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You Got Me Losing All My Cool

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Let’s just say that Yuta is… aggressive with his playfulness.

 

He is one of those good looking dudes who knows he’s good looking and takes full advantage of it. He can dye his shoulder-length hair Anime Protagonist Red, which would look absolutely horrendous on anyone else but is bomb as fuck on him. He can get his navel pierced and then wear a crop top everywhere he goes and no one raises an eyebrow because his body is just that banging.

 

But it’s not just his looks. He’s a flirt. And no one is safe.

 

It’s almost childish in its level of boorishness but it’s so quintessentially Yuta that he gets a bit of a pass. Everyone just kinda lets him. He’s like that with all of the guys. Yuta’s always calling Jungwoo ‘darling’ or taking every opportunity to slap Johnny’s big ass. He lounges on the couch with a hand down his sweatpants. When Taeyong’s on the phone with his younger brother Donghyuck, Yuta’s always moaning and grunting out Mark’s name like they’re fucking or something until Taeyong gets up and goes into the next room. If Jaehyun’s around, Yuta comes up with any kind of lame excuse to hike up Jaehyun’s shirt and run a hand down the man’s abs and Jaehyun’s super into it because being admired is the whole reason he goes to the gym. Even Doyoung isn’t safe and is always screaming in surprise because of whatever Yuta’s just done to him.

 

And that in and of itself is already wild but shit’s always a bit more... erotic when Yuta’s with Mark. He feeds Mark snacks just to swipe his fingers over Mark’s mouth. Don’t hand him any phallic foods because he’ll lean into Mark’s face and deepthroat it. When it gets cold, he shoves his hands into Mark’s back pockets and squeezes his ass ‘for warmth.’ 

 

Yuta always tells Mark to “Sit on my dick,” when the guys all go to his house and it never fails to throw Mark off his game. It makes his brain malfunction for a solid five seconds before he remembers all over again that Yuta’s named his stupid goddamn couch ‘my dick.’

 

Then there are moments where Yuta gets oddly tender. 

 

He kisses Mark goodnight on the cheek.

 

He just reaches up and strokes Mark’s jaw.

 

He holds Mark’s hand when they’re standing in line for coffee.

 

The sexual stuff is all goofy, lewd ha-ha-ha fun. Mark can handle that because they’re buds. But the romantic shit? That’s what gets Mark red in the face. That is what makes him jittery with nerves and the guys always hear him whine, “Come on, man,” as he pries Yuta’s gentle hands off of him.

 

If they ever all wind up at Mark’s shitty little apartment with no central heating, Yuta usually always snuggles against Mark on the couch as they settle in for a movie. He keeps the popcorn bowl in his lap which is fine. Mark just keeps his eyes on the screen, leans over and sticks a hand into the bowl when he needs to and, still to this day, Mark remembers that one time when Yuta moves the bowl off of his lap right as Mark reaches over for it. Instead of popcorn, Mark ends up with a fistful of Yuta’s crotch instead. Yuta’s never done that again but that doesn’t stop Mark from double-checking before he reaches over. And when they walk down the sidewalk and Mark bends over to tie his Converses, Yuta is always there to grab him by the waist and fucking dry-hump him until Mark finishes his shoes, stands up again and punches him in the chest.

 

That’s just how Yuta is, though. With all of the guys, yeah, but mainly with Mark. 

 

Always with Mark.

 

But for all the innuendos and groping and knuckle kissing, Yuta’s a genuinely good friend. He remembers Mark’s shellfish allergy and makes the appropriate takeout order decisions. He always brings an extra bike helmet so that Mark can climb onto the Harley behind him and go joyriding. Yuta remembers Mark’s favorite candy and buys him a bar before they meet up. He remembers Mark’s chihuahua and buys the old girl an easy-to-chew treat whenever he comes over. Once, he buys her a new collar when he notices her old one is frayed to shreds. And she’s so used to him that she lets him scoop her up and exchange the collars and rock her in his arms like an infant before sitting her back down on her bed. 

 

But then he does something batshit crazy when Mark’s playing a shooting game online on his PS4. Yuta squeezes in real close, leans over, puts his mouth on Mark’s neck and sucks hickies into his skin. Just like that. No real warning and definitely for no real reason. And Mark panics and squirms and squeals into his headset but it’s not like he can do much because he’s playing online and can’t pause the game so he has to expend twice the amount of focus on the match until the round’s over and his team wins. He shoves Yuta’s head away and leaps to his feet. But by then, it’s too late because the marks are purple on his neck and there’s not enough ice in the world to make them fade before the rest of the guys come over.

 

Yuta’s just… like that. But he’s Mark’s best friend and what they have is comfortable and easy even though it is volatile and unpredictable.

 

When Mark gets sick, Yuta is the only one who keeps in mind that Mark prefers cold ice cream to hot soup.

 

When Mark’s old sedan is in the shop, Yuta isn’t the only one who offers him rides but he is the only one who remembers the way to the library where Mark works without Mark having to point the way.

 

Yuta’s genuinely thoughtful and caring and pays attention to the tiny little details that even Jaehyun doesn’t keep track of which is wild because Jaehyun and Mark have known each other since childhood .

 

‘This reminds me of you,’ Yuta texts. He attaches a photo that never fails to make Mark smile or laugh.

 

‘Bought this for you,’ he’ll send with an Amazon screenshot. And in 3-5 business days, there’s a box on Mark’s doorstep with a shirt from Japan or something that fits Mark's style perfectly.

 

Mark does his best to return the favor. He buys Yuta soba whenever he’s on that side of town. He buys and puts together a new bookshelf when Yuta's old one from college gets full. When Mark goes to the gas station at the end of the road, he buys a huge cup of frozen soda and fills it with layer upon layer of every flavor except Dr. Pepper because Yuta has good tastes. One time, he sets a paycheck aside and buys Yuta a new gold chain.

 

What they have is easy. Boundless. Indefinable.

 

But there’s one very distinct moment when things between them blur and discombobulate.

