Mark didn’t know how he even got here.
“Lucas is so cute. He just wants to be close with Hyuck”
“Awww lucas is so whipped for haechannie”
“We need more lucas and haechan interactions!!!”
“Hyuckhei supermacy lmfao”
He avoids twitter at all cost yet here he was scrolling this certain side of the bird app. NCT 2018 had just started yet fans were already able to collect multiple compilations of Lucas and Donghyuck’s minimal interactions.
“99 line is whipped for haechan and honestly, I can’t blame them”
99 line? Mark mentally scoffed. He wanted to type under the comment section not to generalize the 99 line because there is no way in Lee Sooman’s basement that he is whipped for his best friend. Said guy was just a meter away from him, busy bickering with Renjun again. They were currently taking their 15 minute break from their Black on Black dance practice and the first thing Donghyuck did was start another argument with one of their Chinese members.
That very familiar booming voice surprised Mark. He turned to look at the source of said voice and saw Lucas approaching their direction. He had the usual goofy smile on his face and wow, he really is tall.
“Xuxi, hi!” Renjun started talking to him in Mandarin and Chenle even joined the conversation when Lucas sat down in front of them.
But of course, Lucas didn’t call out for Donghyuck’s stage name for nothing.
“Hi Lucas” Donghyuck greeted but what surprised Mark was how his best friend sounded so small and shy. The loud Lee Donghyuck was never like that.
Lucas didn’t seem to be fully aware of how the younger boy sounded like since he broke out into an even bigger smile. “Hey, do you want to eat lunch with me some time?”
Something about that question made Mark uncomfortable but he shook it off, feeling guilty for feeling that way about their new member. Lucas’s Korean pronunciation was a bit off, especially when he says longer sentences, but Donghyuck understood it perfectly since he smiled at him.
That’s another thing that surprised Mark since Donghyuck would usually either have an enthusiastic or sarcastic answer. The brat is too much of a brat to give a genuine smile as an answer.
“Awesome” Lucas cried out and joined in the teasing between Donghyuck and Renjun.
For some reason, Mark wondered why Lucas didn’t invite him along them. Last time he checked, he was closer with the big guy. Lucas even admitted that Mark is one of the very few members he’s already comfortable with.
Donghyuck’s bursting out to a full laugh suddenly caught his attention. He was hitting Lucas on the arm as the older laughed along with him.
“That’s actually… true” Donghyuck said in between laughs.
Seagull brows furrowed in annoyance. Again, Mark felt guilty about feeling this way. He can’t believe he’s getting mad over his best friend laughing at Lucas’s joke.
Another round of Donghyuck’s boisterous laughter reached his ears. He looked at their direction and almost regretted it. Donghyuck was leaning against Lucas’s bigger frame as he checked what the latter was showing him. His chin was close to resting on Lucas’s shoulder and he already looked comfortable despite his seemingly shy persona just minutes ago.
Mark didn’t even realize that his grip on his phone had gotten stronger.
“What?” Mark answered rather harshly with a scowl on his face.
It was Doyoung and he didn’t look pleased with the way Mark answered him. The younger’s eyes widened in shock and he quickly bowed as a string of apologies followed.
“That’s alright, Mark. We all have our bad days” Doyoung sighed. “Anyways, the manager is calling for you.”
Mark thanked him and stood up. Before he left the room, he turned to look back at Donghyuck and Lucas. The group’s mood makers were laughing again and even joking around. Renjun wasn’t even with them anymore since he moved with Chenle’s group.
The scowl went back on the main rapper’s face as something tugged on his chest.
Okay, maybe their fans were right.
It’s time for another group vlive again. This time, it’s set in the kitchen, a place Mark never dared to set foot again ever since that one fateful day when he almost burned the whole building trying to make some French Toast (sorry, Lee Sooman).
That is why Mark was simply excused from going near the stove again despite being there for the vlive.
Everyone else currently in the kitchen towered over him. Doyoung was the only one who’s close to his very much average height.
It sucked that noone there was a particularly good cook but at least none of them had almost burned the kitchen.
