“— Aaaaand he does it again! Showing off a completely unprecedented and novel tactic and knocking the Falcons off their rhythm, Beater Yukhei Wong has completely changed the flow of the game, and Puddlemere’s up by a hundred and forty points! The Falcons have no choice but to look for the Snitch if they want a chance at—”
Mark points his wand at the radio, and with a quick flick of his wrist, shuts the radio off.
“Hey!” The wizard in the bed closest to the radio complains. “I was listening to that!”
Mark raises an eyebrow, takes into account just how many floating bubbles of healing potions are clustered around the wizard’s arms, and says, “Guess you’re not listening to it anymore. You have to keep your blood pressure down, sir, or the blood-replenishing potion’s not going to work properly. Healer’s orders.”
He checks the levels of all the potions floating around, and finding them satisfactory, he moves the radio just far enough that the wizard will be able to stare longingly at it but not turn it back on again, either by magical or non-magical means. If Mark’s not allowed to listen to music during his shifts, there’s no way his patients in intensive care rooms are going to, either.
Mark leaves the room and heads out into the hallway of St. Mungo’s with a skip in his step and a swish in his lime green robes. It’s been a fairly quiet shift, and he hopes that it’ll stay this way— he has to stay for the graveyard shift later tonight, too. This is the life of a junior attending, and he hopes that the fact that he has to stay until the sun comes up is enough to persuade life not to throw him a curveball this time.
But really, when has Mark ever gotten what he wanted?
When he’s five, his older brother never lets him play on their Gamecube, and the one time Mark tries to play it, it decides to break immediately. When he’s eleven, all he really wants to do is to go to secondary school with all of his friends, but he receives a summons to go to Ilvermorny and has to move all the way from Vancouver to Massachusetts after convincing his parents that no, he’s not running off to join some sex cult, and no, he’s not shacking up with some hippie who’s convinced they can do magic.
When he’s seventeen and gets the opportunity to do a semester abroad during his last year, he just wants to go to Hogwarts and experience British culture for the first time in his life, but where does he end up when Hogwarts is full? Durmstrang in the middle of god-knows-where when they’re trying to implement an integration program for Muggle-borns. Nothing, not even the pride of being student body vice president in his final year at Ilvermorny, can salvage his reputation when the program director accidentally introduces Mark as Muggle-born Lee in front of the entire school.
Not even Felix Felicis can help him. Believe him, he’s tried.
The one thing in Mark’s entire life that has gone right is landing a residency at St. Mungo’s, and even that’s debatable. Sometimes he wonders if he should’ve just stayed in the States or gone back to Canada after finishing up his time at Ilvermorny instead of applying to St. Mungo’s, but he’s heard so much about their programs in sports medicine. Also, the fish and chips.
That’s why, when Mark is milling around the intake area with Jeno, a Mediveterinarian from the Magical Creatures branch of St. Mungo’s, just talking about some of Jeno’s newer patients, and an alarm lights up to signal the arrival of a badly injured patient, Mark’s not surprised at all that something else has managed to go horribly, horribly wrong.
“Tell me about the overweight Puffskeins later I’ll catch you in a bit,” Mark manages to get out all in one breath to Jeno before he’s dashing down the hallway, skidding down the tiles until he gets to triage. Mark’s the only attending on shift tonight, since pretty much all of the senior Healers are out watching the Falcons play Puddlemere.
(“Bye!” Jeno yells back, but Mark doesn’t hear it. There are patients that need saving, and Jeno can deal with not getting a response back for once.)
There’s an abnormally large number of people there, and Mark’s confused at first— usually he’d see more lime green healer robes, but there’s a lot of navy blue robes here. It’s only when he pushes past to get to where the Mediwizards are pushing the stretcher through that he sees the person on the stretcher and everything clicks into place.
Yukhei Wong, the star Beater of Puddlemere United, the darling of the press and the media, and the bane of all Magpies and Bats fans, is lying there, prone, on the stretcher. His arm is bent at an unnatural angle, and his other arm looks almost squiggly, as if it’s a cooked spaghetti noodle. Despite the injuries and the immense pain he must be in, Wong lets out a low, low whistle and a languid grin curls across his face when he sees Mark standing there and gaping at him. “Hellooooo, nurse.”
