the offices. Mark's head is spinning and he's going to hate himself tomorrow, but for now, he's almost grateful to Dustin.

"I miss him," he says, sighs out. "I really fucking miss him."

"I know," Dustin says, and of course he does, but he doesn't push. It's almost unlike him, but Mark isn't complaining.

"I want to call him," he says, matter-of-fact.

Dustin shakes his head. "No, I don't think -"

"I'm not going to - to tell him that I love him. I want to - to see how he is."

Dustin half-smiles. "Why don't you just check his Facebook?"

And so here Mark is, looking at one Eduardo Saverin's Facebook page. He's single, never been married, and he looks - happy, according to all of his pictures.

Mark swallows, and types a simple message that takes him too long to get right.

Eduardo,

How have you been?

Just wanted to say hello.

Mark


It doesn't say everything that he wants it to, doesn't come close, but it's a start.

He only hopes Eduardo will take this for what it is - a peace offering, of sorts.

He closes his eyes, suddenly exhausted, and Dustin's snoring on the chair.

It's all so much like Harvard that he can't begin to make sense of it, and he falls asleep there, on the couch, curled up.

He hopes Wardo responds, hopes something can happen - but he won't hold his breath.

If it doesn't work, well, it's his own fault.

//

It's a while before he gets a response.

At least, it's a while for him - ever since he discovered the computer, discovered what he could do and control, he hasn't been able to pull himself away for too long, and so a day without a response tears him up inside - because how can he be that important, if it doesn't warrant a response until then? - but this is Wardo, he reminds himself, Wardo who isn't Dustin, who isn’t Facebook, who isn't glued to his computer.

(His Facebook might be wrong, even - he might have someone, a significant other, and that leaves a bad taste in Mark's mouth but he has to keep reminding himself that it's his own goddamn fault if Wardo's moved on. He hopes Wardo's moved on, even - he deserves it, deserves someone who makes him happy, deserves to be absolutely happy.

He tries not to think about the fact that he used to make Wardo happy, that he used to be enough.

That bridge might have been burned. And it’d be his own fault.)

It's days before he gets a response, seven days, a full week, and in that week he goes on a coding binge like he hasn't since Harvard, three days of nothing but letters burned behind his eyelids.

He sleeps, then, for too long, and when he gets up there's a message from Eduardo.

Mark

I've been good. And yourself?

We should meet sometime. Talk in person, this feels too impersonal. On my end, at least - you're probably used to it. Let me know.

Eduardo


He closes his eyes and feels almost relieved, at this - because this means Eduardo can't hate him, that he might become Wardo again.

If he gets that chance - if he can have his Wardo back, he's not going to fuck it up.

//

He gets Wardo's number from Dustin (Eduardo, he tries to remind himself, but it doesn't work) and they have a slightly stilted conversation before Mark asks to meet him at a coffeeshop.

For once, he gets there early (it's because this matters) and he spends too long sitting there, by himself, deciding what he's going to say - and then Eduardo walks in.

He looks good - he looks as though he's come into his confidence, has an easy grace that Mark almost envies. He stands up, holds out a hand, because he’s polite now, okay, and a smile plays at the corners of Eduardo's mouth as he grips it, shakes, once.

They sit down and stare for a long moment.

Mark swallows. "I'm sorry." It's not how he intended to start, but it's all he can think of to say.

Eduardo frowns. "For what?"

"The way I handled the dilution."

Eduardo blinks at him, taking a sip of his coffee. "Getting right to the point, I see."

Mark shrugs. "I see no reason to beat around the bush." He bites his lip. "I am, though," and this comes out soft.

Eduardo waves a hand. "I know." He pauses. "It's not all right, but I don't think that should hinder - anything."

"You mean a friendship."

Eduardo inclines his head, the same small smile back.

Mark breathes, and he feels like he's back at Harvard again, like he's always felt around Wardo - safe. He reaches across the table, because he can, because he thinks he should, and squeezes Eduardo's hand, once. "I really have missed you."

Eduardo swallows, thick, looking shell-shocked, and nods. It's a moment before he responds, a soft, "Me, too."

It feels like the beginning of something - Mark isn't sure what, but he knows he likes it.

(This time, he won't fuck it up.)

//

It's different, now.

It's different and the same; Mark is still Mark. He still works too much and sleeps too little, and that's never been a problem until now - his friends have all been there since Harvard, know this is how he gets.

