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Why Do I Know The Taste Of Something I've Never Tried Before

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Donghyuck doesn't remember much of the dream, just that it was very nice and he was going to kiss someone.

Someone cute. With the most beautiful smile, kissable lips and wide, expressive eyes. (Donghyuck could swear they were sparkling.) He knew he was going to wake up soon, too. Because even when soundly sleeping everything felt a bit too good to be true, a bit too unreal. But the dream-Donghyuck wanted to kiss the person so bad and he leaned in, anyway even though he could already feel the dream slipping away when he lifted his hands to hold the person's face in his palms. It was so perfect, so cliche, like Donghyuck got everything he wished for in this world right there in his hands. How that smile felt against his lips and...

And none of that matters when he blinks awake at the sudden feeling of soft, totally real skin under his lips, and sees Mark's wide eyes staring at him in the dark livingr a mere inch from his own. He's got rosy cheeks, the colour dark enough to be seen even now and Donghyuck’s sleepy brain makes an unnecessary note about how he has strikingly similar lips as the person in his dream had. They are slightly parted in shock, and the realization of what happened hits Donghyuck full force, making him pull back like electrocuted. Fuck.

He just kissed Mark. Admittedly it's not the first time Donghyuck's kissed him. A dear hobby that he practices weekly is to try and steal smooches from Mark, innocently leaning on his shoulder or clinging to his arm before aiming on the apple of his cheek… Mark's good at dodging, though. The main point is that this one was unintended and accidental, and Donghyuck practically just attacked Mark in his sleep and oh god-

"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to I-" Donghyuck whispers, frantically scrambling to sit up and wincing as he nearly hits Renjun in the process. God it's so embarrassing, why is it so embarrassing? He’s so flustered. Friends can kiss each other in their sleep, right? Right? 

"Uh-huh" Mark says intelligently, way too loudly for the quiet room and Donghyuck watches in horror when Chenle stirs behind his back, only to drape an arm over his eyes and continue sleeping. Mark doesn't even notice, still staring at Donghyuck like a deer caught in headlights, but the last thing he needs right now is for all his friends to wake up and witness the scene, too.

"What do you mean uh-huh ?" Donghyuck hisses, feeling his own cheeks redden too as blood rushes to his face. He could swear he hasn't seen Mark blink once since the second he woke up. He should, it's starting to make Donghyuck very nervous. He doesn't even know which part of Mark's face he kissed. Cheek, lips, chin, who knows! If it was lips, Donghyuck just experienced his first kiss and he wasn't even awake enough for it. Truly something only he could pull off.

"I mean," Mark croaks, coughing to clear his throat that's still scratchy from sleep. "I wasn't really awake for it, so?" he mutters, words tilting into a question at the end.

Donghyuck is hit with a flood of instant relief. It allows him to relax his shoulder, slouch down from his earlier rigid position, and for his just awoken mind to start slipping back to sweet slumber. Mark wasn’t that awake, either. 

"You should try it again.”

What. 

“What?” Donghyuck whispers, disbelief coating his voice. He never thought he’d hear something like that from Mark’s mouth. Only in his wildest dreams - those where Mark liked him back - and this doesn’t make any sense. It’s 3am and all the others are sleeping and Mark just asked Donghyuck to kiss him again?

“You shouldn’t joke about this," Donghyuck sighs, resigned and as soon as he says that Mark is scrambling to sit up as well, surprising him with the sudden move. He leans in close, so close that Donghyuck would only have to move a little bit for the kiss to happen, align his head just slightly. But he doesn’t. Mark looks sleepy, hair disheveled and eyes slightly droopy, but he’s still the cutest person Donghyuck’s ever seen. Cuter than he was in the dream.

“What are you doing?”

“Can we go outside for a bit?” Mark asks. His breath tickles Donghyuck’s face. “I - we shouldn’t wake up the others.”

Donghyuck agrees silently, and sighs deep even though he stands up dutifully, regardless. Something cracks, probably his knee, and now that he’s up without a blanket and wearing just a tee and shorts the air in the room feels too cold. Maybe it’s the universe telling him it was a bad choice to give in to Mark.

Mark is wearing a long sleeve. Donghyuck doesn’t understand how someone can sleep with a long sleeved shirt in September, and made sure to point that out several times last night. He kind of regrets not wearing one himself now, though when they tiptoe over Jaemin’s legs to get to the kitchen and it feels even colder there. He shivers a bit.

“Are you cold?”

