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when i'm with you i'm in utopia

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mark is sure he's about a second away from committing suicide, or homicide. either way it'll be fine.

it's strange, because he's never like this. he's always patient and positive and overall bright, but life is obviously testing him.

today, he has his first biology test. he didn't study. 

the thing is, mark is very serious about his responsibilities, and on top of it, it's rumored that his professor is actually a bitch at grading. this is his senior year and he can't afford to fail a subject. besides, mark is a good student, a dedicated one, he just can't let himself fail.

but, mark is also a teenager in love. his friend renjun calls him whipped and even if it's embarrassing, mark knows it's true. he's so whipped.

so, instead of studying for his test, he spent all the weekend with donghyuck. he can't say he regrets it, though.

he always has a good time with donghyuck, even doing the smallest things, his boyfriend's mere presence makes mark feel all giddy and giggly and oddly nervous, many butterflies flying freely inside his belly.

however, right now it's seven in the morning and he hasn't slept all night because since he got home from donghyuck's he has been doing nothing but studying, and still there are some concepts his sleepy mind couldn't catch and some things he doesn't understand. his eyes itch and his head hurts and sitting at the library seems counterproductive when he can't concentrate not even a little bit on the book he's trying to read.

he's dozing off on the table when he hears his name being called.

"... i knew you'd be here" 

mark raises his head to see donghyuck, wearing mark's varsity jacket and dark jeans, his dirty converse making strangely too much noise as he walks, "you're so predictable" donghyuck says taking a seat, resting his face on his hand.

how's this donghyuck looks better with his varsity jacket on than him? mark grumbles, laying his head on his book again, but taking donghyuck's free hand in his.

it's oddly cold for september and mark has been subtly trembling for a while but donghyuck's hand is hot, and he starts feeling warm. 

"honestly, babe. if you had to study why did you spend the whole weekend at my house? you could have told me and i would have understood" donghyuck says shaking his head, fluffy hair bouncing. his face is trying to look disappointed but he starts playing with mark's fingers, so mark knows he's not.

"i have my priorities straight" he answers cheesily without missing a beat.

"that's obviously the only straight thing about you" donghyuck says, obviously amused "besides, i know you so well. your right eye is twitching, you're dying inside"

mark's hand flies to his eye, he hadn't noticed it. "okay, i am. but i love spending time with you, what can i do?" he whines.

donghyuck laughs, loud and melodious in the cold air of the morning. mark closes his eyes, enjoying the sound, a small smile on his face.

"i'm sure you're going to do very well, hyung" donghyuck says after a while of comfortable silence.

"i don't think so. i didn't study enough" he murmurs, donghyuck's presence is so warm, the hours of sleep he lost are starting to catch him up.

"you're the smartest guy i know, hyung! plus, you can bullshit your way away from anything"

mark sighs, that's so not true. 

donghyuck must know he's not convinced, he hums "okay, then come with me? please?" 

mark opens his eyes, sleepy with his headache making him dizzy "where?"

donghyuck doesn't answer, just helps him get up and takes him to the library bathroom.

mark is about to ask why in the world are they there, but donghyuck secures the door and, suddenly mark feels less sleepy and more alert.

donghyuck pushes him to one of the walls in front of the mirrors. "you need good luck kisses" he says, all mischievous eyes and pretty heart smile.

mark groans "that's dumb, hyuck. no good luck kisses will save me from destruction"

donghyuck furrows his nose "have you tried mine? i can make wonders! i can't believe you are doubting me" 

mark wants to refute it, explain to him that luck is just a concept created by society, but then donghyuck is putting one of his hands on his neck and he's redeemed silent.

"do you see this moles right here?" hyuck says, the hand that's not on mark's neck signaling his left cheek "if you connect them, they make the little dipper, you know the constellation. and this is a fact that makes me magic!"

mark is dumbstruck. "okay, but how did you even find-"

donghyuck shushes him, "you just need to have faith, hyung. and you'll pass your test without any complications. just kiss my cheek and the luck will help you"

and mark is, again, about to deny it. but donghyuck looks so soft, tapping his cheek gently. pretty even at almost eight in the morning with obvious eye bags from lack of sleep (he was most likely playing fortnite with jeno until god knows what time last night) and his bright smile. the request is so innocent too.

mark doesn't believe in luck, but he's not going to pass an opportunity to kiss donghyuck soft cheek, so he leans in a little and gives him a wet kiss, just to mess with him.

donghyuck makes a noise, then nods "see?" he whispers "it's done" they're now chest to chest, donghyuck leaning all his weight on mark. their noses touch lightly.

"now i'm going to kiss you for real" mark announces and donghyuck nods, closes his eyes.

and, donghyuck is always soft when mark kisses him. always warm and pliant. his hands on mark's neck, caressing it. his heart beating fast under mark's hand on his chest.

it's so amazing to be able to kiss donghyuck anytime he wants, to run his hand through his hair like he's doing right now and to feel him close. mark's so ready to dive into a full blown make out session with him right at the moment. he opens his mouth and donghyuck makes a noise in the back of his throat and-

the bell rings. oh yeah, his test.

mark pulls away reluctantly, annoyed by the noise, donghyuck opens his eyes, a bright blush decorating his face. he clears his throat "right" he murmurs "your test. go do your best, babe!" donghyuck cheers on him quietly, giving him a hug.

mark smiles crookedly, feeling nervous about it "thank you" he says instead. but none of them moves, just looking at each other.

the bell stops ringing. mark wakes up from his daze "right! my test!" he says quickly, "i'll see you at lunch!" and with that leaves a peck on donghyuck's lips and starts running to get his stuff from the table he was sitting on and go to his class, hoping for the best. he hears donghyuck laughing when he gets out of the bathroom and smiles.

now, he needs to focus. the nerves attack him again when he's sitting with the exam in front of him, but he needs to focus so he can at least fail with dignity.

in the end, a few days later when the teacher gives him his test back, he had surprisingly gotten an eighty-five.

when he tells donghyuck about it, he starts going off about his magical luck-sharing qualities. mark just shakes his head and wants to disagree, telling him that the test was too easy, but his words get caught in donghyuck's lips.

that's fine, he can disagree later.



try outs for the basketball team are tomorrow and mark is feeling anxious about it.

he has always been part of the team, but this year, the school decided to change their coach, and this new coach is making the whole team hold new try outs. mark's afraid this man will kick him out.

he has been silently on edge all day, about to snap at the most tiny things, but now, here, laying horizontally on his bed, head and legs dangling out the sides and with donghyuck's head resting on his tummy, he just feels defeated.

donghyuck is talking to him about the new friend he made in art class, using wild hand gestures to imitate the guy. there's a dark song playing in the background, probably something by the weeknd that made it to mark's playlist because his brother's friend, ten, recommended it to him. he can't focus on anything but he also can't just zone out like he'd want to, too many shitty thoughts about tomorrow flying around his mind.

donghyuck claps, a loud sound that surprises mark "... and thus, my teacher was utterly amazed. he's a sweet talker, hyung. could rival nana and everything!"

ah, he hadn't been paying attention. he laughs quietly, hoping donghyuck won't notice. but he's hopeless, donghyuck knows him too well. 

"ah. what's on your mind?" donghyuck asks curiously, "you didn't even comment when i told you what my teacher said about my painting" he pouts.

mark smiles softly, donghyuck's too cute. "what did she say?"

