isthisthelasttime: ((TSN) got groupies?)
[personal profile] isthisthelasttime
Jesus Christ, I should be asleep. But I worked on this story for over four straight hours and I had to proofread it so I could just post it tonight.

So here you go.

Title: That’s What Friends Are S’posed to Do
Rating: R
Pairing: Mark/Eduardo
Summary: Being sick makes Eduardo a little suicidal. And homicidal. Not that he tries anything. He just wishes he was dead because it’s that bad. And he wishes others wouldn’t try to make it better. Mark’s just trying to be a good friend. (In which Eduardo’s a little manic, he’s in the fetal position a lot and Mark’s a good best friend.)
Prompt: Sick!Eduardo. Preferably something worse than a random cold, but as long as there's Eduardo and he's sick I'm good. Maybe fever!sex?. From the kink meme, here.
Notes: This turned into almost 4,300 words of sick!fic full of fluff. What. The. Actual. Fuck. Also, no, I wasn’t referring to The Chicken – just a chicken. I listened to two Mark/Eduardo fanmixes and Bruno Mars’ Doo-Wops and Hooligans album three and a half times through. The title is from “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars. When I finished at 3:26 AM, I’d been working on this story for about four straight hours and I tweeted this: I'M FINISHED. AND OF COURSE THE LAST SONG I WOULD HEAR WOULD BE “THE LAZY SONG.”






It’s January and they’re starting new classes and Eduardo sits next to a guy in his Advanced Statistics class that coughs every three minutes. He doesn’t notice until fifteen minutes into lecture that the guy’s pretty punctual with his interval, so it’s not like he can just get up and move. The thing about sitting in the front row is that he can’t do anything remotely rude or the professor would notice, so he just scoots over a little in his seat, trying to be discreet about his revulsion.

The next morning, the choice to stay put for an hour and a half haunts Eduardo; he sleeps through his alarm, through his 8 AM, and then through most of the morning. For some reason, he can’t drag himself out of bed. His whole body aches and even moving a single inch to draw his covers up to his neck makes him groan in pain. It’s almost as if he’s experiencing that post-workout muscle tiredness that he used to get after PE in high school. He can’t stand it.

By noon, though, he manages to make it to his Mythology class. The girl he sits next to looks at him warily, mouth downturned and eyebrows drawn. He’s a sight in his two coats and suit, surely. The box of tissues he’s carrying doesn’t help his cause either, for the girl immediately shuts her laptop and moves down a few rows in front of him.

If there’s anything good about this cold, it’s that at least he can have the whole back row to himself, since no one wants to sit next to some freak who’s writing with his right hand and holding Kleenex to his nose with his left. Add to that the fact he’s hacking his lungs out into the elbow of his jacket and it makes even more sense why they choose to leave him alone in the back of a lonely auditorium.

By three o’clock, it’s a miracle Eduardo’s even standing. Snow has steadily been coming down for an hour and he’s shaking so hard that his teeth are chattering as he trudges across campus to his room. The box of tissues he’d been carrying earlier had long ago emptied and he has to use his gloves (thankfully he’s wearing two pairs) to keep snot from dribbling all over his face. He’s never been this sick before and he hates it, hates the looks people give him, looks that scream get away from me, freak and Jesus, he’s going to sneeze so hard all of Harvard will get sick, we need to make an anti-Eduardo-virus injection. He wishes he knew the guy he’d sat next to in Stat yesterday, just so he could go up to him and cough in his face and show him that he shouldn’t have even been in class, motherfucker.

+

It’s nine o’clock in the evening when Eduardo becomes conscious again. He’d passed out on his bed as soon as he pulled off his bag, so he must have been asleep for a good six hours. Yawning, he tries to stretch his arms over his head but they hurt too much to bend, and it’s not just because he’s still wearing all the layers of clothes he put on to go to class. It’s that bone tiredness again, and he rolls over to face the wall. Curled up on his side, he somehow manages to pull the covers over himself and go right back to sleep, shivering even though the heater in his room is blowing air hot enough to melt ice.

