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30 December 2011 @ 08:29 am
tsnsecretsanta fic for celestialteap0t  
Title: winters have come and gone
Author: irrelephance
Receipient: celestialteap0t
Characters/Pairings: Mark/Eduardo
Warnings: Uhh, non-linear plot?
Summary: Mark and Eduardo find Narnia in a closet.
Notes: This is a sort-of Narnia AU. celestialteap0t, you said you loved AUs, so I hope you like this :) Aaaand thank you to Zero for beta-ing and hand-holding :D ♥



There is a draft coming from Eduardo’s closet.

Mark sits at the edge of the bed, back tense, feet flat on the floor, hands curled into fists on his lap.

He stares at the closed closet doors as cold wind snakes from beneath the closet, winding itself around Mark’s body, flitting through his hair, hissing, softly, softly, come home.

He takes a deep breath and feels the chill run through his spine, remembers the cold and the snow, and decades of winter, the rumble of a lion’s roar through the forest.

He picks up his phone.

“Mark?”

“Eduardo. I—I think I’ve found it.”

--

Mark remembers.

He remembers I need you and I’m here for you, remembers the frozen glow of the computer screen, Eduardo’s hands on his skin, mouth chasing the trace of his fingers.

He remembers Chris stirring awake, and Eduardo smiling conspiratorially, grabbing Mark’s hand, the hushed brush of their feet across the floor.

Eduardo opening Mark’s closet and their matching grins; Mark’s wry whisper, “Too bad it’s not the janitor’s closet,” and Eduardo’s, “I wish I’d known you in high school.” Mark remembers the way his heart caught at those words.

Then the creak of the door swinging shut.

Most of all, Mark remembers the cold.

(The warmth of Eduardo’s body, and the way the cold made him tremble.)

--

Eduardo’s cellphone buzzes loudly—too loudly—in the lecture hall. A few students give him mean looks while he’s digging into his pocket to pull it out. He bites his lip when he sees who’s calling, then makes up his mind and stands up, taking his books and his bag and jogging up the aisles and out the door.


The cold tugs at his collar and Eduardo pulls his jacket tighter around his shoulders as he answers his phone.

“Mark?”

“Eduardo,” Mark’s voice is high and breathless, “I—I think I’ve found it.”

Eduardo’s heart stops, “What? Mark, what did you—did you—where?”

He’s holding on to the phone so tight that his fingers ache.

“In your room. I’m in your room.”

Something uncoils in him, hope, maybe, or something deeper. Longing.

“I’m on my way,” he says.

--

Eduardo remembers.

He remembers the fauns and the dryads and the centaurs. He remembers laughing at Mark and telling him, “You’re the only one for me,” as the mermaids sang, their melodies lost to him.

Two pairs of footprints on the beach and the night sky strewn with constellations he didn’t know the names of.

He remembers the festivals in spring, dancing, drinking, eating, the sweetness of Mark’s lips, the trees politely looking away. The quiet susurrus of books late at night, the flutter of maps veined with lines and borders.

Remembers the red flag, the redder battlegrounds and Mark’s rapier flashing in the sunlight.

Eduardo remembers having a country to call his own, and decades of Mark ruling beside him.

--

The closet doors are flung open when Eduardo gets to his room. His clothes are scattered on the floor in heaps, socks and shirts tumbled over each other. Mark is standing in front of the opened doors, head bowed, hair obscuring his eyes.

When Eduardo comes closer, he realizes that Mark is shaking, a trembling takes over his entire body, so that when he turns around and their eyes meet, Mark’s are unsettled, wide and desperate.

“Mark, what the—what happened in here?”

“It’s not here. It’s—it was here, I could feel it, Wardo.” He’s twisting his hands together, fingers like snakes trying to eat each other. His heart lurches at the way Mark’s voice shakes. Eduardo’s lungs threaten to cave into themselves as he pushes past Mark and into the closet.

He reaches out his hand and finds—wood. Solid wood. He draws his hand over the cool surface and takes a deep breath, smells only moth balls and stale air and the lingering scent of his own clothes.

“Mark,” he calls out, soft, turns around and walks out and folds Mark into his arms.

“It was there, Wardo, I swear, I—we need to go back.“ Mark’s voice is tiny, and he closes his eyes. When he nudges at Eduardo’s shoulder with his head, Eduardo can feel his short panting breaths.

“I know, Mark, I know.”

Eduardo holds him. It’s all he can do.

--

The months pass.

The memories blur together, test papers and lecture halls and dark forests and the whisper of trees.

It’s unbearably difficult, getting used to living like this again. Eduardo has to force Mark to go to his classes and Mark has to pry Eduardo’s phone from his fingers every time his father calls.

They fight a lot about nothing and everything: frustrated and tired in one minute and needy and desperate in the next. It’s probably not healthy, but their circumstances aren’t exactly normal.

