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Tell Me Your Secrets and I'll Tell You Mine

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Mark had been in his life for years, they were mere children when they met, Hyuck’s family having just made the daunting move West and into the house next door to Mark. After about 15 minutes of shy smiles behind the legs of their talking mothers, the boys decided that they were going to be best friends for the rest of their lives.

*

Years passed and the friendship had survived the worst that puberty had to offer. Both boys’ parents making the decision to send the boys to an international school for high school had enabled them to befriend the rest of their friends. The adding of new people never changed the dynamic of Hyuck and Mark, and not many people believed it could. The two were inseparable and sometimes didn’t even need to talk in order to communicate.

That doesn’t mean they didn’t talk, oh no, they told each other almost everything. Almost.

*

Not that he didn’t trust his best friend, but Hyuck could never bring himself to tell Mark when he worked out that girls just weren’t for him. At 16 he’d known for almost 3 years that when the rest of his male classmates were going gaga for the girls, he didn’t quite have the same thought process.

His epiphany came when suddenly he wanted to kiss Han Jisung rather than Nancy McDonie, what followed was three days of staring into space and several concerned looks from Mark and Renjun in particular.

After that, Hyuck decided to lay low regarding his preferences, despite living in a pretty liberal household, he didn’t feel comfortable in himself to quite share with his friends or family just yet. Donghyuck spent the next 2 and a half years of high school carefully skirting around the talk of boys and girls with his friends. He didn’t date, didn’t show interest, he just stayed quiet. Sure, everyone in his group dated here and there, Mark and Jaemin being the most successful, Mark establishing quickly that girls were it for him and Jaemin happy the flip between both. And Donghyuck was perfectly fine with all of that, sort of.

*

In the summer before his final year of high school Hyuck went back to South Korea with his family. His grandmother was getting older and increasingly frailer and his parents had decided that it was time that she was more carefully looked after. And so, his parents sold their house and moved back halfway across the world, dragging Hyuck with them. He had managed to bargain with them into letting him finish school with all his friends, staying with Mark’s family, but a condition of that was that he spent the summer with the family in Seoul.

Despite not having been back to South Korea since the family moved, Hyuck adapted quickly to moving around the city by himself, developing a routine. Because he spent most of the time by himself during that summer, the phone calls and texts from his friends kept him sane for what seemed like the never-ending weeks. By the time he was saying good bye to his parents, getting ready to fly back to Canada in time for school, he had spoken to every one of his friends every day and never felt left out of the gossip from back home.

He knew that Jeno and Jaemin had finally worked out that what had been surging between them for the past 18 months hadn’t been ‘bro-tension’ but actually sexual tension and had finally gotten together (Hyuck owed Chenle and Jisung money for that one), and he also knew that Chenle’s visiting cousin had set Renjun’s heart on fire, and despite them living on opposite sides of the world, had decided to give a relationship a go (and to be fair, after meeting Lucas through a very loud Skype call, Hyuck had to say that Jun had made the right choice).

Despite a small, irrational fear, Donghyuck’s friendship with Mark didn’t seem to wither under the pressure of long distance either that summer. However, Hyuck did come to the heartbreaking conclusion that his feelings for Mark stretched way beyond the level of friendship that they shared.

That conclusion in itself was the only truly bad part of his summer away and was one that he hoped to keep hidden as long as possible. It really was only a crush, Hyuck not denying a certain attraction to his best friend that had always kind of been there, but he had always brushed it off as a stupid thing due their proximity and the fact that he was adjusting to his sexuality.

Hyuck now curses that viewpoint simply because it was naïve and incredibly typical of an insecure 14-year-old with a hot best friend.

But Hyuck knew that his feelings for Mark would have to go away eventually, he knew that he had no hope there. Mark liked girls, Hyuck liked Mark, and Hyuck really couldn’t change that.

*

By the time Hyuck has stepped off the plane at the end of the summer, he had decided to live his final year of school in the best possible way. Whilst he had always been slightly impulsive, he wasn’t going to let anything unnecessary dampen his mood.

After clearing all of the airport security, he grabbed his phone to text Mark who had agreed to come and pick him up.

Hyuckle

Hey loser, you here yet?

