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Jack Is Away

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The first thing Mark had done once he’d gotten to his house was grab his laptop, even though he’d only been walking home with the man 10 minutes ago, Mark knew Jack had gotten home and messaged him already. The starting tone sounded though his speakers as he logged in quickly, under the name ‘Markipler’ he went into his messages to see Jack’s, as he’d known.

(SepticJack): ‘Mark, hey. Like the new icon, I really need to play Amnesia!’

The American chuckled slightly as he looked at Jack’s icon, it was a cookie. Of course. The two talked, or rather messaged for a while, it’d always been like this, ever since the two had met at the start of high school.

(SepticJack): ‘Are you going to Felix’s party tonight?’

Mark remembered getting an invite from the man at the start of the month, the whole ‘school’s over, let’s get hammered’ vibe written around it. If Mark was brutally honest he didn’t exactly like Felix, he was stuck up and liked nothing more to boast about his perfect test scores and rich parents. However Mark didn’t really have anything personal against the man so he held his tongue.

(Markiplier): ‘Depends if I know anyone there. Cry defiantly won’t be going.’

Cry, or also known as Ryan was a shy kid who always sat at the back of Mark’s class, nobody remembers how his nickname came to be and nobody really bothered to ask. Mark spoke to him rarely, however the man never being one for convocation, he’d never say more than a few words. Yep. Defiantly won’t be at a party attended by half the year.

(SepticJack): ‘I’m going to go for sure! I heard rumour that there might be a DDR machine so I’m all over that shit.’

Mark laughed out loud as he stared at the words on his screen, quickly typing back a reply, if he again was honest he would’ve probably only gone if Jack said he would.

(Markiplier): ‘Let’s make this a contest, McLoughlin! Who’s better at DDR? You or me?’

A quick response, as always.

(SepticJack): ‘Oh, it’s on.’

This time there was a short pause in his messages.

(SepticJack): ‘Don’t you find it weird? We’re almost the end of high school.’

Mark had thought about this fact very little in the past month, true, the teachers and even students hammered the idea of the ‘big, bad, world’ into his head. But he wasn’t worried, or at least he wasn’t right now.

(Markiplier): ‘Yeah, I guess it’s all gone rather fast.’

He typed the reply as he leant back on his desk chair and bit into the apple that his mum had left there before he’d gotten home.

(SepticJack): ‘Defiantly. I’m so over school. COME AT ME COLLEGE!’

Jack was always able to bring a smile to the American’s face, even if he was in his worst moods, and it wasn’t any different now. Jack’s charisma was contagious and Mark knew it’d rubbed off on him over the past years.

(SepticJack): ‘Hey, have you picked a college yet?’

Mark knew that Jack had been having trouble deciding on a college to attend, not being able to get into his first choice that the Irishman clearly had his heart set upon slowed a lot down.

(Markiplier): ‘I’m going to an art college, with my qualifications in computing and coding I’m on the line of a game designer for sure!’

Jack was slow to reply, the man clearly thinking his words out before the words appeared on Mark’s screen.

(SepticJack): ‘That sound’s awesome. Be sure to send me free demos and shit when to get famous :p’

(SepticJack): ‘I’m still not sure at the moment, I’m looking. There’s an engineering school that looks good.’

There was another brief pause as Jack continued to type.

(SepticJack): ‘Mark…even though we’re going to different schools, will we still be in touch?’

The American’s eyebrows drew together as he replied, the minutes eating away into their convocation.

‘Absolutely, of course, man. You’re my best-’ Mark paused before finishing the sentence that sounded weird to him. Best friend. Best friend made him sound like he didn’t have anyone else but Jack, when he obviously did.

(Markiplier): ‘Absolutely, of course, man. You’re one of my best friends.’
Short, meaningful, not desperate. Mark thought as the Irishman messaged back.

(SepticJack): ‘Thanks, you’re one of mine too. :)’

(SepticJack): ‘Oh, look at the time! It’s late as hell. We better gtf over to that party.’

Mark was already out of his chair and flinging clothes out of his draws to wear, he pulled out an old flannel shirt and some jeans as he typed back to Jack while unbuttoning his school shirt.