(In hindsight and during the panel review of the Incident In Triage a week later, Mark blames the temporary shock of seeing someone like Wong in triage— triage in his emergency department!— for his next actions.)
“Shut the fuck up,” Mark hisses, primarily out of reflex, and he regrets it almost instantly when a chorus of “Ooh”s reverberates around the room. Cameras flash and purple smoke fills the air, and some of the wizards and witches start hurriedly scribbling notes down. The press. No wonder, and speaking of which. “I’m gonna need all non-medical personnel to leave this room in three seconds, or I’m calling security in to escort you out. I hear the dumps are quite smelly this time of night.”
Most of them scatter, but Mark ends up having to call security on the few fangirls and fanboys who remain. Mark doesn’t want to judge them and their hobbies, but they’re gripping every part of Wong’s Beater robes they can, and he just wants to do his job and get this man’s bones fixed.
“What’s wrong with him, Hyein? You brought him in?” Mark asks the Mediwitch hovering by Wong’s side. She’s scanning his arms, the tip of her wand lighting up a pale green, and she clucks, clearly unimpressed by the results, before making a quick note on the chart floating by her side.
“Yeah, there was an on-site injury. According to him, he was knocked off of his broom and to the ground by a Beater from the Falcons. I didn’t catch the guy’s name, but it might be relevant if Wong ever decides to press charges.”
“Fucker,” Wong mutters to himself more than anything. “We won anyway, so it’s not like assaulting me would’ve done anything for them. Damn, we won by like three hundred points ‘cause we got the Snitch anyway. Asshole.”
“Anyway,” Hyein continues, “he broke both of his arms upon landing. It was about a thirty-meter drop. He’s lucky he’s alive, honestly. Some trainee got to him first and accidentally used the wrong spell, so while I think I can get this arm under control, we’re gonna need to Skele-Gro the part of the other arm that got fucked up.”
Wong lets out a long “Noooo.”
Mark winces, pats Wong’s leg empathically. “You still in shock? That why you’re not in as much pain as you should be?” he asks, and Wong nods. “I hope you’re still in shock by the time we give you the Skele-Gro.”
Wong’s lower lip juts out in what must be his version of a pout, and lets loose an even longer, with even more feeling this time, “Noooooooooo.”
The pain kicks in after Wong takes the Skele-Gro. They’ve given him his own room due to privacy issues, and St. Mungo’s doesn’t really want to deal with images of Wong getting leaked to the press. Some of the so-called fans who’d followed Wong into triage managed to get some photos out to the papers in the first few minutes, but Puddlemere’s public relations team is better than Mark could ever have anticipated and got all of the photos pulled from circulation. He’s doing okay now, after the initial reaction of everyone who has to take Skele-Gro (“Fucking hell, that was so fucking awful, fuck”), or as okay as someone who’s currently regrowing their radius and ulna can be.
Mark checks the clock. It’s almost ten. Jeno left for home a while ago with a promise to tell him more about the overweight Puffskeins the next time they meet up, and Mark has two more hours of his night shift and then another eight hours of the graveyard shift to get through. He hates his life, but not as much as Wong must be hating his life right around now.
“You hanging in there?” Mark asks, settling into a seat by Wong’s bedside. He’s staring at a point far behind Mark’s head. “I brought you some ice chips if you want.”
Wong opens his mouth obligingly, and Mark tosses one into his mouth. Nothing but the proverbial net. Damn, he should really consider a career in basketball if being a wizard doesn’t pan out. He watches as Wong crunches down on the ice, and when Wong opens his mouth again, Mark has another ice chip ready to toss. “Slow day today?” Wong asks after Mark tosses him his fourth ice chip.
Mark nods. “Yeah, we don’t have that many inpatient beds filled today. I’ll know if an emergency happens, because an alarm’s gonna alert me to it, but other than you, all of the other patients are fairly low priority with good prognoses. How’s the arm coming along? Oh, don’t move it.”
Wong pauses in the middle of lifting his right arm, wrapped securely to ensure that it sets correctly, up to check it. “It feels weird. Really shitty. Feels like… You know that feeling you get when you sit on your leg for too long and then you try to stand up and then your leg is like, no, I’m not walking anywhere today, fuck you, and then you’re like nooo, I really wanted to get up but now I can’t because everything in my leg hurts and a million tiny pins are stabbing me in the leg. Like that.”