“This is horribly codependent,” Mark murmurs, reaching around to drape himself along Eduardo’s side, languid in the way he only is after being tired out. This time, it’s because they’ve spent all afternoon curled around each other, gliding skin to skin, burning kisses into each other. Eduardo remembers other ways to tire Mark out: mornings spent on horseback, hunting or sparring together.

Mark was always a better swordsman; years of fencing in Exeter had honed that in him, but Eduardo had found he was a natural with a bow. He could shoot an arrow and pierce through the heart of an apple a hundred yards away.

“Shut up,” Eduardo says, turning in Mark’s half-embrace to etch his teeth along the underside of Mark’s jaw. Mark runs a hand down Eduardo’s back, reveling in the shiver that follows the flittering of his fingers. Mark remembers a time when neither of their bodies were quite as young, remembers when he had all the muscles and each scar on Eduardo’s body memorized.

They all disappeared when they fell out of the closet, fell out of that radiant country and into the world—all evidence of those years had vanished like none of it had ever happened. But Mark remembers, and so does Eduardo.

Mark doesn’t know what he would do, how he would survive if he had to deal with all of this alone. How it would feel to carry the burden of all these memories by himself, on his skinny shoulders.

“Hey,” Eduardo whispers, reaching out to brush Mark’s curls out of his eyes, “You’re thinking too loud.”

Mark snorts and pokes Eduardo in the stomach. Eduardo lets out a very un-kingly squawk and grabs Mark’s hand, then brings it close to his mouth and bites at his wrist.

“Hey, Wardo.”

“Yeah?” The bites turn into kisses, running from Mark’s palm and down his arm, and then Eduardo is nuzzling into the crook of Mark’s elbow.

“If I could—could find a way to go back. You’d come back with me, right?”

Eduardo looks up, eyes wide, and he twists his hand from where it’s caught between their bodies and lays it flat on Mark’s chest, above his heart.

His other hand traces, solemnly, characters from a language that never existed in this world: words for trust and love and loyalty.

“You’re my king,” Eduardo says, humming when Mark’s breath hitches, when Mark’s fingers wrap around the hand Eduardo has on his chest.

“And you’re mine,” Mark says. “I’d follow you to the ends of the Earth.”

“You already have,” Eduardo says, grinning now, and Mark grabs the back of his neck and pulls him in for a kiss.

--

The blade flies out of his hand, swinging in an arc before clanging to the floor.

Eduardo gasps, falling to the ground painfully, the wind knocked out of him. The sharp tip of a rapier presses against his throat, moving against his skin when he swallows.

“Look up,” his opponent murmurs, and Eduardo raises his eyes to meet Mark’s.

Mark smirks. “It seems I’ve bested you, milord.”

“Bastard,” Eduardo mumbles, and then swings his leg, sweeping Mark’s feet so that he stumbles and falls forward on his knees and arms, face so close to Eduardo’s that they have to stare at each other cross-eyed. His rapier clatters on the ground, cushioned by the grass.

“Oof,” Mark says, eloquent as ever.

“Hi,” Eduardo greets, “Nice of you to join me.” He’s propping himself up by his elbows and touching his nose to Mark’s, which is ridiculously sweet. And also fucking trite, so Mark really shouldn’t be blushing like this.

“You have grass stuck to your hair, Your Majesty,” Mark teases, pulling at Eduardo’s hair. The afternoon light shafts through the trees and drenches them in golden light, and Mark feels warm even as they lay in the snow.

They’re in the last vestiges of winter, lilacs pushing through the barren ground. It makes Mark want to think of something poetic because it’s supposed to be symbolic, that he and Eduardo are here, that the snow is melting, that there are rumors flying that Aslan has returned.

The Narnians—talking beasts and creatures Mark used to read about in old story books, centuars and fauns and dwarves, sirens and hags and werewolves—call them Your Majesty, and it makes his heart pound. It makes him stand taller.

“Hey,” Eduardo whispers, and his fingers tangle into Mark like the roots of old trees in the forest. He looks worried, afraid.

Mark crawls off him, onto his knees, but when he tries to kiss Eduardo, he pulls away.

“That’s been happening lately, hasn’t it,” Mark says tightly, tired and frustrated.

“No, Mark, it’s not—” Eduardo grabs him and hugs him. Muffled, he says, “There’s. There’s going to be a war, Mark. And we’re fighting in it, in the front lines and I don’t know what’s going to happen and if you, or if I—if we get through it—I don’t.”

“So it’s better if we do nothing at all?” Mark asks, and it’s too harsh, he knows, but he can’t stop, “So it’s just going to be like in Harvard again, right, where you’ll kiss me and you’ll fuck me but you won’t fucking hold my hand, is that it?”

“I’m holding your hand right now,” Eduardo mutters, but he lets go and stands up, head in his hands.

“I don’t know, Mark, I just don’t. I’m sorry. I have to go. Train and—” Eduardo makes an aborted movement with his hands but steps backwards all the same.

