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And They Were Roommates

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Yukhei lugs his suitcase up the flight of stairs with one hand as his other grips the straps of the backpack carelessly slung over his shoulder, his head’s bent over an awkward angle as he tries to keep his phone wedged between his ear and shoulder.

“Yes, ge. I just arrived—”

“Do you have all your clothes? Your toiletries? What about your underwear?” Yukhei makes a strangled noise at the back of his throat and inwardly, he curses Kun’s mothering tendencies but thanks all that his holy that he didn’t decide to put his phone on loudspeaker while climbing up.

“I’m not a kid! Of course, I got ‘em all here. Don’t be such a mom.” Kun’s offended gasp is delivered clearly through the phone and Yukhei grins as he imagines the older’s face right now.

“I told you not to call me that Wong Yukhei I’m—You’re such a child! I can’t believe you’re already in college! I can’t even believe you survived high school really…”

“Well, I live to surprise you I guess...” Yukhei answers dryly, heaving his luggage up the last stair with a small grunt. “And clearly, my will to disappoint you is so strong it managed to push me through college,” he finishes off, looking around the empty corridor of his dorm floor.

“Whatever. Did you arrive at your dorm?”

“Chill. I just got to the floor,” he answers, pulling his suitcase up with him as he strolls through the doors, trying to find his own room. “Aaaand, found it. Room N99, very fitting. Get it ‘cos I’m a—”

“99-liner, I get it. Now, you have a roommate right? Every freshmen’s in buddy system the first year. At least that’s what happened when I was there.”

“Yep,” Yukhei answers, slotting the key inside and twisting the doorknob open.

Huh, empty. Guess his roommate’s still not there yet.

He steps inside. A small living room adjacent to the kitchen…three doors, probably a bathroom and the two rooms for him and his roommate. It's pretty spacey for a college dorm. “This place is not bad at all?”

“Yeah, well you're lucky you can afford the better dorms. Back in my time, I wasn’t as lucky as you.”

“Stop it with the reminiscing, ge. You make yourself sound old,” Yukhei teases as he walks around the small living room, plopping himself on a beanbag chair and looking up at the  white ceiling. This is it. College. God, Yukhei can't believe he made it through sheer will power. It was tough, being in varsity and managing to keep all his grades good enough to snag this college scholarship. Yukhei worked his ass off for this and he's glad he's made it.

Now, if only he can survive college scat-free as well.

“Well, I am old.” Kun admits, bring his attention back to his phone and Yukhei snorts out loud.

“You said that! Not me!” He chimes in, holding back his laugh.

“Yeah, well I choose to disrespect myself before you can go and disrespect me," the older huffs, Yukhei can practically see him rolling his eyes right at this moment. “Now, go unpack and get some rest. And remember, be kind to your roommate! You’re gonna be living together for a whole year after all.”

He hums as response, “As long as they’re not an asshole, we’d be cool.”

“Oh you mean as long as they’re not like you?” Kun laughs but before Yukhei can voice out his complain, the older ends the call. He pulls his phone away from his ear and stares at the screen incredulously, as if his glare could somehow be transferred to Kun. "I'm not an asshole..." Yukhei mumbles under his breath, standing up and brushing his jeans. Looking around the empty room, he sighs.

Time to unpack.

 


 

 

Yukhei’s in the middle of folding his shirts when he hears the dorm room open. Curiously, he steps out of his room and peeks his head out.

Much like he had been earlier, his roommate (or so he'd guessed) is lugging his suitcases (with ‘s’ as in plural) in while talking to someone on the phone. Yukhei decides he might as well step out and meet his roommate, be all kind and welcoming since he got there first after all.

As he walks closer to the (admittedly) smaller man, he can vaguely hear the other’s conversation on the phone.