 

They are all downtown at Yuta’s house and they’ve all been drinking so no one’s fit to drive. Tequila, vodka, white rum, fruit punch, lemonade, Sprite, sparkling water. Who knows what else they poured into that big ass beverage dispenser but it went well with the fried chicken and tater tots and chilli so they most certainly had near all of it. Jungwoo, Jaehyun, Taeyong, Doyoung and Johnny are all sprawled across Yuta’s bedroom floor like a pile of corpses. Mark’s sharing the bed with Yuta but only because he passed out on it first and Yuta (for once) doesn’t roll him over onto the floor.

 

Mark wakes up with a raging headache and a raging boner. It’s dark outside. Still. So he must have only been asleep for an hour or two. His mind’s kind of in knots from all the liquor and sugar so, of course, he thinks it’s a good idea to jerk off. Something something ease his headache by diverting the flow of blood something something. He doesn’t know. It just sounds like a good idea so he gropes around beneath the tangled sheets and slips his hand into his underwear but he must be more drunk than he realizes because he can’t feel his hand on his own dick. No matter how tightly he squeezes. No matter how furiously he pumps his wrist. Then he kind of digs his nails into the smooth flesh because if he can’t feel pleasure maybe he can feel pain but it’s not until Yuta hisses next to him and sits up with a start that Mark realizes he’s gripping Yuta’s dick and not his own and that explains so much! Yoooooo. Dude! How did that happen? Wow. And it’s embarrassing so he pulls his hand out of Yuta’s boxers and starts to roll over and go back to sleep in hopes he can forget all about it by morning but Yuta grabs him by the shoulder, pulls him so that they are face to face and says in this croaky, low, super hot voice, “Come on.” 

 

But Mark doesn’t want to come on so he just lays there. That means Yuta has to finish what Mark totally didn’t mean to start and it’s kind of weird because Mark can hear the rustling sheets and the damp schwickschwickschwick sound of Yuta’s hand pumping his cock and Mark can feel Yuta’s arm bump into his on every upstroke. It’s dark in the room but there’s just enough orangish light coming in from the streetlamp outside that Mark can see the whites of Yuta’s eyes as the man looks him dead in the face as he jerks off. And really, truly, honestly, Mark should squeeze his eyes shut or something. Give the dude some privacy. Or at least slide back a bit so it’s not so easy for Yuta to roll his hips forward and press the head of his dick against Mark’s stomach but… Mark doesn’t… hate it… as much as he… wants to hate it? So he can’t bring himself to look away from the depths of Yuta’s eyes and he’s still horny so he puts a hand back around Yuta’s dick and strokes him because that makes the most sense when he’s got his own dick hanging unattended. Their hands crash against each other and Yuta moans and Mark shushes him because everyone, literally everyone , is in the room with them and, Jesus, wouldn’t it be an absolute riot if the two of them get caught like this hahaha they wouldn’t be able to live it down hahaha.

 

And then Yuta reaches between them, yanks the waistband of Mark’s briefs down and starts jerking him off and, oh my God, Mark’s so thankful that Yuta’s got a decent mattress because if they were doing this at his house, every slight little movement would have sent the springs screaming and everyone on the whole block would have known what they were doing. But there’s no creaking mattresses, just Yuta’s barely audible sighs in Mark’s ear. And it feels so good because Yuta does this little twisting motion around the head of Mark’s dick that Mark’s never really done before. Well, he has, but the angle’s different because it’s not his hand and he wants to moan but he can’t. He can’t because he doesn't want to wake anybody up so he just swallows the sound. He works Yuta’s dick under his fist. Quick on the downstroke and slow slow slow on the upstroke and he feels his palm get wet and sticky as Yuta leaks precum. And it’s good but Yuta must think it can be better because he pulls on Mark’s shirt and pulls and pulls until Mark understands and he swings a leg over Yuta’s hips so that he’s straddling the man. And Yuta works Mark’s dick through the leg hole of his briefs and then he takes both of their dicks in one hand and starts stroking them together. It feels a little impossible. It feels like some wild, illicit, lucid dream and Mark jerks his hips forward into Yuta’s closed fist. He feels the smooth curve of Yuta’s dick press into the underside of his own and he grinds down against it. It’s not as smooth as Yuta’s hand but it is so fucking hot. Sexy hot, yeah, but also hot as in temperature and it feels good so Mark fucks his own dick against it. Fucking revolves his hips until he tires himself out and has to twist a bit so he can just collapse down onto Yuta’s chest and weakly bite the crook of the man’s neck as Yuta jerks them both off and Mark wants to moan. He wants to moan but then there’s another sound.

 

It’s Johnny standing up off of the floor! Mark can tell by the silhouette against the dim light coming in through the window.

 

Fuck. Did they wake him up? Were they that loud? Are things about to get weird?

 

Yuta’s hand squeezes vice-tight around their dicks. Mark’s hips freeze mid-thrust. They both go still. Try to act like they’re both asleep as Johnny uses the flashlight on his phone to navigate the arms and legs all across the hardwood floor. There’s a moment when Johnny swings the flashlight in their direction and Mark shuts his eyes just in time and he, fuck fuck fuck, he can only hope that the two of them just look like they’re cuddling in their sleep. And maybe that’s exactly what they look like because Johnny turns the flashlight away and then he slips into Yuta’s en suite and then he shuts the door and they both hear him start to urinate into the toilet and, without needing to tell the other anything, they both decide to use the noise as cover to just fucking go to town.

 

Yuta slides his free hand up Mark’s thigh, fucking grabs a handful of his ass. Uses his grip to guide Mark’s hips faster and faster.