Moments later, in came the other team. Now, these were the good cooks of their team. They had better progress with their cooking while the others were busy with entertaining the fans. Mark, on the other hand, stuffed his face with the food. Not that the others minded anyway.
“Do you need some help, Haechan?” Lucas voiced out as soon as they started fixing the table for the food.
The dishes Mark was holding almost dropped to the floor when he saw how shy and flustered Donghyuck got. Of course being the sweet and adorable puppy that he was, Lucas didn’t need a confirmation from the younger for him to start helping.
The glare he gave them was enough to start a fire in the building this time.
“You okay, hyung?” Donghyuk came to him one night and just laid beside him on the bed while they watched some new drama the younger wanted to watch.
Unfortuantely, Mark’s thoughts are occupied by something else since he barely paid attention to any scenes. Having known him for almost 5 years now, Donghyuck could always tell when something is bothering his Mark-hyung.
“Hey, Mark Lee from Canada” Donghyuck called his name again when the rapper did not answer him.
Mark’s cheeks was dusted with redness when he realized that he was too far into his thoughts. “Oh- uh- uhm, yeah I’m alright.”
Donghyuck gave him a pointed look that already told Mark that there is no way that his answer is acceptable. “Oh really? You’re doing this again? We’re supposed to be both gagging and cringing right now at the cheesy displays of affection in the drama, hyung.”
Sighing, Mark closed the laptop. He can’t believe he let the mess of thoughts in his mind take over what’s supposed to his bonding time with Donghyuck after a long time of preparing for their 2018 promotions. Both were tired from all the dance practices, recording, and live stages and the last thing they needed was Mark thinking of how bothered he was of Lucas and Donghyuck’s new found friendship.
“It’s nothing really important” Mark answered and instantly predicted that Donghyuck won’t take his shitty answer. Before the younger could even say anything, Mark beat him to it. “Hey, last time I checked, you’re not cringing over the cheesy scenes. You were all giggly like a young girl when we were watching What’s Wrong With-”
Donghyuck’s cheeks flamed up as he covered Mark’s mouth with his hand. The wet sensation of his best friend’s tongue on his palm made him recoil with a look of disgust and wiped the saliva off on Mark’s shirt.
“Stop it” Mark cried out but he was also giggling at the other boy’s reaction.
“You started this, hyung” Donghyuck stuck out his tongue like a child.
“But it’s true. I bet if the hyungs find out that you’re-”
Mark didn’t even get to finish his sentence since he was already tackled down to the mattress.
“Don’t you dare” Donghyuck was glaring at him, his face closer than what Mark expected.
The rapper had to gulp down the lump in his throat as he stared at the phenomenon that is Lee Donghyuck.
He was always attractive. Mark saw those photos taken by fans that enhanced the idol’s beauty but right now, he looked different.
Donghyuck, with his boyish features that’s becoming that of a man, is a sight that Mark never thought he’d ever get tired of. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. His moles form the Little Dipper when connected and that’s something that the fans noticed. Mark is tempted to say that he noticed it first; that he saw the constellation on Donghyuck’s face before he was even called Haechan. He saw it when his best friend was singing while he played the guitar back when they were trainees and the four walls of their dorm room was their only solace from the intense training.
“Hyung?” Donghyuck’s voice halted his thoughts and that elicited another blush on Mark’s face.
He was pouting at the older boy and telling him that he has more blackmail material on Mark stored somewhere.
But Mark was barely listening. He was too busy staring at Donghyuck’s lips and the way it adorably pouted at him.
He wondered how they would feel against his own.
Shit, the fans were right.
It’s been a year since Mark had his sudden revelation of feelings. At this point, he’s amazed that he somehow managed to hide his feelings and act normal around Donghyuck.
Their playful banters and teasing continued as always. Mark should give himself an award for acting as if he’s not desperately in love with his best friend.
At least everything is still going great.
Until Lucas brought up his name.
“Do you think Donghyuck can go out with us some time?”
Great, Lucas calls him by his real name now.