He walks away, and Mark hacks away at a tree until its dryad comes yelling at him, cursing Mark’s sword to make it burn his hands.

When they settle down in the camp for the night, Eduardo rubs healing salve onto Mark’s hands and kisses his forehead in apology. Out here, they only have each other to hold on to. Eduardo has had expectations heaped on him before, has learned to live with the endless pressure—but this is different. There’s so much more at stake and he is terrified.

He needs, more than anything now, for Mark to tell him—

“It’s going to be all right,” murmured into his ear.

Eduardo shivers, looks up, and prays to the stars for guidance.

--

There is a cut on Mark’s cheek. It stands out, stark against his pale skin, an angry line demarcating this world and the one Eduardo remembers.

In another world, Eduardo knows, Mark wouldn’t have found the need to fight back.

“Who?” Eduardo asks, already heading to his desk, where he keeps the emergency first aid kit. It’s been used far too often in the past weeks than he would like.

“Winklevii,” Mark grumbles, twitchy. He’s always hated the healing aspect of fights, and winces when Eduardo dabs at the cut with antiseptic, then plasters a band-aid neatly onto it.

Eduardo sighs, cupping Mark’s cheek with his palm. His thumb brushes at the dark skin under Mark’s eyes.

“You couldn’t have walked away?”

Mark’s eyes flash stormy blue. “I shouldn’t have to, Wardo.”

“Mark—”

“If it had been you?”

“We live here, now.”

Mark pulls away, standing up angrily. “We didn’t always.”

“You can’t keep living in the past, Mark,” and great, Eduardo’s angry now too, angry because Mark has been hurt and angry because he can’t do anything about it.

“I’m not going to forget, Eduardo—we were kings, we were honored and respected and—“

“And here, we’re just kids, we’re just two kids and there’s nothing you can do about it, you can’t fucking fix this Mark, there’s nothing you can do—”

“And you used to believe in me!” Mark yells, body shuddering as he bellows the words. It hits Eduardo, suddenly, like a piece of a long forgotten dream, that they’ve gone through this before—somewhere, sometime—this happened already. But Mark is turning away and the thought vanishes, and Eduardo is left with nothing to say. He doesn’t know what to say.

Mark turns around and stalks out of the room, and the door swings shut behind him, loud.

Eduardo shudders, and the screams build up in him until he’s yelling wordlessly, holding his fists to his eyes and rubbing hard, because kings don’t fucking cry—but here they’re just kids—kicks at his books and his table, and stalks to his closet and kicks it open, falls against the back of it, shaking, fists pounding on the wood.

“Let us back in, please, please, let us come back. Please.” His voice breaks, crumbling into murmurs and cut-off sobs. Please. Please. Please. His fingernails scratch at the wood, scrape and scrape and scrape.

Please.

And then he whispers, weakly, hoping beyond hope: Aslan.

Please.

Let us back in.

Nothing happens.

(Nothing will, not for a while. And then everything will.)

--

Sooner or later, Chris ends up confronting Mark, because he’s Chris Hughes and that’s what he does. Mark’s been expecting this. He’s noticed the way Dustin and Chris (sometimes even Billy) talk about him and Eduardo. But he has nothing to fucking say that wouldn’t make it sound like he’s crazy or psychotic (because seriously, Narnia? It makes Mark doubt himself sometimes too) so instead he says—

“I’m in love with Eduardo. We got into a fight; yes, he knows I’m in love with him, no, I don’t know when he’ll be coming over again, yes, I know that I’ve been acting like a bitch for the past week. The last time I ate was this morning, I took a bath last night, I went to all my classes today,” when Chris corners him against the fridge. Mark finishes, takes a swig of Red Bull and raises an eyebrow.

Chris rolls his eyes. “I already knew all of that, asshole,” and then, without missing a beat, “Does he love you back?”

Yes. Yes, of course he does. He spent years etching it into Mark’s skin, but Chris wouldn’t know that.

“Fuck if I know,” Mark says instead, pushing his way past and settling down in front of the computer, aware of the Chris’s eyes follow him the whole time.

“It’s just—“ Chris starts and stops. He looks at Mark and Mark stares back.

“It’s just that you’ve been—detached. Both of you. Ever since Facemash. I just wanted to know if you were all right. We’re your friends, Mark.”

“I’m fine,” Mark says brusquely, but he says, gentler, “Thanks,” before spinning the chair around.

That night, Eduardo visits Kirkland (lets himself in with the key Mark gave him, even before everything) and Dustin hands him a beer when he sits down beside Mark on the sofa. They exchange glances and Eduardo’s clearly communicates that Chris cowed him into coming here—but, whatever, Mark’s not going to complain, not when Eduardo’s worming a hand around his waist and pulling him close, just a touch hesitant and—yeah.

They were kings, once—but before that, they were Mark and Eduardo, and that’s what matters the most.