The problem, though, is that Eduardo was there, too, saw what he was like then, and Mark wants to prove to him that he's not the same person, not in the ways that matter. His sleeping habits aren’t important – this, proving that he can handle being a functioning human being, is.

(Eduardo is still the same - he's endlessly kind and funny and he touches Mark just as much as before.

That's different, too - the flipping of Mark's stomach like he's five fucking years old, the way he almost gets tongue-tied around him, the way he never wants Eduardo to let go when he gives him a hug.

That's new.)

//

After a week of Wardo (Eduardo, he reminds himself) being there, he invites Mark out to dinner.

"Just something nice, casual," he says, and he's smiling. "I don't really get to spend time with you, you know? You're - I don't want it to be strange, but -"

"I'd love to," Mark says, quick, because he would.

He leaves the office at six, because they can manage without him for one night, and they meet at a small Mexican restaurant. Eduardo looks good, not dressed up but not dressed down, either, and Mark feels small, young, in his jeans and a t-shirt.

"You look nice," Eduardo says, because that's the kind of person he is, and he wraps an arm around Mark's neck, smiles down at him. "Shall we?"

"We shall," Mark says, and oh god when did he turn into a character in a romance novel?

(He isn't one, he reminds himself, because he and Wardo aren't in a relationship. He wants to add a yet to that, but he doesn't know how Wardo feels about it all.

He wants to know, wants to understand, but he's not sure if Wardo will let him.)

The conversation is light, easy. Eduardo talks about his work, Singapore, the weather (because he still loves weather and how can Mark ask him to stop when he gets that look in his eyes?), and Mark tries not to talk about his work, but he doesn't have anything else in his life.

He has a beer, or two, and he says it to Eduardo, then. "I don't have a life outside of Facebook."

Eduardo stiffens. "Oh?"

Mark nods. "I just - I wanted to. I want to, now." He frowns. "But - I don't know how I'm supposed to - do that. I don't make friends easily." He looks down.

"Hey." Eduardo reaches out, grabs his wrist. "I'm your friend, Mark. Okay? I like you. This is easy. It can be easy."

Mark stares at it for too long, and the words I want you to be more are on his tongue - but he doesn't know what Eduardo wants and so what he says is, "I want to call you Wardo."

He gets a grin from the other end of the table. "Why don't you then?"

"Because you have every right to hate me and I don't want that to be the cause of more of it."

Wardo's staring at him, now, looking concerned, and Mark realizes - too late - that he's said too much. He stands, looks for their waiter. He's not drunk but he's said too much and Wardo's going to leave him again - and Mark wouldn't blame him if he did.

(He deserves to be left.)

"Hey," and this comes out sharp. 

Mark looks at him.

Wardo grabs his wrist again, tight. "I'm not going anywhere."

Mark closes his eyes, and nods.

//

After they finally get out, Wardo walks him home, because he's a gentleman, and this wasn't a date but it feels like one.

Mark isn't drunk but his tongue got loosened and he can't do that, around Wardo, not with everything that happened.

"This is it," Mark says, smiling. "Thank you."

Wardo puts a hand on his arm, squeezes, soft. "Good night," and he's smiling, wide.

Mark's so close he could kiss him, if he wanted - but instead he reaches up, gives Wardo a hug.

He hears a small noise, and when Wardo pulls away he seems nervous, or something.

"Good night," Mark says, and he goes inside.

//

It’s Wardo, that starts it.

Of course it is. Mark wouldn’t, can’t, but –

"Mark," Wardo whispers, one night, sitting in his car, and it's been a week since the hug, since their friendship turned into what it was before, a constant game of toeing the line between more and less, "Mark."

Mark turns his head, and smiles.

Wardo reaches up, puts a hand on the side of Mark's face, and he turns into the touch, eyes fluttering shut, grabbing Wardo's other hand.

Wardo lets out a soft noise, like he did before, and Mark barely has time to react before Wardo’s kissing him, harsh, nipping teeth - and Mark can do nothing but kiss back, eyes shut tight, hands wrapping around his neck, and the seatbelt is digging into him but he doesn’t care.

"Mark, fuck," and Wardo's breathing is ragged, "we should - go somewhere?"

