Lee Donghyuck's tongue has never tapped into a cup of strawberry lemonade, like ever. Not until he stepped foot into the United States, where he was somehow being offered it almost everywhere he went. When the rain came down in New York City, he tried it for the first time, howling at the fact that Taeil had just dropped his cup in fear after a clap of thunder roared through the surrounding buildings. Or in the sunny city of Miami, where he tried it frozen for the first time, his face scrunching up at how it practically freeze his entire head.
Johnny thinks it's quite hilarious how Donghyuck orders strawberry lemonade everywhere they stop. He's disappointed when they grab fast food on the road, because the burger place only had regular lemonade, and the sourness turned him off.
But regardless, he continues to order strawberry lemonade everywhere he goes.
Mark tries to convince him that eventually the acidity will eat away his stomach, but Donghyuck doesn't seem to care... as long as it satisfies his taste buds
In the middle of Los Angeles is where Donghyuck picks up a bottle from one of the local grocery stores. He enters the store with Jaehyun, promising the rest of the members that he'd only get one bottle, but walks out with 4 different brands. Jaehyun tries to defend himself, telling everyone that Donghyuck pulled the pout in the aisle full of chips, and even stomped his foot until he got what he wanted. Jaehyun won't lie though, he was curious about the different types too.
He grabs himself a reusable water bottle as well, since he wants to be able to keep it by his bedside... for when he wakes up thirsty at 4 in the morning.
Mark rolls his eyes the minute Donghyuck and Jaehyun step into the back room, Donghyuck's face already reeking innocence. Mark squints as Dongyuck throws the wallet back at his friend, waiting for the bad news.
"He bought like thirty different bottles." Yuta's face comes up behind Donghyuck, and the younger is already slamming his heel onto the boy's foot.
"Haechan!" Mark's voice reflects off each wall in the small room in an angry tone, and Donghyuck flinches.
"How was I supposed to know which one was the best?" Donghyuck defends himself, his eyes young and sweet.
Mark lets up, already easing back under his blanket, continuing to play the game on his phone. Taeyong sits next to him, mumbling and pointing at different spots of the phone. Mark elbows him.
It isn't too often when Mark gets annoyed with his members. He's just feeling a little uneasy and homesick, and he just wishes he could be back in Korea in the bed he's grown to be best friends with. Of course, Mark misses home with his family, but he's made a new home. One that is empty and probably waiting for him back in Korea. He's in love with what he does for a living, he just really needs a little time to himself sometimes, and a nap.
When they pull over for dinner, Mark gets a little snappy.
His head is pounding, and his body drowns in exhaustion. He's lucky it's their day off, and they're spending it on the tour bus, cause Mark thinks he'd be even more sour if he went out to do anything "fun."
All Johnny does is ask Mark if he'd like to split a bowl of pasta when Mark raises his voice a little. He shakes his head instantly as he watches the entire table, as well as their managers, turn their faces into looks of confusion.
"Ah, I'm sorry. I'm just not having a good day." Mark admits and places his hand over Johnny's.
The older boy gives Mark a smile and nods.
"Yeah, I'll split it with you." He chuckles as the table laughs awkwardly in response.
The rest of dinner goes by slowly, and Mark stays silent for the majority of it, raising a few concerns from a few of his members. Mark assures them that he's okay, and really just needs to catch up on some sleep, if that's even possible. (It isn't)
They're in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and Mark is actually able to pull out a smile when they take a picture right outside of the restaurant. Donghyuck's hand is settled around Mark's waist for the picture, and Mark feels it burn there. He isn't sure why, though. Maybe he got sunburnt from swimming the other day.
As soon as they're back on the bus, they take turns in the tiny shower, the hot water running out by the time Mark gets in. Granted, he chose to go in last, so he can't really blame himself. This only worsens his mood, but he still lets the ice meet his head, dripping down to his toes.
His heart pushes against his ribcage at an alarming rate, and his mouth is parted open in response to the temperature. He nearly slips as he gets out too, but it doesn't deepen his mood. If anything, he takes a moment to look at himself in the mirror, and he bites his lip, trying to ignore the laughter he's biting back.
When he steps out of the bathroom, he's met with silence. He almost cracks a joke, but he realizes that everyone else has probably fall asleep.
According to schedule, they are supposed to get to their hotel in the middle of the night, so most of the members decided to just sleep for the rest of the ride. Mark slips a sweatshirt on and crawls down to his bunk, which happens to be on the very bottom. His knees pop as he squats down, and he bites back the laughter once more.
Suddenly, everything seems hilarious to him.
