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mortal coil

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The first thing that Donghyuck registers when his eyes slowly flutter open is the fact that he doesn't quite remember how he got back to his room. All the lights are still turned off, the room almost completely dark save for the faintest sliver of moonlight peeking through the heavy blackout curtains. He sits up with more than a little effort, every part of him aching as he slumps into himself, arms coming up to wrap themselves around his middle as his sheets pool around his waist.

The second thing that Donghyuck registers is the mind-numbing, all-consuming thirst that starts to make itself known—the increasingly familiar ache in his gums and the painful burning in his throat, sending him into tremors as he tries to keep himself together. He feels feverish, almost burning, but he knows he's probably ice cold to the touch, as they all tend to get when it's been far, far too long.

There’s movement by the door as it swings slightly ajar and Donghyuck weakly raises his head, only to be greeted with the sight of his best friend's less than pleased expression, body silhouetted by the dim lights of the corridor outside Donghyuck's bedroom.

“So you’re finally awake?”

Mark's voice is pitched low, almost reverberating in the silence of his apartment as he takes a step forward into the room, and that's when Donghyuck smells it—

Blood. Fresh, sinfully sweet blood, the scent almost cloying as it sends Donghyuck's senses into overdrive, the sound of it rushing through Mark's veins a mere few feet away from him echoing loudly in his ears.

"Stop," Donghyuck croaks out, voice rough from disuse, arms tightening around himself. "Don't come any closer, Mark."

Mark frowns, and it's visible even in the darkness. "Hyuck—”

"No," Donghyuck hisses. "I won't." He lets out a shaky exhale, and the next words come out weaker, almost a whisper. "I can't, you know I can't."

"It's been almost two weeks," Mark says, voice laced with an edge of desperation, almost pleading as he takes a few steps closer. "Two weeks since you've been turned, Donghyuck. Taeyong's said it himself, you're not going to last much longer at the rate you're going."

"I'll be fine, I can just wait until they get back," Donghyuck hisses. "But I won't drink before then. Not from anybody else."

This argument is a familiar one, a tired song and dance that they’ve played over and over again these last couple of weeks. He can hear Mark's heartbeat start to pick up the pace, the steady rhythm acting as another sobering reminder of just how different they now are.

Donghyuck takes a second to remember then, thinking back to that first night, to his first (and only, he tells himself) victim, to the memory of him breaking through the haze of bloodlust, coming to just in time to see the light in that poor man's eyes fade away until he was nothing left but a lifeless husk.

"You know that wasn't your fault," Mark insists. "You can't keep refusing to feed just because the coven fucked up and let you down once." Donghyuck watches with tired eyes as Mark's hands close into fists, white-knuckled as his fingers dig crescents into his palm. Mark's voice lowers to a whisper as he tears his eyes away from Donghyuck's face, gaze averted to the side, and voice cracking with emotion. "You're going to die, Donghyuck."

"I'm not—"

"You are!" Mark nearly yells, head whipping up to throw him a scathing glare. "You're basically already halfway there! Do you know how scared I was—" he cuts himself off, swallowing thickly before making his way towards the bed, footsteps resolute. "Do you know how I found you last night? You wouldn't answer the door, wouldn't pick up any of my calls so I had to let myself in with the spare key."

Donghyuck suppresses the instinct to recoil as he sees Mark approach, but he can't, frozen still by the intensity of Mark's gaze—eyes blazing, so bright and full of life, and it's just so, so much, almost too much, but Donghyuck can't make himself look away. Instead, he steels himself, one hand coming down to prop against the bed as he straightens his back, fingers twisting in the sheets to ground himself.

But Mark isn’t done. He keeps moving until he stands by the foot of the bed, hesitating for only a few seconds before he plants a knee on the edge of the mattress, one arm reaching out as he closes a hand around the wrist Donghyuck has cradled close to his chest, pulling until Donghyuck shifts closer to him.