+

The next time Eduardo wakes up, it’s three in the morning and someone’s pounding on his door. He grumbles something unintelligible into his wet pillowcase – had he been crying or something, God, it’s so damp – and rolls onto his back. The pounding intensifies; it starts to match the ache in his forehead. He could probably use some Excedrin but he doesn’t want to move.

All he wants to do is die, actually. There’s a strange comfort in knowing that if he were to die, he wouldn’t feel so horrible anymore. With that in mind, he closes his eyes against the too-bright light seeping in through the door crack and falls asleep again.

+

On Thursday, he doesn’t go to class at all. He gets out of bed around nine, struggles to keep himself upright and hauls ass to the bathroom so he can piss, brush his teeth and shower. Once he’s back in his room, ready to dive under all his sheets, his stomach turns and he has to run back down the hall to empty its barely-there contents into the toilet. He slips down the wall after, breathing hard and struggling to swallow. It takes him ten minutes to get to his room, and when he does, he calls Chris.

He can barely talk, but he leaves a three-word voicemail that he hopes gets his point across: “Sick. Need help.” He coughs for good measure, then snaps his phone shut, stuffs it under his pillow and briefly wonders if maybe hanging himself is really that out of the question before he drifts off.

+

By the time Chris has called him back and promised to help him, Eduardo’s delirious. It’s three in the afternoon and he’s spent the last two and half days sleeping more than 30 hours; he should be fine by now but Chris mentions on the phone that no one gets better just by sleeping. “You have to eat and take medicine, too, or you’re just rolling around in your virus-infected sheets with no defense,” he says, and Eduardo can see why Chris got into Harvard now. It makes perfect sense.

That doesn’t mean he’s going to try it, though. If he threw up when he hadn’t even eaten in over two days, there’s no way his stomach would even consider holding antibiotics or chicken noodle soup.

Chris tries to feed him, though. He holds a bowl of chicken broth under Eduardo’s nose, shakes a yellow vial of pills over his head, tries to get him to understand, “Wardo, you can’t get better without any of these things.”

If Eduardo could say anything to Chris without feeling like he was talking through cotton, he’d say, “Maybe I don’t want to get better. Maybe I just want to die. Maybe you should fuck off.” Since he can’t, he narrows his already squinted, watery eyes and pulls the covers over his head. Not even under there can he escape Chris’s gaze, though, which is quite annoying. He kind of wants to kill him.

He shouldn’t have even called Chris. He should’ve just called Mark. Mark wouldn’t have cared enough to help him, even if he was on his deathbed.

Eduardo kind of wants that right now, even though it’s not the most sensible approach to this – this illness. He doesn’t even want to know the name for the combination of symptoms (fatigue, fever, headache, muscle weakness, sore throat, lack of appetite, vomiting) he’s experiencing.

+

In the evening, well past six, Mark lets himself into Eduardo’s room. He’s carrying his book bag, which undoubtedly holds his laptop, and wearing an actual jacket for once. Seeing that gives Eduardo hope that he’s not crazy for shivering so hard; it must be really cold outside if Mark’s actually wearing something warmer than a hoodie.

“You look terrible,” are Mark’s words as he closes the door behind himself and takes a few steps toward Eduardo’s bed. He seems to double-think his actions and backtracks.

“And you’re just –” Eduardo covers his mouth with his comforter to cough. “– a sight for –” Cough. “– sore eyes.” He squeezes his eyes shut and fists his hands in the sheets. An invisible hand wraps around one of his lungs and he can’t breathe for a minute, struggling to make the pain go away. When it fades, he opens his eyes to find Mark’s face hovering over his own, actually looking mildly concerned.

Well, fuck. So much for the Mark-doesn’t-care-about-you-so-he-won’t-help plan. If the crease between Mark’s eyebrows means anything, then Mark is very worried. Eduardo whimpers.