"she said that the lines were shit but the colors were amazing. honestly, i like the class but when she's that honest i wish i wasn't taking it" he laughs, scrunching his nose like he does when he's saying something with an underlying confession. mark understands it perfectly: he's feeling ashamed for not doing well.

"you're amazing" mark answers, sliding his hand on donghyuck's hair "and you're always improving, babe. you'll kick her ass later"

donghyuck turns to lie on his belly, his chin resting on mark's stomach so he can look at him directly. "thank you" he says softly, dismissing, "now, what's on your mind?"

and mark doesn't want to bother him. but he also wants to share everything with him, because he doesn't trust anyone as much as he trusts donghyuck with his feelings, "i'm not sure i'll make it again to the team" he states simply.

donghyuck frowns, makes a gesture with his mouth. "why would you think that?" 

and that question, was one mark hadn't thought of, why?

realistically thinking, there's no reason for mark to think like that; he's a very good player, passionate and dedicated. he has always made it to the team.

so he answers honestly, "i don't know. i'm just very, very nervous" 

and donghyuck smiles, cheek now resting on mark's belly instead of his chin, heart shaped lips pretty and eyes big. "oh, baby. i know exactly what you need. a little dose of luck!"

and mark is instantly brought back to the day of his biology test, with donghyuck saying more or less the same.

he laughs, "babe, not this again! luck doesn't exist" 

donghyuck looks at him, sitting quickly and putting a hand on his chest as if mark had just offended him personally, "excuse you, i remember luck working for you a while ago"

mark just laughs, donghyuck is so pretty. his heart is a little out of control just with him sitting on his bed by his side. today, he has decided to wear a shirt with a low-cut neck that shows his pretty collarbones and the cute fleck adorning his chest right in the middle of them. it distracts mark a lot.

"nah, babe. it was just my amazing memory and the test that was easy" he says, making a vague hand gesture.

donghyuck takes his hand and makes him sit with his legs crossed, back against the headboard, "i won't kick your ass just because you're super nervous and not being you today. but stop doubting! accept the magic!"

and mark wants to keep laughing because this is totally ridiculous. magic is not real.

but then, then donghyuck decides to take a seat on his lap, thighs on each side of mark's body, and mark's mind shuts. only to procced in overdrive. 

donghyuck smirks, all confident and cheeky thanks to the dumbfounded expression mark must have on his face.

"now, because you doubted, magic will be a little difficult with you. so, you gotta work extra hard for it! just kiss on the spot like you mean it!" his boyfriend explains, all cute and smiley and trusting.

but mark can only see the red of his lips and the mirth of his eyes and the delicate slope of his nose and that goddamn fleck in the middle of his collarbones and, okay. he's not thinking clearly.

"yeah" mark breathes, and when donghyuck pats his cheek again, like he did that day in the bathroom, he kisses it softly. 

kisses him once, twice, thrice and then kisses his nose. donghyuck giggles. mark's not sure what to do with his hands.

then, he starts leaving open mouthed kisses on his jaw, slowly, because he feels lost in the moment. and when he gets to his neck, he can't help but start biting. it smells so good, like peach body wash and just so donghyuck. 

mark feels his boyfriend gulp, then proceeds to bite a hickey on his skin, right on the mole he has on the side of his neck. then bites another, and another, and another and leaves love bites not only on his neck but also on his collarbones.

he hears donghyuck sigh hotly into his hair, and mark squeezes his waist, even though he's not even sure when did he put his hands there.

in a daze, mark just can keep kissing him and at some point he can hear himself start saying things; some sweet, you smell so good, your skin is so soft, i want to kiss you forever, and some a little more bold, you're so hot, you make me feel all bothered. and it goes for a few minutes, until he can feel donghyuck's hands on his cheeks trying to lift his head up.

and. oh lord, what a view. donghyuck's all flushed from the tip of his ears to his chest, eyes half lidded and dark and so, so handsome. mark's heart is doing backflips as if there was no tomorrow, his hands trembling where they hold donghyuck. 

"the magic will work" donghyuck says, voice hoarse and his body shaking a little. so mark kisses his cheeks again, loving the way donghyuck is breathing heavily, and then kisses him on the mouth.

and it's so dirty, they kiss all open mouthed and desperate and mark's sure he lets some embarrassing sounds out without meaning to, but he can't focus on anything else than donghyuck's taste on his tongue, his teeth biting his lip, his hands caressing his cheeks and the warmth he radiates. lee donghyuck feels like the actual sun and mark is ready to be blinded.

but then, mark's mom knocks on the door, "sweeties! i made you some nuggets. come down to eat!" and just like that they pull away from each other as if they were burned out of fright for the possibility of being caught like that.

they end on different sides of the bed, all wide eyes and ragged breaths, but mark's mom just leaves after telling them about the food.

and they just. stare at each other.

donghyuck breaks into laughter. so wild and so obnoxiously loud that his body ends up rolling to the floor, making a muted oompf sound. "you should have seen your face!" he tries to say in between, unable to even breath.

mark smiles, hands still gripping his bed sheets as if it was the last thing he'd do, heart hammering in his chest half because of the scare and half because of the magnificent scene happening before his eyes.

his boyfriend on his bedroom floor, laughing happily. hair ruffled and lips red and swollen and his face so red it could put a cherry to shame. he's so in love he can physically feel it in the way his fingertips feel electrified and his belly is always full of butterflies, dragonflies, birds and all the fucking zoo.

he gets up and then helps donghyuck to get up, only so he can absentmindedly kiss his cheeks again before going downstairs.

"thank you for always making me feel better" marks says, so completely heartfelt it leaves donghyuck silent.

donghyuck ruffles his hair, "i'm always here for you"

and mark believes him, because donghyuck always keeps his promises.

the next day, mark easily passes the try outs and jaemin congratulates him by inviting all of them to mcdonald's.

and there, donghyuck exclaims about his magic qualities again, just like he did last time and honestly, mark didn't even remember it (because damn, he was completely out of his mind after that make out session) but he vehemently denies it, saying that it was his hard work paying off and, even when donghyuck agrees, he explains that the luck he lent him played an important role too. 

mark rolls his eyes, totally done with this luck-thing but then donghyuck gets distracted by renjun asking him about his last project for his art class and the way his eyes light up make mark's words die in his throat just because he doesn't want donghyuck to get upset and sidetracked when he starts talking about something he obviously enjoys so much.

but, just for the record, mark lee will not ever believe in something so dumb as luck.



sometimes, mark spends the weekend at his brother's, taeyong, house because taeyong is really clingy and they're really close. 

those weekends are very cool. taeyong's friend, johnny is apparently rich and so they have a very cool house: full of things to do, with a room to spare and the fridge is always full of yummy things.

since taeyong and his friends are going to college and mark to high school, mark always has to leave on sundays, so he always tries to make the most of his time with his brother.

this weekend, though, johnny and taeyong planned a party. it's funny, because even if taeyong and johnny always manage to get on each other’s nerves, they're always up to some errands together. ten, taeyong's other friend and housemate, always says jokingly that all that tension they build up better not end up in sex under his good christian roof (mark knows he's actually scared because he likes his brother, but he just smiles and play along)

taeyong had informed mark beforehand of the party, just in case it would bother mark. but mark was ecstatic. his first college party and he isn’t even in college yet.