(Markiplier): ‘Right. I better get changed. Don’t forget the bet, Jack!’

(SepticJack): ‘As if I’d forget, Mark.’

As simply as that the chat ended ‘SepticJack is away’ shown under the messages sent as Mark pulled on his jeans clumsily and ran a hair brush quickly through his hair. This was going to be a cool party.

-------
Mark was pleasantly surprised to see that Cry had indeed turned up for the party, not really talking to anyone or doing anything but was still there. Mark hadn’t realised how close Cry and Felix were, along with Ken, who was practically captain of every sports team the school had, they made a very unlikely group of friends.

The hours rolled by and Jack had proved that he was indeed the current master of DDR going by the scores on Felix’s old machine, earning him $10 each from Mark, Wade and Bob once the group had all arrived. Eventually with a party as big and as long lasting as it was it also got boring. It must have been a little past midnight as Wade and Bob headed back home and Mark and Jack snuck out of the building with a plate full of cake each.

The two eventually reached the park at the top of a hill on the outskirts of their town, they both felt sick to their stomach with vanilla and chocolate frosting but it wasn’t like they cared as they laughed and joked, staring down at the city below them.

“Do you think Felix is going to miss all the cake we took? It hadn’t even been cut.” Jack giggled as the American pulled out his phone, he had indeed gotten two missed calls from the Swedish man.

“I doubt it…” Mark muttered sarcastically as he turned off his phone and placed it beside him, falling back onto the grass. He didn’t need any distractions right now, not at a place like this. Jack fell back next to him as they both stared up at the vast sky above them. It was early in the morning, defiantly below 0 but neither of them were bothered by the cold as the wind blew past them, rustling the trees and wildlife around them. The minutes went by in a comfortable silence that neither of them seemed to want to ruin. Until Jack shifted slightly and glanced over to Mark, quickly setting his eyes back onto the sky after.

“Mark?” Jack asked quietly as said man looked over to the other.

“What?” It looked like the Irishman was about to say something but quickly changed his mind, his eyes still focused above him as he swallowed slightly and let out a sigh.

“Nothing…it’s just- it’s nice to spend time together.” He said as the American nodded and followed his gaze.

“Yeah. It is.”

---------

High school had quickly ended and college rolled in as Mark sat in his new dorm, he was lucky to be one of the few to not have a roommate. This meant he could be as messy as he wanted, put what he wanted where and most important, keep his laptop privet. Mark was in the middle of playing a video game when the noise came through his laptop’s speakers, the one he knew meant Jack. He was quick to pause the game on his tv and pull his laptop beside him into the bed.

(SepticJack): ‘Hey, Mark!’

The man smiled at the screen, game completely forgotten as he typed a reply.

(Markiplier): ‘What’s up?’

(SepticJack): ‘I’m just doing some homework. This college isn’t too bad. How’s yours?’

The first week had its ups and downs but everything ran smoothly and it was honestly fun for Mark to meet all these new people. He’d never admit it however but he did miss walking home with Jack once and a while seeing as they were at two different colleges, almost two towns away from each other.

(Markiplier): ‘It’s good, I’m getting a lot of work though but it’s all part of the school thing I guess. I’m just playing some video game at the moment.’

(SepticJack): ‘That’s cool. Mine’s just all freshman stuff at the moment. BORING!’

Mark couldn’t help the laugh that escaped him as the pulled the computer onto his lap, leaning a little closer to the screen as the two men talked.

(SepticJack): ‘Have you got any plans tonight?’

Jack asked as Mark thought a little, he kind of did.

(Markiplier): ‘I’m just going to be chilling with some guys from my classes.’

(SepticJack): ‘Cool. Sarah has band so I’m just doing homework at the moment. We might grab dinner.’

The American instantly frowned, it’d only been a week into the new term and Jack had already gotten a girlfriend? Maybe Mark was starting to lose his appeal…no. He was sexy as fuck. Jack just beat him to it is all.

(Markiplier): ‘You got a girlfriend? Sly bastard. What’s she like?’