Sometimes cold showers can somehow lighten your mood.
Ironically accompanied by the silence, there's a soft white noise that floats in the hallway, and Mark keeps his curtain open for the sake of hearing it a little more. It's peaceful to hear, and he tries to focus on the slight bumps that the bus runs over, creating a new background noise, and barely a shift in position. The beds aren't very comfortable, but they also aren't meant for sleeping day after day. It's sort of just their way of transporting around, and Johnny insisted that they drive to one of their destinations rather than fly. Mark isn't sure how he feels about the idea.
Mark avoids the way the time on his phone screen reads way past his preferred bedtime, but he can't seem to even want to sleep. Instead, he plays with his fingers and counts the number of dots on the carpet, at least hoping he could bore himself to sleep.
He begins to feel itchy all over, as if his skin is yelling at him to get up and jump around, run a mile, or scream at the top of his lungs. Mark, trying to ignore all of his thoughts, crawls out of his bunk and awkwardly stretches in the hallway.
He tenses each muscle, starting from his feet, and moving up to the muscles of his neck. It feels good, and it helps relieve a little bit of the tension all over, but not enough for him to lay back down and fall asleep.
So, he does the next best thing.
He gently pushes Donghyuck's curtain back, the younger boy gasping at the suddenness.
"What?" Donghyuck whispers, laying his book on his chest so he could catch a better view of Mark.
There's a coolness that runs between them, and Donghyuck is somewhat thankful that he's getting a little bit more colder air into his bunk. His cheeks are naturally tinted, but he can already feel the heat lifting, and for that... he thanks Mark for opening the curtain.
Donghyuck's bunk is on the very top, so Mark stands on the tips of his toes, resting his chin patiently on the edge of the bunk.
"I'm bored." Mark whispers out, his head bobbing up from the way his jaw is glued to the bed.
"Okay? Go be bored somewhere else. I'm reading." Donghyuck lifts his book back up, but Mark huffs.
He stares at Donghyuck, admiring the way that his friend is deep in thought. It's almost like he's actually trying to take something away from the pages in front of him. Mark's just glad he's not staring at a phone screen, burning holes in the back of his brain.
"Haechan..." Mark speaks sluggishly, a satisfactory hum coming from the boy attached to the book. He calls for him again, but Donghyuck doesn't even bother acknowledging him.
Mark slides his hands up and under Donghyuck's shirt, ice meeting fire, making Donghyuck clench his stomach, trying to recoil from the cold touch.
"Donghyuck.." Mark announces it in a louder and sweeter voice, and the younger sucks in a sharp breath.
He wants to slap Mark's hands away, but there's something about the touch that feels so astonishingly comforting. His heart soars for a moment, hearing his real name off Mark's lips. Mark's thumb rubs against Donghyuck's lower stomach, and Donghyuck can't exactly understand why his friend is touching him like this in the middle of the night.
"You haven't called me that in forever." Donghyuck ignores the desire for more of a touch, and instead focuses on a different subject.
Mark pulls away, and Donghyuck feels empty again.
Put your hands back on me, He wants to say.
Touch me like that, again, please.
Mark hums as he raises an eyebrow, his lips as smushed together from the way he leans his cheek against the bed. Donghyuck thinks he looks adorable, but he isn't sure what he wants to say to Mark.
"Hm? I'll keep calling you that if you come accompany me in the back." Mark points his head toward the back room, and Donghyuck rolls his eyes.
"Nice to meet you, reading. I'm Mark. And I'm bored."
Donghyuck cracks half a smile.
"Which one is it? Are you Mark? Or are you bored?"
Mark creases his eyebrows together and jutts out his bottom lip.
"I'll be anything you want me to be, as long as you come in the back with me." The words shoot Donghyuck right in the stomach, and they burn down low. "You can even read in there, ignore me if you want. I just don't wanna be alone."
Donghyuck looks across the hall and tries to see in between the cracks of the curtain.
"Can't you bother Taeyong? Or Jungwoo?"
"No! Everyone is asleep!"
And finally, Donghyuck caves in.
He caves into the pout that continues to grow on Mark's mouth, the way he says his name, and the way he craves for Mark to touch him randomly once more. He knows it's wrong of him to want his best friend's hands on him, but Donghyuck doesn't care. Not at all.
The back room is a lot colder than the other part of the bus, but it grants them the option to move closer to each other. Donghyuck, however, purposely sits on the opposite side of the couch, whipping his book back out. The television is on above their heads, but the sound barely emits into the room. Instead, the TV presents more of a light than anything.
