When Jack kissed Mark that day on the couch, Mark had kissed back like his life depended on it, shoving his tongue into Jack's mouth and moaning, making Jack feel nothing short of light-headed. It was like Mark was touch-starved, for Jack's touch, no less, and could do nothing but take, take, take whatever Jack would give him, and the feeling was exhilarating. He wanted Mark, had consciously wanted him since the first time they kissed and subconsciously probably since they first met, but he also wanted Mark to want him. Mark maneuvering them so Jack lay between his thighs, their cocks separated by too much coarse fabric but pressed close together, felt like an answered prayer, like a dream come true, and when Mark started fumbling with their pants, trying not to separate their mouths in the process, Jack wanted to scream with happiness. He could still vividly recall the feeling of his jeans and boxers being forcefully pushed down just enough to leave him exposed, immediately followed by the feeling of Mark's hand wrapping around him and then the hard line of Mark's own cock as he held them both in a tight grip. It had been a much harder grip than Jack would ever have used on himself, but the fact that it was Mark's hand made it perfect. When Jack came, it was like the fire and electricity shooting through him from his spine through every limb dulled all his other senses into nothing, and when they returned, Mark was moving his hips weakly underneath him, working through the aftershocks of his own orgasm. Lying on top of Mark, lips moving softly against Mark's neck, he felt wet, dirty, and somehow invincible all at once. At least for a while, before he suddenly realised Mark's hands were no longer touching him anywhere, and he looked up to find Mark staring off into space.
"What's wrong?" he'd whispered, pointlessly, knowing the real answer and the reply he would get before the question had even left his lips.
Mark's eyes had flickered downwards to their legs tangled together, up to the ceiling, the window, before finally settling on Jack's face. When he finally replied, he only said, "Nothing. Nothing's wrong. Fuck 'em," and Jack could tell he had wanted to believe his own words, but not been entirely able to.
Jack could feel his face contort, Mark's apparent shame washing over him, but he had said nothing. Not dared to rock the boat, frail as it had been, terrified he'd accidentally let in water. The unspoken truth hung between them, surrounded them like a thick fog: that Mark, unafraid and rebellious as he claimed and had believed himself to be, was scared and ashamed because what they had just done went against everything society had taught him was acceptable.
Some time has passed since then, and he supposes he can't really blame Mark for still being weird about it. He knows what Mark's dad is like, all impotent discipline and bursts of violence covered in a layer of insincere, all-American politeness, so that Mark has issues to work through is in no way surprising; he just wishes that Mark didn't need to complicate things so much because of it. It's weird to think about, doesn't quite make sense to Jack, where the lines of acceptability in Mark's anti-normative world view are drawn. Mark doesn't give a fuck what people think about drugs, underage drinking, vandalism, violence, or about being perceived as a fucking Satanist, and he certainly doesn't care if people say premarital sex is wrong. Fuck it. Fuck them. He'll do all those things and more just to provoke. For a while, he didn't even care about brief moments of public intimacy between Jack and himself, such as kissing Jack on the cheek in the cafeteria or letting Jack rest his head on his lap on the bleachers while they smoke. He does, however, as much as Jack knows it pains him, care that he has feelings for Jack. Jack knows he thinks it's wrong, and he knows that Mark can't explain why he thinks it's wrong. Knows that he tries to pull himself out of it. Knows that Mark knows it's fucking stupid - that just because fucking politicians and his fucking dad and fucking religious groups that they don't even care about say it's disgusting and that faggots burn in hell, that doesn't mean they should fucking believe that.
The first time the words "I'm not a fag" come tumbling from Mark's lips, Jack can tell he regrets it immediately. It takes everything he has not to push Mark off him and to stop the tears he can feel pressing behind his eyelids, but he takes a deep breath and says, "I know."
Mark's whispered "I'm sorry" is almost inaudible against Jack's chest, and Jack loses the battle not to cry, salty tears running hot down his temples. "I know," he says again. His voice breaks as he says it, and he can feel Mark's grip on him tighten.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry." Mark is just repeating it now, over and over, pressing kisses into Jack's skin, moving down until his mouth meets coarse hair. When he takes Jack into his mouth, Jack begins to cry for real, and he fists his hand in Mark's hair to keep steady. Jack feels like he might die, overwhelmed by sensations from the weed and Mark's mouth and the sobs currently ripping through him, but he doesn't. It takes him ages to come, but Mark doesn't let up, keeps working him until the noises Jack is making are more from pleasure than pain, and until Jack tugs on his hair in warning. He stays where he is, though: swallows as best he can when Jack spills into his mouth, and Jack would probably be surprised if he weren't busy trying to breathe and to keep his hips still. He is only moderately successful on the latter point.
Mark moves back up slowly, taking the time to trail kisses up Jack's stomach and chest all the way to his jaw before he looks at him. Jack can tell he's still hurting, is still filled with a horrible mix of shame and regret, even though he's hard against Jack's thigh, so when he opens his mouth to speak, Jack kisses him before he gets further than "I'm -". He knows. His right hand finds Mark's cock, wrapping around it and tugging despite the awkward angle, and he's glad when Mark moans into his mouth instead of speaking. If he feels tears that aren't his own against his cheeks as Mark comes, he doesn't need to say anything.