There was another pause as Mark took the time to turn off his game and TV completely, he didn’t want to raise those payments at the end of the month, but he was soon back at his laptop the minute he heard the notification sound.

(SepticJack): ‘She’s awesome. She actually went to our high school, now we’re in the same college.’

The convocation continued until Jack had to eventually leave to meet this girl and Mark’s friends arrived at his dorm, the group sharing drinks and playing video games until late. Throughout all of this however a nagging thought had settled in the back of Mark’s mind.

Jack had a girlfriend.

---------

The year had gone quicker than Mark had first realised as he walked the hallway back to his dorm for the evening. A whole 365 days ago, or something of the sort he was a freshman, and now he saw new students trying to find their way around and just like the other students would him, he helped. As he settled down at his desk he noticed a message notification from Jack, he clicked open the tab and typed a reply.

(Markiplier): ‘Jack, hey.’

He waited for the other man as Mark took a few of his books out of his bag and placed them back in the draws they came from.

(SepticJack): ‘How’s things? We haven’t spoken in a while.’

This was true, they hadn’t talked in a while probably all the damn school work.

(Markiplier): ‘I know. School sucks like that, but life’s pretty good so far, you?’

(SepticJack): ‘It’s fine. Do you have plans this weekend?’

Mark didn’t exactly have anything going on, he hung out with Arin and Ross from animation once and a while but not really anyone out of their group, he didn’t exactly have his own since he, Jack, Bob and Wade split for college.

(Markiplier): ‘Just hanging out with some friends, nothing much.’

(SepticJack): ‘Do I know any of them?’

(Markiplier): ‘I don’t think so, they’re all from this place.’

There was a short pause before Jack’s message came through.

(SepticJack): ‘Cool. Just wondering. I haven’t really talked to anyone other than you from high school.’

Neither had Mark really, he ran into Felix every once and while in the hallways since they’d both gotten into the same college, but they never talked. He hadn’t talked to Matthias or Amanda either since they were both in different classes entirely.

(Markiplier): ‘Neither have I. You up to anything tonight?’

There was a quick reply.

(SepticJack): ‘Tonight? Well me and Sarah were meant to be going to this party but that’s not happening.’

Mark rose and eyebrow as he treaded carefully on his next words, fearing what that sentence had meant.

(Markiplier): ‘A party? Why?’

He already knew what the next words would be, even if they weren’t typed.

(SepticJack): ‘We broke up last week’

Mark obviously felt bad for the man as he knew how much he loved her but at the back of his mind there was something else that came from those words. Was at relief? Gladness? Gladness that Jack as single again?

(Markiplier): ‘I’m sorry, man. How are you?’

Why would he be happy that Jack was single? Why would that be his first feeling?

(SepticJack): ‘It’s okay. It’s just been a little weird.’

(SepticJack): ‘Everyone thinks I’m the asshat even though she attacked me for breaking up with her.’

Mark’s eyebrows drew into a frown at the words on his screen.

(Markiplier): ‘She hit you?’

(SepticJack): ‘We weren’t going anywhere, she wasn’t talking to me or anything so I just assumed she wanted it to end. When I did it she got angry and punched me. That was a week ago and she’s already flaunting a new guy around.’

The American felt couldn’t help but feel bad, if not a little angry at this girl as he typed a reply.

(Markiplier): ‘You know I’m here for you, Jack. Just a keyboard away.’

(SepticJack): ‘I know. Thanks, Mark. Jesus, I’m crying.’

Mark was alarmed as he quickly send a message back, the thought of the Irishman crying and he not being able to comfort him or hug him made him feel like a piece of shit.

(Markiplier): ‘Please don’t cry, Jack. She’s unlucky to not have someone like you.’

(SepticJack): ‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t come crying to you about my problems.’

(Markiplier): ‘Nonsense, Jack. I’m always here for you.’

Mark eventually changed the subject as the two continued to chat about school and other aspects of each other’s lives since they’d last talked. As the two eventually ridded Jack’s relationship problems from both their minds Jack wrote a question Mark didn’t know whether he could answer or not.