Thankfully he didn’t have to wait too long for a reply

Markle

Yeah, just in the waiting area outside of immigration

Hyuck looked up and around, searching the crowd for his best friend. Eventually he found him, leaning against a pole, smiling down at his phone. The sight of Mark, bespectacled, in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, sent a jolt of calm happiness through his body. Dragging his suitcase with him, Hyuck attempted to dim the bright grin on his face to his more usually sarcastic smirk, however, he was not as successful as he had hoped and by the time he reached Mark, his face held a soft smile. Good enough.

Mark hadn’t looked up from his phone to notice him yet, and it took him clearing his throat for his head to snap up.

“Now what could be more interesting on that phone than your best friend who you haven’t seen in months?” Mark didn’t answer, instead, he enthusiastically threw his arms around Hyuck.

To say that Hyuck was surprised by the display of affection would have been an understatement. It was known universally that as close as Mark and Donghyuck were, Mark was never the touchy type. Maybe an arm thrown over his shoulders upon occasion, but never a full-blown hug, not since they were 10.

“Missed you man.” Short, simple, Mark in a nutshell. But the way that the statement was whispered into Hyuck’s ear made him shiver slightly.

“Missed you too Markie. You would not believe what I had to endure on the flight over here! Some old lady decided that I was exactly what her granddaughter needed in a boyfriend. Can you believe that? She took one look at me and said, ‘My granddaughter would do well to have you as her boyfriend.’” Hyuck’s voice raised itself higher and higher as he continued through his story, adding hand gestures for more drama.

Mark threw his head back in laughter and, after scowling for a bit, Hyuck started giggling as well.

“Well I’m sure she was right in some things; any girl would be lucky to be able to go out with you Hyuck.” Suddenly, there was no air in Hyuck’s lungs. He kept forgetting that Mark didn’t know he was gay. If Mark saw his smile flicker, he didn’t say anything.

“You’re right. Anyone would be lucky to have me in their life.” Hyuck thanked every deity he could think of that Mark was the dense one in the friendship and that meant that he missed the deliberate use of gender-neutral terms.

*

Donghyuck considered himself pretty intelligent, he got good grades and was usually pretty observant. So he felt pretty stupid when he realised that it had taken him a week to notice that Mark was hiding something. Every time they hung out Mark seemed to be distracted by his phone, constantly texting, even leaving the room to take phone calls.

It took a group hangout at Jaemin’s and Mark leaving early, attached to a bad excuse, for it click for Hyuck. That and almost all of the others rolling their eyes at his excuse. Waiting for Mark to leave, Hyuck finally turned to the group;

“Wait, where is he going?” His cluelessness seemed to have startled them.

“Wait, don’t you know?” Renjun‘s tone conveying that Mark would be facing the wrath of the smaller boy if Hyuck answered wrong.

“Know what? What’s going on?” Jaemin cursed under his breath and Jeno winced at his response. Renjun just rolled his eyes.

“Oh for fucks sake. Mark has a girlfriend, has done for almost three months.” Boom. Hyuck’s heart just broke. Mark has had girlfriends before, they’ve never bothered him. If Hyuck was an idiot he’d wonder why this revelation hurt.

But Hyuck isn’t an idiot. He knows why this hurts. He knows exactly two reasons why this hurts. The first, is obvious, he’s just worked out that his fleeting attraction for his best friend isn’t leaving and is instead a soul-crushing, one-sided love. And second, and possibly most hurtful, is that Mark didn’t tell him.

*

After about 15 minutes of pitying looks from the others, Donghyuck had decided to call it a day. When he announced that he was leaving Renjun, ever observant, offered to walk home with him.

“I know.” They’d been walking in silence for a few minutes when Renjun spoke up. At Donghyuck’s questioning face he clarified. “I know you like Mark.”

‘Oh good,’ Donghyuck thought, ‘I’m obviously not subtle then.’

“Don’t worry, it wasn’t too obvious, and I don’t think anyone else has noticed.” Renjun said, as if reading his mind.