so, he invites donghyuck along.

the party is on saturday. the house is so full of people it looks like it's about to explode.

mark has met a lot of taeyong's friends and they're loud and boisterous and super friendly. 

this guy, yuta, offers both him and donghyuck alcohol and both of them decline. but then yuta tells them that nobody's going to find out and that if it's needed he'll ask taeyong himself if they can drink a little.

and he does, he asks taeyong who's kind of looking like he has lost something or someone "i- yes. sure. just make sure mom doesn't find out" and with that he leaves.

even then, donghyuck declines kindly, saying that just the smell makes him dizzy. but mark is feeling adventurous, so he drinks everything yuta gives him to taste.

as it turns out, mark's a lightweight. 

donghyuck is having fun discovering this new facet of his boyfriend. 

this being, usually calm and composed mark asking random strangers about things like biology and possible hair colors, asking donghyuck to dance on a table with him, and doing random sounds when somebody bumps with him.

mark can't stop thinking about how good donghyuck looks today, he recently dyed his hair a soft orange and came dressed with black ripped jeans and another of his too big shirts that show off his collarbone.

so he tells him "lee donghyuck! you're the most beautiful human being i have ever seen in my whole life!" and donghyuck smiles at him, arranging some hair that has fallen to mark's forehead.

"thank you, babe. you're not so bad yourself" he smirks, all confident but dreamy at the same time.

"also!" mark adds "i need to pee"

donghyuck cackles and takes him by the hand to the bathroom.

it is occupied. when he knocks the door, taeyong peeks his head out looking kind upset.

donghyuck takes a step back "i'm sorry! your brother needs to use the bathroom" he says, pointing to mark with his thumb, he's standing with his head rested on the wall, mumbling something.

taeyong's frown disappears "oh, right. sorry. please wait a second" and then he closes the door, only to reappear a few minutes later with ten hanging from his arm. "you can use it now" taeyong says before he goes.

donghyuck helps mark undoing the button of his jeans and gives him a speech about aiming, then goes out to wait for him.

when mark finishes, he goes out and pines his boyfriend to the wall, his arm beside his head. 

donghyuck laughs "what's this? a macho alpha display? did you wash your hands?" 

mark nods, he did. donghyuck asked him to and he did. "i love you" he replies without thinking, shaking his head trying to concentrate.

and, okay. he and donghyuck have been together for almost a year (eleven months and thirteen days, but, who's counting? obviously not mark, duh) but they have never been the kind of couple who's always saying i love you, they tend to just show it with actions.

but mark's drunk and apparently out of control. "donghyuck, i love you. so much" he starts, chest bubbling with a rush of affection so intense that it makes him lightheaded, "you make my heart go all riot in my chest and make me feel warm and happy. and your laugh is precious. and so is your whole face. and so is your complete existence. and your hands, and your nose and you make me so happy did i say that already? and kinda horny... very horny. but we're not ready for that. i'm sorry i just love you" 

donghyuck's face is so red it feels like it'd explode any second, his cheeks hurting from smiling too much "hyung. i love you too, so much" he says, sparkly eyes looking right into mark's.

and mark kisses him softly, just lips touching. they kiss like that for a while, lost in each other and even if mark tastes like alcohol, donghyuck keeps kissing him, warm lips slotting against the other.

it's so nice. the music is good and mark wants to slow dance with donghyuck, to melt his body against donghyuck's.

"babe," his boyfriend says against his lips, "why are we this cheesy?"

mark snorts so hard at that his nose hurts, rests his forehead on donghyuck's "i'm drunk and you're perfect. i gotta be cheesy. don't know 'bout you" 

donghyuck hits him lightly on the arm "stop or you'll regret it, you know i know karate" he says lifting his eyebrow.

mark looks at him attentively. trying to capture all the beauty in front of him. he zeroes on donghyuck's pretty eyelashes and the way they kiss his cheekbones when he blinks, the almost invisible scar by his right eye, his pretty top lip.

donghyuck hits him again, "hyung! stop looking at me like that! it makes me feel super weird"

mark smiles, all breathless and stunned. tries to wink at him.

donghyuck cackles, "let's go back to the party? i'm kinda in need of some good doritos" he asks, taking mark's arm off the wall to grab his hand and interlock their fingers. mark nods dumbly and lets himself be led. he'd follow donghyuck anywhere.

sitting in the living room couch, mark suddenly starts to feel not-so-well. 

he has his head on donghyuck's lap, who's sitting on the couch armrest, eating those doritos he wanted, "man, taeyong hyung is going to be so angry. this house is a mess! how the fuck did some candle wax end on the floor? and who the hell brings glitter to a party? this is the weirdest thing ever" donghyuck rants, mouth full.

mark takes a deep breath, "hyuck. i'm not feeling good"

donghyuck instantly shuts up, cleaning his dirty fingers on his jeans "sit straight, babe" he says gently, hand on mark's hair. 

mark makes a sound "don't wanna" he whines "you're so comfy. i'm so drunk"

donghyuck giggles quietly "that, you are. but if you feel bad you have to sit straight"

mark is about to complain, but then a realization hits him. "hyuck, quickly. what time is it?" he says in a stew.

donghyuck checks his phone quickly, "a little past three. why?"

mark groans, loudly "oh my god" he starts, obviously troubled "oh my god, i'm so drunk. my mother is going to find out i've been drinking and i promised taeyong hyung it wouldn't happen" his eye twitches, mouth in a frown. his stomach is now more upset than before. he starts hyperventilating.

donghyuck gets off the couch to kneel in front of him, taking mark's face in his hands. "babe, no. slow down. it's okay" he tries to calm him down, rubbing circles on his cheeks.

"it's not" mark answers, his mind foggy and hyperactive, thinking about the worst scenarios.

donghyuck hugs him tight. mark's head on his chest. now rubbing his back lovingly. "she's not going to find out, we'll find a solution" 

donghyuck's heartbeat, slow and steady, does calm him down a little, but his body still shakes in anxiousness. "what do we do?"

donghyuck looks at him, as if pondering how to tell him something. 

then, he smiles. all soft around the edges, "you know what would help you right now, baby?" he asks. mark shakes his head, big eyes unfocused "some magic" donghyuck whispers.

okay, mark is drunk, but he is still not stupid, "oh my god, donghyuck! i need a real solution!" he says, exasperated. his throat burns a little.

donghyuck kisses his hair "this is a real one, baby. just trust me"

mark sighs "donghyuck, this is not-"

"i'll tell you what. if we turn on the magic and you go to sleep and it doesn't work, i won't tell you about it never again. deal?" donghyuck speaks so quietly, he's probably doing his best to keep mark feeling less scared, protected.

mark grumbles, then nods slowly. this is a deal he can accept.

donghyuck looks at him, shining eyes and all "do ya thing" he says, tapping lightly his cheek.

mark kisses his cheek, reluctantly.

then kisses it again, because he does like kissing donghyuck.