Mark would go anywhere with him - and he's forever going to blame that thought on the way that Wardo looks right now, absolutely perfect. He nods, quick, and Wardo manages to get them to Mark’s house, somehow.

And then there is more kissing, harsh, and Mark's sighing into Wardo's mouth and Wardo's hands are everywhere, on his back and his hips, and when Mark wraps his hands around Wardo's waist, he lets out the most delicious moan, pressing against Mark.

He's hard, and Mark can't even think about what that might mean, right now - but he needs to blow Wardo, or something, now.

"Wardo," he hisses out, biting at his lip before pulling away - and he looks perfect in this light, eyes wide and hair messed up, and he pulls off Wardo’s shirt, impatient. "Wardo, can I -" and he puts a hand on the waist of Wardo's jeans, licking over his lower lip.

He gets a nod and then Mark’s pushing him against the bed, kissing him hard, and Wardo's arching into his touch and moaning. Mark wraps his lips around a nipple, hands pressing down into Wardo's hips, and just like that - without his cock being touched, without anything else, Wardo's coming, hard, gasping out harsh breaths.

And Mark - well, he can't fucking breathe after that, and he starts to jerk himself off, rough, before Wardo pushes him aside, hands gripping his hips, and wraps his lips around him, moving quickly.

It doesn't take long for Mark to come, and when it's done, when he's calmer, he curls into Wardo, hand trailing patterns up his side.

"You like being touched," he says, flat, and Wardo stiffens.

"I just - I don't - yes," he finally says.

Mark closes his eye, smiling, stupid with it. "It's not a bad thing," and this comes out weak. "Fuck, Wardo, I - fuck."

He gets a grin and a kiss to the top of his head.

He doesn't understand, yet, doesn't even know what this is (yet) but he has faith, for whatever reason, that he'll understand it soon enough.

He has faith in this.

//

Mark wakes up late, the next morning.

It's the first time he's gotten a decent night's sleep in he doesn't know how long, and he spends a moment just looking at Wardo, smiling, trailing a hand down his arm - and he wants this, wants it so much it hurts, but he has to be sure that this means the same to both of them. He isn't going to let himself hurt Wardo, not again, isn't going to let anything like that happen.

Not this time.

Wardo stirs and Mark can't help but kiss him, and it's a kiss full of morning breath but he doesn't mind.

Wardo grins, and nuzzles into Mark's chest, and he's actually never been this happy - which is scary but not unexpected because this is Wardo, Wardo that he loves so desperately he can't function.

"Mark," comes the sleepy sigh, and he smiles, kisses the top of Wardo's head.

"I'm glad you slept here," he says, soft, and winces - because that's not how you start a conversation like this, and more than that, he’s happy Wardo woke up here.

Wardo looks up, and he looks worried, which is insane - he should never be worried around Mark, never have to worry about him.

"I'm - I can leave, if you want." This comes, soft, small.

Mark's shaking his head before he has time to properly register what Wardo's said. "Stay," he says, and reaches out, puts a hand on Wardo's waist. "Please."

Wardo looks at him for a long moment, and Mark watches his breathing quicken, watches as he stares at Mark, eyes flicking to his lips.

"I want you to stay - I want you to -" Mark gets out, and that's all he can because Wardo's kissing him, again.

It's like before, needy, desperate, but there's a feeling of tenderness in the way that his hand wraps around Mark's shoulder, pulling him closer.

Mark pulls away, shakes his head, because he needs to know, needs to be sure. "Is this - is this real?" he asks, voice wrecked.

Wardo nods, quick, and kisses him again. "Mark," he whispers. "I - please." He pauses. "I -"

"Is this going to be -" and Mark can barely finish but he needs to, has to know, and Wardo’s nodding at him, "- is this going to be something -" and then Mark’s kissing him again, has to, because it's everything that he's wanted for too long but hasn't been able to touch, and now he can.

//

Later, Wardo smiles at him, kisses the tip of his nose.

Mark bites his lip. “So we’re – dating, yes?”

Wardo laughs but nods, relief evident on his face, and pulls him in for a kiss.

He hasn't dated anyone in too long, not really dated, and he links his fingers together with Wardo's, pulls him close.

Wardo makes a small sound at that, and Mark wants to ask why, wants to know why he's so responsive - but that's a question for another time.

They have time, now, and it's wonderful.

//

Wardo visits him, more often than he did before this started, and it always turns into the same thing - kissing, heavy and desperate, and quick orgasms with Mark's teeth buried in Wardo's neck.