“—yes, hyung I just got in…No, I didn’t forget—Hyung. Hyung…HYUNG! You helped packed my stuff last night, do you really think you left anything out? No? Exactly. Taeyong hyung, you’re one of the most meticulous person I’ve ever—Oh…hi," the other man trails off as he sees Yukhei's tall self lurk at the corner.

Yukhei answers with a friendly grin and a small wave, the other replied with a slight smile before turning back to his conversation. “I’ll call you back. Yes, I promise to check everything when I unpack. Now go back to Jaehyun hyung, I can hear him whining through the phone!” The smaller laughs, ending the call and turning back to Yukhei with a smile and a stretched out hand.

“Hi, I’m Mark Lee!” Yukhei nods and shakes Mark’s (baby) hand enthusiastically.

“Wong Yukhei. Nice to meet you, roomie.” Mark laughs and pulls on his suitcases, Yukhei blinks and thinks if he should offer to help the other or if that would that be too familiar already.

“Nice to meet you too, I guess we’d be roomies for a year? I hope we get along uh…”Mark trails off a bit, biting his bottom lip in uncertainty as he looks at Yukhei, as if he wanted to add more but he’s still deciding to say it or not. Yukhei decides he’d help him out.

“We’ll get along well as long as you’re not an asshole…and hates puppies…or animals, in that matter…AND MARVEL, never forget Marvel! We are a Marvel-loving dorm, I already established that since I got here first,” the taller blabbers on and he smiles when he sees the uncertainty washing away from Mark’s face.

“Let me assure you right now, I’m not an asshole, I love animals and I’m a certified Marvel nerd…” Mark answers lightly and Yukhei nods his head in satisfaction before giving the other a pointed look, Mark just stares back at him with wide eyes.

“And…? C’mon dude, you can say your terms, I already said mine,” Yukhei says, encouraging the other to talk.

A long silence and he waits patiently for Mark to start talking, keeping his smile friendly as he gently nods his head at the smaller man. Finally, Mark sighs. Rubbing the back of his neck, the smaller starts to fidget in place while looking down on his shoes.

“Oh…uh…I’m gay? I mean, I’m bi. But I tend to like boys more than girls—uh, I hope that’s cool with you?”

Yukhei paused. He wasn’t expecting that, but he’s got no problems with it. (Oh, how wrong was he. So, damn wrong.)

“Hey, man. I’m cool with it. But I mean, I know it’ll be hard since I’m so charming and all, but don’t fall for me so easily,” he jokes, winking at Mark’s direction and effectively lightening the mood and the weight on Mark’s shoulders. The other man laughed brightly and shakes his head.

“Whoa, so confident. Don’t worry, you’re real handsome but I don’t fall for looks that easily,” Mark answers back, his tone lighter than before. He starts tugging his suitcases back in again and Yukhei decides it’ll be good roommate bonding session to help the other settle in.

“Oho, don’t be so sure. Here, lemme prove my charm and help you lug your stuff in,” the taller takes the other suitcase from Mark’s hand, and carries it in with ease. “What a charmer,” Mark deadpans before he laughs, trailing after Yukhei.

As their banter finally fills the empty room, Yukhei thinks it’s not so bad. Mark’s cool, he’s definitely someone who Yukhei can be friends with. Plus, he likes animals and Marvel. Maybe he can finally have someone to binge watch all those Marvel films with.

And…yeah, this year doesn’t sound so bad.

Chapter Text

The first few months are all smooth sailing between him and Mark.

Since the two of them can’t cook for shit, they decided that every day is takeout day. Yes it’s unhealthy and pricey but neither of them can risk burning down their borrowed dorm kitchen. Sometimes, Taeyong; Mark’s absolutely fully capable brother, will bring them big tupperwares of home-cooked goodness that would last them for a whole week. After that, it’s back to ordering take-outs until its Kun’s time to deliver big tupperwares of authentic Chinese meals.

Are they being babied? Maybe so, but Yukhei’s comforted by the fact that he’s not the only one being treated like a kid.