 

They press closer beneath the sheets. Fingers curling. Hands jerking. Yuta starts pistoning his own hips upwards to meet Mark’s downward swivels. They rut against each other trying to fucking race each other to orgasm and then Johnny flushes the toilet right as Yuta cums. Right as his whole body trembles and melts to puddy beneath Mark’s body and Yuta chokes out an “Oh my fuck, Mark,” and Mark can’t even roll off of him to safety because Johnny’s swinging the bathroom door open again and Mark has to close his eyes and relax his shoulders and press his face into the crook of Yuta’s neck and pretend to be asleep again and lay really still even though Yuta’s still fucking jerking him off and, through his closed eyelids, Mark can fucking see Johnny’s phone flashlight slowly wash over his face. Then Johnny passes by the bed to go back to his spot on the floor and when Mark finally cums, the fun’s kinda been sucked out of it and he feels like he lost a game or something. He has to lay real still and bite his tongue to stop a moan and just stiffly spill into Yuta’s hand and across his stomach because he can tell by the glow in the corner of the room that Johnny’s still awake and constantly refreshing Twitter.

 

But Mark’s stupid idea works because he’s so worried about Johnny overhearing them that he doesn’t even think about his raging headache so falling asleep in Yuta’s arms is no problem.

 

Yeah. Murky. Blurred. Discombobulated.

 

Where do they lay the boundaries now?

 

It’s definitely something Mark ponders in the morning when he wakes up because his underwear is fucking soaked and Yuta’s holding on to Mark’s flaccid dick in his sleep and Mark has to spend thirty seconds peeling Yuta’s sticky fingers off of his dick before he hustles into the shower, washes up and pulls on his shirt and pants from last night before any of the other guys wake up and question why he’s in bed with Yuta in just his cum-soaked underwear.

 

Because they will question.

 

And Mark spends the whole day at Yuta’s house with the others. He helps Taeyong bake a cake and tries to sober up, more than a little paranoid because every now and then, Johnny looks at him funny and does he know? Does he know? Does he know? But he never says anything. He just smiles and only makes a regular, expected amount of dick jokes and double entendres and Mark tries not to fake his laughs too hard and what’s worse is that Yuta is still just as clingy. He still drapes his arms over Mark’s shoulders on the couch and laughs at all of his shitty jokes and makes him a grilled cheese sandwich when he asks and it’s weird because things aren’t weird and Mark kinda wants them to be weird because why aren’t things weird when they got each other off last night?

 

But shit’s not weird.

 

Yuta’s still Yuta and Mark’s still Mark.

 

And the days keep on going after that.

 

Yuta invites Mark out on “dates.” To the lake to feed the ducks. To the outdoor market to feed themselves. To the amusement park. Yuta finds any old reason to hold Mark’s hand. Gives him the best, tightest, warmest hugs. And neither of them really bring up that night in Yuta’s bed and weeks turn into months so Mark feels like he’s allowed to forget that it happened. 

 

Yuta goes full-on cringe, sometimes. He sends more shirtless mirror pics than most good friends should. Makes kissy faces at Mark from across the room. Says he’s so in love. Wraps an arm around Mark’s waist with a ridiculous level of possessiveness. Stares at Mark’s mouth while he talks and quietly, almost sheepishly asks, “Can I kiss you on the mouth,” even when all of the other guys are right there watching and listening and giggling. And it wouldn’t fuck Mark up so bad if Yuta didn’t do it with such serious, unflinching passion in his eyes. Because of that, Mark can’t exactly tell where the cut-off point to the joke is. Like, where’s the punchline, yo? When are you going to say sike and walk away? You gonna give me some breathing room? Hahaha. Did you just call me ‘babe’? Hahaha.

 

Mark usually always laughs off Yuta’s forwardness and finds the nearest beverage to gulp down to cool off. Because, dude, even if Yuta’s fucking joking, it’s crazy how quick the nerves set in. It’s crazy how fast his body reacts . It’s like he’s got snakes in his throat, swelling up his tongue so he’s speechless. It’s like the sun’s exploded in his chest, burning away everything and making him fucking choke. He has to take way too long to catch his breath, get his thoughts in order, peel out of Yuta’s embrace. It takes every bit of him to step away from all of that fucking body heat and then go back to hanging out with the rest of the guys.

 

And Yuta just smirks at him while planning his next wild ploy.

 

Fuck. 

 

Yuta’s physical affection comes so easy and effortless that every new person they try to absorb into the friend group wildly misinterprets their relationship.

 

When Taeyong first brings Seulgi around before they are official, Yuta does his usual Yuta things. He straddles the back of Johnny’s thighs and plays the guy’s ass like bongos while Johnny lays on the floor and struggles to finish a 1,000-piece puzzle. Taeyong plays some sultry reggaeton on the Bluetooth speakers and Yuta demands Doyoung give him a lapdance and Doyoung surprises everyone by actually sidling over and giving him one. Then Yuta joins Jungwoo on the couch and spends so long playing with his hair that Jungwoo falls asleep across the arm of the couch. Jaehyun pulls out a bottle of tequila and Yuta volunteers to take at least four shots out of his navel. 

 

He does all of that. He does all of that ! But when Yuta leans over and wipes graham cracker crumbs from the corner of Mark’s mouth, that’s when Seulgi blushes and goes, “Awww, you two are so cute together.”

 

Then, a month and a half later, when Johnny dates Irene and brings her over to Jungwoo’s fancy, parents-bought-it-for-him-cuz-generational-wealth-exists house one afternoon, she immediately assumes Yuta and Mark are boyfriends because Yuta has once again tricked Mark into wearing matching outfits. (“Remember that green sweater that ties at the neck? Do you still have that? You should wear it today.”)

 

The cool spring season is left behind and summer sneaks up on them. 

 

When Donghyuck’s soccer game gets cancelled due to the downpour and he has to hang out with the guys half the night, Donghyuck pulls Yuta and Mark aside to gush about his budding relationship with some guy named Renjun who is the goalkeeper for his team. And it’s a little maddening how Donghyuck goes on and on about how Renjun’s mean and a bit of a jerk until someone gets a handful of the hair at the nape of his neck and pulls and Donghyuck is pretty sure they are going to have sex soon because it just feels like it and Mark thinks it’s cute that Donghyuck has someone he’s into but is ultimately confused as to why Donghyuck is asking the two of them for tips on getting a dude into bed. And Donghyuck looks first at Mark and then at Yuta and then at Yuta’s hand on Mark’s thigh and goes, “You two have sex all of the time, right? You should know all of the good stuff. Tell me everything.” And Yuta doesn’t even bat an eyelash while Mark sputters and spits up his beer and asks, choking, why Donghyuck can’t ask anyone else and Donghyuck says he doesn’t know anybody else he can ask about gay stuff and even though Taeyong went wild in college, Donghyuck definitely can’t ask his bro about shit like this because that would be weird . And Mark’s like isn’t this weird and Yuta chuckles, tells Mark to sit tight and then gives Donghyuck a… Well, let’s just say it’s a very educational breakdown on sex prep and protection while Mark has no other option but to sit there quiet and red in the face with Yuta’s hand still on his thigh. 

