mark is confused the first time it happens.
they're in his bed, mark lying on his side with his phone in his hand, mindlessly scrolling through sns as they chat. donghyuck is behind him, sprawled on his back, tapping his fingers against the bottom of the upper bunk to a rhythm of a song mark is sure he knows but he can't be bothered to try and guess what it is.
donghyuck is retelling mark his recent conversation with taeil and as usual, the way donghyuck describes it makes it sound really funny, probably much funnier than it was in reality. mark ends up struggling to keep his laughter down; it's already late and he doesn't want youngho to come and scold them.
he doesn't need to look at donghyuck to know what expression he's wearing, the one that often appears on his face when he manages to make mark laugh really hard, a mix of pride, fondness and amusement. it's the same expression that first made mark hope that maybe- maybe donghyuck likes him that way too.
he's about to say something when he finally stops choking on his laughter but suddenly, the bed creaks and donghyuck wraps his arms around him, nuzzles the back of his neck. the embrace is almost too tight but mark likes it.
they started dating three weeks ago and donghyuck has been giving him those hugs pretty often, at most random times. mark doesn’t need to ask to understand- donghyuck is just happy they're together like this. mark feels the same. he still can't believe his luck. in the end it's not often that the person you like returns your feelings. mark knows it's risky in their circumstances- but less so than dating someone from another group, right?
"you're all mine, hyung," donghyuck tells him now, tone playful. it could be considered teasing if donghyuck didn't sound so happy.
and that's when it happens. mark wants to come up with a joking reply but his mind is blank and his chest feels tight and his body flushes all over. his phone slips from his hand. he closes his eyes. he feels warm and safe and he likes it so much, too much.
"am i?" he asks with a short, breathless laugh.
"yeah," donghyuck says, embracing him tighter. "only mine."
mark's heart feels like it's going to burst. why is this affecting him so much? not trusting his voice, he doesn't reply, he just puts his hands over donghyuck's and intertwines their fingers. donghyuck presses a kiss to his nape. it feels warm and tingly. a goodnight kiss, mark thinks, as he feels donghyuck shift, getting into a more comfortable position.
they often sleep like this. mark doesn't mind because he tends to get cold at night, especially since donghyuck insists on keeping the window open. it's comfortable but donghyuck's words keep ringing in his head, making his heart squeeze with emotions he can't name, and it takes him some time to fall asleep.
mark doesn't think much of it when donghyuck first bites him. it's hard to think, really. it hurts but in a way that makes his breath catch and his toes curl, and it feels even better when donghyuck soothes the bothered skin with his lips and his tongue.
the next morning, he notices it as soon as he looks into the bathroom mirror. he spends good twenty seconds staring at the bruise that's bloomed at the junction of his neck and shoulder. the dark color is a stark contrast against his skin. he tentatively traces it with his fingers; he doesn't dislike the faint tingle of pain.
it's impossible to hide it under the oversized sweater he puts on, the loose collar revealing everything. he figures he'll cover it later.
in the kitchen, donghyuck and youngho are sitting at the table; youngho is typing on his phone, donghyuck is holding a mug of coffee, looking like all his willpower is concentrated on trying to stay awake. jaehyun is standing at the stove, reheating the food the dorm auntie made them yesterday. he turns to smile at mark as he enters, then his eyes drop to his neck.
"someone had fun yesterday, huh?"
mark's face instantly turns warm; he covers the bruise with his hand, self-conscious. out of the corner of his eye, he can see youngho curiously looking up from his phone.
"it's- it's not like that. we just. we were. uh." his eyes shift to donghyuck. he seems much more awake now and there's a trace of a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. he's probably enjoying watching mark get all flustered, that asshole.
"you just what?" jaehyun raises his eyebrows. the look he gives mark is amused but not unkind. "was donghyuck marking his territory?"
if possible, mark flushes even harder. he just laughs and shakes his head, flopping down on one of the free chairs.
"wow," youngho says, staring at the bruise. "that looks painful. i probably don't want to know how you got that."
