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The Marks That Define Us

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  "So, how do we make this less awkward?"

"You've just made it worse."

"Shut it, both of you." Seungcheol could feel a headache forming in his temples and he was ready to just get this over with.

"Would you all just sit down for a second?" The boys sat down, although some with more hesitation than others.

Mingyu and Minghao ended up sitting next to each other, the latter still staring at Jeonghan in awe. It was almost adorable and Jeonghan himself would've cooed if it wasn't for the glares he received from three other inhabitants. 

Seungcheol throws Mingyu a worrying look and at the younger's reassuring smile he somewhat relaxes. He tells the boys about how they stumbled upon Seokmin and Seungkwan getting chased by the Guards and how the two led them to the rest. All up to how they ended up where they are now, with thirteen of them in one place.

"So you're telling us that they are going to be staying with us from now on?" Jihoon blinks in shock. He didn't see this coming.

"All six of them?" Chan is just as baffled as the rest of them. Mingyu is suddenly feeling uncomfortable as all of his friends turn their attention to him. What if maybe this wasn't such a good idea? What if the others don't accept Jeonghan and the rest living with them? What if Jeonghan has to leave again? He can't handle that. He can't lose him again, not now when he finally found him after all these years. They wouldn't make him go through that, right? Of course they wouldn't what is he thinking.

'Exactly. What are you thinking? Relax Mingyu, you know we wouldn't do anything to hurt you.' The words ring through his mind and he knows the words are only being projected to him. Mingyu almost lets out a sob of relief as his anxiety lets off and if it weren't for the situation they were currently in he would've hugged the hell out of Hoshi for helping him snap out of it.

"Yeah..." His voice cracks and he looks to the floor not really wanting to see the reactions.

"If that's okay with all of you of course." Jeonghan's soft voice brings calming waves and Mingyu is aware that the other is doing it for his benefit. Jeonghan can see the wheels turning as six pairs of eyes asses him and his boys. It should be uncomfortable and to some extent it is. Makes him feel like he is back behind the glass walls being watched like a wild animal in a zoo but he bears with it. He sees the moment the shortest one of them lowers his defenses just a bit, his eyes softening as they fall on Jeonghan. The boy in question wonders what made him do that.

"I'm not exactly a hundred percent sure how any of this is smart but i also don't think how it could be bad." The guy with cold eyes from earlier throws him a doubtful look and he backtracks

"Okay i do but there is more positive things than negative. That is," it's as if th temperature in the room suddenly dropped because Jihoon's eyes hardened again and the threat that lay there was almost palpable, "If we can all get along well. Meaning no funny business. As long as none of you lay a finger on any of them i have nothing against you being here."

It was almost like a chain reaction from there. The boys giving their consents, all but Wonwoo that is.

"I don't trust you." The words cut through Mingyu like a knife. In their household majority wins rule applied to certain things, but if Wonwoo doesn't agree on something Mingyu related then the younger feels as if everything is wrong.

He looks pleadingly at Wonwoo, mouth open in slight shock. Wonwoo meets his with his own that at that moment held such cold that Mingyu almost didn't recognize them. The eyss that always looked at him with affection.

"Hyung..." Wonwoo's jaw clenches at the tone Mingyu is using. He hates the tremble and fear in his voice. He hates that he is the cause of that pain in the first place. But he has to keep it together.

"Mingyu i'm not saying no. I'm just saying that they shouldn't expect any hospitality from me." Wonwoo notices the way Mingyu struggles to swallow past the lump in his throat as he nods hastily. He really wants to punch himself now.

Jeonghan clears his throat after a few of silence filled minutes to gain everyone's attention.

"I thank you for giving us a chance. I promise we won't be any trouble to you guys and we'll try and help around as much as we can. All of us."

Junhui and Hansol snort.

        ***
The house is of moderate size, having five bedrooms and two beds in each. The seven residents all could've had their own beds but they preffered sticking together so only two of the rooms were used. Now, it was cleaning time. Even with all thirtheen of them working together they finished well into the night, each and every one of them ready to drop at any second. The atmosphere was pleasantly more relaxed than earlier.

Chan, being a sweet kid to almost everyone had been the first to break the ice and strike up a conversation with Seungkwan and Seokmin, as the two seemed the most approachable while they were making the beds in one of the rooms.