But now - it's been long enough (two weeks) that he thinks he can stop him just before Wardo's hand travels down Mark's pants, and he pushes himself up, looks at Wardo. "You get off on being touched, don't you?"

Wardo turns bright pink and mumbles something that Mark doesn't catch.

"Hey," he says, and it's soft - and he's panting but this is important. He wants to know what turns Wardo on, wants to know what he gets off on - and it's really fucking hot. He trails a hand down Wardo's side, feather-light, and Wardo's hips tilt up, teeth dig into his lower lip. Mark swallows. "You think you could get off without me touching your cock?"

"Already – did," Wardo says, forces out, and he's shaking, already. “Don’t you remember?”

Mark nods, breathing harsh, and he closes his eyes. He has to know, doesn’t know why but he does – he wants to understand this little part of Wardo that’s so far eluded him. “Why?”

Wardo shakes his head. “I’ll tell you later.” Mark’s fingers grip his hip, tighter, and he gasps out a “Please.”


It’s the begging that gets him to nod, to kiss Wardo again, and he keeps a hand pressing down against Wardo’s hips, hard. “Don’t move,” he whispers.

Wardo nods, quick, and bites his lip. Mark trails his nails up Wardo’s side again, and he moves to his neck, sucking a dark bruise there.

Wardo lets out a moan that he can’t stifle, but he cuts himself off at the end, turning a light pink.

“Don’t,” Mark whispers, pressing a thumb into the mark, “I want to hear you. Come on, Wardo.”

“Mark,” he whispers, and his voice is wrecked and they haven’t gotten to the actual sex yet – and this shouldn’t be as much of a turn-on as it is. “Mark, please – something, anything.”

Mark nods. He trails his nails down Wardo’s chest, now, light enough that Wardo can barely feel it, can only squirm underneath him, and he smiles, bites at Wardo’s neck again.

“That’s going to leave a mark,” he says, and looks at Wardo, almost for permission – because he’s not sure he was allowed to do that.

“Good,” Wardo whispers, and he leans up, kissing Mark, hard.

Mark hisses through his teeth and kisses back, hands wrapping around Wardo’s waist, and he feels Wardo get impossibly harder, press himself against Mark.

“Fuck,” Mark whispers, and pushes him down, hands fumbling with Wardo’s belt. “Fuck,” and he gets a hand wrapped around Wardo’s cock, and it doesn’t take long – a few strokes, quick – for Wardo to come, biting down on Mark’s lip.

Before he can do anything, before Wardo’s even calmed down, he’s flipping Mark over, hand pressing down into his jeans, getting them off quickly, stroking him – and Mark can’t keep himself quiet, can only squeeze his eyes shut and try to stifle his gasps.

Wardo kisses him and he comes then, body arching up, and he needs a moment to just let himself relax, because fuck.

“Come here,” he whispers, and Wardo crawls toward him, lies down next to him. Mark presses his face into his chest, wraps an arm around him, and Wardo hums, happy.

Mark grins. “Shower?” he asks.

Wardo looks down at him and Mark feels his heart rate speed up, because he has want in his gaze and that’s not something Mark’s used to seeing from people but he’ll take it. “Yeah,” he whispers, and clears his throat. “Come on.”

And so they take a shower, and Mark washes Wardo, presses him against the wall, and by the time he’s through Wardo’s a panting mess, squirming against him.

“Mark,” he whispers, letting out another moan, choked-off, “come on.”

“I’m just trying to help you out,” Mark says, and he can’t keep the laughter out of his voice. 

“You little shit,” Wardo whispers, but he’s smiling, and he kisses Mark, then, surprising him. “You can fuck me, if you like,” he whispers against Mark’s lips.

Mark freezes, and Wardo pulls away. 

“If – if you want to, that is,” he says, and he sounds nervous, now.

And Mark does want to, more than he’s ever wanted anything, but – he’s scared, almost. Mark shakes his head, smiles. “Another time,” he says, and his voice is rough.

Wardo nods, though he looks almost sad, and Mark finally wraps his hand around his cock, stroking him lightly, other hand pressed into his hip.

Wardo’s moving against the wall – and it’s so fucking hot, how responsive he is, the way he can’t seem to get enough of Mark’s touch, the incredible way he can’t control himself when he gets it.