“How do you know? I only worked it out like, a month ago”

“You forget that whilst Mark is your somewhat oblivious best friend, I am actually quite observant. You watch him when he’s not looking, looking at him like he hung the stars in the sky. It’s the same way the Jeno and Jaemin look at each other and it’s the same way that Chenle and Jisung look at each other, those two are also a basket case, don’t even start me. But I also watched you when I told you that Mark had a girlfriend. It was like your world had just imploded.” Renjun’s tone was soft, almost hesitant. It made Donghyuck want to cry.

Instead, he just stuttered out a broken “Why wouldn’t he tell me? We tell each other everything.”

To that Renjun didn’t have an answer. They had stopped at the corner of Mark’s street by now, and when Hyuck finally let his tears fall, the first heartbreaking tears he’d cry over Mark Lee, Renjun was there to hug him.

*

It took Donghyuck a week to grow frustrated with Mark. True to his oblivious nature, Mark never actually noticed the changes to Hyuck’s behaviour after that night. Hyuck knew that he was reaching, but he had hoped that maybe, if Mark noticed him staring at him expectantly over the dinner table, or if he subtly pried about who he was constantly texting, he would tell him about his girlfriend.

After composing himself on the street corner a week prior, Donghyuck shot down Renjun’s offers to tell him about Mark’s girlfriend and then kick Mark’s ass for making him cry.

“I want him to tell me. He kept it from me for a reason, so I want him to tell me.” He had said.

Now, a week later, Hyuck was done being patient. It never really was his best virtue.

He was also not great at having sensitive conversations.

*

“Hey Mark, do you remember when we agreed that we’d never keep secrets from each other?” They were in the middle of a movie. Some action flick, Hyuck wasn’t really paying attention, but then again, neither was Mark. Mark, unlike almost every other minute of the day, was on his phone, smiling down at it, chuckling under his breath occasionally. That had been the last straw for Hyuck.

“Huh? What? Sorry Hyuck, wasn’t paying attention.” Mark finally looked up at him and Donghyuck rolled his eyes.

“I asked if you remembered about our agreement about keeping secrets from each other. Cause I have one, and it’s been eating me up inside.” Ah good, manipulation, thought Donghyuck, that’ll guilt him into telling me.

“Wait what? What’s going on? Are you okay?” Mark finally put his phone down and actually looked at Hyuck.

“I’m fine. I’m gay.” Simple, easy, so un-Donghyuck, but effective.

“Wait, you’re what?” Mark was suddenly confused. “How long have you known?”

Donghyuck shrugged.

“A few years, since I was 13.” He tried his best to sound nonchalant, but on the inside, he was a mess.

“Why would you not say anything? I’m your best friend, I could have helped you. Do you not trust me?” At this Donghyuck laughed. Except there was no humour. He was now really pissed off.

Mark’s expression fell into one of deep confusion. “Why are you laughing?”

“I’m laughing because I’ve been in the same position as you are in right now for the past week.” Mark’s continued to look confused, so Donghyuck continued, now beginning to rant.

“Now you know how it feels to find out that the one person in the world who swore they’d never keep things from you, has kept a pretty big thing from you. Only, I haven’t told anyone what I’ve just told you. You’re the only one I’ve told. Renjun worked it out, but he’s smart, so of course he would have. But you, oh god, you! You’ve managed to make me question myself for a week.” Mark’s face didn’t change, but his eyes flickered for a bit, the cogs in his brain moving into overdrive to work out what Hyuck was getting to.

“What are you talking about? I haven’t kept anything from you!” At that Donghyuck’s heart broke again, and again, he started to cry over Mark Lee.

“How about the fact that I’ve been home 2 weeks and I had to find out from RENJUN that you had a girlfriend?” And then the shoe dropped for Mark. A wave of realisation and then guilt washed over his face. But Hyuck wasn’t done.

“Really Mark? I leave the country for 3 months and you can’t find it in you to even shoot me a text? We spoke every day and somehow you never could work it into a conversation? And then I get back, and you’re being a bit weird, attached to your phone but I think to myself, don’t worry, it’s probably not that important, if it was Mark’d tell me, we tell each other everything, what could he possibly be hiding from me?” Mark looked down at the ground for a second, and then looked up, a frown on his face.

“But wait, if we’re supposed to tell each other everything, why didn’t you tell me that you were gay? It’s not like I have a problem with it.”