--

Eduardo remembers when they were defined by kisses stolen in between library stacks with Mark’s girlfriend on the other side, when they were fueled by jealousy and competition.

Remembers when they became defined by their solidarity, by the way they wouldn’t back down from anything: Mark’s cutting words, and Eduardo’s quiet compassion.

Eduardo remembers not realizing what he had with Mark—how he felt about Mark until they were standing at the edge of a battlefield and he realized he would do anything, give up anything, to keep Mark alive.

--

It’s Caribbean night.

Mark eyes the decorations with outright distaste, throwing out comments so disparaging that even a Minotaur would cringe at them. Eduardo would know; it’s happened before.

‘Different life, different time,’ Eduardo has to keep reminding himself. Remembering makes Eduardo feel old—which is why he goes to these kinds of parties, puts on stupid Hawaiian shirts and the ridiculous hats. It’s a valiant effort, but one that’s doomed to fail. The parties somehow get worse every time.

Mark knows this as well, but he goes to these things with Eduardo anyway—if only to remind himself of why he has to keep trying to crawl into closets. Most nights they end up getting drunk on really bad beer and stumbling into a dark corner to make out, to remember and to forget.

Tonight, though, there are other things on Mark’s mind.

He’s been fidgeting all night, bouncing on the balls of his feet, while Eduardo’s been reserved, sipping at his red cup and sometimes even swaying along to the horrible music.

Finally, Mark says, “I think I’ve come up with something.”

Eduardo tears his eyes away from the idiotic loop of Niagara Falls and blinks at him. “What?”

“Come on, I’ll tell you about it outside.”

“It’s twenty-fucking-degrees outside,” Eduardo complains, but he’s following Mark out already anyway, up the stairs, past the doors, into the night.

That night, Eduardo becomes witness to the birth of the idea of theFacebook.

He tells Mark, “That’s good,” and doesn’t tell him, as Mark continues to talk, that all Eduardo really sees is the way the snow falls on Mark’s cheeks and eyelashes and into the waves of his hair, the way his breath comes out in puffs of steam the same way it did when they first fell into Narnia.

When they first heard the story of the White Witch and the way Mark had seen that world and tried to change it into a better one. Eduardo sees all of this again, and more.

His feet slip on the wet pavement, just a bit, when he surges forward to kiss Mark, and Mark breathes against his lips and Eduardo tastes the words that Mark is afraid to say: We’ll be kings again.

--

They watch the site go live together, side by side.

In a dirty dorm room, Eduardo’s algorithm still sliced into the window, they feel like they’re falling into something different, something amazing, all over again.

--

The Great Hall is in chaos, bustling with bleeding, soldiers and rushing healers. But they all bow their heads when Mark passes, jubilation in their eyes. The sun shines brightly. The winter has passed, but the grass is stained a different color, still.

Mark has killed today, and the blood is still on his hands. He limps as he walks but refuses assistance. Others need it more than him.

“Have you seen War—Eduardo?” Mark asks a passing faun. He grows wide-eyed, but shakes his head, “No, Your Majesty,” and Mark sighs, waving him away.

He walks past the Hall, through the tapestry-filled halls of Cair Paravel, trailing his fingers along the cool stone wall, lost in his thoughts. Blood. Screaming. The weight of the sword in his hands and the swoop of arrows.

The red flag of Narnia.

Mark reaches the end of the hallway and finds him.

“Eduardo.”

Eduardo is scrubbing furiously at his chest with a blood-soaked cloth and Mark all but scrambles to his side, hitting his leg painfully on the edge of the bed that Eduardo’s sitting on.

“Fuck, Wardo, if you’re hurt there are healers out there—why didn’t you let anyone—”

“It’s not mine.” Eduardo says it very softly, but it rings out in the room and Mark trembles with the force of his relief.

“I just—,” Eduardo starts again, voice strained, “I need to get it off me. I need to—I can’t.” His voice is verging on the edge of hysterical, and Mark silently takes the cloth from his shaking hands and starts to wipe him down.

Eduardo’s hand comes to rest on Mark’s arm and clenches, once, twice, before he takes a deep breath and says, “We did it, Mark.”

But at what price, Mark thinks, dabbing at the blood staining Eduardo’s neck.

Hundreds of dead and wounded Narnians on either side, the snap of Aslan’s jaws as it closed around the White Witch’s throat, the sick slice of Eduardo’s arrows through the air, Mark’s rapier heavy with the stench of blood.

“We did it,” Mark whispers back, and knows, without hesitation, he’d do it all over again to make sure Eduardo stayed safe: alive and whole and breathing.

--

And it grows, and it grows, and it grows.

Mark watches it spread like a wildfire and lets it consume him.

Once, it comes to him like a long lost dream: the whisper of a beloved’s voice saying, Not all battles have to be won by blood.

He jerks out of the code and looks around for Eduardo, but he isn’t there.

Mark’s fingers settle back into the keys and the memory disappears.