 

Donghyuck asks Mark how much sex hurts on a scale of one to ten. And Mark at least has enough sense to peel the cotton out of his mouth and declare, “If sex hurts, you’re doing it fucking wrong.”

 

And Yuta says, “If sex hurts, you’re doing fucking wrong.”

 

And only Donghyuck gets the word play so he’s the only one to laugh.

 

And somehow, Yuta and Mark become the go-to couple in their friend group for gay sex advice even though they aren’t a couple and have only kinda sorta had sex with each other the one time. Maybe? Did that count if they don’t talk about it?

 

Like, Donghyuck gets brave and introduces Renjun to them who then invites the two of them out for coffee and tiramisu only to assault them with his own questions about love and sex and relationship stuff and how he’s not sure if he’s into the same stuff Donghyuck’s into and if that means they’re gonna have to break up and Yuta tells him it’s all about communication and telling your partner what you want while staring at the side of Mark’s head like it’s supposed to mean something.

 

It doesn’t stop there. Another guy on Donghyuck’s soccer team, Jeno, tracks them down (“It’s easy because you two are always together!”) and in the utmost confidence asks them if they know any ancient, tried-and-true secrets to coming out to family members.

 

It doesn’t… stop… there. 

 

Taeyong’s got a friend named Baekhyun who thought he knew everything there was to know about his own sexuality until he realizes he may be madly in love with his colleague. And Mark tries to reason it out and say it’s just proximity and feelings developed because of how close they have to be to do their work but Yuta’s a bit more candid and says he wasn’t sure he was gay until he met Mark and Mark thinks it’s a movie reference but Baekhyun gets it and lets them know he’ll call them up with the results of his confession. (“Shit, guys, it didn’t go so well. He kinda wants to quit?”)

 

Even Jaehyun approaches them once. Completely sober so that they both know he’s serious, Jaehyun tells them that maybe just maybe, hypothetically speaking, this is totally about a friend not me, that he (“My friend, my friend, my friend, not me!”) stuck a finger up his ass once and it felt good and if Yuta and Mark could walk him through the step-by-step process of putting bigger things up there, that would be great. Because they would know about that stuff, right? They fuck all of the time, right?

 

And every time they are asked that, it leaves Mark breathless and red in the face while Yuta is just Yuta.

 

And the days keep on going after that.

 

Everyone thinks they are together.

 

Like, there is even that one time on Mark’s last birthday when Yuta takes Mark to a restaurant where you have to dress up a bit just to get let in the door. There’s a live band playing the smoothest jazz Mark has ever heard. The view out the floor-to-ceiling windows is spectacular, all of the pretty uptown lights twinkling twenty-something stories below. There is steak and caviar and crab and lobster tail on the menu and a lot of things in French that Mark can’t pronounce. He orders the cheapest thing because he doesn’t want to be rude. Yuta reaches into his pocket and slides Mark his birthday gift, a beautiful watch in a small leather case, and the diners at the surrounding tables incorrectly assume it is an engagement proposal and after some energetic champagne bottle popping and a sonnet from the violinist, Mark and Yuta wind up getting the meal (and dessert) for free, Mark’s face so red and his throat so dry from embarrassment that he can’t even choke out that it is all a misunderstanding.

 

On the elevator ride to the ground floor afterwards, Yuta looks him in the eye and seriously says, “If you ever want a ring, just ask.” 

 

And Mark laughs for the remainder of the descent because what? Yooooo, dude.

 

Then there is that one time when the two of them are in the cramped backseat of Jungwoo’s Mustang. Yuta’s legs are spread wide because of how far Johnny has his seat back. They had to have been on their way to Taeyong’s apartment. That would have been the only reason they’d have been out on the back roads. Jungwoo takes a sharp curve at thirty over the speed limit and Yuta slaps his big hand around Mark’s little thigh and grips hard to keep Mark from sliding into the window. That is cool, Mark thinks. That’s great. A little Soccer Mom Arm Save. Then they roll past the curve and the road straightens out and Jungwoo flicks the bright lights off because of the oncoming car but Yuta keeps his hand on Mark’s thigh. In fact, he keeps sliding his hand further and further up Mark’s inner thigh until his fingers leave goosebumps on Mark’s skin. Until butterflies are dancing in Mark’s stomach. Until his face is burning and his heart hammers away at his chest and his dick swells from a sudden bout of arousal. And, of course, Yuta’s hand is immediately there, fingers pressing into Mark’s erection. Jungwoo sees them in the rearview mirror and announces over his thumping music that they should get a room . And that, of all things, not any of the other stuff, is what makes Mark pry Yuta’s hand away from his crotch. 

 

And it’s only a few days after that when the boundaries between them blur and get all out of whack and discombobulated again.

 

Mark is sick in bed with sore, aching limbs and a sky high fever. He’s had to call out of work sick two days in a row so it’s serious . Yuta lives the closest so he’s the first of the crew to arrive. He sits a bottle of aspirin on the nightstand, gets clean washcloths and a big glass bowl of cool water from the kitchen, then he comes back into the summer-humid bedroom, unbuttons Mark’s pajama shirt and wipes the sweat off his heaving abdomen. Mark can’t feel anything so Yuta goes to the kitchen and fills the bowl with colder water. Now Mark feels better. The swipes of the cloth over his neck and shoulders is like heaven and, patiently, Yuta works his way down Mark’s torso. 

 

That’s when it happens.