"I found you passed out in the middle of the hallway," Mark whispers, his other hand coming up to shakily cup Donghyuck's cheek, and Donghyuck closes his eyes, unable to bear the guilt that settles low in his stomach. "You weren't responding, and I couldn't wake you up, no matter how hard I tried."

Mark leans in, resting his forehead on Donghyuck's as his thumb brushes across his cheek, the action almost painfully tender, and Donghyuck's still heart aches. They've never really talked about this—this being whatever weird gray area they've managed to tumble their way down to during these past couple of months.

But still, they're treading dangerous territory. Donghyuck knows he won't be strong enough to say no if Mark asks one more time, and he fears for the change that the next morning will bring should he finally give in.

"Please," Mark pleads. "I can't just stand by and watch you do this to yourself anymore. You need to drink, Hyuck. If not for you, then I'm begging you, to please, please do it for me." Mark pulls back, just enough to look Donghyuck in the eyes, sincerity shining clear amongst the storm of emotions reflected in his eyes. "I won't let you go on like this,” he rasps out. “I can't."

“I don’t—” Donghyuck shakes his head minutely. He unclenches his fingers from the sheets, hand coming up to cover Mark’s on his cheek. “I don’t want to hurt you, Mark. There’s always a chance that I’ll take too much, that I’ll be too far gone to stop and you’ll—”

“You won’t,” Mary says softly, the corners of his mouth lifting in the beginnings of a small smile. “I trust you, and I know you won’t. Not if it’s me.”

Mark’s eyes dart down to his lips, to where the barest hint of his fangs are peeking through, but just for a split second before they snap back up to his eyes. He leans in then, properly this time, hand gently tipping Donghyuck’s chin up to meet him halfway. He pauses, just a hair’s breadth away, their lips almost brushing as he asks, voice no more than a whisper, “Can I kiss you?”

Donghyuck lets out a shaky exhale, and despite the lingering pain, despite the hunger that still threatens to cloud his mind, he manages a nod, hand clutching the front of Mark’s shirt like a lifeline.

“Please.”

Mark takes a second to search Donghyuck’s eyes, looking for any trace of uncertainty, his smile growing when he finds none. He leans in then, starting off with a tentative brush of their lips, the touch almost hesitant, lacking the desperate bravado Mark had exhibited only a few moments ago. Mark kisses him slowly and deliberately, thumb caressing his cheek in featherlight strokes, giving Donghyuck enough time to pull back if he wanted to.

But Donghyuck was having none of it, instead choosing to surge forward to capture Mark’s lips in a proper kiss, heated and with all the fervor of a kiss long overdue. He hears Mark let out a soft sigh of contentment as he opens up against him, and Donghyuck winds his arms around Mark’s shoulders, pushing him to sit back against the bed and shifting forward to straddle Mark’s lap instead, melting against him as he leans into another kiss.

It’s all a little maddening, Donghyuck thinks, being this close to Mark. He can feel the warmth radiating off of his skin in waves, the blood rushing and pounding underneath, all of it such a stark contrast against his own, ice-cold body. Mark winds an arm around his waist to pull him in closer, chests almost flush together as his tongue sweeps past Donghyuck’s waiting lips.

He feels Mark’s tongue graze the tip of one of his fangs, just the barest hint of pressure, but Donghyuck knew they were still sharp enough to pierce, startling as he suddenly tastes a hint of the metallic sweetness. Donghyuck pulls away immediately, breaking apart from the kiss as his hand comes up to cover his mouth in an attempt to keep himself at bay, eyes flashing a bright crimson as the burning in his throat gets worse.

He leans his forehead down onto Mark’s shoulder as the ever-present thirst makes itself known once again, coaxed to the surface with a preview of what’s to come, the shuddering tremors starting anew as he squeezes his eyes shut, breaths turning ragged as he sags against Mark’s body.

Donghyuck feels Mark rubs a hand up and down his back in a comforting gesture, fingertips following along the divots of his spine as he waits for Donghyuck to reign himself in. Mark presses a kiss into Donghyuck’s hair, the action making him burrow his face deeper into the crook of Mark’s neck. The scent of Mark’s blood is thick in the air, almost suffocating, making his mouth water as the arm around him tightens.