"Why are you reading The Great Gatsby?" Mark asks him, fingering with a rubber ball they accidentally stole from a convenience store the other day. He says it in english, but Donghyuck understands and comprehends every word.
"Just cause. I feel more educated if I am able to finish it." Donghyuck nods his head, already focusing back on the words in front of him.
"It's in English, though?"
"I can read it to you if you'd like." Mark suggests, and Donghyuck thinks he's kidding for a moment, but the look on Mark's face is sincere. Donghyuck can't nod, cause he finds himself lost in Mark's glossy eyes.
He chews on his lip for a moment, and finally, Mark pats his lap, urging Donghyuck to come over. It takes the younger a moment, but he finally makes his way over to Mark, lying flat on the couch, his feet in Mark's lap.
Mark seethes through his teeth, but he doesn't change the position. He pushes his feet to the floor of the bus, and sits up further on the couch, so Donghyuck's legs in his lap can be a bit comfier. Mark even hands Donghyuck the blanket he was using earlier in the day so he can cuddle up to it.
The smell of the book brings back memories of when Mark was in school, good memories. Donghyuck points his finger to the exact spot he left off, and Mark finds that endearing. And once he catches up, he begins to read.
"Wait!" Donghyuck gasps, accidentally swallowing some of his spit, seeing as he begins to choke only moments later. Once he recovers, he finishes what he was trying to say. "My drink!" He points behind Mark's head, the older already reaching behind him to snatch onto the bottle. Except, instead of giving it straight to Donghyuck, he takes a swig of it, his face scrunching up.
"Oh god. That one is sour as hell."
Donghyuck giggles, taking the bottle from Mark's hands before tipping it back into his throat, drinking way too much at once. Mark slaps his shin to get him to stop, telling him he's gonna regret it. But Donghyuck doesn't care. He loves any and all types of strawberry lemonade.
They read for a bit, and Donghyuck finds himself watching the way Mark's lips move when he speaks. He's always thought that Mark's had pretty lips. Really pretty lips that deserved to be kissed and praised in the most majestical way. Mark's eyebrows lift every few words, and Donghyuck can tell that he's getting more into the story than Donghyuck himself.
"Here, let me read to you, now. You're boring me" Donghyuck stops Mark about ten minutes in. Mark chuckles at first because he thinks Donghyuck is kidding, but he hands the book over as soon as Donghyuck gives him a genuine smile.
The way Donghyuck reads in english is soft, and Mark corrects him when he stumbles over the strange words Donghyuck hadn't ever dreamt of coming across, but Mark still praises him when he finishes a paragraph.
It's Mark who takes his time to watch Donghyuck's face scrunch up while speaking, his knuckles clenching around the spine of the book when he gets stuck. Mark tunes his voice out the moment his eyes focus on the way Donghyuck's legs are laying on his lap. He notices then that his thumb has been caressing Donghyuck's shin for what has probably been half an hour.
Mark's stomach sizzles with confidence, and he finds the drive to get to know his best friend a little more. For the longest time, Mark's always thought their friendship was just so strong, and that's why he always feels so close to Donghyuck. It wasn't until they fought for the first time when Mark realized that he almost lost Donghyuck. And he never wants to come close to that moment again, now that he's sure about how he feels.
His fingers gently move up Donghyuck's legs and settle on his thighs.
Donghyuck doesn't even realize Mark is touching him again, or if he does.. he's really good at containing himself.
He lifts his legs so his knees are pointed to the roof, his feet flat on the opposite side of Mark's lap. Moving his legs makes his shorts slide further up his thighs, and Mark swallows hard once he sees more of the milky skin.
The back of the tour bus begins to slowly fill with tension, and more heat. Mark tunes back in to listening to Donghyuck, his fingers rubbing over Donghyuck's exposed knee, very softly.
Mark sees Donghyuck swallow in the middle of reading, but Donghyuck obviously plays it off into something else.
"Donghyuck." Mark whispers, but the boy ignores him, and continues to read.
There's a wildfire growing in Mark's chest, and with every word Donghyuck says, it grows just a little bit more. Mark feels itchy again. He wants to scream. He wants Donghyuck to acknowledge him.
Mark says fuck it, and he pulls Donghyuck's knee closer until it's right next to his face. And with that, he leans down and presses his mouth to the skin right above Donghyuck's knee, leaving a sweet and long kiss there.
The younger boy sucks in a gasp, but he swallows it and moves on with his reading. His words start off shaky, and Mark finds bliss in the fact that Donghyuck can't read correctly when he's being kissed like this. Mark threads his tongue over the skin and moves barely inches higher.