"now, magic will help you again, hyung. just go to sleep. i'll watch over you and i won't let anybody draw a dick on your face" 

mark makes a face, "but i don't want to slee-" but donghyuck just gives him a look and, okay. he's going to sleep.

later, mark wakes up at almost six am completely confused, a dull headache starting. his body freezing.

donghyuck is holding his hand, he fell asleep on the floor, arm cushioning his head, mouth open.

mark feels like shit, but donghyuck is so angelical sleeping that he can't help smiling.

mark caresses his cheek with his free hand, and absentmindedly notices that indeed donghyuck's moles resemble a constellation. 

he traces it with his fingers, trying to draw it right, carefully and wonders, how can a human be so precious. how could he be this in love with somebody? 

but the answer is obvious, how could he not be in love with donghyuck who's an angel with a heart of gold. of course he has a constellation on his skin, he himself is an entire galaxy.

donghyuck all of sudden opens his eyes, a little frown decorating his face. none of them say anything. mark just keeps caressing him.

a pang on his head stops mark. his headache intensifying. "damn, i feel like shit. i shouldn't have drank that much" he laments.

donghyuck looks at him funny "no shit, sherlock" he comments all sassy.

mark pouts "don't be rude, i'm suffering"

donghyuck grins "i'm sorry you're dumb" but turns his head to kiss the palm of mark's hand that's resting still on his cheek.

"alright little shits!" a friend from taeyong, jaehyun, shouts in the living room "everybody wake up! who were the ones leaving with me? it's time to go"

mark and donghyuck get up, ready to leave because if not, they're going to have to wait for taeyong. waiting for taeyong means cleaning and hell no. the house is a total mess.

they leave without saying goodbye because mark peeps silently on the kitchen and sees ten and taeyong holding hands. mark will not interrupt that, he can always text his brother later.

sitting on the leather seats of jaehyun's hyundai, mark notices he's reeking of alcohol, the smell so strong it surprises him he hadn't noticed earlier.

donghyuck and jaehyun are talking about sia's new album as he quietly panics inside. his mom is going to whoop his ass. there's no doubt.

turns out, mark's mom caught a cold on friday, which means that when they get to mark's house, she can't smell anything. so, because mark and donghyuck are very good actors, she doesn't notice what went down earlier.

when mark and donghyuck are lying on mark's bed ready for at least a few hours of sleep, donghyuck comments about how it all ended well. he doesn't say it but the grin on his face tells mark he's attributing it to his so called magic luck.

he's too sleepy to discuss the topic, so he just nods along with what he said and hugs him by the waist, ready to black out any second.

it wasn't luck, his mother's immune system just happened to fail her all of sudden and it was very convenient for him, and that's that.




every year, before christmas break, mark's school holds some academic competitions for the best students to contest.

it is optional. the school sends an e-mail to the students who can participate and they decide if they want to register or not. the prize for winning are extra credits.

since mark is a very good student, he always gets selected for math and english, but he never registers. he has never been interested on it.

this year, though. there's a new student in mark's math class. her name is kim yerim.

mark's never been the type of person who judges others without really knowing them. but this girl. she's always getting on mark's nerves.

the thing is, yerim is very smart. in fact, she and mark share the best grades of the class. but that's not the problem.

mark likes smart people, he likes talking to them and acquiring new knowledge. but he can never stand a person who's conceited about it. well, a conceited person in any aspect, but, yeah.

kim yerim is the epitome of presumptuous. she carries herself as if she was the shit. talks to other people as if they were stupid and makes rude jokes all the time.

it makes mark so mad, he is always holding himself back in class, trying to not snap at her and leaving a bad impression on everyone else.

this time, the school happens to send their invitation e-mail to the students in the middle of math class. 

not a minute after, yerim exclaims loudly "ah, the dummy contest! I've been selected to win over you all this year" 

the professor pauses while explaining something "congratulations miss kim, i didn't expect any different" mark can't understand how the professor’s always on board with yerim's bullshit.

"me neither. i'm obviously the best option" she laughs obnoxiously. the whole class is silent, obviously done with her.

mark is a second away from slapping some sense- perhaps empathy, kindness, something less-douchey on her.  he is so tired of her.

later, when just before the class finishes their professor announces they have a homework in pairs (mark gets paired with his friend chenle so everything is cool) and yerim scrunches her nose in disgust at the idea, mark starts thinking about registering to the contest and utterly destroying her petty ass on it.

mark forgets almost completely about it on the next few days because he doesn't have another math class for the week and also because he gets distracted by more important things, like his and donghyuck's anniversary.

since this is their one year anniversary, mark convinces taeyong to lend him his car (with a little -much- help of ten) and invites donghyuck to the beach.

they go early in the morning and donghyuck spends the whole ride between excited, singing along to all the songs the radio plays and impatient, mocking mark for driving like an old man. mark adores him.

the beach is almost empty, as expected, after all, it is a saturday in november. but today is a good day, the sun is shining surprisingly bright. the sea is calm and the sand feels warm between their toes.

donghyuck is wearing a sleeveless black shirt and his white swim trunks and mark is sure he could appear in any magazine like this.

it's funny because mark actually hates the beach, but he knows it's one of donghyuck's favorite places, so that's why he brought him to it. he can hear renjun saying whipped in his mind on repeat, but what can mark do? he is whipped.

donghyuck brings sandwiches with him, none of them with ketchup because mark hates it, and they have a cute picnic. then they play frisbee and have a cards battle. but the best thing is they spend the whole day in each other's company just talking and enjoying the other's presence.

by the time the sun is setting, donghyuck is trying for the seventh time to get into the water. shirtless, running like a headless chicken "fuck! why is it so cold!" he screams, jumping cutely.

mark laughs while he records a video for their group chat with renjun, jeno and jaemin, "look at that dumbass, guys" he explains in the video.

"hey!" donghyuck shouts "i found a seashell!" holding it in the air, obviously proud.

and when mark looks at him from his position sitting on the beach towel, he gets breathless.

with the sun setting, the colors are wonderful. but there donghyuck is, standing in the ocean, shell held high in his hand, tan skin literally glowing and the soft breeze messing his hair. this has to be the most beautiful image he has ever seen in his whole life, it has literally left him star struck. his mouth gapes.

"don't move!" he says and starts taking pictures quickly.

"what! why?" donghyuck answers "are you taking pictures of me?" 

mark smiles sheepishly. "you are!" donghyuck laughs brightly only to start making silly poses.

mark laughs so hard his belly hurts, and he likes a lot just how easy it is for donghyuck to make him laugh until it hurts and he can't anymore but keeps doing it anyway.

donghyuck runs to him and all but crashes onto his lap, giggling madly. almost throwing mark of balance.

"you've made this the best year of life, you know" donghyuck tells him, mark's trying to soak in all his words but he's honestly still kind of dazed "i want to be with you forever, hyung" 

mark gulps, donghyuck's skin is so hot under his hands, "yeah" he croaks, heart in his throat constricting his air supply "forever, hyuck"

by the time mark's leaving donghyuck at his house, late at night, he can't help but think that the whole day was something akin a dream. when donghyuck kisses him before getting out of the car mark can't help but preen when he looks at the hickies he just left on donghyuck's neck and think about the one's donghyuck has left on his, their mouths still red and swollen from so many hard kisses exchanged.

when donghyuck waves at him from his front door, all smiles, before closing it, mark thinks about indeed being with him forever. and yeah, what would be better than spending his whole eternity with the boy he loves more than anything? nothing.

so, it's kind of natural mark had totally forgotten about his annoying and unimportant classmate until next monday.

when mark's sitting at his usual seat in his math class, the teacher enters the room making an announcement "today is the last day for the selected ones to join the contest! so if you want to join and haven't done it already, don't forget to do it before the eighth period!"

the class nods, but then yerim's voice echoes loudly through the room "don't bother guys! you don't have any chance against me" she laughs and, oh. mark remembers now. he is going to destroy her.

by the end of the class, mark's walking to the registration stan. until he starts to doubt. 

he stops on his tracks, should he really do this? it's a math competition so he has to study and spend time working on it while juggling his other classes and his class' own tests. is he really that mad?

he needs advice, so he calls his boyfriend. donghyuck answers after the third call, just when mark was about to give up.