“Is everything ok, Wardo?” Mark asks, the puff of his breath making Eduardo shake some more. Of course nothing’s ok. He’s been in bed for almost two days and he’s only getting worse, so he shakes his head twice. “What do you need?” He shrugs because he doesn’t really need anything. He just wants to sleep, and if sleeping leads to death, he’d be ok with that.

But Mark doesn’t know any of that. He’s rightfully oblivious as he crosses to Eduardo’s closet and pulls out a bin that’s clearly labeled MEDICINE in his mom’s handwriting (as if he’d forget what was in there), one Eduardo’s barely ever had to open in all the time he’s been away at school. That Mark is even opening it now is ridiculous. He’s probably been avoiding medicine for too long for it to even help anymore, so it’s pointless. Mark pulls out the Nyquil, fills the dose cup to the brim and holds the menacingly green thing out. Eduardo stares at it warily then closes his eyes, grunting that he doesn’t want it.

“You have to take it, Wardo. Come on, don’t be such a baby.”

“I’m not being a baby,” he whines, trying to melt into the mattress and hide from the unrecognizable monster that Mark Zuckerberg has become.

Mark makes a noise of utter exasperation – it almost sounds like a chicken, which Eduardo would laugh at if his facial muscles weren’t also sore – and moves up the bed, right by Eduardo’s ribcage, making the mattress dip uncomfortably. “Take it or I’ll pour it over your Armani.”

Eduardo’s eyes fly open, wider than he’s let them get in days. “You wouldn’t dare,” he says – but then he’s interrupted by a coughing fit and all the malice he intended disappears.

“Oh, but I would.” Mark smiles smugly.

Eduardo blinks through tears. Conceding, “Fine,” he props himself weakly onto his elbow and takes the proffered medicine. As soon as it’s in his mouth, he gags, but he forces it down and smacks his lips afterward, nauseous. “Fuck,” he mumbles and falls onto his back, eyes closed and fingers in a death grip around his comforter again. “That tastes horrible.”

Mark says, “Not nearly as horrible as you look, believe me,” and then he’s off the bed and Eduardo can hear him rolling out his desk chair, unzipping his book bag and turning on his laptop.

“Ha ha,” Eduardo mumbles sardonically, and before Mark can even reply, the sound of his fingers quickly tapping out his login information lulls Eduardo to sleep.

+

It’s midnight. Eduardo thinks his sleeping cycles are very fond of the multiples of three because every time he looks at the clock it’s either three, six, nine or twelve. Fuck, even in sickness his brain’s making some mathematical connection. He hates himself.

He rolls onto his side, hiding a yawn in his pillow, and cracks open his eyes to find Mark sitting at his desk, shoulders hunched and spine rigid. He blinks a few times to make sure he’s not imagining things and once he’s blearily confirmed Mark’s presence, he opens his mouth to talk. Instead, he coughs. Something in his throat irritates him and he coughs some more, sits up so he can grab his pillow and cough into its comfort. Mark’s weight dips the mattress in a matter of moments, and when Eduardo lowers his shield, a water bottle is thrust into his hands.

“Drink,” Mark demands, neutral voice but betraying eyes.

Eduardo does as he’s told because he can’t say “no” to Mark and actually mean it. He’s not genetically coded for that sort of thing.

Mark looks pleased with himself when Eduardo swallows half the bottle and Eduardo glares, mumbles, “Well, aren’t you smug.” All Mark does is shrug, then he’s back at Eduardo’s desk, back to coding, back to the enthralling world of Thefacebook. Eduardo watches him for thirty minutes, drifting in and out of sleep and having five-minute dreams that seem to last hours. The Nyquil must be taking its full effects because he swears there’s a white elephant sitting in the corner of his room, long trunk tipping over his trashcan.

“Am I supposed to be hallucinating, Mark?” Eduardo’s on his side, bundled in his sheets like a burrito, and Mark looks over his shoulder at him, a frowned etched into his face. It doesn’t look right on him. Eduardo wants to erase it.