Donghyuck has to pause for a second, and he chomps down hard on his lip, breathing in hard, and releasing a slow, shaky breath.
"Don't stop." Donghyuck whispers between his teeth, not making any sort of eye contact.
Desire pools in the pit of Donghyuck's stomach, and he's not sure he's ever felt such euphoria before. It doesn't make sense.. Mark Lee, Donghyuck's best friend, is sucking hickeys onto his legs in the back of a tour bus, while Donghyuck attempts to read The Great Gatsby.
It doesn't make any sense, but Donghyuck knows it doesn't need to make sense. It just needs to feel good, and be okay for the both of them.
Donghyuck continues to read, and Mark picks up on the way his voice grows a little higher whenever he bites down on the sensitive skin. He moves closer to Donghyuck's inner thigh and grabs the skin between his teeth.
He doesn't mean to, but Donghyuck jerks forward, his cheeks growing red.
"Holy fuck, Mark."
Mark's stomach catches butterflies and he loves the way Donghyuck says his name in that sense.
"I don't think that's a line in the book." Mark giggles nervously as their eyes meet for the first time. There's a hundred different emotions screaming out to each other, their hearts already attempting to reach out and grab onto one another's.
Donghyuck shuts the book and pulls Mark by the collar, scooting down so Mark has a better opportunity to hover over him.
Mark stares down at Donghyuck, his eyes instantly attaching to the boy's pink lips. Donghyuck hides them and stares up at Mark, his chest rising and falling rapidly. Mark experiences the same thing, his body moving quicker than he can even think.
"You're really fucking beautiful." Mark whispers, leaning on one arm as his fingers graze against Donghyuck's cheeks. Donghyuck grows shy and latches onto Mark's wrist, just holding it against his face.
"Mark, I'm terrified right now."
The words don't sit comfortably in Mark's stomach, and he instantly yanks himself off of Donghyuck, sitting on the opposite side of the couch. Mark's body swims with regret, and his eyes show it.
"I'm sorry." Mark whispers.
But Donghyuck shakes his head, already crawling over toward Mark. He sits on his knees next to his friend and reaches for his hand. He wraps his other hand around Mark's neck and pulls him closer, just until their foreheads are almost touching.
"I'm terrified because there's a lot I want from you, Mark." Donghyuck starts and Mark closes his eyes to listen. "And I hope there's a lot that you want from me, too."
Mark nods and holds tighter onto Donghyuck's shirt, his heart throbbing.
"Then show me?" Donghyuck whispers, but Mark doesn't catch on at first. Instead, he furrows his eyebrows and cocks his head to the side. "Show me what you want from me. Show me what you want to do with me. Or to me."
Mark's eyes flash dark for a moment and his skin lights with need. But, he doesn't let his emotions control him.
"I want to kiss you." Mark starts off, testing the waters gently.
Donghyuck shakes his head, humming low.
Mark lets out a whine from the back of his throat, already feeling the pain laced around his feelings for his best friend.
"Tell me it's okay, first."
Donghyuck turns Mark's chin until he's looking right at him. There's wonder deep in Donghyuck's eyes, and Mark wants to explore every piece of it. He wants to dive in and never leave. There's a moment where Donghyuck pauses, but he gives a little smile.
"It's okay." He whispers ever so gently, and Mark already begins to lean in, but stops with the hand on his chest. "But I do have to warn you, I'm probably gonna taste sour from the lemonade that you hate."
They both giggle and Mark pulls Donghyuck by his hips until he's sitting on Mark's lap, his hands cupping Mark's cheeks graciously.
Mark's had dreams about this moment. But he never imagined that such a thing would come true, and especially not in the back of the tour bus. He isn't complaining though, Donghyuck is beautiful anywhere and everywhere. All the time.
"Let me try, then?"
Donghyuck leans in first, and breathes in deeply the moment their lips meet. It's awkward at first, but Mark pinching the top of Donghyuck's thigh makes the boy part his lips open, giving Mark the opportunity to have a taste of his own.
Regardless of Donghyuck's words, he actually tastes sweeter than the sour drink. That's no surprise really, Mark knew it would be that way.
There's so much emotion laced into the kiss, too, so much that Mark feels the need to be even closer. He sifts his right hand up slowly into Donghyuck's hair, barely tugging on the ends. He uses his nails to scratch lightly, and Donghyuck's eyes roll to the back of his head, despite already being sealed shut.