"i'm sorry!" donghyuck greets in a breath "i was distracted" 

"oh. it's okay, hyuck. are you busy?" 

"not really, i'm just inspired!" mark laughs at the tone donghyuck uses, all classy "what's up?"

"where are you, baby? i'm kind of in need of a talk" he asks, checking his wrist watch to see how many time he has left to register.

donghyuck makes a sound "ooh, is this a tea you need to share? whatever, i'm in the art room, come meet me!" 

mark agrees and starts his trip quickly, he only has an hour left.

when he gets to the art room, he witnesses what he thinks is the cutest thing ever.

donghyuck is standing in front of a colorful canvas, his clothes and hands and face all covered with paint stains. a paintbrush in one hand and another with drying green paint behind his right ear.

"what happened here? a colorful hurricane?" mark says when he's closing the door.

donghyuck looks at him, "this is art happening, hyung. don't be rude" he says with his head held high and a posh accent.

mark laughs, taking a seat on the table behind donghyuck "okay. art happening, got it. can we take a rest from art and talk for a bit?"

donghyuck sighs dramatically "art never rests, hyung. but i guess art could listen to your tea for a little while?"

"wow. thank you art, you're amazing" donghyuck laughs brightly, leaving his palette on the table.

"okay so, hyuck. i want to register to this year's academic competition" 

donghyuck beams, "babe, that's so cool! my boyfriend is so smart, i love it"

mark grins shyly, "thank you, baby. but that's not the issue. the thing is, i don't think i should" donghyuck frowns, obviously confused, mark continues "i want to join just because i want to defeat a girl"

"hyung" donghyuck giggles, his hands on his hips "since when are you so competitive?"

mark groans, "no, babe you don't understand. this girl is the demon" he stands up to get closer to donghyuck "she's so self-conceited and rude and makes fun of everyone and it makes me so mad. i feel like i need to defeat her in order to defend everybody’s honor"

donghyuck giggles again, "hyung, what in the world?!" mark looks at him, helpless. he loves to hear him giggle. "you shouldn't join if it is like that" he supplies when he's done.

mark tilts his head, "why?"

"because that's just plain dumb. she's just a disguised bully and the best you can do is not spare her a single thought" he says, all wise.

mark smiles, "you sound exactly the way your mom did when we were talking about bullies with her" 

donghyuck grins, "and you know she's very smart, so we must follow her advice" 

mark nods, "but," donghyuck says "if you want to do it for yourself, like, if you want the credits, i will cheer you up all the way. you can win it without any problem!" 

there's a moment of silence in which mark lowers his head "i... kinda don't really want to? i have so many school works is driving me crazy"

donghyuck lifts his head up with soft fingers holding mark's chin "and why do you sound so sad about it? you're not obligated to participate, hyung. it's okay" he asks, brows furrowed.

"is it really okay if i just don't do anything?" mark asks, clearly baffled. 

"hyung. it is not your job to personally stop her. besides, she'll be a bitch even if you beat her. that's just who she is. don't beat yourself over this" donghyuck sounds like he's asking for the most important favor ever. mark knows he's worried about his feelings.

"okay," he answers. "you're right"

his boyfriend smiles, his hand now on his cheek "this session of psychological help is going to cost you a burger later"

mark laughs, suddenly feeling refreshed. donghyuck has that effect over him always, like a cold glass of lemonade on a very hot day.

"what are you painting?" mark says, changing the topic. donghyuck's eyes light up, quickly bouncing to his canvas.

"oh! hyung! this is you!" he exclaims, hands signaling his work proudly.

in reality, the painting looks like a blur of color to mark, green and purple and red, among others thrown on the previously blank surface "how's that, hyuck?" he wonders curiously.

"well, i mean this is clearly not you i mean you're not a blob of paint" donghyuck laughs "but this is you. every color in here is you! you see, the green is because the walls of your bedroom are green. the blue is for the little penguin plushy you sleep with. the black is for the shirt you were wearing the first time i met you. purple is for your favorite flavor of candies. this painting are just little things that make me think of you" donghyuck finishes, proud of his work.

mark is blushing madly, surprise leaving him speechless. he chokes "hyuck, why are you making this?"

now, is donghyuck's turn to blush. he murmurs something, playing with his own fingers nervously.


he clears his throat "i said that it's an assignment" 

suspicious. "what kind of assignment?" mark asks again, face hot.

donghyuck smiles shyly "the professor asked us to paint what came to our mind when we thought about... happiness" donghyuck face palms "i'm so cheesy. please stop asking"

"oh my god" mark says, smiling so big it hurts his cheeks, "donghyuck, oh my god. what do the red and yellow mean?"

"please don't make me say it" he laments. mark already knows. of course he knows what those colors mean. they have talked about it a thousand times since donghyuck started taking a class about color theory last year.

"donghyuck..." he trails, teasing.

"hyung, don't" and mark knows how this makes donghyuck feel. ashamed. he never wants donghyuck to feel like that when it comes to him.

"yellow is for warmth" mark starts getting closer to donghyuck again, where he's standing next to his piece. "for the sun and nature" he continues, his hand taking one of donghyuck's off his face, "for when you feel your skin burning under the sun rays but can't move because it feels too good. what does it mean to you right now, hyuck?"

donghyuck's mouth opens a little, he bites his lip before answering "it means that you make me feel warm and happy and you burn in the best way" and closes his eyes.

mark lowers his head a little to the right, eyes half closed "and when you told me about red" he takes donghyuck's other wrist, puts both of his hands on his neck "you talked about passion and anger and strong feelings. which one is it?"

donghyuck looks at him, starry eyes shy, the blush more prominent. "hyung..."

"just, tell me" mark says, taking a good look of donghyuck. the paint on his face and neck contrasting beautifully with the love bites mark left on him, fading but still notorious. his skin glistens, the brush on his ear that looks funny, his pink lips, his messy hair.

"it means that i love you, mark" donghyuck gulps, hot and bothered.

"so do i" he voices eagerly "so much. oh my god you got me so whipped"

his boyfriend smiles, face still scarlet. mark leans in and kisses his forehead. then his nose, making him laugh softly. then his lips.

mark's hands are still holding donghyuck's wrists, his hands on mark's neck. donghyuck kisses him wildly and mark has a brief thought about that time in his room when even if their whole bodies where touching while they kissed, it didn't feel enough, just like right now. with donghyuck's tongue in his mouth mark feels like putty, ready to melt away.

the bell rings, and donghyuck stops kissing him, but mark can't step away. so, he hugs him tightly. donghyuck hugs him back, until he explains that someone is going to enter the room anytime now.

he asks what class has mark now and mark groans, he has math again.

"wow, i hadn't seen you like this since you had that history class with that stinky clown teacher that hated you" donghyuck comments, surprised.