They managed to establish a routine between them, too.

On the Mondays and Tuesdays, Mark would be the one to wake up early for his 8 am class. Before he leaves, he makes sure to leave some breakfast for Yukhei when he eventually wakes up for his 10 am class (always a bizarre-looking egg with some burnt toast, but hey food is food so Yukhei won’t complain). Then on Thursdays and Fridays, Yukhei will be the one in charge for breakfast—he always makes a sandwich with whatever spread they have on their cabinet at the moment.

Wednesdays become their thing.

Having movie marathons, binge-watching TV shows, or just simply going out to the gym or playing basketball outside. It’s become their unspoken rule; Wednesdays are off-limits to anyone but each other because it’s officially ‘spend time with roomie’ day. Yukhei personally thinks the reason why they get along so well is because they take some time off to…bond.

It’s nice. Yukhei likes his current lifestyle. Yukhei likes Mark—

He’s a good friend and a good roommate to boot, Yukhei thinks he really struck the roomie jackpot with him.

 


 

Things start to get a ‘lil wonky in the by the end of their first semester.

Since finals are fast approaching, both Yukhei and Mark are absolutely flooded with college works. Mark’s club activities and Yukhei’s varsity activities also added to the burden of finals, and so the two decided that their Wednesdays bro-man-dude-fam hangouts should be paused until their schedules clear up.

Yukhei would be lying if he says he doesn't miss spending time with the smaller male, because he definitely does. But both his studies and the incoming preliminaries for the intercollegiate basketball competition are keeping him busy enough that he barely thinks about it anymore.

 

The basketball team is having a practice game on the university’s outside court when Yukhei sees Mark passing by. With his lips slowly curving upwards, he immediately stands up and starts walk towards the other’s direction. He's about to call out to Mark when another voice calls the smaller man’s attention before him.

A tall guy, probably a year or two older than both of them, runs up to Mark and engulfs him in a bear hug. A bear hug so tight it managed to make Yukhei stop dead in his tracks. He blinks thrice as he process the event in front of him, then suddenly, Yukhei remembers their first meeting:

                           Mark fidgeting in place as he looks up at Yukhei uncertainly. His resigned sigh as he admits that he’s gay—well, bi—

“Oh,” Yukhei mumbles or rather he thought he did but apparently he didn’t mumble it in any sort of way. His ‘oh’ catches Mark and his…friend’s attention, both of them turning their heads towards his direction. His roommate brightens up as soon as he sees Yukhei’s frozen form, and the smaller tugs on his companion’s wrist, pulling him towards Yukhei,and stopping dead in front of him.

“Hey, man! Practice out today?” Mark’s grin is so bright Yukhe can’t help but smile back at him.

“Yeah, the gym’s under the volleyball team’s clutches today,” he answers back, a little hesitant as he pointedly looks at the unfamiliar man beside Mark.

Clearing his throat, he decides to ask upfront about it because Mark is too busy being cute and smiley to understand his social cue. “So, uh who’s this?” He asks, voice a little tight and smile a little bland. Mark didn’t notice though, because he proceeds to tug his friend forward.

“This is Seongwoo hyung! We’re on the same club, he’s really funny and witty,” Mark introduces, chuckling a little as he smiles at his friend.

Funny, huh. I doubt he’s funnier than me.

“Hyung, this is Yukhei. My roommate,” Yukhei feels his smile drop a little more at the short introduction. Seongwoo smiles and stretches out his hand, Yukhei accepts it...but if he gripped it a little bit harder than necessary then let’s just say he did it by accident.

“Nice to meet you, I hear you’ve been taking care of our Markie here. Thanks for that.”

Markie, Yukhei’s left eye twitches at the nickname but he smiles nonetheless. “It’s nothing, we get along really well anyway, there’s no problem whatsoever,” he answers back, smiling at looking at Mark instead.