 

Yuta’s knuckles brush over Mark’s crotch when he spins to wring the water out of the rag. It’s accidental. Yuta knows it’s accidental. Mark knows it’s accidental but he bucks his hips up into the touch before he can stop himself.

 

And then the room is quiet and still as they both look at each other like what the fuck?

 

And Mark, in the same froggy grunt that Yuta used that one night all those months ago, goes “Come on.” 

 

But unlike Mark back in Yuta’s bed, Yuta is ready and willing and all too eager to come on so he discards the damp washcloth, slips a hand into Mark’s underwear and squeezes his dick. His thumb rubs gentle circles along the ridge below the head and Mark hardens under his touch. It feels good because Yuta’s hand is cold from the water and Mark’s skin is fever-hot and the room is hot and everything is hot and it feels so good to get cool so Mark rucks his hips up and shoves his dick into the tightest part of Yuta’s fist.

 

Next thing he knows, Yuta is climbing on top of the bed next to him. Mark has to scoot over a bit to give him room. The bedsprings scream under all the added weight but no one else is here yet so the two of them don’t have to worry about being quiet.

 

Yuta licks a wet circle around Mark’s nipple and the tingle of pleasure that jolts up Mark’s spine surprises a moan from his lips. Yuta’s mouth trails up Mark’s chest to his collarbone and then up his neck to his jaw, leaving a trail of soft, cool kisses between maddening swipes of his tongue and playful bites with his teeth. His hand leaves Mark’s underwear and Mark whimpers at the lack of friction around his dick but he lays there and revels in the attention Yuta lavishes on him. Yuta’s mouth ghosts along the curve of Mark’s ear before it dances over his feverish forehead. Then his lips get lost somewhere around the crown of Mark’s head, ruffling his hair. “Your fever’s breaking. You were hotter yesterday.”

 

And Mark doesn’t give two shits about his fever or yesterday so he grabs Yuta’s wrist and guides the man’s hand back into his underwear. Yuta wastes no time gripping him around the base of his dick and, fuck, his hands are so cold, but it feels good because Mark is so hot.

 

Yuta hovers over him. He divides his attention between layering kisses on top of Mark’s chest and stroking Mark’s cock with his hand. If he doesn’t go fast enough, Mark fucks up into his fist. If he does it just right, Mark arches his whole back off the bed and whimpers.

 

Mark doesn’t want Yuta to do all the work. He wants to return the favor like he does with all of Yuta’s other gifts so he reaches out a hand, hoists up Yuta’s Fender t-shirt, slides down on the bed a little to get a better angle and licks at the sweat-damp skin around Yuta’s navel piercing. He barely has to look. He knows exactly where it is. Knows exactly where the barbell threads through Yuta’s skin.

 

The reaction is instant. Yuta fucking shivers and forces a new chorus of squeaks out of the bedsprings. Mark can see the swell of Yuta’s dick beneath the denim of his shorts. He runs a hand along the length and realizes months and months later that he held Yuta’s dick in his hand but has yet to actually see it.

 

He wants to see it. So he sets to work unzipping Yuta’s shorts and tugging them off of his hips. He gets them halfway down Yuta’s muscled thighs before he realizes he can’t get them lower until Yuta gets up off the bed. Mark turns his attention back on Yuta’s crotch in the meantime and presses his mouth against the cotton of his boxers.

 

Yuta’s body is hot. He still smells like outside. Like fresh cut grass and sweat and his Harley’s exhaust fumes. Mark licks his tongue over the round head of Yuta’s dick through his boxers and is surprised but not surprised to feel the hard, half-moon curve of a barbell through the tip of his dick. It’s pierced now. Because of course.

 

Mark wants to see it. 

 

He slides Yuta’s boxers down and his curved dick swings free. It’s long and narrow and veiny and pierced so Mark flicks out his tongue and feels the barbell bounce back against his mouth.

 

Yuta grunts and sighs at the sensation but Mark isn’t moving fast enough for him.

 

Mark lets Yuta roll him over onto his stomach and whimpers as Yuta’s cold hands run up his sweaty back. Mark spreads his legs, lifts his hips up so that most of his weight is on his knees. Honestly, he fucking does it so that Yuta can give him the reach around, slip a hand beneath him and keep jerking him off but what he doesn’t expect is for Yuta to grip him by the waist and fucking grind against him .

 

Mark’s ass is still covered by his pajama shorts but they don’t need bare skin against bare skin when the friction is enough. 

 

Yuta ruts against him, pressing his dick into the cleft of Mark’s ass. Mark presses the side of his face into the cool side of his pillow and braces himself as Yuta snaps his hips forward again and again. 

 

Mark’s not being fucked but he feels fucked. His legs tremble like they are made of jelly. Yuta is so heavy on top of him. He can feel Yuta’s fingernails clawing marks into his hip bones. Can feel the gold chain he gifted Yuta ages ago drag across his shoulder blades. Heat crackles and blazes across the bottom of his ass from the force of Yuta’s thrusts.

 

With so many layers of cloth between them, Mark feels the impression of Yuta’s dick more than anything, but he can imagine its shape and girth and length from how it slides up and down and up and down the cleft between his cheeks, the movement hot and rough and maybe a little chafing.

 

“Fuck,” Yuta grunts above him. “Fuck, Mark.”

 

And Mark doesn’t really know what it is Yuta means but his voice is hot and loud and low and Mark’s so glad his bedroom wall faces the corner of the building. No neighbors on that side! And that’s fucking phenomenal because his crappy, hand-me-down bed is fucking creaking. The whole thing is kind of wobbling. The headboard is thudding against the wall in time with each of Yuta’s thrusts. And because it feels so good, Mark croaks out his name: “Yu-ta. Yu-ta.”

 

Mark pulls his knees a little closer together, pushes his ass up a little higher. It invites Yuta to get a little bolder. To slip Mark’s pajama shorts and underwear off and remove that last layer between them.

