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[personal profile] morethanpixels
Pairing: Mark/Eduardo
Rating: PG-13 (for language)
Word Count: 5722 and counting
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, and there is absolutely no connection to the real people.
Warnings: CRACK, Language
Notes: Based on this prompt.
Summary: "Why would anyone want to get married in Mem Church? And who'd reserve a date two years in advance?"

"This is stupid. Completely irrational." Mark glared at the screen as if the pdf could print itself and burst into flames.

Eduardo was impressed. "There's a two year waiting list for the middle of January. Double that if you want Memorial Day weekend or something popular." Ignoring Mark, he hit the back button and scrolled down the page.

"Why would anyone want to get married in Mem Church? And who'd reserve a date two years in advance?"

Eduardo shrugged, though he had already heard two sophomore girls talking about setting a date for after graduation. It sounded just as crazy to him, but with Mark, he couldn't help playing devil's advocate. "It's sort of romantic, right? Getting married at the university chapel, especially if you met the guy in college--"

Eduardo flushed at his slip, but Mark didn't seem to notice.

"If they really wanted to maximize utility, they should have devised an auction system," Mark said, wrestling the mouse away from Eduardo. "Allow online bidding for specific dates, then let auction winners sell their slots. You can get good data for revealed preference analysis: does the happy couple really want to get married on Labor Day, or would they give up their date for twenty thousand dollars?"

Eduardo rolled his eyes, but the whir of the printer caught his attention. "What are you--hey, that's my name!"

Mark barely looked up from spelling out "Saverin" under Candidate for Marriage/Bride. "I'm staking out a good weekend in 2014. Ten years is an adequate time frame to find a wife, and either one of us can modify the reservation to use it. If no one wants it, we'll sell it on the market."

"I, uh, don't think there's a market for this." Eduardo's face heated up as Mark filled in his name for Candidate for Marriage/Groom. He cast his mind for a distraction. "And what if the Mayans were right about 2012? The reservation would be no good then."

Mark scoffed, but he crossed out the year. "Fine, we'll go with 2011. We can always push the date back if the world doesn't end."

Eduardo laughed, but he didn't complain when Mark asked for $500 to make the reservation.

Much as he enjoyed being TIME's Man of the Year (though that year should have been 2005), Mark was more upset about Best Picture for 2010. Never mind some stuttering monarch--it should have been Inception.

Mark had to give Chris Nolan credit for inventing the concept of dream architecture, which mirrored the elegant organization behind Facebook. You had an Architect (namely, Mark) provide the framework for interaction, then the subject (the user) would populate it with his own information. Every action--what person to friend, what picture to post, what status update to “like”—felt so compelling because it involved the user grappling with both his self image and the image he wanted to project. Mostly on a subconscious level, of course, driven by both narcissism and insecurity.

And then there was Limbo, a.k.a. Farmville.

So what if most users were like that Fischer guy, creating happy fictions for themselves out of the tangled mess of real relationships? If Fischer could convince himself that his father loved him and wanted him to create for himself, did it really matter if his father was only disappointed? And if Mark convinced himself that Eduardo didn’t exist, did it really matter if—

“Mark. Mark! Did you hear anything I just said?” Dustin sighed and tossed his folder on the conference table. “If you don’t need us to get the update out by the end of the month, I might as well let the team go home for the weekend.”

“If you—if you could plant an idea in someone’s head,” Mark said. “What would you do?”

“I’d tell Sergey Brin to go fuck himself.” Dustin snorted. “Inception again? You’re just bitter about the Oscars.”

“Positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time,” Mark quoted.

“What the fuck?”

“We all crave reconciliation.” This line haunted Mark after the movie. “We desire catharsis.”

“Fine, I’ll play along." Dustin had a knack for hearing what Mark was trying to say, rather than what came out of his mouth. "How do I plant the idea in my ex-best friend’s head that he should forgive me and be my friend again? We could always send subliminal messages through his Facebook page.”

Mark shook his head. “That’s the how. We have to figure out the what. What idea do we plant in Wardo—in Eduardo’s head?”

“So we have to turn ‘forgive Mark Zuckerberg’ into an emotion,” Dustin said. “How about acceptance? ‘Eduardo accepts that Mark is a douche and lets go of his anger.’”

“Not good enough,” Mark said. “I want him to speak to me after.”

Dustin chewed on his pen. “Okay, what about nostalgia? ‘Eduardo misses being Mark’s friend.’”

“That’s good,” Mark said. “We can build on this.”