Mark bites at his shoulder and moves down, sucking at his nipple, and Wardo comes with a shout, sliding a bit against the wall.

“Mark,” he whispers, and looks up at Mark, half-dazed. “Fuck.”

Mark grins. “I know,” and he’s laughing again.

It doesn’t take long for Wardo to reciprocate, getting down on his knees for Mark, and it doesn’t take long at all for him to come.

//

Later, Mark is lying down with Wardo, tracing patterns onto his stomach.

“Why?” he finally asks, looking up at Wardo. 

He swallows. “It’s really not a big deal.”

“It is to me,” Mark says, and he surprises himself by actually meaning it.

It’s the beginning of the relationship, but he’s meant everything to Mark for too long to ignore something like this. If it was something fun, he’d be able to let it go – but he’s guessing, by Wardo’s hesitation, that it’s not something small, that it’s something that might mean everything. 

“It’s just how I show affection,” Wardo says, and he’s rubbing a circle into Mark’s shoulder. “I don’t – I didn’t – and I know, now, that when people – contact means love, or something like it.” He opens his mouth but shuts it quickly, doesn’t say anything else.

Mark nods, and the words I love you are on the tip of his tongue but he won’t say it, can’t do that to Wardo. He’ll wait until later, until it won’t feel forced, until Wardo isn’t pulled taut, like Mark’s going to hurt him.

He doesn’t think that’s the whole of the story, thinks his father is involved, but he can understand why Wardo likes it, now – and he’ll accept that.

//

There is a point where Wardo has to go back to Singapore.

He lived there, he tells Mark, who understands, really - but he doesn't want to let him go, curls his fingers into Wardo's jacket because he wants to keep him close.

The words I love you are on the tip of his tongue then, too, but he won't say them (yet), because he wants it to mean something and right before he leaves seems cheap, almost.

It isn't that he's not sure of his feelings; he's sure, and if he wasn't he would be as soon as Wardo looked at him, as soon as he got a smile. 

He knows he loves Wardo because he's always known he loves him - and when he wakes up, now, sometimes Wardo is there and he can't help the stupid smiles that make his way across his face, can't help pulling him close and just breathing him in.

//

Wardo is going back to Singapore and it's not for a long time, in the slightest, but Mark doesn't want to let him go.

"Stay," he says, under his breath, holding him tight in the car, and Wardo pulls away, looking surprised.

"Mark?" he says, and he brings up a hand to cup the side of his face, fingers whisper-soft against his cheekbone. "You're - Mark," and they're going to have to get out of the car soon, Wardo has to go, but Mark leans into the touch, because maybe he's grown a bit dependent on him.

"I'm sorry," Mark gets out, forces out, and squeezes his eyes shut, forces himself to pull away, look out the window. "Have a safe trip," and he hopes that Wardo understands that he isn't trying to be an asshole, that this is simply all that he can do, now.

"Mark," he hears, again, and he half-turns his head to Wardo pressing his lips against his cheek, hands wrapping around Mark's shoulders. "I don't want to leave, either," and at that, Mark relaxes against him, because even now, even after the everything of now, he's terrified of wanting this too much, more than Wardo, of being too eager after everything's happened.

And he could say something silly like then don't but he won't, because he isn't that brand of asshole and he sees, now, how much he has to be making Wardo hurt by keeping him here.

"You'll be back?" he asks, and his voice cracks, embarrassingly, but Wardo ignores it, to nod.

"Two weeks from tomorrow," Mark says, and he smiles.

//

Mark doesn't like being alone.

He's never minded it before, but Wardo all but moved into his house and now - well, Mark doesn't know what to do with all of this empty space, doesn't know how to fill it with things that aren't Wardo.

He doesn't want to fill it with anyone but Wardo, either.

He sits at the table in the morning (because Wardo's started to make him eat breakfast, now, where he never did before) and he eats cereal by himself and he misses the conversation, the phantom bump of a hip against his, warm coffee pressed into his hand, Wardo waiting for a kiss.

(He's fucking pathetic but he thinks Wardo likes him anyway, and that's enough.

He doesn't need anyone else's opinion but Wardo's, anyway.)

//

He waits only a day before texting Wardo, tries to be subtle.

So how was the flight? How's Singapore?

He gets a reply nearly instantly.