“Uh.” Mark blinks. The more he rewinds the sentence in his head, the more it starts to make sense. “Yeah, I guess so. Makes a lot of sense, actually. I guess. Pins and needles?”
“Exactly!” Wong makes a finger gun at Mark with his left hand. Hyein had patched it up for him before she went home for the night, telling Mark to keep an eye on the bone to make sure Wong doesn’t try to do anything crazy with the arm while it’s healing. So far, so good. “Oh, by the way, Yukhei is fine here.”
“No,” Mark says, a knee-jerk response to anyone showing any bit of affection for him. “Code 13 of Article 8 of the St. Mungo’s charter says that—”
“Yukhei. Come on, I won’t snitch. Come on,” Wong interrupts, and Mark narrows his eyes at him.
“Wong,” Mark says, prim and proper. As if he’s going to get terminated for something as foolish as referring to a patient by his first name when there are Boundaries That Must Not Be Crossed.
“Yukhei— fuck dammit,” Mark swears, caught, and Wong’s shit-eating grin only widens.
“How about this: you call me Yukhei, and I don’t tell St. Mungo’s that you told me to shut the fuck up?” Wong asks, extending his left hand in a mockery of good faith. Mark eyes it the way mice eye cheese in traps: warily and with an impending sense of doom, but with no choice but to proceed with the inevitable self-destruction.
“Fine,” Mark sighs, and he shakes Yukhei’s hand.
“I’m bored. Mark, I’m bored,” Yukhei whines an hour later, and Mark looks up from his magazine of the latest in Healer fashion. Sticking lapel pins onto the front of robes is apparently in vogue now, and Mark makes a mental note to remind himself to dig out his Canadian flag enamel pin when he gets home after his shift.
Mark’s about to respond with a derisive “What?” when his stomach decides to do it for him, grumbling in a way that has Mark clapping his hands over his abdomen. “You never heard that,” Mark says instead, defensively.
“You haven’t eaten yet?”
“Um. No.” Mark hasn’t had the time to eat yet. He’d meant to have dinner before his shift started at four in the afternoon, but something came up at home, and he ended up having to rush to the hospital without grabbing his dinner. His japchae and rice must still be on the dinner table, Mark realizes, and he mourns for his poor, lost meal.
He doesn’t even realize Yukhei is fishing around in his robes before Yukhei holds out a hand full of coins.
“No,” Mark says reflexively, putting his hands up in front of his chest. “I can’t take money from a patient, that’s just wrong on so many levels. Additionally, Code 23 of Article 4 of the St. Mungo’s charter on bribery and professional relations says that—”
Yukhei rolls his eyes skyward. “Take my damn money and buy me some candy. Please. I’m dying and my mouth tastes like Skele-Gro and ice. Don’t leave any change, please.”
“Fine,” Mark hisses, “but only because you’re going to tell on me.”
Yukhei blows Mark a kiss on his way out, and when Mark pretends to slap the kiss to the ground, Yukhei makes a pained groan and places his hand delicately over his chest. “Rejected,” he moans, and Mark can’t help the laugh that he lets out at that.
Mark comes back five minutes later (one minute to walk down the hall to the sweets trolley, two to decide what he wants, one for the Mediwizard on duty to count out the change before realizing there is none, and one more for Mark to get back to the room with an armful of candy and cookies), and Yukhei sits up almost immediately.
“What’d you get?” Yukhei asks, and when Mark unloads his cargo onto Yukhei’s legs, he makes a cooing noise at the packets strewn over the blankets. “Ooh, good taste. Feed me.”
“What? No, never.” Mark’s scandalized. The nerve.
Yukhei stares up at Mark, his eyes turning wide and pleading, and he holds a Peppermint Toad out to Mark. “I can’t open it. Need two hands to open it.”
Mark stares at the Peppermint Toad, and he can practically feel it staring back at him in judgment. Help the guy out, it says, help him. You took an oath to do no harm, but you’re withholding nourishment from him. Help him. “Give it to me,” he mutters, mentally cursing the Hippocratic Oath and snatching the Toad from Yukhei’s hands and ripping the box open. He dangles the chocolate above Yukhei’s hand. “Here, take it.”