“I wasn’t ready.” And when Hyuck saw Mark about to open his mouth, he quickly dismissed him. “And you don’t get to use that as an excuse, so don’t even insult me. You managed to tell everyone else about this so don’t even go there. But I guess that that’s it isn’t it? It’s not the fact that you didn’t tell me, although I am mad about that, I think I’m just angry, hurt and really fucking embarrassed that I was the last person to know. What the fuck did I do to deserve being left out of that?”

And with that, Hyuck got up off the couch and walked out the front door. He didn’t look back to see what Mark’s reaction to that was, he just had to get out of there.

Chapter Text

It took him around an hour of walking around to work out where he was going, but once Hyuck knocked on Renjun’s door, he knew that he had come to the right place. When Renjun opened the door, the floodgates opened.

“I think I overreacted.” The frown on Renjun’s face was consistent with the confused sound that left his mouth.

“What do you mean? What happened?”

“I had a fight with Mark. I was just so fed up with him keeping shit from me that I tried to guilt him into telling me. I told him that I had a secret that I had told no one and then I told him I was gay. He asked me if I didn’t trust him and if that was why I never told him. And then I kind of lost it, told him that it was a bit rich coming from him. Told him I knew about his girlfriend and oh man, it just spiralled out of control and now I’m here.” After that, Hyuck just dissolved into tears. Renjun just wordlessly gathered him into his arms and pulled him inside.

“I don’t think that that is an overreaction Hyuck. You were hurt, Mark was an idiot and by all accounts, I think you had the right to say that. It’s going to be alright, you just need time to cool off I think. You wanna stay here for a bit?” Hyuck nodded and went and sat on the couch.

Renjun went into his kitchen to get them some tea. Just as he was fixing their mugs, his phone vibrated.

Mark

Please tell me that Hyuck is with you.

We had a fight and he left and now I can’t find him

Injun

Yeah, he’s with me, probably asleep on my couch now.

What the fuck did you do? He cried for a solid hour.

Mark

He knows about Nancy and I. But you know that because you told him

Why did you tell him? It wasn’t your information to tell

Renjun rolled his eyes at that.

Renjun

And what, watch my best friend look hopelessly confused everytime you walked away to take a phone call? Or everytime he had to repeat something because you were too busy texting Nancy to listen to him. I was just affording him the decency of not being left out of important shit in our lives. The question here is why didn’t you tell him?

You really hurt him, Mark.

After sending that, Renjun put his phone down and picked up the tea that he had finished making. Just as he predicted, Hyuck had succumbed to his emotional exhaustion and was now curled up on his couch, fast asleep. Renjun sighed, the dried tear tracks on Hyuck’s cheeks still showing signs of his friend’s distress.

Renjun felt immense sympathy for Hyuck. His feelings for Mark are incredibly subtle, but the look on his face when he told Hyuck about Nancy was one of complete, earth-shattering heartbreak. Renjun hadn’t completely confirmed his theory about Hyuck’s feelings until that moment and he felt for the other boy. Unfortunately for Hyuck, Mark was amazingly oblivious and completely straight - an equation of doom really. This was going to be hard.

Renjun gathered a blanket and laid it out over Hyuck and took himself to bed.

*

It had been two weeks since that night and Mark and Donghyuck were… tense. There had been a heartfelt apology from Mark and a half-hearted acceptance from Hyuck and then tense and awkward situations for the next fortnight.

The rest of the group had noticed and ignored the tension up until this point out of pure hope that the two would sort their shit out by themselves. But it wasn’t working.

*

It was two weeks into the school term and Hyuck was going crazy. He was living with the one person in the world that he was currently avoiding and it was really hard to do that discreetly.

School was kicking his ass, his fight with Mark was still not really resolved, and to make matters worse, the source of their fight was hanging around a lot more.

That was the worst part. Because Nancy McDonie was lovely, really and truly. Her only flaw was that she was dating Mark. And now, at lunch, Hyuck had to watch her sit on Mark’s lap and watch the two of them feed each other. Granted, no one in their group particularly enjoyed that part of lunch, but Hyuck now took to avoiding that sight and the gaze of Renjun who was also somewhat cold to Mark at the moment.