“No” Donghyuck says immediately. Mark doesn’t argue, but he does grab Donghyuck’s wrist to pull him in bit further so that he’s not standing in front of the refrigerator anymore. It’s caring, small, very much a Mark thing to do, and Donghyuck’s heart aches just a bit. He would’ve done the same for Renjun, or Jeno, but the part of Donghyuck that’s hopelessly crushing on his best friend would like to think that treatment like that is special. Reserved just for him. Donghyuck pulls his hand back, and Mark let’s it go without a word.

“You kissed me," he says.

“I was sleeping, ” Donghyuck scoffs. “It happens.”

Mark gives him a half smile, the other corner of his lips rising in amusement. It really doesn't. “I guess.”

“You literally just said earlier that you 'weren’t even really awake for it',” Donghyuck huffs, making air quotes, and so ready to go back to sleep. He really doesn’t know what Mark’s deal is, and he's starting to think tonight isn't the time to find out, either.

Renjun wouldn’t have made such a scene, if it had been him Donghyuck kissed. But then again, Renjun probably wouldn't have even woken up, he sleeps like a log. Curse Mark and his instincts to wake up like a caveman at the slightest rustle.

“That’s true” Mark confirms. He’s looking at Donghyuck, calculating, before downcasting his eyes to his bare toes. Mark has flat feet. Donghyuck is able to distinguish who is walking around in their dorm at night just from the sound his feet make when they hit the floor, but it’s cute. Everything about Mark is cute. But he can be so annoying, so frustrating and Donghyuck clears his throat to make Mark continue.

“But?” he prompts.

“But… But I want to experience it while awake.” Mark whispers, and he looks tense. Like he’s dreading Donghyuck’s answer. It’s definitely the right way to be, and Donghyuck raises his eyebrows incredulously.

“Why now?” Donghyuck asks bluntly. It’s not that he doesn’t want to walk up to Mark and kiss him silly, and then laugh afterwards because neither of them has done enough kissing to be very good at it. Not Donghyuck, at least. But he deserves to know what this is about. Donghyuck wants to kiss Mark, but only if Mark wants to kiss him, too. Really wants to.

“I don’t know,” Mark says, and at least he’s being honest. He raises his eyes to look at him again, and Donghyuck tries to search them for clues, to understand what goes on in Mark’s mind but he can’t find anything.

“I just-” Mark starts again. “I was flustered, I always am when you get so close." Donghyuck knows that. "But I also like it.” Now that he didn't know.

It’s quite a confession. Donghyuck doesn’t know what to do with the information, so he only walks to the cabinet and pulls out the first mug he sees. Drinking water is the best way to avoid awkward silences, even though his hands might shake the tiniest bit while at it.

“I like it when you ask me to marathon movies and then fall asleep on my shoulder, I like it when you hug me, or when you hold my hand. Or when you come to my room and insist on napping on my bed. But you do that to everyone, Hyuck.”

Donghyuck freezes. That’s true. It’s true but Donghyuck never really thought Mark cared about that, it didn't even cross his mind. Especially with the way Mark so often pushed him away. "It's because it's you."   And here Donghyuck thought he was alone in the swamp of uncertainty... He might hug Mark a little tighter than anyone else, might find more excuses to hold his hand, but that doesn’t mean Mark sees it, or reads it for what it is.

It's a bit funny, how they insist knowing each other better than themselves but something this crucial slipped from them both. It's a sudden revelation, kinda thrilling and Donghyuck takes in a deep breath, tries to calm his suddenly racing heart.

“Come here then,” he murmurs.

“Huh?"

Donghyuck puts down the mug in his hand, angles it in a way that the Mickey Mouse on it is facing the wall. He needs no witnesses for this moment.

"Come here."

Mark doesn't need to be told a third time, and Donghyuck is ready when he closes what little distance there was between them to step in front of him. He looked to be in so much hurry, but now he's just standing there, awkward and unsure how to continue. But he's close, and very Mark and he smells good and Donghyuck wraps his arms behind his neck with a smile.

They still have lot to talk about, as much as in Best Friends Turned To Maybe Lovers, Do You Really Like Me? -situations usually. But there will be time for that later. For now Donghyuck is determined to recreate the moment in his dream, right before he woke up.

It feels weird, to stare at Mark's lips freely without the worry of being noticed. Like, Donghyuck can just do it, shamelessly. And it's okay. More than okay, perhaps, judging by the way Mark's gaze is locked on his own, pupils blown and eyes hooded. It's exhilarating.