“Hm, maybe. I can always ask him” Mark answered as he looked up from his guitar.
Lucas broke into a smile. “That’s cool, man.”
No, not really.
But Mark is not a bad person (rather, he is a masochistic coward who can't confess to his best friend). “No problem.”
He did ask Donghyuck if they can go out. Luckily (or unluckily), the younger agrees. He even admitted to missing Lucas’s jokes and even saying that he’s simply an adorable puppy in a grown ass body.
Mark had to grit his teeth and suppress the raging jealousy he felt inside. He forced himself to smile through the phone as he told Donghyuck that it was great that he can join them to eat outside.
The day of their mini outing came and Mark was already planning ways to keep Donghyuck to himself.
He eventually groaned in frustration as guilt wracked up his body. Lucas had nothing to do with this yet here he was being selfish when it came to his best friend. He can’t blame Donghyuck for having that magnetic pull that keeps people attached when they first meet him.
It was just frustrating that Mark had to hide his feelings.
From the distance, a figure could be seen approaching the restaurant. The worn, grey hoodie with the silly dog print and that beanie Mark remembered gifting last year of June 6. The person was unmistakably-
“Donghyuck!” Lucas excitedly called out.
Mark almost panicked since there might be some lingering fans despite the location of the place but Donghyuck was already running towards them with the manager following him.
“Hey, hyung” Donghyuck greeted but his eyes trained on Lucas first before looking at Mark and greeting him with their usual handshake.
The younger probably didn’t intend to do that but the subtle action sent something burning inside Mark. He can’t help but scowl at Lucas’s direction as soon as Donghyuck wasn’t looking in his direction. Luckily, the taller member was already heading inside.
“Are you going to just stand there or what?” Donghyuck smirked at him and Mark pouted. “Aw, you look like a cute kid when you’re pouting, hyung.”
“Shut up” but Mark tried so hard to hide his madly blushing face.
Mark doesn’t regret a lot of things in life. He sees every mistake as an opportunity to learn and grow.
And he’s definitely learning something as time passed by: He is possessive of his best friend.
It’s been more than a year since Mark realized that his feelings for Donghyuck may not be as platonic as he thought. It’s been approximately 8 months since he discovered that maybe, just maybe, he is in love with him.
And now, it’s been approximately 23 hours, 4 minutes and 23 seconds since Hendery was wrapped around the younger’s finger.
Mark was sure that Donghyuck was collecting anyone who’s born in 1999 like they were pokeballs. He knew that 127’s maknae had the natural charm for gaining friends quickly but he can’t help the ugly, green monster for taking over his body.
It hasn’t even been 24 hours (it was close to 24 hours but still…) and Donghyuck was already hugging and making jokes with Hendery as if they’ve been friends for years.
“So was Ten-hyung still as annoying as ever?” Donghyuck joked, receiving a glare from their Thai member.
Hendery laughed and said something that was too soft for Mark to hear (Donghyuck was just that loud he was able to hear what his best friend said). His eyes were trained on the fingers that gently touched Donghyuck’s back. It doesn’t help that Hendery’s cheeks were pink from still being a bit shy around Donghyuck.
But he’s already touching him in that way?
Mark knew he was beng ridiculous and he probably needed to deal with his jealousy in a healthier manner.
“Woah, you already know each other” And Lucas’s arrival made the green monster inside him grow bigger.
The big puppy of the group made some jokes and even teased Hendery in front of Donghyuck to which the former responded by playfully hitting Lucas. The three of them were in their own personal bubble joking around and just being comfortable.
And Mark was being stupid by approaching them.
He couldn’t stop his legs. It felt like an invisible force was pushing him to take Donghyuck. Stake his claim on him and tell everyone else that Donghyuck was his.
Okay, maybe it’s not that intense but Mark was feeling too jealous to stop himself.
“Hey, Donghyuck” he greeted his best friend. He gave a nod of acknowledgement to Hendery and did a small fist bump with Lucas before shamelessly laying his head on Donghyuck’s shoulder.