"you're just jealous, hyung," donghyuck chimes in, voice bright. mark notices he sounds a bit… nervous or maybe flustered? it's barely noticeable but he knows donghyuck well, and it's there.
"dude, i'm not three, i don't need a chewing toy."
"so our hyuckie is still teething?" jaehyun coos. "how cute."
mark can't help but laugh at that. donghyuck tries to look offended but he's smiling. the tension dissolves and once they start eating, they're already deep into a conversation about something else. but mark's skin still tingles and he can sense donghyuck glancing at him every time he unconsciously touches the bruise. the tight feeling in his chest seems to intesify every time it happens. later, he covers the mark with a thick layer of bb cream. if the coordi noonas notice anything, they choose not to ask about it.
the next time donghyuck bites him, it's a safer spot, closer to his shoulder, and mark is thinking about all the things he felt when the others noticed the bruise before. he doesn't push donghyuck away. instead he clutches at his shoulders, voice shaking as he asks him to do it again.
he doesn't understand why but he likes it so much, knowing that he's letting donghyuck leave marks on his skin, ones that won't fade away for days.
"you like it, huh," donghyuck breathes, fingertips ghosting over the bruise on mark's shoulder. mark freezes and blushes, hard, so hard he might be close to tearing up. he fully realizes donghyuck knows about it, he just didn't expect him to bring it up so casually. they're a couple now, yes, but they're so used to the best friends dynamics that they're still tiptoeing around those things. they don't talk about them, they just do them.
then again if one of them were to break that silent agreement first, of course it would be donghyuck. still, mark is taken by surprise. they're already in bed, and just a moment ago they were sleepily giggling about the memes chenle sent them on the group chat. now mark is fully awake and his heart is pounding.
"i… yeah," he replies, staring at the print on donghyuck's t-shirt. chin up and fangs out, it says. mark has seen it before it, of course, but it seems funny in this particular situation. he'd laugh if he didn't feel so flustered. "yeah, i do." he swallows; his mouth feels dry.
"you liked it when the others saw it, too."
that's something he's not quite ready to admit. "dude, i was embarrassed as hell-"
"yeah, but you liked it."
mark wants to protest but when meets donghyuck's eyes, he falls quiet. donghyuck's face is flushed too, but his eyes have that glint to them, something between determination and mischievousness. he's not going to let that one go.
"i don't know," mark mumbles and buries his face in donghyuck's shoulder. his t-shirt smells like taeyong's favorite lavender fabric softener. the scent is so familiar it instantly helps mark relax.
donghyuck puts an arm around him and pulls him closer. "it's okay, hyung. i like it like this, too."
"like what?" mark asks, voice barely a whisper.
"like, knowing you're mine." donghyuck sounds smug and fond at the same time, and there's that feeling again, squeezing mark's chest, making his breath quicken. he doesn't know why. maybe it's because he always works hard, always tries his best, and he's that kid everyone likes and admires but sometimes it makes him feel like he doesn't know who he really is anymore, like he belongs to everyone and no one at the same time.
but donghyuck has seen him at his worst and he still loves him. he doesn't always try his best around donghyuck, sometimes he just is, and it's enough.
"am i?" he asks. he makes it sound playful but truth is, he just wants to hear it again. maybe it's very simple, maybe it's just how he is, what he needs. that feeling of safety, of being able to let go for a bit, once in a while.
donghyuck hums. "yeah. all mine, hyung."
mark pulls back a little. he's still flushed but he doesn't really care anymore. "then kiss me."
with a smile, donghyuck leans in and presses his lips against mark's. it's brief and sweet and not really what mark wants right now.
"not like that," he whispers when donghyuck pulls away. donghyuck stares; something shifts in his eyes and the intense look he gives mark makes him shiver. then they're kissing again, but this time it's deep and passionate and mark feels it in his whole body. and that's exactly what he needs, to be kissed breathless, to be overwhelmed by all the sensations.
his feelings are still confusing him but one thing he knows for sure; donghyuck makes him feel like he belongs.