Mark licks into Donghyuck's mouth and aches to taste every inch of him, his body shaking with lust. Donghyuck feels the exact same way, his heart throbbing, trying to reach out and connect with Mark's pounding one.
A sudden bump in the bus makes Donghyuck slide forward in Mark's lap, and the older hisses from the friction. Donghyuck feels it too, and a shy smile gets sewn onto his lips.
Mark pulls away and keeps his eyes closed, pressing his forehead against Donghyuck's sternum. the younger opens his eyes just a tad and giggles as he rubs the back of Mark's neck.
"You okay?" He asks, his voice already hoarse. He blames Mark for taking his breath away so fast.
Mark nods, looking back up at Donghyuck with half-opened eyes.
"I'm okay. We just need to slow down.."
Mark admits it,
but Donghyuck shows oblivion.
"No, we don't."
Mark hides in Donghyuck's chest once more, his cheeks the hottest they've ever been. Finally, he pulls back and looks up into the eyes he can't stay away from.
"Hi you." He gives Mark a gentle kiss before pulling away to look at his eyes again.
Deep inside them, Donghyuck finds an answer. He isn't sure what it's an answer for, but he finds peace there.
Mark arches his back and grabs onto Donghyuck's lips hungrily, the younger already attempting to shift their bodies so he can hover over Mark on the couch. He bites on Mark's lip and swallows the moan that Mark lets out. It's gorgeous, and Donghyuck wants to hear all of the sounds he can coax out of Mark, but he isn't sure that hearing them for the first time in the back of the tour bus is the best option.
"You're perfect." Mark whispers as Donghyuck sits back on his lap, a warmth pooling at the bottom of Mark's stomach.
Donghyuck scrunches his nose up, leaning up so he can observe how gorgeous Mark looks flat underneath him.
"You're just saying that cause you like how I look on top of you." The blush burns as it crawls up Mark's neck and makes a home on his cheeks. He tries to hide his face, but Donghyuck prevents that from happening.
"No, don't hide. I want to see all of you." Donghyuck traces Mark's lips with his thumb, and Mark lays his head back at the sensation.
Mark struggles to hide, so he ends up lifting himself up to meet Donghyuck's lips once more. And he kisses him slowly this time, already fiddling with the bottom of Donghyuck's shirt. Donghyuck smiles into the kiss and Mark can't help but follow his actions.
"Can you touch me like before?"
"In my bunk."
Donghyuck takes his turn to grow shy, the nerves in his stomach ready to fly out and stab him once more. And repeatedly. He loves the way he talks with Mark, and the way Mark talks with him, so teasingly, and so endearingly. It's perfect.
And he obeys.
He takes Mark's hands and places them underneath his shirt, and once Mark presses his palm to Donghyuck's abdomen, the younger throws his head back. Mark takes a picture in his mind.
He doesn't ever want to forget this moment, even if they're forced to pretend such a thing has never happened once the sun rises. Mark bites down on his lip when he brings himself back to reality. Donghyuck senses a shift in emotion, so he takes Mark's hands from under his shirt and holds onto them.
"Hey, woah..." Donghyuck's eyes go big when he realizes that Mark has tears in the corners of his eyes. "Why are you crying? Am I that pretty?" Donghyuck knows it's probably inappropriate to make a joke right then and there, but it's Mark Lee.
And that boy loves jokes.
He chuckles and wipes his eyes, leaning up to wrap his arm around Donghyuck's neck, already pulling him down until they are smashed up against each other.
Donghyuck carefully watches Mark's expression, his thumb wiping against the skin on Mark's cheek.
"I don't want to just do this in hiding, Donghyuck." Mark croaks out, already attempting to dry his own tears.
"I don't either." Donghyuck sighs. "But we're gonna have to for a while."
Mark hides his face in Donghyuck's chest, finding a way to pull their bodies together.
It hurts them both deep down, knowing that there's absolutely no way that they can treat each other like this in front of the faces of their fans, in front of the cameras.
"As long as I have you by my side, I think things will be okay." Mark nods against Donghyuck's chest, and the younger pulls back so he can see the half teary and half sweaty boy against his chest.
"You've got me, Mark." Donghyuck meets him halfway in an emotional kiss.
Donghyuck tastes so goddamn sweet that Mark never wants to walk away from this moment together.
"All I need is you..." Donghyuck starts, "And my strawberry lemonade, because I'm not sure that I can live without that."
Mark's grin grows wider than any ocean they've flown across, his teeth poking up along with it. And with that, he shakes his head, already yanking Donghyuck's mouth back down to his.
Neither of them are sure about the future,
but they're utterly positive about right now.