He’s too busy snorting at Mark’s scrunched up face to notice Seongwoo’s small squint, the older's eyes glinting with realization as he looks at the two freshmen.

“Huh, is that so...” the older mumbles, more to himself really but the roommates both turn to look at him questioningly. “I’m glad then, sometimes it’s tough to room with someone...” Seongwoo trails off, side-eyeing Yukhei before grinning mischievously.

The older the proceeds to grab Mark by the shoulder, pulling the younger in until Mark’s back hits his chest. Seongwoo leans down, as if to whisper near Mark’s ear but Yukhei can clearly see the older had intended for him to hear it as well.

“If ever you have troubles just know you can come to my apartment….anytime. Okay, Markie?

When the older says that God-forsaken nickname, Yukhei can swear Seongwoo had looked at sneered at him. The taller can only curl his fist on his sides as he tries hard not to swing them at the older. Mark only laughs good-naturedly, pushing at the older and nodding his head.

Is he oblivious or what, the dude’s clearly hitting on him!

“Your roommate can come join us too if he wanna.” Seongwoo waggles his eyebrows suggestively but his eyes were clearly saying he does not, in any way, shape or form, want Yukhei barging into his and Mark’s time. Yukhei needed to remind himself that it’ll be disrespectful to throw hands against someone older than you, and just think about Mark, clearly he likes the dude enough to be friendly with him, he’d be sad if you punched the lights outta this….hyung.

”Shut up, hyung. Don’t be like that here, Yukhei’s straight he might become uncomfortable with your jokes,” Mark clarifies, smiling at Yukhei reassuringly. “Sorry, hyung’s just really touchy when we’re together.”

“Oh, he’s straight?” Seongwoo says, resting his arm on Mark’s shoulders again. “Shame, then.” But the smile on the older’s face did not indicate any disappointment.

Mark rolls his eyes, “Stop it—anyway, Yukhei? Will you be late again? Should I order some food for us or—” Yukhei opens his mouth to answer that yes, he'd be eating with his roommate tonight but…

“Wait, weren’t you supposed to eat out with us today?” Seongwoo interjected, and Mark’s mouth drops into an ‘o’ in realization. “Oh shit, I totally forgot—I’m sorry, Yukhei. Are you cool with that? I mean, I can order some take outs for you before I go?” Mark says, looking at him apologetically.

“Nah, it’s okay, bro. Don’t worry about it, I think the team’s planning to eat out too, I'll just join 'em.” Yukhei reassures him, and Mark smiles in relief.

Okay,  it’s nice to meet you Yukhei but Mark, we gotta go chop-chop. They’re waiting for us,” Seongwoo reminds the younger. Mark nods his head and waves goodbye to Yukhei, muttering a small ‘see you later!’ as he lets himself get dragged away by Seongwoo.

Yukhei watches them both walk away with a big sigh. Dinner alone at McDonald’s it is then.

 


 

 The next time Yukhei meets Mark’s friends , the two of them were eating at the cafeteria; finally managing to catch each other's free time after a long week of exams and projects.

Yukhei’s busy trying to out-maneuver Mark’s chopsticks in order to get the smaller’s last piece of pork tonkatsu, and Mark’s busy defending his food and kicking Yukhei’s shins in retaliation. Yukhei didn’t mind, Mark’s kicks didn’t hurt one bit. He nudges the other’s foot back before kicking Mark’s leg in and trapping both of his roommate’s legs between his obviously, longer ones.

“No fair! That’s cheating!” Mark complains as he tries to shake his legs out of Yukhei’s trap while he bats away Yukhei’s traveling chopsticks. “My food. Mine! It’s not my fault you’re like a vacuum cleaner with food—just whooshing­ your plate clean.”

Yukhei lets one of Mark’s leg free; effectively distracting the other and letting Mark think he’d managed to get away, before snooping in and stabbing the meat with his chopstick and in goes the tonkatsu. Inside Yukhei’s stomach, that is.