 

Mark feels Yuta’s bare cock against his ass now. When Yuta thrusts between his cheeks, the slide sends tingles of pleasure up through Mark’s gut. Every now and then, the heavy barbell at the tip of Yuta’s dick catches slightly slightly slightly on the rim of his hole and the sensation makes tremors jump through his thighs.

 

“Mark, I’m cumming. I’m cumming,” Yuta grunts at him. He rolls his hips one more good time and even though Mark is hot, Yuta’s cum still feels warm across his back.

 

Yuta collapses on top of him and his weight presses Mark’s hips back down to the mattress and reminds him of his own untouched cock. 

 

Yuta just wheezes into his ear so Mark lifts his hips. He feels the slick slide of Yuta’s softening dick along the curve of his ass. Feels strings of half-dried cum dragging over his skin. Mark gets a hand under his stomach, wraps it around his dick and pumps his wrist, determined.

 

When Yuta recovers a bit more, he kisses Mark’s shoulder blades, runs his cool hands along Mark’s neck and lazily grinds his soft dick between Mark’s sweat-sticky ass cheeks. “I can make you feel so good. For real. If you let me,” Yuta utters into the skin behind Mark’s ear.

 

And there’s something about the bass of it, something about the sweet sweet promise of it that makes Mark’s heart thud in his chest. His balls tighten. He bites into his pillow. But just as he’s about to cum, there’s heavy pounding on his front door and Johnny’s booming voice on the other side of the wood shouting “Stop fucking and let us in!”

 

And his words hit so close to home, so close to the truth, that Mark’s whole body goes rigid with fright. He cums, and the orgasm shakes his whole body, but he can’t even enjoy it because Johnny is pounding on the door again and now his phone is ringing on the nightstand and Yuta is climbing off of him and pulling his underwear back up and buttoning his shorts and saying “Get back under the covers. I’ll let them in.”

 

But Mark doesn’t have the strength to get under the covers or do anything because frustration sits heavier in his balls than relief does so all he wants to do is lay in the cool dampness of his own cum until he hears the front door open and then he scrambles to pull his clothes back up and get presentable.

 

Doyoung has a boxed wine and comes into Mark’s bedroom with his free hand full of all of Mark’s wine glasses. “Dude, did you know that your cabinets are full of nothing but Vienna sausages and Chicken Of The Sea? Shit. You’re sweating so bad all of your sheets are wet. Here.” And he hands Mark a wine glass.

 

Taeyong makes a beeline for Mark’s PS4. “Guess what just hit the shelves today,” he sings as he waves the Blu-Ray he brought with him in the air.

 

Jungwoo comes in with bags of Vietnamese takeout while Johnny carries the napkins and disposable chopsticks and the soda caddy.

 

“Why’d you park your bike so close to the lines, dude,” Jaehyun complains as he comes into the room. “We had to go all the way down the hill to the guest parking lot by the pool and hike our way back up. That’s why it took us so long.” 

 

“No one’s dinging my bike,” is the reason Yuta gives when he enters the room. He looks regular. Normal. It’s hot in Mark’s apartment so the sweat on his forehead isn’t suspicious and he’s always got that rockstar look going on so his messy, dyed black hair also isn’t suspicious. His shirt is wrinkled but other than that, he looks put together and not at all like he had Mark face down and ass up not even a minute ago.

 

Mark, on the other hand, lays in bed stiffly. He can feel Yuta’s cum as it dries along the groove of his spine and across the top of his ass. His own underwear is damp with his own sweat and lust. He’s pretty sure he looks like a stirred-up mess and maybe that’s a good thing because he’s supposed to be sick. He is sick. And as long as he keeps the sheets up near his neck, no one will question the love bites sucked into his chest and stomach.

 

Because they will question.

 

Except… they don’t.

 

Doyoung downs glass after glass of wine.

 

Taeyong yells “SHUT THE FUCK UP, BITCHES,” whenever they get too loud for him to hear the movie.

 

Jungwoo and Jaehyun start up a card game on the edge of Mark’s bed and Mark prays they don’t feel how damp his sheets are and squick out.

 

Yuta feeds Mark lunch bite by bite which is unnecessary because Mark can definitely sit up and feed himself but then Mark remembers that his pajama top is unbuttoned and his chest is bruised and bitten and he’s got his pajama shorts on sideways to Sunday so then he just lays there and lets Yuta feed him.

 

And every now and then, Johnny looks at them a little funny but he doesn’t say anything even though he so badly, obviously, clearly wants to say something . But he doesn’t.

 

Because Yuta is Yuta and Mark is Mark and the days keep on going after that.

 

Mark can’t tell if it’s Yuta’s neverending confidence that fuels his flirtatious antics or if Mark just comes off as that much of a pushover. He wonders if it’s his fault because he knows he’s such a fucking enabler. He doesn’t tell Yuta to fuck off as firmly as he probably should.

 

Doyoung tells him once, pouring the two of them stupidly huge glasses of wine in Jaehyun’s garage one evening, that Yuta fools around with Mark because of how easy it is to get Mark flustered. Doyoung lists it all out for him:

 

  1. His voice shoots up an octave.
  2. He stutters.
  3. His whole face goes pink.
  4. He can’t maintain eye contact.
  5. His ears turn as red as Solo cups.
  6. He does that weird thing with his shoulders.
  7. His giggles get a little screechy.
  8. If Yuta spooks him bad enough, he catches the hiccups and Mark’s hiccups are hilarious.

 

And Mark feels a little exposed having his personal traits spelled out like that. He almost feels betrayed because the others see how terribly Yuta fucks with his head but they don’t do anything about it.

 

He brings it up with Taeyong on the phone the next afternoon, who is absolutely shocked by Mark’s take on things.

 

“I thought you two were dating this whole time,” he yells from his end of the phone call. “I thought you’ve been together for years! You sit on his lap and he kisses your neck and he’s always sleeping over at your place!”

 

“But he’s just joking,” Mark explains.

 

And Taeyong goes, “Who jokes like that?”

 

Johnny must be in the vicinity because his gruff voice suddenly filters through the speaker. He says, “He seriously likes you, dude. He won’t shut the flying fuck up about you.”