“You can do it, you know,” Mark says. “I want you to drink from me, if it’ll help.”

Donghyuck says nothing for a while, just continues on to take in deep breaths, in and out, counting down the seconds in his head, but the bloodlust doesn’t subside. Not in the least.

Mustering all of the remaining energy left within him, Donghyuck raises his head, his still-red eyes blinking up blearily at Mark as he focuses in on him.

“Are you sure?” Donghyuck asks. “Absolutely, one hundred percent sure? There’s no undoing this once I start.”

“I’m sure.” Mark nods without an ounce of hesitation, head dipping down for another chaste kiss. He pulls away with a small, crooked grin, the expression so endearingly genuine that Donghyuck’s chest clenches at the sight. “I’ve been thinking about this for a while, believe it or not. And I’m not just saying all of this because you’re hurt, or because you need it. I’m saying it because I want you to let me do this for you.”

Donghyuck sighs at the admission, head thumping back down onto Mark’s shoulder with a weak chuckle. “You’re not gonna let this go, are you?” he asks, the sound of it muffled into Mark’s shirt. “When did you become such a hopeless romantic?”

Mark says nothing in response, taking Donghyuck’s hand in his and bringing their hands up to leave a quick kiss to Donghyuck’s knuckles, the gesture inexplicably fond as he peers up at Donghyuck through dark lashes.

“I can’t even tell you how long I’ve wanted to do this for.”

His other hand comes up to tip Donghyuck’s head to the side, leaning down to press soft, barely there kisses down the slender column of his neck. Mark takes his time as he reaches the juncture between Donghyuck’s neck and shoulder, kisses turning open mouthed, sucking and biting a trail of hickeys that quickly bloom a dark red against Donghyuck’s skin, the stinging pain good enough to have Donghyuck gasping out a breathy whimper.

Donghyuck tangles his hands in Mark’s hair, pulling him up for another bruising kiss instead, open-mouthed and a little frantic, only for Mark to pull away just a few beats later, chest heaving as he takes Donghyuck in above him. He figures that his expression must say it all—betraying the thirst, the urge to just take and take and take festering in his chest—because he sees Mark’s eyes darken with a different kind of hunger, turning half-lidded as he leans in close, their noses brushing as he hovers, waiting patiently for Donghyuck to make the first move.

“How do you want me?” Mark asks, voice lowering, and with a rough edge that betrays how affected he actually is.

“I won’t feed from your neck,” Donghyuck answers, closing the gap between them with a final peck before drawing away. “At least, not yet. It’s too dangerous, and it’ll be too much, all at once—”

“You don’t have to worry about me—”

“I’m not talking about you,” Donghyuck interrupts, taking one of Mark’s wrists in his hand, bringing it up so he could press his lips everywhere, peppering his palm and the inside of his wrist with gentle kisses. “It’ll be too much for me, having that much of your blood, it’d be—”

Donghyuck cuts himself off with a shaky breath, smile wry as he looks down at Mark. “You drive me crazy,” he whispers. “Always have, even before I was turned. Even without all of the bloodlust.” His voice lowers, eyes twinkling as he continues. “I can’t even imagine what I’d be like, drunk out of my mind from just your blood.”

He shoots Mark a mischievous smirk as he takes a finger in his mouth, fangs grazing but not breaking skin, tongue swirling around the digit playfully before sliding off with an obscene ‘pop’.

“Christ,” Mark chokes out. “Donghyuck.”

“I can lose myself to the thought of you—just you,” Donghyuck repeats, voice sultry, “filling me up.”

Donghyuck can feel Mark start to harden against him, and he rolls his hips down once, preening at the sound of the soft groan falling from Mark’s lips at the action. A thrill shoots up his spine at the prospect of what they’re about to do, his patience running thin as he presses one last kiss to the inside of Mark’s wrist.