It's the same as it was when I left. It'd be nicer if you were here. :)

Mark's hands are shaking when he reads it, because he doesn't know what to do with all of this - has never put much stock in love and the feelings that everyone else talks about but he feels it, now, crashing over him, engulfing him, and he understands in that moment why so many songs have been written about it, why everyone wants it.

He waits too long to reply, though, because -

I'm sorry, was that too much? I onlly mean tthat I"m not used to being by msyelf.

And the typos, so obviously ignored by him in his haste to get across to Mark how little he cares, really (so long as Mark doesn't care either) only endear Wardo more to him, and he can't help the stupid smile.

He can't text anymore, calls him instead.

"Hello?" and Wardo sounds rushed, nervous.

"I miss you, too, you idiot," Mark says, and laughs.

Wardo's voice is pleased when he responds, and pitched lower than before. "I really do think you'd love it here."

"If you were there, I'm sure I would. You make everything enjoyable," Mark says, almost absently, sitting down at his laptop.

There's a moment of silence.

Mark clears his throat. "Wardo?"

"I - nothing," and, okay, he sounds stupidly happy.

Mark goes over what he's said, and - "This is real," he says, almost in awe.

Wardo swallows; Mark can fucking hear it. "Of course it is."

"No, I mean - of course - but -" and Mark's eyes close. "I can't - I miss you," and what he means is I love you but he won't say it over the phone, either.

"You, too," Wardo says, almost dazed, and Mark hears a noise and then Wardo's saying, "I have to go, Mark, but I'll talk to you soon, yeah?"

Mark smiles. "Of course," and he means it.

//

He misses having someone to hold.

Sleeping alone before Wardo and sleeping alone after Wardo are two entirely different things, and it's only two weeks but it feels like more.

He doesn't want to sleep, now, doesn't want to crawl into the bed that's too big, that isn't warm enough, without Wardo there.

And so he reverts back into his old habits, codes until he can't see, sleeps a couple of hours a night at most, and misses Wardo more than he can say.

They talk, of course, but it's different than having him in person and Mark's never counted down the days to anything before but before Wardo he never had anyone to count down for.

//

Mark can't help himself, when Wardo gets back.

He'd insisted on driving himself until Mark couldn't argue anymore, and Mark's sitting on his laptop, waiting for him.

Wardo opens the door and Mark's up too quickly, nearly running to him, and he all but throws his arms around him, hugging him tight.

Wardo makes a pleased noise in the back of his throat, holding him right back. "Mark," he says, and that's it.

Mark presses his face into the juncture between Wardo's neck and his shoulder, breathing him in. He smells like the airplane and stale sweat and Mark should let him go, let him change, but he can't, won't. "I missed you so much," and it comes out as a whisper but Wardo hears him loud and clear.

"You, too, Mark."

They stand there for a while, until Mark starts to feel silly (because Wardo likes touching but maybe not like that, maybe only during sex, maybe -), and he pulls away just a bit.

"No," Wardo says, and it comes out as a half-growl. His arms tighten and pull Mark close again. He kisses Mark, then, and it's a gentle press of lips until it isn't, until it's more - and then Wardo's turning them around, pressing Mark against the wall, hard.

"Wardo -" he chokes out, and his head thunks against the door but it doesn't matter because Wardo's slamming their lips together, biting at him almost harshly.

"Bed?" Mark gets out between kisses, and Wardo shakes his head, dropping to his knees. 

"Here," he says, and there's so much force in his voice that Mark can only nod, let a hand go to Wardo's hair, tugging the slightest bit.

Wardo doesn't waste any time sucking him down, and Mark's on the edge too, too quickly, hand tugging harder on Wardo's hair, a warning.

Wardo nods, and his hand grips Mark's thigh hard, and Mark's coming so hard he sees stars, slumping back against the door, sliding down it.

Before the fog is gone he's pushing at Wardo, kissing him hard, and Wardo's back is on the floor and Mark's hand is in his pants before he's entirely settled.

The angle is wrong but he's sucking at Wardo's neck and thumbing at a nipple, and Wardo's coming, hard, hips moving against Mark and choking out an endless stream of Portuguese.

When he's through, Mark lies down next to him, hand stroking across Wardo's stomach. They're both mostly still dressed, but after a while - well, Mark will properly welcome him home.

"I -" Mark starts, and pauses, licks his lips.