“Mark-hyung!” Donghyuck was more enthusiastic but he also looked shocked that Mark was engaging in skinship with him.
After that, Mark was reduced to being in the background as the three continued to engage in their conversation. As much as Mark wanted add something to the party, the gnawing feeling of envy overpowered him again since Donghyuck barely gave him any attention even though he already had his head on the younger.
He felt pathetic for feeling this way so he simply excused himself and casually called for Jaemin and Jeno’s attention. Sure, he’d feel like a third wheel around those two but he hardly cared right now. Mark needed some sort of distraction before he’d ende up saying/doing things he’d regret.
“Donghyuck, you have to meet Xiaojun.”
Oh, fuck it!
His time with Donghyuck apparently decreased with the arrival of more people in their team. Not only is he close with the ’00 line. He’s also pretty close with those a year older courtesy of Lucas.
“Hi, Mark-hyung” Donghyuck came running past him when he visited the fifth floor to talk to Taeyong about something regarding their lyrics. “I’m going out for a while with Lucas and the others.”
Lucas and the others.
Mark’s expression soured but the younger didn’t notice that since he was already speeding for the door.
The boy instantly stopped and turned around with a brow raised in question.
“Uhm… what time will you be back?” Mark regretted that question coming out of his mouth. Actually, he should have just let Donghyuck go out of that door.
Fuck that, he shouldn’t have had feelings for him in the first place.
“I’m not sure. Around 8 pm maybe” Donghyuck replied with a head tilt- and oh my god, he is adorable.
“Oh, that’s cool. Enjoy, I guess.”
Yes, Mark is very much willing to die right now. He doesn’t know what he’s saying right now and Donghyuck looked both confused and mildly amused at this.
“Why? Is there something wrong, Mark Lee?” Donghyuck dropping the honorific meant something.
“N-No” Mark nervously shook his head. “Just go and have fun.” With Lucas and all your other new friends, but of course that went unsaid.
“Do you want to come with us, hyung?”
“No, it’s alright. Have fun, Haechan.” Mark didn’t even wait for a reply from the younger as he turned away to leave. The last thing he wanted is for his bestfriend to see the painful look on his face.
But the hand that wrapped around his wrist stopped him from venturing further into the fifth floor dorm.
“What’s wrong, Hyung?”
Mark bit his lower lip tightly and gently released himself from Donghyuck’s hold. “Nothing’s wrong-”
“You called me Haechan” he quickly said, disappointment evident in his tone. “You rarely call me that… even in front of the cameras.”
The main rapper mentally cursed at how Donghyuck, of course, knew him so well. No one else in the world knows him as well as the boy with a smile brighter than the sun and a voice more angelic than any tune in the world.
“It’s nothing, Hyuck” Mark said as he hung his head, refusing to look at Donghyuck.
The younger audibly huffed and Mark could feel another session of awkwardness between them. And it was all because his heart decided to fall in love with someone he doesn’t deserve in the first place.
“If you’re not going to tell me what’s wrong, then I guess I better leave.”
Donghyuck turned to his heel and in that moment, Mark could see one of the most important people in his life disappear. He could predict a wave of fights incoming, something that’s going to be worse than the one they had three years ago. Due to some masochistic and stupid circumstances, Mark wouldn’t confront his fading best friend. Yep, that’s going to happen unless-
Mark pulled Donghyuck by surprise but that dissipated quickly as the latter glared at him.
“Hyung, I’m going to be late and Lucas and-”
The warm lips against his own was more than enough to shut him up. Mark’s hands were cold against his cheeks that were warming up from the other’s shocking action.
It was quick and Mark drew away from him with a flushed look on his face. Donghyuck simply stared at him with an unreadable expression.
“Hyuck, I-I… I have to go.”
And Mark was gone as quick as the kiss he left on Donghyuck’s lips.
Despite his small stutters and struggles with his bilingual brain, Mark was pretty good with words… or not.
Here they are in the middle of preparations for the Resonance album and he was stuck in a wave of angst as he thought of how he had just lost his best friend. All because he developed feelings that shouldn’t have existed.