One day, Hyuck decided that he had had enough of watching his best friend dote on his girlfriend and made up an excuse to not come to their spot at lunch. Instead, he took up residence in the library, getting homework done.

*

“Hey Donghyuck, can we talk?” It had been about a week since Hyuck stopped sitting with his friends at lunch. Renjun had texted him a few times, expressing his exasperation but also his sympathy. Jeno, Jaemin, Chenle and Jisung had all asked him if he was alright and asked him when he was going to come back to sit with them. He got them off his back with a pathetic excuse about wanting to catch up on his schoolwork (though not completely false, he was now more on top of his work that two weeks ago). The only person to not ask what was going on with him was Mark. Donghyuck was disappointed but not really surprised, if his studying excuse got back to Mark, he would have taken it.

Hyuck looked up to see Nancy standing in front of his table in the library, a small, kind smile on her face. Even if he wanted to, Hyuck couldn’t be mad or hostile to this girl, she didn’t do anything wrong.

“Hey Nancy, sure, take a seat.” He gestured to the chair in front of him and she sat down, somewhat shyly. “What’s up?”

“I know that it’s not really my place, but are you okay? I know that you and Mark had a fight a few weeks ago, but you guys seemed fine for a bit and now you’re here all the time. Mark is too stubborn and thinks that you guys are fine, but I can see that something’s not right. If you want, you can talk to me? As someone who isn’t really involved?” Again, Donghyuck hated himself, because he did want to talk to someone, but Nancy was wrong in thinking that she wasn’t involved.

“I don’t know,” Donghyuck answered quietly.

“It’s okay, I guess it was a long shot, I know that we don’t really know each other that well. And maybe I was using this as a bit of a ploy to get closer to my boyfriend’s best friend.” Nancy’s crestfallen expression will be solely blamed on Hyuck’s next actions.

“We fought about you. Well, not really, but you were kinda a catalyst.” Hyuck blurted out, startling himself and the poor girl in front of him.

“What? Why me?”

“I went away over the summer and kept in contact with everyone in our group and was kept up to date with all of the developments over here. All except one. You. I don’t blame you, and could never be mad at you, but Mark didn’t tell me about you. Everyone knew, for three months before Renjun had to tell me. Mark and I have always told each other everything. No secrets between us. So we had a fight, I tried to guilt him into telling me, I’m gay you see, and I’d never told anyone until I told him and he got mad at me for keeping secrets from him and I called him out on it.” Nancy looked shocked when Hyuck stopped.

“I’m so sorry, Donghyuck, I didn’t know. When I met everyone else, I had assumed that he’d told you, you guys are so close. Why would he not tell you? I can’t believe him.” Nancy then stopped talking and looked at him for a bit, just staring at him.

Her eyes then widened and she gasped.

“You’re in love with him.”

Chapter Text

“What do you mean you guys broke up?” A cool sense of dread washed over Donghyuck as he looked back at Mark. The older boy was lying on his bed, looking up at the ceiling, seemingly lost in thought.

“I mean just that. Nancy and I broke up. This afternoon.”

“But, why? You guys were fine right?” Hyuck’s anxiety was going through the roof. It had been a week since Nancy had worked out that he was in love with Mark. The look Mark shot him told him how out of place his slight panic was.

“I don’t know. She said something about how she found out some stuff that she couldn’t stay in a relationship knowing. She said that she felt like the bad guy and that she couldn’t hurt people anymore. It was really weird.” Hyuck’s face paled as he listened to Nancy’s reasoning.

“Yeah, weird. Are you okay?” Mark shrugs.

“I don’t know, I kinda just can’t stop thinking about it. We were fine one day, then she disappears from lunch one day last week and then suddenly she’s distant and then we break up? It doesn’t make sense.” Hyuck has to talk to Nancy, if anything, just to check if she’s okay as well.

“Well, don’t dwell on it too much tonight, you’ll just wake up exhausted.” And with that, the both of them went to bed.

Neither of them got a good night’s sleep.

*

Walking into school the next day, Donghyuck was struck with a feeling of nervous anticipation. He bypassed his own locker, walking straight up to Nancy’s.

“Hey Nancy, can we talk for a bit?” The apprehension in his voice was mirrored on her face.