“No.” Yukhei retracts his left hand and sits on it, opening his mouth instead. “Feed me.”
“No way,” Mark exhales, appalled beyond measure. Then Yukhei moves his hand from under his ass to just above the button to press for help, and Mark jolts into action, placing the Toad against Yukhei’s lips. As much as he doesn’t want to do this, having a horde of Healers and Mediwizards barging into this room and thinking Yukhei’s fallen is something that he definitely does not want. “Fine, fine. Here.”
Any normal person would bite the Toad from Mark’s hand. Any normal person would take the damn Toad and eat it. Mark’s clearly overestimated Yukhei, because when he leans just that bit forward to take the Toad from Mark’s fingers, his tongue comes out to lick Mark’s fingertips, too, and Mark yelps, pulling his hand back like he’s been burned. He stares at Yukhei, and Yukhei stares back at him.
“Oh my god,” Mark says. “What the fuck?”
Yukhei shrugs. “Thought it’d be fun. Also, you’re so cute. Take some of the Pumpkin Pasties since you haven’t eaten yet.”
Mark’s about to protest again, but his stomach decides that it’s a good time to speak up again, so he shuts his mouth and savagely rips open a Pumpkin Pasty wrapping and bites into it.
If he’s going to get cited for accepting a bribe from a patient in the form of pastries, let the record show that he was blackmailed into it.
At around one in the morning, there’s a sudden beeping noise coming from Yukhei’s robes, and when Mark looks over, Yukhei pulls out a small black case and flips it open. It’s a mirror, and as Mark watches, the reflection in the mirror shifts into the faces of some of the Puddlemere members. They’re very clearly at a pub of some sort, and Yukhei mutters a quick Wingardium leviosa to make it float in the air in front of him.
“Hey!” Yukhei waves to the floating mirror with his good hand. “Celebrating without me, are you?”
“We’ve got a round here just for you,” one of the guys chortles before he leans in closer, his face occupying most of the screen now. “Who’s that next to you?”
“This guy over here?” Mark tries to lean away, but Yukhei is fast— damn his Beater reflexes, damn them all— and pulls Mark closer to him, slinging an arm around his shoulder. “He’s my boyfriend.”
Mark chokes on air.
“I’m— he— what—”
“Ahh,” the guy hums, nodding knowingly. “Anyway, Yukhei, we got a quick meeting tomorrow afternoon. You think you can make it?”
“Yeah, that should be fine. I’ll probably be out of here in the morning, so I’ll swing by on my way. Don’t have too much fun without me,” Yukhei singsongs before he shuts the mirror closed.
Mark gives Yukhei a baleful stare, disentangling himself from under Yukhei’s arm and leaning over to check if his right arm is still alright. It is, so Mark gives Yukhei a light whack on the chest. “What was that all about?”
Yukhei only winks salaciously at him.
Merlin, Mark prays, please give him the strength to last the night.
Mark doesn’t even notice that he’s fallen asleep in the chair until he wakes up to the feeling of fingers carding through his hair. It’s comforting, and when Mark blearily looks over, Yukhei’s leaning back against the pillows, an indescribable look on his face. Once he sees that Mark’s awake, Yukhei uses his good arm to maneuver Mark until he’s tilted sideways and his head is half on Yukhei’s shoulder and half on the pillow.
“Go back to sleep,” Yukhei whispers, his fingers finding their way back into Mark’s hair, and he does.
Yukhei is released from the hospital the same time Mark’s shift ends in the morning. There’s a crowd of reporters around the entrance, and Mark takes the back entrance to avoid being seen. It’s all for naught, because when Mark gets onto a side road behind the department store the hospital is disguised as, Yukhei and his posse of reporters are there, too. Yukhei’s arm is out of its wrappings, and he looks good in his mended robes. He dashes toward Mark, and clouds of purple smoke erupt around them as Yukhei throws his arms around Mark to pull him in for a hug.
“Thanks for keeping me company last night,” Yukhei murmurs into Mark’s hair, and Mark shivers, involuntary.