"i'm so done, hyuck"

donghyuck looks at him, leans his head on his shoulder. stays silent for a few seconds. "you know what you need?"

this feels like a déjà vu, "oh no, that phrase again" mark grumbles.

"a little bit of luck" donghyuck sing songs without missing a beat.

"hyuck. not this again. how the hell is your so-called luck going to help me right now" mark asks.

donghyuck smiles sweetly "well, i don't know? but it always works! just trust the magic!"

"what magic? hyuck, this is not a magic matter, baby!" he pouts.

"just. hyung. turn on the magic and hope for the best. just trust ol' me" 

and mark doesn't believe in luck, but he trusts donghyuck with his life. he sighs, defeated. donghyuck smiles even brighter, because he knows he won.

mark leans in and kisses the designated place, softly, because this is dumb but he loves touching his boyfriend.

donghyuck winks at him "now, you tell me what happens"

mark rolls his eyes. a woman enters the room, donghyuck greets her as miss bae and mark remembers that he does in fact has a class to attend.

he gives donghyuck a quick hug and sprints out of the room, saying a quick goodbye to the professor.

later, mark is kind of mad. as he finds out, yerim got a terrible stomach ache and went home but he is incapable of telling donghyuck about it, knowing he's going to claim it was his magic's work. it wasn't. the girl probably just ate something disgusting from the cafeteria.

donghyuck finds out, anyway. chenle tells him.

his eyes fucking sparkle and he turns to look at mark with that look again, the one he had in his room after taeyong's party, all smug.

"what a surprise" is what he answers to chenle before departing with mark to their bus stop.

mark is going to fight him. luck is not real. it was just a coincidence. but donghyuck interlocks their fingers and says "mom will be home late. wanna make out?" and mark promptly forgets about it. too busy getting excited with the idea.



mark's been having a few rough weeks.

he wouldn't call it terrible, yet. it's just, frustrating.

after winter break, basketball season is about to begin. so mark juggles with his classes, practices and his social life. or lack of.

the thing is, donghyuck is out of the city, kind of stuck in jeju. he went there to visit his grandma for christmas and hasn't been able to come back because the weather is too shitty and all flights have been cancelled.

one would think, without donghyuck there occupying all his time, mark would be studying without any distraction. concentrating on his duties. 


since donghyuck left, mark hasn't been able to concentrate on most things. during the break, it was okay. he would lie on his bed and talk to donghyuck on the phone or go out with their friends or do whatever. now, with his classes and stuff, it's a problem.

so, because of his lack of capability to pay attention, the last two weeks have been exhausting.

everyday something seems to happen, all bad stuff. it has degrees and everything, going from something dumb like him forgetting his homework at home to almost breaking his finger for catching a ball the wrong way at practice. 

at this point, he is kind of scared. and totally done. so, so totally done.

on friday, he gets benched. the humiliation burns his throat and makes it difficult to breathe, when his coach told him that he was useless to the team for not being able to make a shot from the three points line.

he feels everyone looking at him, obviously shocked. mark's always been one of the best players.

mark watches everyone play and for the first time asks himself, what is happening?

how come his life turned into something akin to a series of unfortunate events? 

when practice is over, jeno approaches him, "man, don't listen to him. you're one of the most valuable players here. he knows nothing" he says, giving him a pat on the back. all bro support and stuff.

mark tries to smile, but instead grimaces "yeah"

jeno takes a sit on the bench "you seem distant lately, though. do you have any problem? you know we're always here to help" 

mark shakes his head no, "i'm fine"

jeno smiles at him, all condescending and kind "well, don't let coach bring you down. you'll do great next practice" jeno says, patting him in the back again before taking his things and leaving with a handwave.

mark stays sat there for a while longer, just thinking about everything and nothing. maybe he does have a problem? maybe it's his body that's out of shape? or the stress making him dumb?

whatever it is, mark hopes it goes away soon.

later, at night, when mark's trying to finish his japanese homework, his phone goes off with a facetime call.

his heart flutters when the screen displays donghyuck's name.

"hi!" mark answers, all eager.

"hi, baby! i'm sorry is late. my little cousin wouldn't go to sleep and i was trapped babysitting her" donghyuck says quickly.

he's lying on his bed, cheek squished against a pillow and there's a hello kitty pin on his hair, obviously left by his cousin. he looks so cute mark could die.

"it's okay. i had time so i finished most of my homework" 

"oh god, i can't even being to imagine how much homework i'll have when i get back. i'll go crazy and then die" he groans, hiding his face in the pillow.

mark smiles "i'll help you. i'm always here for you" he says sincerely, heart beating fast.

donghyuck peeps out "you're so cheesy" he sticks his tongue out. "thank you"

donghyuck asks him about his day and mark just tells him about the regular stuff. what'd he learn and what did he eat. he doesn't want to recall the bad stuff. prefers to hear about donghyuck's adventures.

donghyuck talks and talks about everything he did on the day. talks about baking cookies with his grandma and asking her for the recipe so he can bake with mark later. talks about his aunt and his mom engaging in a discussion about the brexit and politics. talks about his little cousin and him starting a snow war.

mark loves to hear him talk, his smooth voice and the way he purses his lips. and he misses him so much. he misses having him close. having him to himself face to face.

"i miss you" mark murmurs without noticing. donghyuck stops talking and smiles softly.

"i miss you too, hyung" he says, biting his lip. nose scrunched.

"when are you coming back?" mark asks hopefully, even though he knows that if donghyuck hasn't said anything is because it's not soon enough.

donghyuck sighs "next flight is next sunday, hyung. i'm sorry"

and mark knows it's not donghyuck's decision, but it hurts either way.

they keep talking until both of them fall asleep and, the next morning, mark wakes up with a cute message of donghyuck telling him to have a good day.

he goes out with renjun that day, to the dog park with renjun's little yorkshire and big great danes.

on sunday, he cuts his finger while helping his mom to make dinner.

on monday, he gets a 63 on his japanese test and cries a little about it. that's his lowest grade on japanese ever.

on tuesday, his loses his school bus and he's forced to walk all the way, getting drenched by a sudden storm.

by wednesday, he's scared of getting out of his bed.

that day, mark falls during practice. hard. on his knee.

he gets sent to the infirmary and even though it hurts like hell, the nurse tells him that with a little bit of some anti-inflammatory cream and some ice he'll be fine. if it hurts too much he can always use a knee patch. then, gets sent back to the gym.

and so there he is again, benched and useless. angry at himself.

when practice finishes, jeno passes him by, patting his back again, as he always does. this time is their captain, yukhei, the one who approaches him.

"you got me fucked up, mark lee" he says taking the seat beside him.

"i got myself fucked up too, wong" 

yukhei laughs, loud. and starts giving him some tips as if mark didn't know all of those already. he zones out, too mad to deal with excitable, loud yukhei. that's until he says something that catches his attention.

"if nothing works, you're out of luck. you know-" he explains, wild expressions supporting his words.

"what did you just say?" mark interrupts him, agitated.

yukhei repeats himself, then adds "you know what, you do look out of luck" his hand coming to his chin to stroke it all dramatic.

oh no. hell no.

mark gets up quickly, his knee hurting like hell in the process "okay. thank you. i have to go" he stutters, kind of disoriented. 

"don't you need help?" yukhei asks, worried.