“I need you to tell me when to stop, okay?” Donghyuck murmurs against the sensitive skin of Mark’s inner wrist, lips brushing against the warm blue of his veins. He feels something stir within him—resignation, maybe, the ingrained instinct within him still screaming that it’s Mark and that he shouldn’t, but mostly, there is also just an overwhelming sense of relief. “I need you to promise me that you’ll stop me if it hurts, or if it’s too much. I won’t listen to anything other than your voice.”

“I promise,” Mark murmurs, entranced by the intensity of Donghyuck’s eyes, almost glowing in the darkness of the room. He brings a hand up to cradle the back of Donghyuck’s head, petting the honey brown strands in reassurance. “Take as much as you need.”

Donghyuck pushes Mark’s sleeve further back, looking back up once to see Mark nod, before finally, finally sinking in, fangs piercing through the thin skin of Mark’s wrist. He feels Mark jerk against him at the sudden pain, seeing him suppress a wince in his periphery, but the vice grip he has around Mark’s wrist keeps him in place as he starts to drink, eyes fluttering shut at the taste.

It’s euphoric, almost, when it first floods his mouth. Deliciously sweet, accompanied by a rush of heat that goes through him in waves as he drinks, settling low in his belly, the warmth of it radiating through him with something akin to arousal. The scorching pain in his throat dies down almost immediately, and Mark’s hand continues to pet him as he feeds, coaxing whispered praises into his ear as he feels himself start to become lightheaded—it’s intoxicating, the taste of Mark on his tongue. Addicting, and dangerously so.

It’s a messy affair, Donghyuck faintly notices. There’s no finesse in the act, unrefined from Donghyuck’s lack of practice, but he’s too far gone to start caring now. He can feel the excess slip past his mouth as he continues to lick and suck, dripping down his chin and trailing rivulets down the length of Mark’s forearm, no doubt making a mess of the sheets below them. He can feel it drip down, staining his white shirt a dark red, his collar ruined from the thin streams that run down his neck from the corner of his mouth—a pity, really. Donghyuck was quite fond of this shirt.

He startles when Mark shifts under him, just ever so slightly, and is painfully reminded of the hardness straining in Mark’s pants.

Donghyuck manages to make himself pull away, licking his lips with a wicked grin as he does so. He’s still thirsty, nowhere near having had enough, but he takes in Mark’s flushed face, the way he refuses to meet Donghyuck’s eyes, and revels in the satisfaction the sight brings him—he was never one to pass up the opportunity to tease, after all, especially not if that someone was Mark.

“You like this, don’t you? More than you expected to,” Donghyuck purrs. His other hand—the one that wasn’t still enclosed around Mark’s wrist—reaches down, fingertips gingerly brushing up against Mark’s length, tracing the outline all the way to the tip, and he grins even wider when Mark squirms at the touch. “You’re getting off on me feeding from you.”

“Shut up,” Mark grunts out, blush darkening under Donghyuck’s curious gaze. He pauses for a moment, before sighing in defeat. “It feels…good, okay? Believe it or not, it doesn’t actually hurt. Not anymore, at least.”

“No?” Donghyuck tilts his head, smile coy and intentions utterly transparent as he leans in closer.

“No,” Mark confesses. “Not after the first bite.”

“Mm,” Donghyuck hums noncommittally, pressing his hand down harder and ignoring Mark’s hissed expletive as his hips buck up instinctively. “Good to know.”

Mark’s arm winds around his waist suddenly, pulling him flush against him once more, and his other hand, still bleeding profusely from the bite, reaches up to grip Donghyuck’s jaw, roughly tilting his head up to get him to look up at him. The residual blood in Mark’s hand smears itself all over Donghyuck’s face, and there’s a second where he worries if it’s too much, for himself and for Mark, the unfamiliarity of it all—the unsettling abundance of blood and gore, the disturbing scene enough to make a weaker man quiver in fear.

But Mark—sweet, sweet, hauntingly human Mark—just takes a second to study him, Donghyuck’s eyes still flashing a dangerous red, before he kisses him, hard and fast, seemingly unfazed by the taste of his own blood. He licks into Donghyuck’s mouth, unrelenting, and Donghyuck can’t help the groan that escapes him, hips grinding down against Mark’s almost unconsciously. He feels the hunger stir once more, amplified by the arousal now pulsing within him, and he feels himself slipping, the dizzying need making him shudder in Mark’s hold.