“Yeah, okay.” And then they walked towards the back doors of the building, out to the oval where there shouldn’t be too many people around. Once they found a spot, the both of them stood facing each other.

“Are you okay?” It seemed like a stupid question but Hyuck had to know, just to ease his guilty conscious. Nancy smiled softly at the question, knowing the context despite Mark not being mentioned.

“I’m okay. I just couldn’t continue the relationship with him knowing that I was hurting you.”

“I’m really sorry, I didn’t want anyone to know about it. I just couldn’t handle facing Mark if that ever got out. Then Renjun worked it out and then we talked last week and then you guys broke up and all I can think is that it’s my fault because I’m so selfish about my feelings.” At that Nancy started frantically shaking her head.

“No, no, you aren’t selfish, you can’t control your feelings. And coming from me, I know exactly what you feel, I feel it too. Don’t worry about me. You focus on you and I’ll be okay. Now come here.” With that, Nancy drew Hyuck into her arms for a hug, one that made the boy want to cry.

“Can we be friends? Please? Only because I just need someone who isn’t really connected to the group. No offense. I love those guys, I just need a break sometimes.” Nancy again smiled softly as Hyuck tried to justify why he wanted to be friends with her.

“I’d love that Hyuck, I really would.” At that, Hyuck beamed down at her. Then the bell rang.

“Oh shit, come on, let’s get to class.” And they ran inside to their respective classrooms.

*

Mark couldn’t work it out. He just saw his ex-girlfriend and his best friend hugging and he can’t work out why he feels mad about it. Justifiably, he knew he was jealous, but that didn’t make sense, he wasn’t overly upset when Nancy broke up with him, and he knew that from the last fight that he and Hyuck had that he wasn’t interested in her.
So here he is, sitting in class, one of the only ones that he doesn’t share with any of his group and his mind is moving at a mile a minute.

Why

Why

Why is he so bothered by that?

*

He couldn’t get it out of his head and eventually, it drove him mad. Mark had mulled over Hyuck and Nancy for three days, helped along by seeing them giggling together all the time. So Mark, slightly irrationally, confronted Hyuck after school.

“ I thought you said you were gay?” Their passive silence was broken by that question and made Hyuck drop his pen.

“What? What do you mean?”

“Well you kick up this big stink about being gay when you found out about Nancy and I, then when we break-up all I see is you guys together. So here’s my question, were you actually just jealous and wanting her for yourself? Did you lie to me just to make me feel guilty about dating her?” Hyuck just stared at him in disbelief.

“Are you serious? You’re fucking with me right now. You have to be” Hyuck felt like he couldn’t breathe.

“I don’t buy it. You were fine when you went away, you find out that I’m dating Nancy and suddenly you’re gay? How long had you had your eye on her? Why didn’t you tell me about liking her? I would have stepped away, you didn’t have to lie about being gay. God, Hyuck, that’s so low of you and so disrespectful to our friends-” Mark was cut off by Hyuck slapping him across the face.

“How. Fucking. Dare. You. You do not get to tell me what you think my sexual orientation is. I’m gay. I don’t have a thing for Nancy. You don’t get to decide who I have feelings for. Not even I get that. Believe me, I am seriously struggling with the guy I’m basically in love with at the moment.” Mark just stared at him, holding his cheek.

“And for your information, Nancy and I are friends. Like I thought you and I were. That lunch that she disappeared? She came to talk to me because she was concerned about me, she wanted to know if she could help you and I patch things up after our fight. So when you guys broke up, I wanted to return the favour. I was being a decent person Mark Lee. I was also guilty as hell, because I was part of the reason you broke up.”

“What do you mean? How were you the reason we broke up?” Hyuck knew then that he fucked up.

“Shit. She, she found something out.”

“What did you say to her Donghyuck? What the fuck did you do? I swear to god if yo-”

Hyuck wasn’t sure if he was going to regret his actions that night, but he sure as hell knew he needed this.