“I don’t think so.”

“Just making sure. There’s an elephant with an Aladdin hat knocking over all the trash. Can you pick it up?”

+

For once, when Eduardo rolls over in the morning, a multiple of three doesn’t greet him. In fact, nothing greets him but a faceful of white sock. He gasps and moves so quickly that he knocks his head against the wall.

“Fuck,” he groans, sitting up and cradling his head, fingers digging into his scalp in an attempt to massage out the pain. He doesn’t notice how hot his skin feels, unable to focus on anything but the intensity radiating through his head. “Jesus Christ.”

Mark hasn’t stirred yet. He looks peaceful when Eduardo finally lowers his hands and opens his eyes, looks like he actually belongs here, sprawled across the foot of Eduardo’s bed with his head where Eduardo’s legs must have been before he woke up.

Sighing, he leaves the room without disturbing Mark and goes to the bathroom to brush his teeth, piss and shower all over again. Just another morning in the sick life of Eduardo Saverin. He even throws up, practically for good measure.

He doesn’t even know why he bothers to care for his hygiene when he’s so obviously ill.

Mark still isn’t awake when Eduardo climbs back into bed. He’s shifted, though, full body now stretched across the mattress, feet tucked under Eduardo’s pillow. He can’t possibly be cold if he’s wearing only his shorts and t-shirt, and the warmth he seemingly exudes gives Eduardo the crazy idea that he should slip under Mark’s arm and sleep.

He doesn’t debate it for too long. He takes his pillow, moves it to the other side of the bed and snuggles into Mark’s side, covers thrown over the both of them.

+

Mark wakes Eduardo up at eleven by laying a cold hand on his forehead. Eduardo jerks and tries to bury his face in his pillow but Mark’s fingers hold him by the jaw.

“You’re burning up,” he whispers, voice laced with sleep, eyes droopy. Eduardo isn’t even ashamed of thinking about how fuckable Mark looks when he’s barely conscious. It’s been a few weeks, ok, he’s allowed to fantasize. “You should probably go to the health center, Wardo.”

“No,” Eduardo grumbles. He tries to shake Mark’s hand off but Mark isn’t having that. He’s holding him tight enough to bruise. “Ow, Mark.”

“It’s Friday and you’ve been sick for days. You haven’t even eaten anything. And I’m not one to criticize but at least I get food in my system.”

“Because I make you eat.”

“Well, I’m making you go to the doctor.”

“Don’t wanna.” Eduardo finally bats away Mark’s hand and pulls a blanket over his head. “Go away.”

Mark yanks the blanket out of Eduardo’s grip and glares. “You’re going to die if you don’t do something about this.”

“I’m doing something about this. I’m sleeping.”

“Wardo, come on.”

“Since when were our roles reversed, huh?”

Hurt flickers over Mark’s fully-opened eyes but then they’re hooded again, like nothing was ever wrong, and Eduardo’s chest tightens. “I guess you know how I feel all the time now. Only, you know, annoying as you can be, I actually kind of appreciate it. You could at least appreciate my attempts, huh?” Mark scrambles to get off the bed and pull on his clothes as Eduardo watches him quietly, chewing on his lip. He doesn’t think he’s hallucinating the tremble in Mark’s hands.

“Mark,” he whispers, trying to stop Mark from zipping his jeans all the way. The only thing he manages to do is make Mark’s fingers fumble. “Stay. I do appreciate it, ok? I’m sorry.”

“I have class. I’ll be back later.”

“You don’t have to go to class,” Eduardo pleads, swallows around the lump in his throat. His voice is hoarse but he forges on, unashamed to admit, “I could really use your body heat.”

Mark freezes with one arm through his jacket. He looks manic, clothes in disarray, hair mussed, jacket falling off his shoulder.

“Please,” Eduardo adds. As soon as Mark’s shoulders slump all the way forward, he knows he’s won.