--

(Mark doesn’t remember making the decision that seals their fate: that leads them into the path that forces them to fall, that sends them tottering out with stumbling feet and unsteady eyes.

“We have to do this, Wardo. Narnians are dying. ” It’s the logical thing to do. Mark will do anything to protect those who have put their trust in him, even if it means harming others. He is a king. He has a country to protect. They’re older now, but Mark doesn’t know how much wiser.

“And the solution to that is war? Let me talk to them, Mark.” Eduardo’s drained tone, his drooping shoulders as they spent nights poring through reports, meeting with generals, hearing news of the devastation that spread through their lands. Rumors of other Sons of Adam, Daughters of Eve, who didn’t understand, didn’t believe.

“Talking isn’t going to solve this. We’re wasting our time.” It’s an argument they’ve had time and time again. The words have settled deep into Mark’s bones, just like the disapproval that lines Eduardo’s body.

“Not all battles have to be won by blood,” Eduardo says before turning around and leaving.

A strong wind blows through the open window and blows out the candles. Mark rubs his temples and sighs. He makes the decision that he won’t remember.

But: soon. Soon.)

--

If there’s one word Eduardo can think of to describe Sean Parker, it’s cold.

Sleek suit, meticulously-done hair, manicured nails and a cool, clinical smile that Eduardo wants to punch off his face the moment they meet.

Eduardo doesn’t like being treated like a kid. There’s a lot he can take, especially coming from his father, but Mark isn’t the only one who has hang-ups about their former life.

At some point in the night, Mark leaves to go to the restroom and Sean leans over the table and tells him, “Look, Saverin, I have no designs on your boy there—but you have to know that what he’s on to? It’s a holy-shit kind of special.”

Eduardo clenches his fists and says, “I don’t need you to tell me how amazing Mark or his ideas are.”

“Hey, hey, chill out, I’m not saying that you’re dragging him down or anything,” Sean says placatingly. He winks at Eduardo and leans back on his seat as Mark comes back.

--

Sometimes it takes just one tiny push to set things in motion.

For Mark and Eduardo, it’s been a lot of pushing. One more push to tip the scales, and everything will come falling down.

--

When the news comes out, Mark tries his best to keep a straight face because Eduardo is obviously devastated by it.

“Forced cannibalism? I didn’t fucking torture the chicken—Jesus Christ, Mark, this is not funny.”

Mark spins around on his chair and tells Dustin, “Click refresh,” then turns to Eduardo and says, “Come on, admit it. It’s a little bit funny.”

“Nine ninety-three,” Dustin calls out, “We are so close.”

His grin turns knowing and he says, “Really, Wardo, what do you have against birds?”

Eduardo splutters and turns red, fisting his hair in his hands, “How the fuck was I supposed to know that phoenixes regenerated by burning themselves?!”

Dustin blinks, frowning open-mouthed. “What is he talking about?”

“Eduardo almost killed a newborn—uh, newly-regenerated—phoenix by throwing a bucket of water on it,” Mark says.

“I was trying to save it,” Eduardo groans.

Dustin stares at them for a beat. “Uhh. Okay.”

“I can’t believe this,” Eduardo says, grabbing the newspaper from Mark’s hands and shaking it. “I’m being accused of animal cruelty. It’s better to be accused of necrophilia—and don’t you start.”

Mark bites his lip to stop from smiling too hard.

“One hundred fifty thousand and four!!”

Mark tilts his head at Eduardo, like, you see, crawling into the bed with Eduardo and wrenching the newspaper from his hands.

“One hundred and fifty thousand members, Wardo.”

“Congratulations, Mark,” Eduardo sighs, grabbing Mark by the neck of his shirt and kissing his forehead. Mark slides his arms around Eduardo’s shoulders and breathes him in.

“Congratulations,” Mark says, then pulls away.

Eduardo grabs the newspaper again and starts ranting about his father, and Mark wonders if it felt like this the first time they were on the edge of something so tremendous.

Somehow, he feels farther away from Eduardo than ever.

--

Mark finds the ticket on Eduardo’s bedside table. He’s not even supposed to be here, but he can’t help it. The feeling’s nagging at him again, and Chris and Dustin are in their room, and they’d find it weird to see Mark slide into a closet.

He’s just palming the wood gently, then opening the door and slipping in, breathing in the scent of all of Eduardo’s clothes, fingering his jackets and button-downs, taking him in. This calms him down more than anything. Calms him down from thoughts of theFacebook and what it could be and what Mark has to do to get there. He’s seen greatness before—held it in his hands, embodied it. He just has to remind himself, sometimes, that he can do this.

He finds the ticket underneath a pile of Eduardo’s Econ books. He’s still turning it over in his hands, a bitter taste building up in his throat and in his mouth, when Eduardo comes back.

“What is this?” he asks, staring at him straight on.

Eduardo freezes, halfway to getting his jacket off. His keys clatter to the floor noisily.