Hyuck surged forward and connected his lips to Mark’s. The world stopped momentarily for Hyuck. Then, Mark kissed him back. They stood there, in the middle of their shared bedroom, wrapped up in each other. The longer they continued, the more intense the kiss got, Hyuck threading his fingers through Mark’s hair, then Mark prodding his tongue into Hyuck’s mouth. Mark’s hands moved to settle over Hyuck’s hips and then they were pulling their bodies together. At the increased contact, Hyuck moaned into Mark’s mouth.

That broke the illusion. Suddenly, they were a metre apart. Panting, hair mussed, disbelieving looks in their eyes.

“Wh-why did you do that?” Mark’s eyes were wide, but Hyuck couldn’t read the emotion in them.

“I don’t like Nancy. Nancy is a brilliant girl, one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, but I don’t like her like that. And I wasn’t lying when I said I was gay.”

“But that still doesn’t explain why you kissed me. I mean, why would you do that?” Hyuck, at that, rolled his eyes.

“You’re a fucking idiot. Really think about it Mark. If I’m gay, and I don’t like Nancy AND I kissed you, then that means…” Hyuck slowly spells out for Mark, seeing the exact moment the light switched on for him

“Oh.”

Chapter Text

Silence.

If there was one thing in the world that Donghyuck hated, it was silence. Growing up surrounded by the sorts of friends he did meant that silence signified trouble. And boy was he in it now.

“Look, I came to terms with the fact that you are incredibly straight years ago so it’s okay that you don’t like me back. I just needed to tell you just to get it off my chest. I’m so sorry that I kissed you, that was way out of line and I didn’t even ask you. Oh my god, I’m such a fucking dick.” He’s now rambling. Mark has obviously deemed this to be his punishment because the boy is just standing there with a blank look on his face. Hyuck goes to open his mouth to continue his mindless tirade about consent and feelings and really anything he can think of to fill the void of sound but Mark beats him to it.

“Does anyone else know? That you like me, I mean.” His voice and facial expression was almost completely absent.

“Umm, just Renjun and Nancy. Or at least they are the only ones that I know of.” Mark nodded and breathed out heavily.

“Good. That’s good.” Mark’s tone confused Hyuck, the relief that he was conveying was almost too much.

“What do you mean ‘good’? Would there be a problem with more people knowing that I like you?” Mark knew that he was going to have to think fast to get himself out of trouble here. Hyuck’s eyes had narrowed considerably, an offended look taking over his features.

“No! I just don’t want to cause anymore angst in our group. The others know that we are fighting and I know that it’s making things awkward. I just don’t want to give them another thing to hate me for.”

“And whose fault is it that Mark? The fact that we are fighting? Because last I checked, you managed to tell everyone in your life that you had a girlfriend except for me. I’m still trying to work out why I got left out of that one.” Hyuck was angry now. Most of his anger was stemming from the embarrassment of being rejected.

“I don’t know why I didn’t tell you, I just didn’t. I know that that is a piss poor excuse, but I couldn’t honestly tell you why I never told you. I guess you just, weren't there when we got together and I wasn’t sure how to tell you over the phone and then I didn’t think we were going to last that long and then we did and then you got home.” Mark’s distress was apparent the more he talked but Hyuck, in a sick way almost wanted him to suffer for a few minutes.

They sat in silence for a few minutes, the both of them just stewing on their own thoughts. At one point Mark cleared his throat and nervously looked up at Hyuck. Once he noticed he had the other boy’s attention he took a deep breath.

“Can I ask something? You can reject it, you can leave, you can be pissed at me all you want, I wouldn’t mind-”

“Mark, spit it out, you’re stressing me out”

“Can I kiss you again?”

*

Mark’s heart was in the back of his throat after he finished his question. It then violently crashed back to his chest when he took in Donghyuck’s face. The poor boy looked so startled, but that morphed into a terrifying shade of confusion that bordered on offence.

Mark’s body started to go into preservation mode. Why on earth would he ask that? Of all the questions to ask himself, that was the easiest. His constant confusion about his negative feelings towards Nancy and Hyuck being close was immediately cleared when Hyuck kissed him. It was like he was in a movie and his character had just gotten his memories back. The kiss had essentially unlocked an entire portion of his brain that was entirely dedicated to Hyuck. Suddenly, Mark understood every chest pain and hormonal mood swing he’d had in the presence of Hyuck for the past lifetime.