"no" mark says, limping to the door "i'm fine. thank you"

"well, take care!" yukhei shouts before mark closes the door.

in a daze, mark takes his bus, makes it to his house and when he's finally sitting on his bed, all sweaty and in pain, he lets out a scream on his pillow.

"oh my fucking god!" he screams. "no! no no no no no!"

out of luck.

mark thinks back to the last year, all the times that stupid word has been said by donghyuck. all the times he tried to make mark believe in his so-called magic.

this can't be happening, mark thinks.

fucking lee donghyuck just conditioned him. fuck.

mark doesn't believe in luck. he does not. that's just plain ridiculous. but it seems like some dark, deep corner of his mind now does. thanks to donghyuck. he's a second away of exploding.

what the fuck is he going to do now? he thinks again back to all the times he kissed donghyuck's cheek, right on his moles and. fuck. this is the end for him. 

it makes click in his head now. the bad weeks, the problems. he's literally predisposed. because donghyuck fucking made him crazy. he's going to kill him. definitely. most likely. maybe.

he needs to solve this. he can't keep going like this. things just keep getting worse and his first basketball game of the season is in a week and three days.

he takes a deep breath to think. he needs help with this. so, he decides to call renjun.

"hello?" renjun answers on the second ring.

"jun, can you come to my house? i need to talk about something" he says out of breath.

"whoa. is everything cool?" renjun asks, noticeably worried.

"yeah," mark says calming himself down "i just need to talk about something"

"and you're asking... me?" 

mark understands what renjun tries to say. but this is something he can't talk with donghyuck who's actually the responsible of it.

"yeah. can you come here?" he asks again, hopefully.

"i- yeah. be there in fifteen" renjun answers and hangs up.

when renjun gets there, he enters mark's house and without any preamble asks him what's going on. so, mark takes him to his room and tells him everything in detail, even when renjun contorts his face in disgust and says gross probably a thousand times.

by the time he's finished, renjun's expression is skeptical. "let me get this straight" he says from where he's sitting on mark's desk chair "you're making all this drama because you're a whipped dumbass who without noticing made of his boyfriend a good luck charm?"

mark makes a face "have you been listening? donghyuck conditioned me, as if i was pavlov's dog"

renjun furrows his brows "this is so dumb, mark. i don't even understand the problem" 

"luck is dumb! and donghyuck made me depend on it? kind of? made me depend on him" mark pouts.

"donghyuck is so cute. you both are cute. that was the only thing i was thinking during you rant, hyung." renjun shakes his head, a funny smile on his face "is it that bad if you let yourself believe? you little stubborn shit"

right now, mark doesn't know if it is or if it's not but his pride won't let him say anything else. 

"okay" renjun claps his hands together, standing up " thank you, mark hyung. for telling me just how cute you and your boyfriend are and reminding me how dumb you are. it has been fun but i have a korean test tomorrow. so i'm leaving" mark nods, goes with him to the front door.

when renjun leaves and mark is all alone again, he sits on the living room couch and thinks about what he said.

he's most likely exaggerating, yes. is it that bad to let himself believe? yes.

the thing is, mark has always been a guy of facts. a smart boy who's always trying to find the way things work, how stuff happens. he believes in what he can prove, what has a base. luck is just luck. it's completely contrary to what he believes in.

donghyuck has always been like this, a believer at heart. and it is one of the things that even if it's very different from the way mark himself thinks, he likes the most about donghyuck. his faith in the littlest things, like stars and karma and good vibes and luck.

even then, mark thinks, he can't let himself believe. how stupid.

later, when mark's about to sleep, the day having drained him out, donghyuck calls him.

it's funny because mark's not angry at him. never was. but he feels like donghyuck can read his face well enough to know he's going through some kind of crisis. then mark laughs, donghyuck is not video calling him. 

that night, donghyuck suddenly tells him he loves him. and mark thinks donghyuck can feel in his voice that mark's not completely dandy today. 

"i love you too, so much. hyuck you have no idea" mark answers, all warm inside.

mark spends the next few days quiet and being the most careful he has ever been. it doesn't work. things are still going downhill and now, he can't stop thinking about what renjun said and he misses donghyuck so much. he starting to think that with donghyuck's mere presence, perhaps his mind would feel at peace.

he's definitely going crazy.

on saturday, donghyuck tells him that he's sorry, but the flight he was taking tomorrow will not depart, again because of the weather conditions.

and that's when mark knows he's fucked up. his whole body gets hot and his hands sweat and, he doesn't tell donghyuck, but he needs him there.

mark's week goes on like the few weeks before have, hilly, even when some days are better. by tuesday he admits to himself that he needs of donghyuck's magic.

it's difficult and kind of makes him embarrassed, but for whatever reason it might be, he knows he needs it. he needs it so much. but even though he talks to donghyuck daily, he's incapable of telling him. too shy and strangely proud to ask him to help him somehow.

by thursday, mark's on edge. his coach tells the team who's playing in the game on saturday. he calls mark last, a doubtful expression on his face. mark himself is scared.

that night, when he tells donghyuck about it, donghyuck congratulates him happily and says how sorry he is for not being able to go- it stings on mark's heart, the thought of donghyuck not being there. he has been to all mark's games since even before they started dating, when they were just friends who got to know each other because they shared lunch period.

friday passes in a blur, he has two tests and basketball practice and by the end of the day he's so tired he could sleep forever. he doesn't. he's so nervous he feels incapable of closing his eyes and just rest.

donghyuck stays awake with him all night, trying to ease his fears even if he can't understand what's happening with mark. he sings to him and talks and does his best.

by morning, donghyuck kisses his camera and tells him that he'll have a great day. mark smiles, eyes heavy. 

"good luck, hyung. i'm gonna hang up. everything will go smoothly!" donghyuck finishes, winking.

mark gulps and says goodbye too, throat dry. good luck. he wants to tell donghyuck that without him, it seems like he isn't capable of having it.

the game is at seven, so mark spends all day practicing at his house by himself. by five his hands tremble when he starts to get ready. his parents are both going, and so are taeyong and ten. he's starting to consider praying.

by six, the bleachers are full. so many people standing, sitting, being there.

taeyong sends him a message just before his phone dies, because he was careless enough to not charge it before leaving, saying he'll be a little late, so mark tells his parents to save him and ten a seat and goes to the locker room.

in there, everyone is in good spirits, laughing and cheering, making him feel out of place. it's strange, he always feels like he belongs when he's in there.

yukhei is giving the team some pep talk, cheering them up and talking about game strategies. he's paying attention, until he hears someone calling yukhei's name.

the whole team turns to look at the person, a tall boy with blue hair, wearing a gray sweater. yukhei fucking beams. "jungwoo!" he shouts and sprints to the guy.

he hugs him so tight, mark's afraid he'll split him in two. jeno elbows mark softly to get his attention "that's xuxi's boyfriend. he's in college. it's so sweet he came all the way to wish him luck"

and there's that word again. he frowns, the corners of his mouth going down. jeno seems to notice and shakes his head "sorry, bro. i know it's weird for you without hyuck here"

mark takes a seat and jeno does too. just staying there with mark in silence. 