Usually, Donghyuck would call him to eat with the Dreamies or even better, with just the two of them. But now, he’s got nothing. Not one text or call from his best friend.
The next day, Mark finally managed to get a glance of Donghyuck.
With Lucas and Yangyang.
The same beautiful sunny smile was on his face and his eyes were shining were so much mirth that it almost pained Mark to keep staring at him.
“What’s up, Mark-hyung?” Renjun suddenly appeared beside him with a knowing grin.
“Nothing, just tired from practice” Mark quickly replied even though he doubts that Renjun would buy that. He just became aware of how he’s been staring at Donghyuck’s direction and the Chinese boy for sure saw that.
“Look, you can just go and talk to him, you know. I know that you and him have fought… again.”
And before Mark could refute that, Renjun sent a glare on his direction essentially shutting him up.
“He was in our dorm… without you. On a normal peaceful day between the two of you, it would be Donghyuck and Mark in our dorm.”
Mark sighed and turned away to shift his attention away from Donghyuck and from the jealousy and hurt he was feeling. Renjun could only slap his face in frustration as he watched the older walk away.
“There’s something wrong with you two” Johnny came bursting to his room one night, his face dead serious.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about” Mark shrugged and went back to the unfinished lyrics on his desk.
But Johnny was strong enough to turn his chair around. “Don’t lie to me. We’re in the middle of album preparations so there’s no time for you two to start fighting again.”
“It was nothing” Mark said softly as he refused to look at Johnny.
The American sighed, either he sounded understanding of the situation or he was tired of 127’s youngest members. “It’s never just nothing with you and Donghyuck. He’s been crying for the past two nights, you know.”
That struck a chord in Mark and his eyes widened. Donghyuck’s been… crying? Over him?
Guilt quickly washed over him and his heart achingly clenched against his ribcage.
“You’re no longer kids, Mark” Johnny continued. Normally, he’d be cracking jokes at this point but he knew that this was not the place. The last thing everyone in the team needed is for their members to have conflict between them. “I’m giving the two of you space for tonight. Just go and clear shit up with him.”
The beating of his heart within his chest was enough to send SM’s golden boy to the hospital for heart attack. His head was swimming with so much thoughts that Mark didn’t even think of knocking when he opened the door to Johnny and Donghyuck’s room.
Said bearer of the name was surprised for a moment until the ugly, green monsters reared its head again as he stared at none other than Yangyang sitting beside Donghyuck.
As soon as Mark’s name was said, Donghyuck whipped his head to glare at him.
“Hyung, what are you doing here?” His tone was masked with neutrality but Mark could hear the bitterness.
He and Yangyang were playing some shooting game and it seemed that Mark ruined what looked like an enjoyable moment.
But Mark was dead set on making things straight tonight. Yangyang and that game could wait for now.
“Hyuck, can I talk to you for a sec?”
Donghyuck’s eyes narrowed at him. “We’re in the middle of something so maybe tomorrow.”
That was all it took for the younger to turn his chair around before signalling Yangyang to do the same.
The sight of Donghyuck suddenly putting all his attention on someone else was what did it for Mark.
His legs and the determined aura he was emanating was no longer under his control as he walked up to Donghyuck and pulled his arm from his chair.
“Hyung, what the hell are you-”
“I like you.”
Donghyuck’s eyes widened, his face contorting into one of pure shock and confusion. Yangyang could be heard awkwardly coughing and standing up from his chair as something entirely foreign (and European) escaped his lips. As soon as he stood up, WayV’s youngest member bolted for the door, locking it before he left.
“Mark hyung, wh-what are you even saying?” Donghyuck sputtered.
“I said I like you” Mark repeated, feeling more determined than ever now that Yangyang was gone. “I’m sorry for suddenly running away like that. I know I was stupid.”
“You still are” Donghyuck whispered but Mark went on anyways.
“And that I shouldn’t have just ran away like a coward and I’m sorry for making you cry-”
Donghyuck glared at him.