Donghyuck doesn't have to rise on his tippy toes to reach, or duck down because Mark is perfect height for kisses. He just leans forward, tilts his head the tiniest bit and then Mark's lips are on his, feeling warm and soft and so right and it's like all he can feel is Mark. It's not a peck, but not daring either, nor has it much finesse. It's just their lips pressing against each other, simple and delicate, but it's plenty enough to sweep Donghyuck off his feet and make his heartbeat skyrocket. The way he can feel Mark's hands on his hips, squeezing a tad bit too hard in nervousness, or how Mark shudders a bit when Donghyuck pulls back… It leaves him hungry for more.

"How was that for a kiss?"

"Perfect," Mark breathes.

Donghyuck giggles , quiet and so delighted and Mark laughs, too, desperately trying to control the volume of his hiccups. His hands are still on Donghyuck's hips, his face is all scrunched in happiness, and yes it definitely was perfect. Is perfect.

"I thought so, too."

"We should do it again."

"We definitely should," Donghyuck murmurs, ready to lean in again, and he's so close to just molding himself against Mark when they're suddenly interrupted by the lights turning on. Donghyuck breathes in deep, counts to five in his head and mentally prepares himself not to lunge at whoever it is.

"You definitely should not if you value your lives. My kitchen won't become a nest for your indecent activities while the babies are sleeping right behind the wall."

They don't need to turn around to know who it is. If the tone didn't give it up it would've been the talk about babies, but Donghyuck and Mark do so anyway with mirrored sighs of exasperation to find Jaemin standing at the doorway. He looks at them with an expression that's an interesting mix of motherly protectiveness (the same one he gets when Jisung can't open a jar of jam), stern commandment and barely contained amusement. His eyes are twinkling, and despite his words Donghyuck knows he can't wait to tell everyone else about their indecent activities in the morning, gushing about romanticism.

Mark takes a step back, always the bashful one and Donghyuck immediately misses the warmth. Fuck Na Jaemin. 

"Come on, at least I let you have your first kiss in peace"

"You were there the whole time?!" Mark screeches, face red as a firetruck. Jaemin only grins, wide and jubilant and that's enough of an answer.

"In my defence, I just wanted some water," he says. "But it's good I interrupted whatever this is before one of my babies found you two making out against the dishwasher," he adds, nodding to himself.

"Dear God," Mark stammers out. He's at the point where someone could cook an egg on his face, and Donghyuck decides enough is enough.

"Take your water then," he groans, gesturing at the sink and Jaemin strides to it with a satisfied smirk. "We'll be back in a minute - after you leave," Donghyuck adds.

Jaemin hums, content with the answer and turns around with a wave "Don't defile my kitchen."

"Don't worry, I'll save that for you and Renjun!" Donghyuck calls back, and they can hear a quiet chuckle from the hallway in return. Donghyuck's not too sure he wants to touch the counter anymore, just in case.

"We should go back to sleep," Mark sighs.

"That we should," Donghyuck agrees quietly. "Will you avoid me tomorrow?"

It's a bit harsh, but also a genuine worry and a weight lifts from Donghyuck's heart when Mark shakes his head, brows furrowed in determination, "No."

"Talk to you tomorrow then?" Donghyuck asks softly, suddenly feeling fidgety. What if, despite everything, Mark won't imply to be anything more than friends tomorrow? Or what if he's still dreaming and he'll wake up soon, no kisses or returned feelings?

Mark looks at him for a couple seconds, contemplating, and then he grabs his both hands in a gentle hold. He's rubbing Donghyuck's knuckles with his thumbs, a wordless offer of comfort and reassurance and Donghyuck flops his head on Mark's shoulder with a huff.

Mark rocks them a little from side to side, and Donghyuck smiles into his sweater when he feels a soft kiss placed on the top of his head, making him feel pleasantly fuzzy. He pulls away slowly, not letting go of Mark's hands, though and when he raises his eyes to look at Mark he finds the other already looking at him.

"Yeah," Mark mutters, and the smile he flashes Donghyuck is like hot chocolate on a snowy day. "Talk to you tomorrow."

Donghyuck smiles, and Mark smiles, too and Donghyuck can't handle not feeling that on his lips so he leans in again, eager to catch one last kiss for tonight. It's sweet and innocent but it's a promise for more, of all the kisses to come and right now that's enough for Donghyuck.

 

If their friends wake up to find them still holding hands the next day, tightly clasped together under the covers, they don't say anything.