“Good luck,” Mark says, pulling away from him, and Yukhei pats Mark’s head.
“See you soon, darling!” Yukhei yells at Mark as he’s walking away, and if he walks just a little bit faster, dips his head just a little bit lower to hide the flush creeping up his neck and onto his cheeks, well— no one needs to know.
It’s a brisk fifteen minute walk from St. Mungo’s to the flat that Mark rents in a Muggle neighborhood. It’s easier to live like this, where his microwave is capable of actually heating up food and doesn’t act as a Portkey, where his fireplace actually burns wood instead of sending people through the Floo, where the only pets his neighbors keep are cats and dogs and rabbits, not Puffskeins and Jobberknolls and Flobberworms. It’s easy like this. Quiet and peaceful. Home. Once he’s unlocked the front door and shut it behind him, Mark makes a short detour to the kitchen to throw his container of japchae and rice into the fridge before beelining straight for his bedroom and shucking off his coat and dispelling the vision enhancement charm he uses for work before he collapses, face-first, into bed.
Mark sleeps until sundown, and he only wakes up when he hears the sound of a key being turned in the lock. He sits up, rubbing at his eyes and reaching over to the side table for his glasses, yawning the whole time.
“Asshole,” Mark says when the bedroom door creaks open, and he scoots to sit on the edge of the bed. “You really had to out us in front of your teammates?”
Yukhei grins, wide, before he’s dumping his coat onto the ground next to Mark’s and walking with long strides over to the bed. He stands at the edge, bracketed between Mark’s legs, and he leans down, planting his hands on the bed, to kiss Mark. Mark reaches up, winds his arms around Yukhei’s neck, tilts his head to the side, and lets Yukhei deepen the kiss a little bit more.
“Yeah. Well, I don’t even know if they’ll remember in the morning, but hey, it’s the thought that counts,” Yukhei says when they break apart. “Healer Mark Lee is some hot shit. He looks good in lime green. Sexy.”
“Shut up, oh my god. Asshole, I was so worried about you.” Mark trails the backs of his knuckles against Yukhei’s cheek, and he leans into the touch, closing his eyes and sighing. There’s none of Yukhei’s usual bravado this time, none of Yukhei’s usual “throw whatever you can at me, life, because fuck you” disposition, and Mark knows that Yukhei was just as affected as he was. “Stupid Mediwizard, I should’ve gotten the name of the kid who Vanished your ulna and radius so I could request them as an intern next cycle. Show them how to really mend bones, not fuck them up beyond repair. You’re lucky I was there, otherwise you might’ve gotten some shitty Healer, too.”
“I love it when you talk science to me. I knew you’d be there to save me, though,” Yukhei murmurs, his eyes still closed, and Mark’s heart skips a beat. Yukhei opens his eyes, darts forward to drop a quick kiss onto Mark’s nose. “I’m okay now, see?”
Yukhei steps back, tugs his Puddlemere hoodie over his head, and flexes his arms. They’ve both completely healed, but Mark’s still uneasy, the memory of Yukhei lying on the stretcher still painfully fresh in his mind. Something in his expression must show through, because Yukhei drops the act, rushes forward to cup Mark’s face in his hands. “Hey, hey, hey. Look at me. I’m okay. I’m here.”
Mark stares at Yukhei, stares at the furrow in his eyebrows and the worry in his eyes. “Alright. Be more careful next time.”
“I will. So, what’s this about you not eating dinner?”
Mark rips one of Yukhei’s hands from his face. “Asshole, that was all your fault!”
Mark looks around furtively even though he knows no one’s looking, even know he knows no one cares about two guys living in a flat together in London. It’s the twenty-first century. Even so, Mark has a brief and sudden flash of yesterday’s exploits, of himself being bent over the back of the couch, of his sweatpants pooled around his ankles. “You wanted the good luck quickie before I had to go to work and before you were gonna head out for your game! And then I was almost late so I forgot to bring my fucking food to work! And you know how much I hate the food at the hospital.”
“Oh yeah.” Yukhei gets a Look on his face, the one that Mark knows means that he’s thinking about things a Legilimens would be scandalized to find out about. “That was fun, though, wasn’t it? You up for another round?”