“Mark,” Donghyuck gasps in between kisses. “I—God, I need—” He manages to pull away, head dropping down to his chest as he stops himself from biting down on Mark’s cherry-red lips, spit-slick and bruised—entirely too tempting for Donghyuck’s dwindling control. “More, please. I can’t—”

“It’s alright,” Mark whispers, shushing him gently. He brings up his other wrist, still unmarred, up to Donghyuck’s lips. “Drink, Hyuck. As much as you want, it’s okay. I’ll be fine.”

Donghyuck wastes no time in biting back down, moaning softly as he drinks. There’s enough blood in him that he can feel himself start to stir as well, a burgeoning weight in between his legs as his strength slowly but surely comes back to him. Mark’s free hand caresses up his thigh, coming to rest on his hip, grip tight and white-knuckled in exercised restraint, instead guiding Donghyuck as he ruts up against him in slow, circular motions.

“That’s it,” Mark murmurs after a long while, voice a little faint. “That’s it, baby. You’re doing well.”

The sound of Mark’s voice pulls him back into full consciousness, the storm within him settling as his hunger finally abates. The heavy fog that’s been clouding his mind clears, instincts no longer screaming at him to keep drinking. He slows down, focusing on licking Mark’s wounds closed as the latent magic within him does its job, and when he finally opens his eyes, the characteristic red of the bloodlust is gone, replaced with a warm amber instead—like a flickering flame, more muted, but still equally as striking. Equally as beautiful.

Donghyuck blinks slowly as he comes to, now fully sated, and Mark smiles down fondly at him, a little pale but no worse for the wear. He finds himself mirroring the smile as he straightens up, hands coming up to frame Mark’s face as he pulls him in for a languid kiss, unhurried this time, but no less impassioned.

“Feeling better?” Mark asks eventually, pulling away to catch his breath.

“Much,” Donghyuck rasps out, the taste of Mark still lingering in the back of his throat. He moves to wrap his arms around Mark’s shoulders to pull him into an embrace. “Thank you,” he whispers, voice laced with sincere gratitude. “For all of this. You didn’t have to.”

“It’s nothing, Hyuck,” Mark says, leaning tiredly into the embrace. “I’m glad I could help, and I’m glad you're okay.”

“How are you feeling though?” Donghyuck asks. He starts to leave soft, fleeting kisses down Mark’s jawline, down the column of his neck, mirroring the trail Mark had taken earlier before. “Are you sure you’re alright?”

Mark snorts, and he pushes Donghyuck’s hips down onto him once more—a playful reminder that has Donghyuck biting back a smile. “Never been better, really.”

Donghyuck laughs, a soft, twinkling sound before he grins, sharp and every bit the predator he’s come to be. He pushes Mark down roughly onto the bed, ignoring Mark’s surprised little ‘oof’ as he crawls on top after him, pinning Mark’s bloodied wrists down onto the bed, on either side of Mark’s head. His smile widens as Mark tries to wiggle out of his grip, Mark’s eyes widening when he realizes the true extent of Donghyuck’s newly regained strength.

He pulls back, sitting back against Mark’s thighs as he slowly starts to unbutton his own shirt, watching as Mark’s eyes trail after his fingers, feeling him twitch in interest under him. Donghyuck shrugs the shirt off of his shoulders, letting it pool around his elbows as he leans back down, lips hovering teasingly over Mark’s own before changing course, trailing kisses down his jawline instead, down the column of his neck before travelling back up.

“It’s my turn to repay the favour, I think,” Donghyuck whispers, lips brushing against the shell of Mark’s ear and he smiles as he feels Mark shudder under him.

He captures Mark’s lips in one last kiss, nipping lightly at his bottom lip as he pulls away—a promise of more to come.

My turn to take care of you tonight.”