“-but I’m not sorry for kissing you because Donghyuck... I’m in love with you." Mark paused to gather his wits when he realized that he had just outright confessed. One huge breath later, he continued. "And maybe it took you suddenly being friends with someone as handsome as Lucas for me to notice that. And maybe I was so jealous of you being so close and intimate with our other members that I just lost it back then. All I know for sure is that I love you.”
There was silence and Mark finally released his shaky hold on Donghyuck. His best friend had an unreadable expression on his face for once and Mark prepared for the worst.
“You fucking idiot” Donghyuck cries, tears forming on the corners of his eyes as he weakly punched Mark away. “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t interrupt my game. I almost had a perfect streak, Hyung.”
Mark was absolutely dumbfounded and Donghyuck started chuckling.
“You’re the biggest idiot, Mark Lee. To think that I was so ready to pull down my pants for you when you kissed me in the hallway.”
“Wait, what!?” Mark cried out.
Donghyuck full on laughed at his face despite the tears running down the younger’s cheeks. “Hyung, I was joking. God, you should have seen your face.”
Mark grumbled something about confessing and falling in love with a total clown of all people. He soon felt Donghyuck’s warm hands cupping his face.
“Just kiss me right this time, you Canadian idiot.”
And finally, the Canadian idiot did things right as he leaned down to connect their lips together. The kiss wasn’t rushed and quick this time and Mark took his time to wrap his arms around Donghyuck and simply feel him.
It was Donghyuck who deepened the kiss and Mark can’t stop the blushing creeping to his cheeks.
The two broke apart when the door slammed open and Lucas came through. Yangyang could be heard yelling something in Mandarin as he rushed to pull Lucas away.
“Yo, I thought we were going to be playing some games here tonight” Lucas suddenly chuckled. “But I guess you and Mark are about to be busy.”
Yangyang looked mortified and he stood on his toes to reach for Lucas’s mouth and cover it with his palm.
“Sorry, Mark. Sorry, Hyuck.” With that, he managed to drag Lucas away and make sure that the door was actually locked this time.
“Uhm, guess the everyone’s going to know about this from now on” Donghyuck nervously chuckled yet he never released his hold on Mark.
“He called you Hyuck.”
“I thought I was the only one who called you Hyuck” Mark visibly deflated as he pouted at Donghyuck.
Silence followed as they simply stared at each other. That was until Donghyuck bursted out laughing for the nth time at his expression.
“How can you be so… stupid and adorable at the same time?”
“Hey, it’s not funny. I had to watch Lucas and everyone else get so close with you for almost two years now.”
Donghyuck’s face shifted into one of shock and then into realization. “You mean...”
Mark bit his lip and nodded because yes, he’s been jealous and pining over Hyuck for that long.
“You know what, come here and kiss me again.”
Before Mark could say anything more, he was pulled into Donghyuck’s arms and the older wasted no time in kissing him like his life depended on it.
“I loved you first, you know.” Donghyuck said to him when they laid on his bed, tucked away among the soft covers. Mark was sure Donghyuck could hear his heartbeat while he rested his head on his chest.
“I said I loved you first” Donghyuck stared at him with much adoration Mark could feel his breath hitch in his throat. “I was fourteen when I first realized that I had a crush on you.”
Donghyuck tenderly looked at him and Mark brushed his thumb against his lip.
“And then I secretly watched you while you were on the set for the 7th Sense. I’ve never seen you look so passionate and attractive at the same time, Hyung” Donghyuck tells him, an almost wistful look in his eyes. “I’ve always believed that you’d never see me the same way that’s why I never told you.”
“Hyuck, I…” Mark choked. He was ready to pour his heart out and tell Donghyuck how sorry he was but the words seemed to die down in his throat.
“It’s okay, hyung” Donghyuck leaned over to peck on his lips before a huge smile stretched on his lips. “I have you here right now.”
Mark pulled him in a tight embrace, whispering sweet nothing into the younger’s ear. “You’ll always have me here, Donghyuck.”
Here and forever.
And maybe, there was never a competition in the first place. Donghyuck simply has always been his.