+

Waking up with his face in Mark’s chest is really weird. They’ve never slept together before, not in the literal sense, and Eduardo isn’t really sure what to do about it. He rubs his cheek against the worn cotton of Mark’s shirt, trips his fingers up his torso until they catch in his collar. His knuckles brush against his clavicle and his skin’s so warm that he closes his eyes and falls asleep to Mark’s heartbeat again. It’s the best course of action.

+

Eduardo’s room is plunged in the dark, blackness weighing on his chest, making him short of breath. Mark’s not in his bed anymore and he freaks out, scrambles to turn on the lamp on his nightstand. Gasping, he grabs his phone and checks his messages. There are some from days ago that have gone unanswered because he hasn’t really been keeping up with his phone, but he’s not paying those any mind. Mark’s name is what he’s looking for, in blocky white letters on a black backdrop. His hands are shaking as he pushes buttons.

When he finally lands on Mark’s message, he sighs. Went for food and a shower. Be back later tonight. Its timestamp is 5:52 and it’s currently 6:30. Eduardo is so relieved that when he pulls his pillow back under his head, he actually doesn’t fall asleep.

Fever and all, he’s actually feeling a lot better. At least his nose isn’t running anymore.

+

When Mark comes back around eleven, Eduardo’s in bed, tucked into so many covers that he could be mistaken for a fat person.

“You haven’t left, have you?” Mark’s smirking, dumping his book bag into Eduardo’s chair.

“I went to the cafeteria and had some soup, actually,” Eduardo corrects him, voice muffled by the cotton, irritated inflection lost in the barrier.

“And how was that?”

“Terrible, but I made myself finish it.”

“That’s good.” Eduardo watches Mark pull off his jacket and jeans and realizes that Mark isn’t planning to code tonight. He hides his smile.

“You aren’t working on Thefacebook?”

“I already did what I needed to finish today, so no.” Mark slips in next to Eduardo and his mouth is just centimeters away. Then he wraps his fingers around Eduardo’s neck and Eduardo sighs, eyes fluttering closed. “You’re still really warm, Wardo.”

Eduardo only shrugs in response, inching closer until their noses bump. He puts a trembling hand on Mark’s cheek, leans in and takes his lips slowly into his own. They kiss with gentleness that’s uncharacteristic of their typical relationship, which is frantic and focused more on release than pleasure. That’s not to say that they haven’t paused to take it in once in a while, just that they’re mostly too busy to get it on like Boys II Men suggest.

Mark makes a sound in the back of his throat and Eduardo kisses him a little harder, teeth scraping against his bottom lip. Mark pulls his hand through Eduardo’s hair and tugs him closer still, both of their mouths sliding smoothly over the other’s. A shiver goes down Eduardo’s spine.

Mark takes that as a cue to roll them over so his weight’s holding Eduardo down, legs between Eduardo’s. His lips trail down to Eduardo’s neck, teeth catching on his skin, tongue lapping at dried sweat, and Eduardo can’t keep himself from groaning and writhing. He’s taller but Mark’s heavier and his shifting doesn’t do much of anything but rub their crotches together.

God, but even with Mark so warm on top of him, he’s still shivering. It’s like nothing he does can make it stop, and he wraps his arms tightly around Mark’s back, clutches at his shirt and tries to bring him as close as possible. But that doesn’t work either and Eduardo can’t even figure out the chemistry of this at all.

“Mark,” he whimpers, nails scraping Mark’s shoulders hard through his shirt. Mark hisses in response. “Mark, I can’t – I don’t think – I’m so fucking cold. I can’t do this.”

Mark’s assault on his neck ceases and he leans back to nose Eduardo’s cheek, kiss his jaw. “Face the wall, Wardo,” he says into his ear, voice terribly low but so smooth.

Eduardo swallows and nods, not sure how that will help. He waits for Mark to get off and then rolls onto his side, covers around his neck again, body trembling hard. He presses a hand to his own forehead to gauge its hotness and draws it back with a sigh.

