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The Best Medicine

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The next time Mark went out drinking with the senior Engineers, Kit invited himself along. Well, he suggested to a group of medics he was in a study group with that they should go out drinking at a particular bar he had heard Mark mention earlier. As the group had been studying for the past three hours, they were all more than happy for the break, and Kit could just pretend it was a coincidence.

"You know, drinking with the lads means partners aren't allowed," Jill said, unimpressed at the sight of Kit. 

"P'Kit!" Mark was already starting to get drunk but he seemed delighted to see Kit and that was all that mattered. 

"Considering what happened last time he went out drinking with you, I thought it best to be around." Kit had managed to get all the details Mark could remember about that night and resolved it wouldn't happen tonight. "Drink this, Mark." He handed Mark a glass of water which he started to drink obediently. 

"We're celebrating," Jack protested. "And that means drinking." 

"Did I stop him from drinking?" Kit asked. "I didn't take any glasses out of his hands, I just gave him a glass of water to drink." Later in the evening, he probably would be taking glasses out of Mark's hands but he didn't say anything about that. 

"P'Kit can stay," Mark announced. Kit smirked when Jack and Jill threw him identical looks. 

"You're biased so you don't get a vote," Jack replied. 

"Ai'Mark, I'm going to be with the medics over there. I'll drive you back later. Have fun." He didn't kiss Mark, though he might have been tempted if Jack and Jill weren't watching. 

Mark pouted and Kit only shook his head. As much as he wanted to sit next to Mark all evening, the other engineers actually had a point. Mark needed time with his friends and Kit knew that he would have all of Mark's attention if he stayed. "I think N'Wayu might join you later." 

Jack perked up at that and Jill rolled his eyes. Kit gave them a wave and moved off to his own group, leaving Mark and Jill to deal with the questions. 

He had a beer with the medics before switching to soft drinks, keeping a close eye on Mark on the other side of the room. Mark wasn't drinking as much as Kit thought he would, but seemed to be having a good time laughing and joking with the other engineers. More had shown up and all of them seemed to be acquainted with Mark, judging by the amount of backslaps he got. 

"We've lost P'Kit," one of the medics joked as he turned to look at the engineers and then couldn't find Mark on his usual quick scan. 

"Who is he looking for?" One of the freshers asked, young and bright and curious. They were also talking about Kit like he wasn't sitting right there but since he still couldn't see Mark, he didn't bother turning around to call them out on it. 

"The Engineering Beau," the senior said. "N'Mark has been panting after Ai'Kit since the year started and Kit has finally started to return his interest." 

Kit made a face. He had returned Mark's interest almost from the start but he had been wary about just being a fleeting flirtation for Mark. Now he was sure that there were genuine feelings on Mark's side, he felt a lot more comfortable in showing exactly how much he liked Mark. The same Mark who he still couldn't see anywhere in the bunch of engineers. 

He stood up and started walking over to the engineers without saying anything to the gossiping medics. Jill saw him coming and jerked his head towards the bathrooms. Kit changed course, rounding the corner to the corridor that led to the bathroom. He barely took two steps before he heard Mark's voice. 

"I don't want another drink," he said, his words slurring together. 

"Ah come on, party boy. I know you want to get nice and loose. Maybe we can have some more fun together." 

"No, no, no," Mark protested. "I want to get back to P'Kit." Kit felt a kernel of warmth start to take root inside his chest, a contrast to the rest of him which had gone icy cold. 

"P'Kit gave me this drink to give to you. He said you had to drink it," the girl said, sounding impatient. 

"Really?" Mark's voice had changed. "Okay then." 

Absolutely furious now, Kit rounded the corner fully. He found Mark holding a glass of some kind of alcohol as a pretty girl hung off his shoulder and stroked the side of his neck. Kit didn't have to call up any memories to know that was where the mark had been after Mark's last night of going drinking. 

"Mark, don't drink that," he said icily. The girl and Mark straightened up, though their facial expressions couldn't be more different. 

"Who are you?" the girl demanded. "And why are you telling Ai'Mark not to drink?" 

"P'Kit can tell me that," Mark told her. Kit was incredibly angry but he allowed his smugness show on his face. The girl looked like she was one step away from hissing at him. She was still leaning on Mark. 

"Why? Because he's some bossy senior that is stopping you from having fun?" The girl gave Kit a killer look and he didn't even feel the urge to flinch. "Ai'Mark, we had such fun last time." 

Mark looked confused and was swaying slightly. "Last time?" he echoed. "Have we met?" The girl's expression flickered and she stroked the side of his neck again. Kit was already fed up of her and Mark seemed to be coming out of his cheery drunken state and into confusion and panic. 

"That's enough," he said, moving her hand off Mark. She stumbled back, the reaction not matching the tiny amount of force Kit used. "Stop touching him. He doesn't want it." 