 

And Mark laughs because something like that is absolutely preposterous. Yuta genuinely likes him? Smoking hot serial flirt Yuta is serious about him? “But he messes around with all of you guys.”

 

And Johnny says, “But he only flirts with you.”

 

Mark can’t believe it but then it might be a little true because Mark recalls the tail-end of the conversation he’d had with Doyoung. How Doyoung had said that Yuta flirts like that with Mark because he loves watching Mark squirm.

 

“Yuta’s into that,” Doyoung says, passing him a wine glass. “Yuta’s into you.”

 

Mark isn’t sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Yuta being into Mark's squeamishness. Yuta being into Mark. It’s gonna end up being bad if Yuta’s antics always get his heart rate up like this. He’s already got mildly high blood pressure!

 

But Yuta keeps going and going. Ravishing Mark with praise and attention.

 

Yuta’s weird like that with the others, too. Sometimes. But it’s like he saves the majority of it for Mark. He keeps all the good stuff stashed away for their interactions.

 

There is this one time when they are at a nightclub with the guys, slinking around the dancefloor to find an open table. Some girls wander up to them. The shorthaired one makes it clear that she just wants the guys to buy them drinks but the other girls want to play around. They ask to dance and the one with bleached blonde hair and glasses attempts to press her lipstick mouth to Mark’s neck. But Yuta beats her to it. He wraps both arms around Mark’s waist from behind, kisses his neck and exhales hotly onto the shell of Mark’s ear, saying, “But you’re mine, though. Aren’t you?” And it is so unexpectedly erotic that Mark just turns to fucking jelly and accidentally slumps back against Yuta’s chest like he’s lost the feeling in his legs or something.

 

And when summer’s halfway over, there is this one night where they are at Johnny’s house at four in the morning because he has a pair of pool tables in the basement and Yuta strong arms Mark against the wood paneling while the other guys chalk their cues.

 

“Why are you standing so close,” Mark gasps out. Because the basement is very wide yet the space between Yuta’s arms is very narrow. “Don’t get so close.”

 

Which only makes Yuta get closer. And closer. Get right up on him, hip to hip. “Wanna make out?” Yuta looks him dead in the eyes and presses his nose to Mark’s like they are about to kiss or something and it shocks Mark how quickly he succumbs. How desperately he drops open his mouth. Only to come to his senses, put both hands on Yuta’s chest and shove him away.

 

“Dude, stop playing,” he whines.

 

“Who’s playing,” Yuta counters, only to spin away and join Jaehyun at the pool table.

 

There is one time at the end of summer when they are both chilling with the guys on game night. At Jaehyun’s duplex, Mark is positive. Drinking booze and watching the game. Everything’s fine. Everything’s chill. And then Yuta just leans directly into Mark’s face and says, “You’re so fucking gorgeous,” loud enough for the entire room to hear. 

 

Of course Mark gets flustered! What else is he supposed to do? He looks around and no one else even seems bothered. Jaehyun kinda snort-laughs on the other end of the couch. Johnny, in the armchair, swings his head their way but only for a split second. Doyoung keeps swirling his wine in his glass and Jungwoo doesn’t lift his head up off the carpet and Taeyong screams “DEFENSE! WHERE THE FUCK IS THE DEFENSE?” at the plasma screen. No one’s coming to Mark’s rescue so he has to save himself. “Hey, man,” he tries his best not to stutter. “Get serious. You’re blocking the TV.” Then he leans around Yuta’s broad shoulders just in time to watch the team he hates intercept the ball because of a wide, stupid pass.

 

But Yuta doesn’t let up. He pushes Mark into the plush upholstery of the couch and says, “I’m always going to be serious about you.”

 

And it’s been years and years and years of this but Mark finally loses his grip. He balls his hands into the collar of Yuta’s shirt and shoves him back to his end of the cushion. “What the hell is your problem, Yuta? Fuck off!” And he means it. He means it. He means it .

 

And Yuta gets it.

 

His face kind of flattens out and his eyes go a little unfocused and he leans away and he crawls to the opposite end of the couch and he stares at the flatscreen and he doesn’t stare at Mark.

 

Yuta stops being Yuta but Mark is still Mark and the days keep on going after that.

 

Just… a little weirder than usual. Even weirder than they were before. The kind of weirdness Mark had expected after that first rowdy night in Yuta’s bed. Or the second time in Mark’s bed. It’s the kind of weirdness that he admits he was looking for all this time.

 

Yuta still buys him gifts but sometimes the shirts don’t fit. Yuta still brings Mark lunch but he makes no offers to feed Mark or wipe food off his mouth. He still rides Mark on the back of his Harley but he no longer guns the engine to make Mark squeal and latch onto him. 

 

Even when they are standing next to each other, there’s distance.

 

At the start of fall, when Taeyong and the guys drive Donghyuck over state lines to the university for his sophomore year, Donghyuck pulls Mark aside and boldly asks him if he and Yuta have broken up.

 

“We’ve hit a rough patch,” is all Mark wants to tell him about it.

 

“Is it because you’ve had bad sex,” Donghyuck asks. “Because I think Renjun broke up with me because we had bad sex.”

 

And Mark doesn’t get flustered. Maybe because Yuta isn’t there. “You just have to communicate,” Mark says, “ask your partner what they want but also tell them what you want.” And he looks to his left because that’s where Yuta usually always is and shiiiiiiit. 

 

They’ve broken up, haven’t they?

 

Mark’s birthday hits in August. There’s no swanky restaurant, no steak, no mistaken proposal and no free dessert. Instead, there’s pizza, mozzarella sticks, nachos with queso, and five different cakes because everyone thought no one else was going to bring a cake. And because they are at Doyoung’s loft, there is also boxed wine.

 

Mark tries to stay near Yuta but Yuta always needs to refill his cup or go to the bathroom or text his cousin or any manner of excuses to keep Mark at arm’s length.

 

And Johnny watches them. He doesn’t say anything because Mark is used to him not saying anything.

 

Taeyong gets drunk and FaceTimes Donghyuck who is also drunk and maybe a little homesick.