“What is this?” he asks again, voice rising.

“I—I have to. It’s just for the summer, Mark. And my father—“

“You can’t. You can’t Wardo, I need you, I need you to come out with me to California—“ Mark is talking too fast now, desperate to get the words out.

“California? When did you decide to go to California?” Eduardo says, eyebrows knitting in confusion.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this?” Mark counters.

“When did you plan on going to California, Mark?”

“Sean says—”

Eduardo breaks him off with a snort, derisive and Mark’s eyes narrow.

“What is your problem with Sean?”

“Don’t you see it, Mark?! The way he talks, the way he walks, his fucking stupid stories—we don’t need him.”

“Just because you don’t like him—”

“I don’t like him because he’s a liar and he’s an asshole. You can’t trust him.”

Mark shakes his head. “Look, Wardo, we have to come go out to California. We have to keep expanding. I already found us a house to rent, and I’m hiring interns tonight, and I need you, I need—”

“You need my money,” Eduardo says flatly.

“Fuck you,” Mark spits out.

“No thank you,” Eduardo bites out, snatching the tickets from Mark’s hands.

Mark shakes his head and holds on to them. In another world, Eduardo has known Mark for years, has seen all the ugliest, most vulnerable parts of him. Mark doesn’t understand why he’s still so afraid to just tell him.

Instead Mark reaches out silently—breathes a sigh of relief when Eduardo doesn’t pull away—pushes him down onto the bed, and tries to tell Eduardo in the only ways he knows how to: I need you, is the brush of his knuckles along Eduardo’s side, I’m afraid is the flutter of his eyelashes against Eduardo’s stomach when Mark licks into his navel, Please don’t leave me, kisses down the inside of Eduardo’s thighs.

Later, Eduardo hands him the check for eighteen thousand dollars, and Mark hires new interns and Eduardo kisses him and pretends that the people are cheering for them.

But they go their separate ways at the airport, and Eduardo, for the life of him, cannot bring himself to whisper those words into Mark’s ear, to say the things that bang against the walls of his heart. He’s fought ogres and trolls, but can’t fight his own hesitation.

He knows how powerful words are, and how they can be used against him. He wonders when he started fearing Mark’s power over words, when he started hoarding his words from Mark instead of for him.

These are not words meant to be laced with static, passed through telephone lines, but that’s the only way Eduardo can say them now.

Soon, he fears he’ll forget them altogether.

--

The light overhead flickers, casting unsteady yellow light onto both of them. It’s a spotlight, and Mark and Eduardo stand underneath its glare.

“What do you mean, get left behind?” The words hang in the air, dripping onto their bodies. Mistrust and resentment and disappointment. They breathe them in and feel them soak into their bones.

How did they get here? Eduardo doesn’t remember, doesn’t even think to remember. All that he cares about is Mark’s voice like a loop: “I’m afraid you’re going to get left behind.”

There’s so much between them now. Maybe it’s the time, or the distance.

In the end, what tears them apart is this quiet phrase. Eduardo hears I’m tired of you and Mark hears You’re not worth my time.

Too many unanswered phone calls and words they forgot to say to each other. Mark wonders how this happened: how days can turn into weeks and into months like this, how time can make him forget how much he loved the person standing before him. All he sees is Eduardo’s mouth drawn into a bitter, thin line.

They keep walking away from each other, again and again and again. Mark never learned how to say, Stay, because he never needed to. Eduardo was always there, even when Mark didn’t notice. If Eduardo would just listen to him, he’d see—

But Eduardo never really learned to listen, either—or, no. He just can’t remember how to, anymore.

The decades have been lost, time has rewound itself. When Mark and Eduardo stepped out of that closet, they lost so many parts of themselves they never realized they had.

And this is when Mark grasps it: when Eduardo turns his back and opens the door to the hallway and the lights flicker and die and everything turns cold in Mark’s eyes.

He says, “Wardo—we’re not—we’re not who we were before. But that’s. That’s the point. We have to be—we have to be ourselves before all of it happened. To prove that we can do it again.”

The words ring out and Mark wants to reach out and press them into Eduardo’s hands, to make him realize that Mark is not giving up.

“Did any of it really happen, Mark?” Eduardo stands, his back turned to Mark. He’s framed by the doorway, blocking the light. Mark hears glass shattering, laughter from the girls outside. Everything seems so far away.

Mark doesn’t know, anymore. He doesn’t know.

“Eduardo, please.”

“I’m sorry, Mark,” Eduardo sighs and walks away, and Mark doesn’t—can’t— follow.

--

(Eduardo doesn’t remember: Don’t do this, Mark, please

Doesn’t remember strong arms holding him back, grabbing hands and pushing him down, the sting of the knife on his palm and the way the blood dripped down his arm.

His pleas falling on deaf ears as Mark says, “There’s no other way to win this war, Eduardo,” as he cuts himself and mixes their blood together. Blood magic, the darkest of all, to summon the White Witch back to life.