"And who are you to say that?" The girl looked absolutely furious and if Kit wasn't careful, she would start screaming. 

It was hard to put a label on the thing between Mark and him. They liked each other but it was all confused after Kit had turned down Mark's confession. They were moving towards something and Kit remembered his reaction to the implication that Mark had kissed someone else. They could be said to be dating but both of them were cautious, neither wanting to start the conversation that could destroy any fragile balance they had gained.

But none of that mattered right now because there was only one label that would get this girl to go away. 

"I'm his boyfriend. Go away," he said bluntly. 

"P'Kit," Mark said, sounding delighted but Kit kept his eyes on the girl. If he looked at Mark right now, he wouldn't want to turn away and he really wanted to make sure this girl left. 

"Yeah, well, your boyfriend has cheated on you," the girl retorted. "I left my mark on him and so he's mine." 

"I would never cheat on P'Kit," Mark said, sounding wounded. Kit glanced at him. His eyes were doing that thing where they went all liquid and hurt. It made Kit feel like he had kicked a kitten. 

"Of course you wouldn't," he said to Mark. Whatever he felt about what happened the last time Mark had gone out drinking, that was between the two of them and this girl had no right to be getting involved. If Kit had left after that, would she have had kept trying to get Mark to drink whatever was in that glass? "You're upsetting him," he said to the girl. "If you won't leave, we will." 

He started to pull Mark down the corridor, dropping the glass on a shelf along the way. He heard the girl storming off back the other way and let Mark slow down. 

"I didn't cheat on P'Kit," Mark said quietly. 

"I know, I know." Kit had been adamant that they weren't dating so it felt unfair to be angry that Mark had a lovebite after a night out, especially since it seemed Mark had been too drunk to even remember who had given it to him. He had been hurt and pissed off but he had turned Mark down to be his boyfriend, to be exclusive. Yes, if Mark had continued dating other people while pursuing Kit, then Kit probably would have continued doubting his intentions, but he hadn't done anything wrong really.  

"P'Kit," Mark said, sounding plaintive. Kit wanted to get back to extremely cheerful, slightly annoying, drunken Mark. At least he was happy like that. 

"I'm not listening to a word she says and neither should you." Kit kept leading Mark down the corridor until they were back in the main bar, though he didn't take his arm from around Mark's waist. 

"Okay," Mark said. Then he visibly brightened. "Can I listen to what you say?" 

"Yes," Kit answered before he could remember exactly why Mark would be asking. 

"P'Kit, you said you were my boyfriend." The ear-splitting grin suited Mark's face far more than the sad expression that had just been on it. That was the only reason why Kit didn't shut the whole thing down as soon as that happened. 

"Everything okay?" Jill asked as he approached. 

"P'Jill, P'Kit said he was my boyfriend," Mark said. Kit felt his cheeks start to grow warm. 

"A little quieter, Ai'Mark," he said. Mark grinned and nodded but Kit had a feeling that the volume wouldn't decrease at all. 

"So you finally gave in, huh?" Jill asked. Kit gave him a glare but said nothing in response. He couldn't disagree because he had said Mark was his boyfriend, even if it was only to get rid of that girl. But he also resented the implication that Mark had been slowly wearing him down until Kit gave in. If he said yes to Mark properly, it would be because he wanted to, not because he was so fed up of Mark asking that he said yes to shut him up. 

"Yes," Mark said, the end of the word being elongated. It appeared to be purely because Mark liked the sound of it and Kit was reminded of exactly how drunk Mark appeared to be. 

"I'm going to take Mark home. I don't want him to be vomiting everywhere like last time." He could only be thankful that Mark had avoided Kit's car completely. 

"Home, P'Kit? To your flat?" Mark asked. He looked delighted at the prospect. 

"No, to your place," Kit replied. He would drop Mark off with a glass of water and make sure he was okay before heading back home. He definitely wasn't as drunk as last time and Kit had been giving him enough water all night that he should be hydrated enough. 

"I want to go to P'Kit's place." Mark pouted. Kit wanted to argue but then he remembered that he didn't actually know Mark's address off by heart. He could wake up Wayu for it, as a small revenge for not coming out, but that seemed a little mean. Besides, he wanted Mark out of this bar as quickly as possible. 

"Fine, fine. We'll go to my place. But only if we leave now." 

"Yes, P'Kit!" Mark waved as Jill. "Bye, P'." Jill waved before turning back to the other engineers. Mark kept his arm around Kit as they walked to the door but he definitely wasn't the dead weight of last time. "I like going home with you, P'Kit," he said as they reached the car park.

It was only because they were alone in the car park and Mark was drunk enough for plausible deniability that allowed Kit to reply.

"I like you coming home with me too."