(SepticJack): ‘I want to ask you something…but I’m kind of worried. Could you promise not to hate me after?’

Mark’s fingers hovered above his keyboard as he thought, he’d never hate Jack. At least that’s what he thought anyway, he was pretty sure in fact.

(Markiplier): ‘Shoot. I’d never hate you, man.’

The pause that followed was a long one, so long Mark thought Jack had somehow gone offline without a notification, just as he was about to type a message another came through.

(SepticJack): ‘Remember Felix’s party last year? And how we snuck out after Wade and Bob left with a shit load of cake and we just sat on top of that hill all night? Staring at the stars, talking about crap?’

Mark could never forget that night, as well as that moment in particular. He remembered it like it was yesterday instead of a whole year ago, every time he felt the same thing, happy.

(Markiplier): ‘Of course I do.’

There was another pause as Mark read the next few words.

(SepticJack): ‘Could something have happened between us?’

For once he couldn’t tell if Jack was being serious or not, he didn’t know how to react. The same thoughts from earlier rising from the back of his brain. He was happy Jack was single, too happy in his opinion.

(Markiplier): ‘I don’t know.’

He felt pathetic with his reply. ‘I don’t know.’ How low could he get, not only might Jack be confessing, but he was coming out. All he had to say was ‘I don’t know’? He was defiantly a piece of shit now.

(SepticJack): ‘I just made this awkward as shit haven’t I? I mean if it’s because I’m I guy I understand fully.’

Mark wasn’t going to take this. He wasn’t going to be the pathetic jerk, he may have just been weak, now he feared he was coming on too strong…scratch that, he didn’t care.

(Markiplier): ‘I wish something had happened.’

It was like the convocation had stopped completely as Mark leaned back in his chair, had he just made things awkward? He didn’t even know.

(SepticJack): ‘Okay. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about.’

Jack’s simple reply didn’t get missed by Mark but he would’ve been lying if he said his thoughts about that night and Jack hadn’t wavered a little inside him either.

(SepticJack): ‘Hey, we have summer break soon right?’

(SepticJack): ‘Do you mind if I come visit?’

And here the convocation picked up again. Mark couldn’t help but grin excitedly at the thought of seeing Jack again after so long apart, it made him truly happy.

(Markiplier): ‘Come visit! We can play video games and shit! Just like old times, now I’m super excited.’

Even if the Irishman had appeared out of the blue at his dorm he wouldn’t have cared, now he had something to help him through the next month of school work, something to make the load a little easier.

(SepticJack): ‘Shit, I still have a huge ass project to do by tomorrow. See you later, man.’

Mark was still grinning ear to ear as he closed the tab and spun around in his chair. He was going to see Jack again, and he couldn’t wait.

---------

As quick as the term passed, summer break had finally arrived and so had Jack. The two had acted like they hadn’t been away from each other the moment they met eyes at the bus station.

“I got all these new games I want you to try. As well as the latest titles.” Mark couldn’t help ramble as he talked to Jack face to face after what seemed like an age, the Irishman’s laughs and voice had never sounded better to the American’s ears as they got to his dorm.

“You’re not sharing?” Jack asked as Mark shook his head, since Jack’s college was pretty close to his house he didn’t have to stay away from home, where as Mark did, so he was being picked up by his brother at the end of the weekend to head back home.
The two continued to talk long into the afternoon as they left to grab lunch at a local café before heading straight back to play more video games. Jack even played some of Mark’s demos, laughing whenever there was a glitch and overall praising him greatly.

Eventually things got calmer as the two ended sitting around and properly talking, not just joking and playing games. The Irishman sat cross-legged on the bed as Mark was laid down beside him, staring up at his ceiling fan, shuffled music on the American’s iPod playing from a dock. A wave of nerves gripped Jack as he looked down at his hands, towards Mark and back down at himself again before shifting slightly and doing something he should have done a year ago.

“Mark.” Said man looked towards him as his eyebrows drew together.

“Yeah?” Jack swallowed the lump in his throat as the American looked him up and down.