 

“Homesick,” Taeyong bellows. “Class hasn’t been in session a month!” And then Johnny snatches the phone from him and demands to be shown Donghyuck’s new dorm room because that’s his alma mater and apparently underclassmen get singles now? How the flying fuck is that fair?

 

At some point, Mark winds up with the phone in his hands.

 

Donghyuck says, “Happy birthday, Mark. Are you getting any birthday dick?” and he must say it because Yuta is visible on the couch across the room. Mark feels his face get hot because, goddamn, Donghyuck is loooouuuuud but maybe his expression says everything that his words can’t say because Donghyuck leans really close to the screen like that’ll keep what he says secret and stage-whispers, “You miss him, don’t you?”

 

And Mark hates how rapidly he twists his head in Yuta’s direction to see if he overheard.

 

He doesn’t.

 

Mark looks back at the screen and nods vigorously. Then he asks Donghyuck, “You miss him , don’t you?”

 

And Donghyuck is drunk but he’s not stupid. He says, “No,” and flops down on his bed with a content sigh. "I've moved on." He holds the phone up at a high angle so that Mark can see that there’s a guy passed out on the bed next to him. Lanky and handsome with a head full of dyed pink hair. “We communicate ,” Donghyuck stresses and then asks Mark to give the phone back to Taeyong.

 

Jungwoo gets sick in September and they all go over to his stupidly large house to cheer him up and keep him company. 

 

Every time Mark and Yuta cross paths in the hallway, Mark still half-expects Yuta to push him up against the wall and kiss marks into his jaw. 

 

He doesn’t. 

 

When they sit next to each other on Jungwoo’s couch, Mark still half-expects Yuta to slap a hand down on his thigh and rub circles into Mark’s skin with his thumb. 

 

He doesn’t.

 

When the night comes to a close and they all hug goodbye before drifting to their separate cars, Mark still half-expects Yuta to squeeze his ass cheeks or just… just hold him, man. Just hold him like he fucking cares and will actually fucking miss him.

 

He doesn’t.

 

And it’s not until late that evening when he’s in bed nursing a hangover that Mark realizes that he never actually hated Yuta’s flirting. It was wild and aggressive and half of it could have gotten them arrested for public indecency but it was still… fun. He never actually wanted Yuta to stop. Well, he did. But not really. Not stop stop, at least.

 

That fluttery feeling in his chest whenever Yuta is near him is attraction not repulsion, he concludes, staring up at his slowly-spinning ceiling fan. And he suddenly doesn’t want Yuta flirting with anybody else.

 

The next time they all gather is at Mark’s apartment and the temperature is fucking perfect so they throw open all of the windows to let the cool breeze in while Taeyong explains why it took nearly six hours for his stylist to get his hair such a vibrant Joker green.

 

Jungwoo sits on the beanbag chair in the living room too hard and pops a hole in it, spilling white beans all over the carpet. He shrieks and Doyoung somehow already has his phone out, recording the theatrics. Jungwoo tears up and halfway sobs like he just accidentally stepped on Mark’s chihuahua or something. Jaehyun goes to the kitchen, comes back with the mop. Jungwoo slaps him over the head.

 

Mark wants to have fun but it’s hard. It’s difficult when it feels like he’s missing the one puzzle piece in his life he needs for everything to fit.

 

So he grows some balls, crosses the kitchen to where Yuta's sitting at the table, taps him on the shoulder and says, “I miss you,” and it sounds kind of silly because it’s not like they have stopped hanging out but they haven’t been hanging out and Mark misses that and Yuta’s up on his feet so fast that Mark blinks and doesn’t see him get close.

 

Yuta pins Mark against the counter. “You missed me,” he asks, eyes lighting up like firecrackers. Yuta slots a hand beneath Mark’s jaw and tilts his head back like he is seriously just gonna fucking make out with him right then and there or something and Mark actually kinda wants him to. Fuck. Actually kinda needs him to. But Yuta quietly asks, “Can I kiss you?” And then, a little louder and a bit more confidently, he adds, “On the mouth?” Because such clarification is necessary. But even that must not be clear enough because he further amends, “Like I mean it?”

 

And Mark feels his face go hot. Feels his stomach get tingly with nerves. Feels his knees weaken beneath him. Feels his hands go numb. “Come on, man,” he begs. He looks everywhere except into Yuta’s eyes. Has his ceiling always had that crack in it by the crown molding? Should he tell the landlord? “You’re so close.”

 

But that just makes Yuta get closer. His hand drops from Mark’s jaw and drags down his neck and across his shoulders.

 

Mark hiccups. It jumps out of him and he can’t stop it and the noise makes Yuta grin from ear to ear like it’s a sound he’s been waiting months to hear.

 

“Can I,” Yuta asks, and he watches Mark intently. He isn’t even really waiting for an answer. He watches. Like he wants to count the beads of sweat that form on Mark’s forehead. Like he wants to name the exact shade of red Mark’s entire face turns.

 

Mark hiccups again. Dammit! Where did these things even come from? And why is it so hot in here? When did Yuta get his eyebrow pierced? “Come on, man,” Mark whines again, squeaky and high and a little broken. He writhes beneath Yuta’s gaze and yes, he can confirm, the heat in his chest is attraction not repulsion. He drops his voice an octave. “Come on.”

 

And Yuta recognizes that tone. He bridges the gap between them and kisses Mark.

 

On the mouth.

 

Like he means it.

 

Mark is left breathless and shivering when Yuta pulls away. His body burns. Arousal drops like a weight into his stomach. 

 

Jungwoo is the first to catch sight of them when he comes into the kitchen with a dustpan full of beanbag chair beans. “Oh my god, get a room,” he begs.

 

And Mark looks into Yuta’s eyes and says, “Come on.” And it’s in that voice.

 

Yuta grabs Mark by the wrist, drags him out of the kitchen and down the hall towards Mark’s bedroom.

 

Jungwoo screeches, “I didn’t mean literally get a room!”

 

But Mark is already slamming the door shut behind them.