One of Mark’s hands slips under the waistband of his sweatpants and he jerks, startled. “What are you doing?” he hisses, looking over his shoulder at Mark, who has a condom between his teeth. Eduardo blinks. “Are you kidding?”

Mark tears the packet open and shakes his head. “Trying to help.”

“You’re trying to kill me.”

“You wanted to die yesterday.”

“Shut up, smart ass. I don’t want to die anymore.”

“I’m not going to kill you. I’m going to fuck you. It should help you feel warm again.”

And that actually makes so much more sense of anything that’s happened in the last few days that Eduardo sighs and turns back to the wall.

Once Mark has Eduardo’s sweatpants at his knees and two fingers inside Eduardo, Eduardo can see through his bleary eyes Mark’s logic. He moans and throws a hand back, fumbling for something of Mark’s to hold onto, anything, just something to wrap his fingers around. Mark hooks deeper into Eduardo as he shifts closer, and Eduardo moans, fisting his hand instead and bringing it back to his side of the bed so he can pound it on the mattress.

“Mark,” he breathes out shakily, hips lifting up some, allowing Mark to press his fingertips against Eduardo’s prostate. “Fuck, Mark. Mark.”

Mark’s lips brush Eduardo’s ear as he shushes him and kisses the hinge of his jaw. He slips a third finger into Eduardo, leans over to kiss Eduardo’s mouth and swallow his groan, and then stretches him a little more before he pulls back completely. Eduardo gasps, trembling in anticipation. When Mark wraps his hands around Eduardo’s hips and he pushes inside him, Eduardo almost loses it. He bites his lip so hard that he can taste copper in his mouth.

As Mark pushes in and out, Eduardo awkwardly half on his side and half on his stomach, his fingers are soft at Eduardo’s hips. He must be making a conscious effort not to bruise Eduardo but Eduardo can’t stop moving and he needs Mark to ground him with a rough touch, needs the bruising. He tries to say that, tries to swallow his pants and moans and incoherent words to tell Mark that he wants all the traces he could possibly leave behind, but he chokes on saliva. He has to jerk away and Mark gets the hint almost immediately, grabbing Eduardo and lining his cock up with that spot that could finally end the delicious pain.

Eduardo rolls his hips back, thrashes because he doesn’t want to stop this yet. Mark’s finally all around him and he’s finally feeling warm and he can’t let that go.

“Don’t,” he manages, breaking the word into two syllables, letting it drift in the little space between himself and the wall. He’s not sure if Mark catches it because all he can hear is Mark’s breath in his ear, hard and shallow. It’s almost like they’re in Mark’s room, hiding from Dustin and Chris, trying not to make any noise that might arouse suspicion.

Mark hasn’t said anything and Eduardo suddenly wants him to say his name, wants to hear how it rolls off his tongue when’s he’s so close to finishing. Another thing he wants to voice but can’t find the words to say without choking.

But it turns out Mark doesn’t need Eduardo to ask him. He touches the back of Eduardo’s ear with his nose, closes his hands tightly over Eduardo’s hips and whispers, “Eduardo, God.”

It doesn’t take Eduardo much else. He manages to get a hand on his cock, to stroke himself a few times, and then his semen splatters all over his shirt and sheets, which they’ve somehow managed to keep on. Mark follows shortly after, shaking inside Eduardo and breathing into his ear.

Once Mark pulls out and rolls onto his back, Eduardo pushes himself into a sitting position and throws off the covers. He tugs his sweats to his waist again but he doesn’t think, with all the sweating they’re both doing, blankets are a good idea.

“Mark?” he whispers, easing himself onto his side and sliding a hand over the mattress. His fingers push against Mark’s ribs and then crawl up to his chest.

It’s a minute of Eduardo rubbing Mark’s skin before Mark finally acknowledges him. “Hmm?”

“I think it worked.”

Even in the dark Eduardo can see a smile tug at Mark’s lips. “I’m always right, aren’t I?”
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March 2011

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