“But I just woke up. And you just broke your arm. And I just woke up,” Mark whines, but he scoots backward on the bed. He’s still in his jeans from earlier, so he unbuttons them, wiggles a bit to get them off and kick them off to the side, lets Yukhei crowd him against the headboard, settling in between his thighs.
“I just had the most annoying meeting. It was about the Harpies or something, I don’t know. It was just super long. Super boring. Like, two hours of non-stop yadda-yadda-yadda. And the only thing I could think about was you.” Yukhei hums, and Mark watches as he drags his hand along Mark’s thigh, spreading his fingers over Mark’s skin. “Seriously, you looked so hot as a Healer. So in charge. So professional. When you told everyone to get out, if my arms weren’t broken, I totally would’ve popped one. I almost did during the meeting.”
“Please, I didn’t do anything. I just fed you some Skele-Gro, that’s what really did the work. Also, never talk about me in the context of popping boners during your Quidditch meetings ever again, I really. I really could’ve lived without knowing that.” Mark sighs when Yukhei moves, sucking a bruise into the side of Mark’s neck, his fingers playing at the hem of Mark’s t-shirt before dipping underneath, splaying over Mark’s stomach. “Mm, feels good. For what it’s worth, you look hot on the field, too.”
“Yeah? You wanna sneak into the pitch after hours and fuck on the grass next time? Oh, or we could try it on my broomstick. I hear that’s kinda dangerous, though. One of our Chasers tried it with her girlfriend, and I think they ended up in St. Mungo’s. Might not be the best idea, but let’s go do it on the pitch. I’ll make it worth your time, I swear, and I’ll bring out a blanket and a picnic basket, too.”
“That does sound kinda nice. We’re never having sex in St. Mungo’s, though.” Mark feels Yukhei frown against his neck, and he stares down at him in disbelief. “No way. You actually thought about it? What’s wrong with you?”
“I thought we could do some roleplay sometime. Maybe not in the hospital, but here at home,” Yukhei wheedles. “Like, ‘Oh, Healer Lee, I’ve got an itch I can’t scratch and I need you to sit on it for me’ or ‘Oh, Healer Lee, someone used an Engorgement Charm on my dick and now I can’t get myself off’ or something like that. You know, really basic stuff.”
Mark pauses. “Okay, first off, if someone used Engorgio on you, there’s no guarantee that it would only affect your dick. Second—”
“Oh yeah, baby,” Yukhei moans, and his hands slip downwards to cup Mark’s ass. “Talk dirty to me.”
“Fucker,” Mark says, fond, before he shimmies out of his boxers and reaches behind the pillows for the lube.
“That’s the point. Actually, hang on, maybe not today.”
“Mm, you’re tired, aren’t you? My arms are a bit sore, too. I just want to finger you, that okay? Hand me that.”
Yukhei’s finger is cold when it presses against Mark’s entrance, and Mark hisses. Yukhei presses a kiss against his temple, an apology, before casting a warming spell on the lube and coating his fingers again. This time, it’s better, and Mark drags Yukhei down to kiss him when he has two fingers in him.
“Why are your hands so big,” Mark huffs out when Yukhei adds a third finger, scissoring them. He’s suddenly aware of how fully clothed, how unfairly clothed, Yukhei is compared to him, and the drag of Yukhei’s jeans against his bare thighs is enough to have him stifling a moan. “Oh—”
“You like them, don’t you? Don’t you like the difference between our hands? How pretty and small your hands are compared to mine?” Yukhei asks, low and husked, against Mark’s ear. “You think you can come untouched? You think you can come from just my fingers in you?”
“Fuck you, I hate you so much,” Mark whines. His cock is already straining, flushed against his stomach, and when he reaches down to touch himself, Yukhei grabs his wrist and holds it down against the bed. “Yukhei, don’t be an asshole.”
“I know you can do it,” Yukhei says, and he crooks his fingers just right, and Mark keens— he’s so close, so fucking close, and he can feel it curling in him, a heat building up, and Yukhei buries his face in the crook of Mark’s neck and shoulder and bites down and Mark comes, spilling onto his stomach and a t-shirt he’ll never be able to wear again. Yukhei beams down at him even as he reaches for a tissue to wipe Mark off. “Yay, gold star!”