"Mingyu hyung told me you can float." Seokmin chocked on air with laughter and it was an easy way up from there. For the duration of the day conversations were started here and there. It was really a matter of time since all of them were just kind but scared boys living in an unforgiving world. Junhui and Hansol were being stubborn for a while but Junhui caved after Minghao pestered him with questions about everything and anything. The rest was somewhat easy. Each of the boys slipped into some kind of a conversation, even Wonwoo spared them a few words.

Now, after finally finishing most of the cleaning and setting up, they each plopped down in the living room.

"What was that?! Why do you have so many rooms i have never cleaned so much in my entire life." Seungkwan's inner diva is coming out to play, Jeonghan thinks amused.

"I made food." Mingyu enters the living room with a wooden spoon in his hand and a black apron tied around his waist. It's then that the smell hits them and hunger starts clawing at their stomachs.

"When did you manage to do that?" Junhui's baffled voice makes Mingyu chuckle. As they each pass him by to enter the kitchen Hoshi pats his shoulder and answers Junhui who is still confused.

"Get used to it buddy Mingyu can do literally everything." Junhui just shakes his head and mutters something along the lines of what-a-bunch-of-weirdoes.

As the last boy enters the kitchen, which is now even more cramped than before, Mingyu takes the apron off and goes to the only place available. He stands next to Wonwoo.

The older hasn't uttered a word to him in hours and it made him feel anxious and unusual. Wonwoo is his rock. He is the first person Mingyu opened up to. Being so near him but feeling so far away was not okay.

"Hyung?" Wonwoo looks up from his plate to meet his eyes. They are still so cold and distant and Mingyu doesn't know why.

"Yes?" The younger's face falls at the tone and Wonwoo reprimands himself. It isn't Mingyu that is the danger here.

"We'll talk later." Mingyu nods, seemingly satisfied with Wonwoo's words. They spend the meal in relative silence, only noise being the sounds of forks hitting the plates and occasional spouts of random questions between the two groups. The sink ends up burried under the dishes but they're all too tired to care.

As they all go back to the living room the somewhat awkward silence comes back. They can't exactly spill their life stories to each other. After a few mintes Wonwo clears his throat and stands up, tugging at Mingyu's hand as he passes him by.

"We're going to bed and i think the rest of you should too. We're all tired and still very much confused about all of this. Sleep will do all of us good." With that the two head up, stairs creaking under their weight. Wonwoo doesn't let go of Mingyu's hand untill they enter their room amd shut the door.

"Go to bed i'll be there in a second." Mingyu obeys without a word, too tired at the moment to do anything else but crawl beneath the covers and snuggle into a pillow. True to his word not even a minute later Wonwoo is back. He gets under the covers and lays on his back but says nothing. Mingyu looks at him through half lidded eyes, a silent question in them.

"Come here." The words alone are enough for Mingyu to drag his tired body forward and lay his head on the older's shoulder, burying his face in the crook of his neck. Mingyu sighs in relief, breathing in the scent of pines. Wonwoo tugs him back a little but he refuses to open his eyes, too relaxed.

His breath catches as something cold makes contact with his forehead and he shudders involuntarily.

"Don't overdo it again." Mingyu should've known Wonwoo is going to notice his aura is dim.

"Why didn't you tell Seungcheol?" Why is Wonwoo making him talk? He just wants sleep. He forces his consciousness to come back to him, fevered eyes making contact with cold ones. What a clash.

"Didn't want to worry him. It'll pass." Wonwoo grunts in annoyance, not liking the answer. Instead of saying anything he replaces the cold pack with a new one and tugs Mingyu's head back to his neck, a shiver passing through him as the pack touches his skin.

"Gyu?" The younger hums tiredly and Wonwoo is not sure if he is even conscious anymore.

"I'll always stand by your side you know that right?" Wonwoo is afraid. He is scared that Jeonghan is going to take Mingyu away from them and there would be nothing he can do about if.

"I know." The answer is simple and short but it's everything Wonwoo needs to settle his thoughts. As soon as the words slip Mingyu's breathing evens out. Asleep.

It is at that moment that the door opens and in enter Minghao and Soonyoung. They make a beeline to their own bed, immediately cuddling up to one another. Minghao is out like a light a second his head is down on Soonyoung's chest while the latter turns to the other two.

"You okay?" Wonwoo smiles at him and tightens his hold on Mingyu. Soonyoung considers that an answer enough.