“I’m-I’m going to do something and I don’t want you to freak out.” Mark nodded slightly as Jack moved completely and leaned over him, as he slowly moved in to kiss him, eyes scrunching shut. He felt the heat rise inside him as he was about to pull away and apologize but he found himself unable to move with the hand on the back of his neck. He opened his eyes slowly as he stared into Mark’s the man loosening his grip but instead keeping a hold the man’s hip while they pulled away to breathe.

“Why would I freak out you moron?”

---------

The summer had been and gone in no time as Mark and Jack returned to their daily routines. That also included messaging each other every once and a while, maybe not as much as either of them would like, neither of them bringing up the event that had occurred when Jack had visited Mark on the first week of break either.

(Markiplier): ‘Hey.’

Jack was always the first to start a convocation as Mark closed out of a coding program to talk to the Irishman instead. He needed a break from all this work, it might just kill him.

(SepticJack): ‘It’s been a while, huh?’

Jack said as Mark found himself still completing sheet work while they talked, occasionally missing a few of Jack’s messages as he did.

(Markiplier): ‘That’s okay.’

(SepticJack): ‘I’ve just been going through a lot, you know.’

Mark’s eyes rose from his notepad as he placed it onto his desk and got a little closer to his laptop.

(Markiplier): ‘Is everything okay?’

The American was genuinely concerned as Jack typed out a reply.

(SepticJack): ‘Yeah, its okay. I was just hoping we could talk about things.’

Mark’s brows drew together as he sat up a little straighter in his chair to stare at the screen in front of him.

(Markiplier): ‘Of course, what’s up?’

(SepticJack): ‘I feel like things are…weird.’

Mark’s heart sank, his fingers hovering above his keyboard as he read the words. How were things ‘weird’? Was is when Jack kissed him, was it what happened after?

(SepticJack): ‘Have you felt it too?’

He didn’t know what to say, he didn’t know what to type. He hadn’t really felt anything since they last talked face to face.

(Markiplier): ‘I don’t know. I guess we haven’t talked as much as we used to.’

(SepticJack): ‘I think it’s because of what happened at the start of summer.’

Mark had been dreading those words, he know it must have been a little awkward, two, roughly straight men coming out and making out, and just not talking about it for a whole six months.

(SepticJack): ‘It’s been weird since I visited. Since we…hooked up.’

The American stared at his screen, at his friend’s words, again he didn’t know what to say, because maybe, somewhere in the back of his mind, it was true. They hooked up out of the blue, didn’t talk and just continued their lives like nothing had happened. Why did they do that?

(Markiplier): ‘I don’t know. I just wanted to have fun, I don’t know we’d end up doing what we did.’

There was a pause, at times like these Mark wished he could see what Jack was typing and then deleting, he hated not knowing.

(SepticJack): ‘Okay. I just’

(SepticJack): ‘I don’t know.’

Mark’s hands typed unconsciously.

(Markiplier): ‘Did I do something wrong?’

The reply was almost instant.

(SepticJack): ‘No.’

(SepticJack): ‘I was the one that kissed you.’

(SepticJack): ‘It just all happened really quickly and we never talked about it.’

Mark wished he could speak to Jack face to face about things like this, he frowned as he typed a reply he wanted to speak.

(Markiplier): ‘Do you feel differently? Like bad?’

The waiting was the worst part, not knowing if Jack was even going to reply back, it would be so easy for the other to just end the convocation and never talk to him again.

(SepticJack): ‘Not bad. I don’t know. It just isn’t the same.’

Mark became more anxious as the chat went on, no doubt Jack was feeling the same but then the Irishman was right. They had to talk about this at some time.

(Markiplier): ‘Are we still friends?’

That was the one thing the American didn’t want to lose more than anything, Jack’s friendship. It meant more to him than he could ever let on.

(SepticJack): ‘Yeah. I mean, if you still think so.’

(SepticJack): ‘Sorry, things are weird for me right now.’

(SepticJack): ‘Thanks for talking with me.’

Mark understood as he sent a message back.

(Markiplier): ‘We can talk anytime.’