“I’m going to need you to clarify that question. For the sake of my sanity and our incredibly old friendship.” Hyuck’s low and menacing tone broke Mark out of his thoughts and when Mark looked back at the boy his heart broke. His eyes had become glassy and his lip trembled slightly.

“For the past few years I would have these little periods of weird shit happen to me around you and I could never work it out. Any girls I dated never made me truly happy and then, when Nancy and I broke up, I kept feeling weird when I saw you two together. It fucked with my head, I couldn’t work it out at all. Then, then, you kissed me. I just had a fucking brain explosion. Everything kinda just clicked into place for me. Now I feel like a dick because I’m pretty sure that I have been in love with you for ages and I have screwed around with so many people’s emotions, not the least of which yours. And now I’m looking at you and I’m pretty sure you’re about to cry and I hate seeing you cry and I’m the reason why, so I’m even more piss-” Mark’s explanation was cut off by Hyuck’s lips on his.

It was chaste and enough to leave Mark speechless and breathless at the same time.

“You’re a freaking idiot Mark Lee. But I guess that that’s my problem now, because I have been in love with you for almost 5 years. So yeah, you can kiss me again.” The grin that both boys gave each other could have lit up a city with its brightness.

“Yeah, I might just, you know, do that.”

*

Walking into school the next Monday morning proved to be a true test of Hyuck’s social tolerance. By the time he had reached his locker Renjun was on top of him, jabbering him with questions about why he hadn’t answered any of his texts the entire weekend, what kind of coping mechanisms he was employing that ended with him with a hickey on his neck (damn you Mark).

“Like seriously Hyuck, you didn’t go out and just mack on a stranger did you? That’s dangerous! You could have been hurt or killed!” His consternation was starting to draw some attention from their classmates, just what Hyuck wanted.

“Jun, chill out will you? I’m okay, I was just busy this weekend, these classes are kicking me left and right.” That was mostly correct, he did spend a good portion of the weekend doing his homework, but also spent a lot of time attached to Mark, and also moving rooms. Mark’s parents felt that it would be best for their, concentration, if they didn’t share a room after they walked in on the two of them on Friday night around an hour after their argument-turned-confession. It was an awkward conversation over dinner if anything.

“What do you mean chill out? My best friend drops off the face of the earth for a weekend, comes back with a few hickies and is incredibly nonchalant about it. What am I supposed to think?” Before Hyuck could attempt to further placate his almost hysterical friend he heard his name being called from down the hall. He turned and saw Mark walking towards them, having been to his own locker already. On instinct, his face spread out into a smile. He heard Renjun huff behind him when he saw that his attention was gone, however, Hyuck would have paid to see the look on his face when Mark reached them, cupped his face and kissed him in the middle of the hallway. Thank god Jun wasn’t holding anything overly valuable because all Hyuck heard was his books and water bottle hitting the floor.

“Holy fucking shit.” Hyuck then pulled away from Mark, probably mimicking the same sheepish grin that was on his face as he turned to face their gobsmacked friend.

“Oh yeah, this also happened over the weekend.” It took a few seconds of Renjun’s mouth opening and closing like a fish before he could process a thought worthy of vocalising.

“When the-. What-. You know what? I need at least 6 hours before I’m going to ask. Just know that I am both incredibly happy for you and I hate you both and I will charge for emotional distress caused.” With that he bent over to pick up his things and walked away from them, holding up his middle finger as he went at Mark and Hyuck’s giggles.

“I think he took that rather well, given his usual flair for the dramatic.” Hyuck stated matter of factly, turning back to Mark.

“Oh yeah, his reaction was definitely better than when he found out about Jeno and Jaemin. But that’s okay, he wouldn’t be Renjun if he hadn’t threatened us with something before first period.”

“Mmm, you’re probably right,” Hyuck said. Then a thought occurred to him. “How much do you reckon we can get him to tell if we made out in front of him at lunch later?”

“Man, I don’t know, but all I know is I love you and will risk certain maiming for you.” Mark’s face lit up in a conspiratorial smile as he lent in for a kiss, backing Hyuck up against the latter’s locker.

*

Despite it being a joke, Renjun did look like he was going to kill the both of them when he found them locking lips a few hours later at lunch.