Wardo turns his head. "Yeah?" and it comes out soft.

Mark shakes his head. "I'm just happy you're here," because he feels it and he wants to say it but he doesn't know how, now, doesn't know if Wardo would believe it, accept it, feel it back.

Wardo smiles, and a hand cards through Mark's hair, scratching at his scalp. "Should we clean up?" he asks.

Mark shakes his head. He feels raw, somehow, and this is no different from what they've done before but he wants to keep Wardo close. "Please," he says, and he doesn't say it often but he needs to feel Wardo with him.

He's had too little sleep, spent too long without him - and perhaps he's being stupid, if too long is two weeks, but Wardo doesn't seem to mind.

Mark hugs him tight and then Wardo's letting out a desperate noise, and he maneuvers himself so he's curled into Mark, face pressed into his neck, and he's breathing in tight breaths.

Mark stiffens, and looks down at him. "Wardo?"

"I'm fine," and it's muffled. "Just - I just want a moment here."

And Mark doesn't know what to do with that, because they're lying on a hard floor and there's come drying in Wardo's trousers but he seems happy, here, with Mark of all people.

(Wardo deserves so much better than Mark, but he doesn't want anyone else. For whatever reason, he wants to be here as much as Mark wants him to, and how can he turn him away?)

Finally, Wardo sits up, runs a hand through his hair. He looks down at his clothes, and laughs - his shirt is wrinkled and his jeans have spots on them.

"I'll have them cleaned," Mark says, and sits up as well, putting a hand on top of Wardo's. He smiles at him, a small smile, and Wardo kisses him, soft.

"I appreciate that," Wardo says, and stands up, stretching - and Mark shouldn't be turned on at the flash of his stomach, but he can't help staring. Without meaning to, his hand reaches up, strokes across the strip of skin, before he pushes himself up.

Wardo laughs, mouth open and happy, and grabs Mark's hand, tangling their fingers together. "You are delightful," he says, and Mark's never thought anything like that about himself but he believes it, now - or, at least, believes that Wardo believes it, which is nearly as good.

"Shower?" he asks, and Wardo nods.

//

They stay in the shower a long time and when they get out they fall into bed together, talk about everything and anything. Mark's not doing any work for Facebook tonight - he's done more than enough for the past two weeks and his younger self would have scoffed at anything being more important than Facebook but his younger self didn't have this Wardo, didn't have Wardo in this way.

(He's never been this happy and it's the most terrifying and exhilarating thought he's ever had.)

It's later, when their legs are tangled together and their faces are so close that their breaths mingle, that Wardo talks about it.

"My father isn't the best person," he says, out of nowhere, and Mark shakes his head.

"But - I mean, I know he loves me. At least, I think he does." Wardo's eyes close, and Mark stares at the lines of his face, the crease between his eyebrows.

(He never wants to be the cause of an expression like that, not on Wardo, who deserves all of the happiness in the world, in the least cheesy way.)

"I just - when I was younger, he never showed it. Neither of them showed it. I just - they didn't - ours wasn't a house filled with hugs, you know what I mean?"

Mark nods, because he understands even if he doesn't know what it's like. He reaches out, grabs Wardo's hand, links their fingers together.

Wardo's grip turns almost painful but he keeps his eyes closed. "I grew up knowing that the rare occasions when they did hug me meant love, respect. And - that's stayed with me." He opens his eyes, now. "It means affection. I don't know how else to show it."

"You don't need another way," Mark says, and it's too simple, isn't enough, but Wardo's nodding like it is.

He doesn't say anything else, neither of them do - Wardo stares at him with eyes too-wide and Mark looks back, lets himself look because it's okay.

"You deserved more than that," Mark says, finally, and Wardo's turning away, shaking his head, but Mark follows, arm wrapping around him. He whispers the next part in Wardo's ear. "You deserve all of the affection in the world, Wardo," and it's the cheesiest thing he could have said but Wardo turns himself back around, presses himself into Mark, and there's a long moment when neither of them move, just lie there.

"Thank you," Wardo finally says, and his voice is broken.

"Anytime, Wardo."

And he means it.

(He'd go to the ends of the world for Wardo, and he doesn't know how to show it.

He can only hope Wardo understands.)

The next morning, at breakfast, Wardo kisses him on the tip of the nose when he's making waffles and Mark doesn't miss anything, anymore.

//

continued here.