“Wha—You cheater!” Mark punches his shoulder and Yukhei only laughs at him.

“You snooze, you lose.” Yukhei answers, poking his roommate on the cheek with his forefinger. “That piece was delicious by the way.”

“Oh yeah, it’s only delicious ‘cos you didn’t pay for it—” Mark pauses as he looks at something behind Yukhei’s head.

“Daniel hyung!” The younger suddenly calls out, arm shooting out to wave someone over the table. Yukhei turns his head and sees a broad-shouldered man smiling widely as he walks closer to them.

“Mark! Hey, what’s up?” The newcomer asks, pulling a chair next to Mark and ruffling his hair in greeting.

“What are you doing here? Dance crew’s on a break?” Mark asks excitedly, eyes lighting up as he looks at the older in admiration. Yukhei scoffs silently beside him.

“Nope, not really. I just went to buy something then I’m going back,” the older answers and Yukhei thinks: Great, then he won’t be here long.

“Awesome, I hope you guys win the competition tomorrow. You really worked hard…I mean, no. I know you guys are gonna win. They have you, hyung!” Mark continues, praising the older and Daniel hyung rubs the back of his neck in embarrassment.

“Aw, thanks Mark—” Yukhei clears his throat and Daniel looks at him, then back at Mark. “And uhm…who?”

Mark blinks and claps his hand, he pats Yukhei’s arm and says, “This is my roommate! Yukhei, this is Daniel hyung. He’s part of the b-boy crew, they’re amazing.” Mark proceeds, smiling warmly at Daniel.

Recognition flashes before Daniel’s eyes and Yukhei raises his eyebrow at him, “Nice to meet you…hyung.”

Daniel grins at him, and Yukhei thinks there’s something behind that seemingly-innocent smile, “Likewise. I’ve heard a lot about you…thanks for taking care of our Mark.”

Again, Yukhei thinks, why do people keep on insisting Mark is theirs? He's his own person, dammit.

“It’s cool, we’re great friends anyway…” He answers shortly, Daniel gives him a considering stare, his mouth twitching slightly before nodding and turning his attention back at Mark.

“Oh, hey. Seongwoo keeps on asking for you to come by again sometime, we miss having you back at home. We always have so much fun.

Immediately, Yukhei’s mind conjures up not-so-innocent scenarios between Mark (small, clumsily adorable Mark) and the two older students. He finds himself curling his fists under the table glaring at Daniel as he watches the older stand up. The older’s bandaged hand curled on Mark’s forearm, “Make sure to visit soon okay?”

Mark nods in affirmation and then the dancer’s walking away from their table. Mark turns back to Yukhei, tilting his head in confusion as he sees the weird look on the taller’s face.

“Hey, dude? You okay?” Mark asks, touching Yukhei’s arm.

“Peachy,” Yukhei answers, clearing his throat and smiling at Mark once again. “So, how about a Marvel marathon when we get back home?”

“Oh hells yeah. C’mon!”

 


 

 Daniel chuckles as he twists open their apartment door, kicking the door close behind him. He’s toeing off his shoes when he sees a familiar figure greet him. Looking up, he grins at Seongwoo fondly. He reaches out a hand, grinning when the older gladly takes it. Pulling the older closer, he gives him a short peck on the lips then another on Seongwoo’s ‘constellation moles’.

“Hey, I’m back.”

“Welcome back,” Seongwoo greets warmly, looping his arms around Daniel’s waist.

“Oh, and I saw Mark!” Daniel adds, Seongwoo smiles at the mention of the younger’s name, “And his roommate.”

Seongwoo laughs, remembering the tall, drink of water Mark introduced to him before. Yukhei, was it? “Fun, isn’t he?”

“Totally,” Daniel answers back, laughing once more. “And babe?”

“Yeah?”

Daniel looks at Seongwoo straight in the eyes, “He is totally not straight.