"okay!" yukhei says a while later, when his lover boy is gone "game starts in fifteen. let's do our best!" the team does their pre-game traditional handshake and they start leaving, until there's just mark and jeno sitting there. "hyung, what's wrong?" jeno asks softly.

and mark could tell him everything, but there's no time. so, he just sighs and says the most prominent thing going through his mind, "i miss donghyuck" 

jeno smiles at him. "that's okay. you're allowed to miss him"

mark keeps silent. "i'm gonna go now" jeno says "you have twelve minutes, hyung. see you outside" and pats his back like only he does.

mark's hopeless. this is going to end badly. sitting there, alone, mark thinks that maybe he could lie to the coach and don't play. but what would he tell his parents? or maybe he could ask to be benched? or maybe just hide forever? or-

"fucking mark. where the fuck do you have your fucking phone?" mark hears suddenly. voice unmistakable. 

oh my god.

mark lifts his head up so quickly, he gets dizzy. he can't believe his eyes. in a rush, mark opens his mouth, but he makes no sound, eyes big and heart about to beat the hell out of his chest.

everything happens in slow motion to him. he stands up, knees wobbly. walks. stands right in front of him.

donghyuck is there. he's there. has mark gone fucking insane? donghyuck was supposed to come tomorrow if he was lucky!

mark puts his hand on donghyuck's cheek, mind trying to comprehend what's going on.

"well? hyung, it's always like this with you and your fucking phone. god it won't kill you to fucking charge it sometimes, god i've been looking for yo-" 

mark interrupts him, a smile creeping on his face "donghyuck" he murmurs quietly, hands shaking.

donghyuck stops talking, looks at him in the eye. and mark can resist it no more. 

he leans in and kisses donghyuck. so needy, like his life depends on it. donghyuck makes a noise in the back of his throat, chest rumbling because of it. mark just kisses and kisses and kisses him some more. 

at some point, mark feels about to die of happiness. kisses donghyuck, mouth open and breathing harshly, until a smile creeps again on his face and he can't kiss him no more.

donghyuck speaks, breathless, forehead against mark's "wow, you missed me that much?"

mark laughs, happiness bubbling inside his chest like a volcano about to erupt. he nods eagerly, unable to say anything. donghyuck smiles, all soft eyes.

mark shakes his head, trying to find his voice. his body feels incapable of letting donghyuck go "what are you doing here? how?" 

donghyuck grins, all mischievous. and oh, mark knows what's coming. he gulps.

"it was magic!" he starts "after lunch, the airline called mom and told her to go to the airport in the next two hours because there was a special flight scheduled. so here i am! i took a little more time to come here because i had to get your varsity jacket, but yeah!"

magic and donghyuck. yes. yes. yes. 

mark hadn't even noticed he is wearing his varsity jacket. too busy kissing him. is that a peppa pig pin on his hair? mark giggles "hyuck, what's this?" he says touching the pin.

donghyuck blushes a little "my hair's too long, so my cousin gave me this. i-i think it's cute"

mark closes his eyes, a turmoil of thoughts in his mind "yes" he sighs "you're so cute"

donghyuck puts his hand on mark's neck, searching his gaze "so what's wrong with you? you've been acting weird these days..."

and with donghyuck's presence, mark kind of locked them in a bubble for a little while, happy and satisfied, but now that donghyuck asks, mark remembers what he needed. 

"i've been having a terrible few weeks. i missed you so much. i'm scared of this game" mark rants.

donghyuck caresses his hair, kisses his cheek, "i'm sorry, baby. i wish i came here sooner" 

"no! it's okay. it's not your fault" mark answers quickly, he never wants donghyuck to feel guilty. "you're here now"

donghyuck smiles, all white teeth and red lips and mark's heart leaps in his chest. 

"you'll do fine, hyung. i'll be cheering for you"

mark waits a little. but donghyuck doesn't say what he thought he’d say. "yes, baby. thank you" he answers "is that all you have to say?" he asks slowly.

donghyuck frowns, still smiling "yeah? is there something else to say?"

"i mean no- but- i mean" mark stutters. he's ashamed to ask.

donghyuck tsks, the makes an 'oh' sound and mark's ears perk, excited "you want me to praise you!" donghyuck says, clears his throat, mark’s face falls "hyung you're the best player in here. the best i'm telling you. you'll destroy those bitches! and you look so handsome right now. a handsome mvp! you smart. you loyal. you grateful. you da best" he finishes, laughing a little.

mark smiles, a little anxiousness creeping down his belly "baby, that's not it"

donghyuck frowns again. "wha-"

somebody passes the locker room by, running and shouting that the game is about to start.

mark's body seizes, a hot ugly anxious feeling spreading through him. "donghyuck" he croaks "i need you to..." 

"a kiss? do you need a kiss?" donghyuck says, pecks him quickly on the mouth twice. mark shakes his head. and he can see that his anxiousness is starting to get to donghyuck "then what?" his boyfriend asks, clearly trying to keep calm.

mark is trying but, he's too shy to say it. so, he puts his hand on donghyuck's cheek and thumbs softly at his moles "hyuck, i need you to say it" he pleads, hoping donghyuck will get it.

"but wha-" and suddenly, there's a glint of understanding in his eyes "oh god" donghyuck exclaims. "mark, are you being serious?" he asks, clearly amused.

mark flushes, nods his head. donghyuck laughs, airy and carefree. "mark hyung," he starts "are you in need of some... magic?" 

mark's heart rate picks up, ears red "yes." he breathes "yes. yes. yes"

donghyuck smiles, soft and calming. taps his cheek "do ya thing, mark" 

mark leans in and kisses donghyuck's cheek, once. twice. three, four, five times. he kisses all his moles carefully, even the ones on his neck and nose. donghyuck giggles loudly "it tickles, hyung!"

but finally, as if this was the answer to all his problems, mark feels refreshed. 

he feels at peace with the world, like the birds are suddenly singing and the threes blooming. "thank you" mark chokes, still flustered.

donghyuck smiles, "you know i'm always here for you, now go do your best!" he pats mark's butt.

mark sprints to the court, just before the game starts.

the game happens in a blur. he does his best and makes eleven points by himself, the crowd roaring every time. 

in the middle of half-time, he looks at the place his parents are sitting, and now donghyuck's there too, sitting between his mom and his brother. ten having taken taeyong's lap as his seat to make a space for donghyuck.

his heart bursts, because donghyuck is part of his family and it feels right to have him sitting there.

at the end, mark's team wins and the joy is so powerful that when they say their formal goodbyes to the other team, mark runs to the bleachers and kisses donghyuck again, right in front of everyone to see. donghyuck's red face right after is a sight to behold.

mark's and jeno's parents take them all to dinner to celebrate. 

jeno calls jaemin and renjun, because they weren't able to go to the game, too busy studying for a physics test but attentive to any news, and pleads them to go dinner with them.

they go, and the five of them, plus the adults, have a very good time. 

ten charms mark's parents and taeyong holds an intellectual conversation with jeno's parents about biochemistry.

mark watches it all with a content smile, arm draped around donghyuck's middle, head on his shoulder.

"my god, you're so smitten, mark hyung. you literally look like a cat" jaemin says, making them all laugh. mark agrees silently, he knows he could purr with the way donghyuck's hand is caressing his hair.

sitting there, mark thinks again about renjun's question from a few days ago is it that bad if you let yourself believe?

watching donghyuck smiling and laughing, his eyes shining, mark finally comes to terms with a revelation. how can it be bad if donghyuck's involved?

he thinks that, as long as he has lee donghyuck as his personal good luck charm, things are going to be much more than just okay.