“Mark.” There was pity in Dustin’s eyes. “You can’t actually plant thoughts into people’s heads.”

“Try me.”

Eduardo quirked an ear at the half-forgotten lyrics:

People are so phony
Nosy cuz they’re lonely
Aren’t you sick of the same thing?
They say so and so was dating
Love you or they’re hating
When it doesn’t matter anyway
Cuz we’re here tonight

“What the hell?” He glanced at his iPhone. Like I Love You, by Justin Timberlake. How in the world did that get on to his Pandora station? He scrolled through the last few songs:

Here Without You, by 3 Doors Down
Wherever You Will Go, by The Calling
This Love, by Maroon 5

His sophomore year called and wanted its music back. Pandora needed new algorithms.

He shrugged and turned to the atypically large stack of mail on his desk. With most of his bills set to automatic payment and his magazine subscriptions forwarded to Singapore, his New York apartment received mostly junk mail. Even so, this crop was rather odd.
Do You Want to Find An Old Classmate? -- Love is a Wicked Awesome Thing: Read a Sample Chapter! -- Support Free Range Chickens!!

Frowning at this latest evolution in American advertising, Eduardo reached for a pair of scissors to open the one package among the envelopes. Out fell a small card and . . . a crimson hoodie, with the familiar Veritas shield.

Celebrate the Harvard Class of 2006 5th Reunion on May 26-29th, 2011, the card said.

It was too bad about the invitation. Part of Eduardo wanted to go and see all his friends and old professors. Despite all the hurt and pain from . . . Facebook, he still had happy memories from school. But seeing all his classmates at once, maybe getting questions about . . . Facebook, would be too much still.

His iPhone flashed with a notification. @DalaiLama Forgiveness and love are the keys to a happy life.

Was the universe trying to send him a message? He had felt like someone was watching him this past few days -- was it God? (Eduardo winced at the pang of guilt for following Dalai Lama on Twitter. But surely even a jealous God would make an exception for the Dalai Lama?)

His hand strayed to the hoodie, shaking out the folds. What harm was it, really? In a fit of whimsy, Eduardo shucked off his blazer and tugged on the hoodie.

He wore it for the rest of the day.

“He’s wearing it! Houston, we have a take-off!” Dustin punched Chris in the shoulder, before turning back towards the video of Eduardo walking out of his apartment. It had taken them some loud shouting (Chris) and prison jokes (Dustin) to dissuade Mark from just hacking into New York City’s surveillance camera system. Mark had to settle for buying out the security company in Eduardo’s building.

The hoodie was slightly too large for Eduardo, Mark noted, eyeing the video feed on his own laptop. He had to concede that Chris and Dustin were better at this business of manufacturing nostalgia. Mark’s first instinct, of course, had been to tweak the Facebook’s algorithms. It had been easy to alter “Top News” to prioritize mentions of comfort food, references to music from the last decade, and pictures of kittens. The good news was that users responded to subliminal signals, and Facebook was reporting its largest ad revenues ever.

The bad news was that Eduardo didn’t use Facebook all that much. Mark quickly moved on to writing a virus that would automatically log Eduardo into his Facebook account whenever he turned on his computer. That was when Dustin recruited Chris to make Mark see sense: the goal was to make Eduardo be friends with Mark again, not to increase Eduardo’s Facebook usage. (Privately, Mark thought the two goals were the same.)

On camera, Eduardo paused on his way to the elevator and reached into the hoodie pocket for his iPhone.

“It’s Twitter,” Dustin said.

Mark could feel his breath shorten, as the back of his neck heated up. What was the big deal about 140 characters anyway? A “tweet” was just a status update with an arbitrary word limit. And who wanted to be a “follower,” when you could have friends?

“Oh! Is it Nathan Fillion?” Chris leaned towards the screen as Dustin tapped on the keyboard. It had been tragically easy to hack into Eduardo’s Twitter account--another strike against that one-dimensional application in Mark’s mind. Unfortunately, Chris had succumbed to the allure of “following” his favorite celebrities, that traitor.

On the screen, Eduardo burst into laughter, throwing his head back. Mark could see the smooth curve of his neck, the soft skin under his jaw. There was a small cut on his chin—Eduardo was always careless when shaving under the influence of jetlag. Mark held his breath, feeling the burn in his lungs.

“It’s from OMGthatssotrue,” Dustin announced. “Facebook is like jail. You sit around and waste time, write on walls, and get poked by people you don’t know. #omgthatssotrue

Mark threw his wireless mouse against the wall.

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