“Fuck off, seriously,” Mark mumbles, but he pulls Yukhei down to kiss him, licking into his mouth and curling his fingers into Yukhei’s hair. He pulls away, motions to where Yukhei’s jeans are tenting in the front. “You want me to—?”
“Oh, it’s totally chill. I got off in the locker room shower thinking about you riding me in your Healer robes already,” Yukhei says breezily, and Mark gapes at him.
“You’re awful,” Mark breathes out.
“Mm, but you love me,” Yukhei purrs, tumbling Mark back down onto the bed and and taking off his glasses and setting them to the side and kissing him again. “Ever since— when was it again? Durmstrang seventh year? You were so cute back then, the Canadian boy from Ilvermorny who watched me during Quidditch practice. Actually, aren’t you still the same height?”
“I hate you, and fuck you, I’ve grown two centimeters since then,” Mark protests, earning himself a mockery of a coo from Yukhei (“Aww, so much!”). He throws a leg over Yukhei’s hip, his toes curling into denim. “God, just because you’re tall.”
“Let’s tell people,” Yukhei says suddenly. “I want people to know.”
“I can’t see your face anymore, fuck.” Mark squints up at Yukhei, but he decides that the blobs of brown and peach and black aren’t worth deciphering. He curls his fists into Yukhei’s shirt. “Let’s do it.”
Yukhei kisses Mark on the forehead.
(Mark is eleven when he gets his summons to go to Ilvermorny for secondary school. That same year, Yukhei gets a notice that because his first choice of Hogwarts is full, he’ll be attending Durmstrang in the fall. They meet in Yukhei’s final year at Durmstrang, when Yukhei is the Captain and the Beater of the Quidditch team there, when Mark is completing his semester abroad in Durmstrang, when they’re both seventeen, still young, still free.
“You have very good form,” Mark tells Yukhei after a practice, after he’s managed to pull Yukhei away from the Keeper and the Seeker.
“Thanks. I’ve seen you watching me, is there something you want from me?”
“I’d like to observe you during your matches, if that’s okay with you,” Mark says, serious.
“You’re cute enough, if you wanted a date, you could’ve just said so.” Yukhei grins down at him. “And the answer is yes.”
Mark blinks at him. “Oh, uh. I’m actually trying to become a Healer and do something with sports medicine. Um. That wasn’t. A date.”
They go on a date anyway. Then two, then three, then four, and on a night when the aurora borealis is high in the sky and all the stars are shining down on them, Yukhei asks Mark to go out with him, and Mark asks Yukhei to wait for him until he’s done finishing school at Ilvermorny. Yukhei signs with Puddlemere, and Mark gets a job at St. Mungo’s, and they rent a flat equidistant from the pitch and the hospital.
They decorate their flat with Mark’s Thunderbird banner and Yukhei’s miniature Durmstrang ship figurine, with a jar of water collected from the North Sea and a small wooden container of soil from Mount Greylock, with a globe that’s been enchanted to show them the sky the first night they first kissed.
It’s not much, but it’s theirs, and that’s enough.)
“Sir, your levels of blood-replenishing potion are low. What’s been going on?” Mark asks, jotting down a quick note onto the chart floating by his side. The wizard shrugs.
“I don’t know, but I just heard that some damn kid’s been sniffing around my daughter. Damn half-Veelas, they just don’t know when to quit,” the wizard grumbles, and Mark watches as the volume of the red fluid in the bubble hovering in the air decreases.
“You should probably get that checked out, sir,” Mark says mildly, and the radio by the wizard’s side crackles to life.
“— Breaking news, Puddlemere United’s most eligible bachelor Yukhei Wong might not be so eligible anymore. Sources close to the team say that he’s been in a committed relationship for years, and we’re all wondering just who this lucky guy or gal is. Let’s go talk to someone who might have some information on this after our break!”
“Ugh, this guy. My daughter’s in love with him, I swear. Girl never shuts up about him. I’m damn glad he’s taken. You’re not going to turn this off?” The wizard asks, hesitance creeping into his voice.
“No, I think we’re fine for today,” Mark says, hiding a smile behind the chart. “I think I’d like to find out who it is, too.”