“You can’t do this Mark, you can’t fix this—”

“You used to believe in me so much, Eduardo. I promised you: I will do all it takes to keep Narnia safe.”

Eduardo doesn’t remember the deathly cold fingers, the sweet, tempting voice.

Sometimes, in his nightmares, he remembers this: Aslan’s roar, paralyzing and terrifying, his thunderous, hostile growls and You have fallen, Sons of Adam.

Remembers, just barely, in the moments between sleeping and waking, the lasting impression of falling through the darkness, the empty sting of betrayal.)

--

Everything falls into place like clockwork:

The meeting with Peter Thiel, the angel investment, clubs with too-bright lights and the cloying sweetness of Sean’s voice when he tells Mark, “You don’t fucking need Eduardo.” The scratch of the pen on paper, Mark’s signature carving out Eduardo’s downfall.

It’s only later on, when Mark can’t type anymore because he can’t see the screen in front of him, when his eyes hurt too much and he’s too tired and all he can see is Eduardo walking away—Mark stumbles into his room and hates himself for hurting like this, because he can’t forget Eduardo, doesn’t even know how to start trying.

He leans against his closet door, trembling heavily, and it happens. The door opens, and Mark falls in.

The cold hits him first, and he remembers Eduardo’s warmth, mourns for its loss, as he falls.

--

It comes back to him, all in a rush, in flashes:

The memories they treasure: planting apple trees just outside the walls of Cair Paravel, sailing towards the horizon to greet the sunset, Eduardo’s lazy kisses and Mark’s nimble fingers.

The things they should have remembered: the years they spent fighting each other and coming back together, how much they sacrificed and why it was all worth it.

The things they both chose to forget. His most shameful moment, betraying Eduardo. The harsh, swift pain when he realizes that he’s going to do it again.

He stumbles into the cold, has only the vaguest impression of falling to his knees and shaking, wrapping his arms around himself.

The soft padding of large paws on the ground, the melting snow where the great lion’s breath touches.

“It’s not too late,” Aslan purrs into his ear. A rough tongue licks at his cheek and Mark closes his eyes and lets the forgiveness seep into him.

He doesn’t know how long he stays on the ground, but after some time he hears a soft gasp and feels a set of arms wrap around him—opens his eyes and sees Eduardo, and the realization in his eyes.

“I’m sorry,” Mark says, as fast as he can, bringing his hands up to cradle Eduardo’s face, to look into his wide eyes, then, slower, “I’m so sorry, I’m so fucking sorry, Wardo.”

Eduardo is trembling, and Mark remembers that he hates the cold, remembers winters that kept Eduardo buried underneath blankets, pressing his cold nose to Mark’s skin.

“I—I’m sorry too. For walking away, for not listening, for—for being so stupid and jealous and for forgetting how much—how much you mean to me,” Eduardo says through chattering teeth. It’s all they ever needed to say to each other. Sometimes, words have to be said before they can be felt. Mark feels them now.

“Let’s go home,” Eduardo says, and Mark feels those words as well. They’re warm.

--

Once upon a time there were two boys, young and brash.

They came from a land where trees stayed rooted to the ground and no one understood the language of beasts.

Once upon a time, Mark loved Eduardo and Eduardo loved him back.

They were bright and golden, loved too fiercely, too blindly.

Once upon a time, one king betrayed the other, and Narnia was smeared in red.

And thus the great lion rose and banished them.

--

It’s the evening of the millionth member party.

Eduardo is perching on Mark’s desk, idly playing with Mark’s hands as the fireworks explode on the screen and the people cheer.

New revelations fall open to him everyday: that all they’ve ever needed is this. That Eduardo’s entire world can fit into his arms—the edges of Mark where the tips of his fingers rest, the press of his nose into the curve of Eduardo’s neck. Veins, borders, demarcations that disappear when they press into each other.

He grabs Mark by the neck of his jacket and kisses him hard.

Mark pulls away, grinning giddily, and he reaches into his drawer and pulls out a box.

Eduardo raises an eyebrow. “Bit too early for a proposal, don’t you think?” he says.

“I already married you,” Mark says flippantly, and Eduardo smiles because it’s true.

“But I’d marry you again if you wanted to,” Mark says, seriously, and Eduardo has to kiss him again.

“Okay, now tell me what’s in the box,” he says when they pull away, lips red and wet.

Mark hands him the box and Eduardo opens it and laughs.

“I’m CFO, bitch,” he reads, grinning wide. “Is this our thing now? Matching calling cards?”

“Shut up,” Mark says sweetly, reaching out to tangle their fingers together.

“I love you,” Eduardo says, brushing his fingers across Mark’s cheek. Mark leans into the touch like a cat and says, “Love you too.”

Eduardo watches Mark slide back to his laptop. The sunlight streams through the glass and pours into the Facebook offices. Summer is almost over, but it will never really disappear: Mark’s eyes are bluer than any sky, his smile brighter than any sun.