Eventually the convocation passed back to school work and stuff like that as they said their good byes. The only thing Mark could do as he closed his laptop lid, course work forgotten was lean back in his chair and mutter out a weak,

“Goddamnit…”

---------

Mark and Jack hadn’t talked in a while, like a while while, like almost a whole year minus a few weeks. It was strange for Mark to be the one to break the ice, he’d never been one to start a chat with Jack always being the one to want to talk. But he couldn’t stand this silence anymore, so he sent Jack the message this time.

(Markiplier): ‘Hey.’

(SepticJack): ‘Hey, Mark.’

Jack’s reply was slow, it could mean anything, Mark told himself, and maybe he was just caught up in school work and was multi-tasking.

(Markiplier): ‘How’s it shaking?’

He felt the awkwardness creep up from the back of his mind, his heart sinking into his stomach as he tried his best to seem as he usually was.

(SepticJack): ‘It’s good.’

(SepticJack): ‘How are you?’

Mark typed a simple reply, the feeling getting closer with every tap of the keys.

(Markiplier): ‘I’m good.’

The American winced at his words, when did he become such a social bore, he always had a lot to say. Why not now?

(Markiplier): ‘How’ve you been?’

You just asked that you goober! Mark yelled at himself as he clenched his teeth, he had to keep the convocation going, it’s just because they haven’t talked in a while. That’s all.

(SepticJack): ‘Everything’s been really good.’

(Markiplier): ‘So, what’s new in your life?’

Keep it going Fischbach.

(SepticJack): ‘Not a lot really. Me and Sarah got back together.’

Mark thought he was going to pass out, he got back together with her? Why? He held his words as just continued to type away. But even
Jack must know this chat won’t go anywhere.

(Markiplier): ‘Oh good.’

Mark felt bitter inside.

(SepticJack): ‘How are your friends?’

(Markiplier): ‘Fine.’

He hadn’t talked to them since the start of the year.

(SepticJack): ‘College is almost over. One more term.’

(Markiplier): ‘It really flew by, didn’t it?’

He wished he could go back.

(SepticJack): ‘Yeah, crazy to think we’re almost adults.’

Mark didn’t want it to be over.

(Markiplier): ‘Do you miss high school?’

He missed it more than anything.

(SepticJack): ‘No.’

(SepticJack): ‘I don’t really want to think about the past.’

But Mark wanted to, with him.

(Markiplier): ‘Sorry.’

He wasn’t sorry at all.

(Markiplier): ‘What are you going to do after college?’

Mark didn’t know.

(SepticJack): ‘Nothing much. My family’s coming all the way from Ireland so…’

Mark hadn’t seen his in so long.

(Markiplier): ‘What’s Sarah doing?’

He didn’t have anyone to love.

(SepticJack): ‘We might just stay here for the break.’

Mark was alone.

(Markiplier): ‘Do anything fun recently?’

(SepticJack): ‘No.’

(Markiplier): ‘Are you doing homework?’

Mark had to hold on.

(SepticJack): ‘Just finishing up a few things, projects.’

(Markiplier): ‘How are classes?’

He didn’t want to lose him.

(SepticJack): ‘Same old. Same old.’

He wanted to ask if he missed him, if they could ever be the same, that Mark loved Jack more than he could ever describe but all those words faded. Into meaningless questions. Just to hold on to a person Mark knew he’d lost.

(Markiplier): ‘How’s the weather been?’

(SepticJack): ‘Okay.’

He was running out of time, he was running out of words, tears were welling up in his eyes with ever words he typed. Each bland question and each simple answer grating away at him.

(Markplier): ‘I think I’m going to go.’

He couldn’t do it.

(SepticJack): ‘Okay, bye.’

And the convocation ended just like that. Mark lent back in his chair, closed his laptop as the tears fell. He’d lost the man he knew he loved, why didn’t he just kiss him at the party, he could’ve done so much more. Now he was alone, he didn’t have Arin or Ross, Wade or Bob even Felix didn’t talk to him, not even a ‘Hi’ in the halls. And now he’d lost Jack.

Mark was alone. And he cried.