In another world, Mark and Eduardo were kings. Here, they don’t need to be.

--

 
 
 
boycotting FOX because they terminated T:SCC.: tsn} j/axbriyeon on December 30th, 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
I.. did not ever really think that a TSN/Narnia crossover!fic could ever really work, but holy crap you managed to produce this gem. o_o

*mems* 💕
irrelephanceirrelephance on December 30th, 2011 08:23 am (UTC)
Yeahhh, I was worried about it too. But I'm glad it worked for you!

Thanks :)
julesmindjulesmind on December 30th, 2011 10:33 am (UTC)
This is so perfeeeeect, oh my gosh. I love Narnia and I love TSN and I love these two and your writing is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

irrelephanceirrelephance on December 30th, 2011 11:32 am (UTC)
Thank you :) ♥
(Deleted comment)
irrelephanceirrelephance on January 1st, 2012 08:01 am (UTC)
:D Thank you.
laura chasecelestialteap0t on December 31st, 2011 08:02 am (UTC)
Yay! Thank you so much! This fic is beautiful! Your writing is beautiful, and the way the two worlds complement each other. I love how sweet and subtle Mark and Eduardo's relationship is, how they were kings in Narnia and grew old(er) together, and how they're going to do it all over again. The ending is adorable, and I especially like these lines:

“You’re my king,” Eduardo says, humming when Mark’s breath hitches, when Mark’s fingers wrap around the hand Eduardo has on his chest.

“And you’re mine,” Mark says. “I’d follow you to the ends of the Earth.”

“You already have,” Eduardo says, grinning now, and Mark grabs the back of his neck and pulls him in for a kiss.


You're a really, really good writer, and you make me feel so inadequate and so undeserving of this perfect fic! Thanks!
irrelephanceirrelephance on January 1st, 2012 08:04 am (UTC)
YAY! I'm so glad you liked it.

You're very, very welcome. I'm so relieved that this worked for you!

♥♥♥
sweetmadness379sweetmadness379 on December 31st, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
This is simply incredibly, brilliantly, sfdnvsdbf-ly amazing. It's beautiful. Thanks for writing it and sharing it!
irrelephanceirrelephance on January 1st, 2012 08:05 am (UTC)
:) Thanks!
michmush on January 2nd, 2012 07:24 am (UTC)
Aslan makes everything better! So much love for this fic! <3
irrelephanceirrelephance on January 2nd, 2012 08:12 am (UTC)
Fluffy lions make everything better :)

Thank you!
Danae: [TSN] {Andrew/Jesse} Whisper in my earuntiltimeends on January 3rd, 2012 05:11 am (UTC)
Words cannot express just how much love I feel for this fic. Its absolutely amazing. :)
irrelephanceirrelephance on January 3rd, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
:) Thank you so much! ♥
harborshoreharborshore on January 3rd, 2012 10:14 am (UTC)
Oh god, wonderful. Wonderful
irrelephanceirrelephance on January 3rd, 2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
:') Thank you.
Helga The Russian Masseusepasdexcuses on January 7th, 2012 11:16 am (UTC)
I... what even is this, dude? This is like... Idek. I was happy and then sad, and then really stupidly sad. They made me hurt. Their pleading? The "please, please, let us back in." It made my stomach sink. I loved all their interactions, the way they were always so charged with the things they weren't saying. I particularly loved the pace of this fic. I like that it starts slow, with muted feelings and then it picks up like a snowball downhill.

Also, this was adorable! “But I’d marry you again if you wanted to,” Mark says, seriously, and Eduardo has to kiss him again.

In fact, that last scene is just too adorable. It was warm and fuzzy and really, just how I like my M/E endings :D
irrelephanceirrelephance on January 7th, 2012 01:03 pm (UTC)
Ahaha, I had to make the ending fluffy to make up for the angst. Warm and fuzzy is my favorite :)

This is such a lovely comment :D Thank you so much!
Caseycasey_sms on January 20th, 2012 03:04 pm (UTC)
Wow. Your writing is so beautiful it takes my breath away *______* You make me remember how much I love the Narnia fandom!

Thanks for writing and sharing <3
irrelephanceirrelephance on January 21st, 2012 07:24 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Narnia fandom holds a special place in my heart ♥

:D
Lelaleladancer18 on January 21st, 2012 05:32 am (UTC)
urgh, i'm dead in the best way. lovely much?
irrelephanceirrelephance on January 21st, 2012 07:34 am (UTC)
Thank you! :D
leopardchic79: social network_mark & eduardo papersleopardchic79 on January 31st, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
This was really gorgeous! I love the way you wrote it w/ the back & forth between here & Narnia. Very awesome. :)
V.: TSN MarkEduardo Hallwayaurora_84 on March 11th, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC)
I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!
squilfsquilf on November 2nd, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
Ahh, this is gorgeous! I love the concept of it.