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And They Were Roommates

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The first few months are all smooth sailing between him and Mark.

Since the two of them can’t cook for shit, they decided that every day is takeout day. Yes it’s unhealthy and pricey but neither of them can risk burning down their borrowed dorm kitchen. Sometimes, Taeyong; Mark’s absolutely fully capable brother, will bring them big tupperwares of home-cooked goodness that would last them for a whole week. After that, it’s back to ordering take-outs until its Kun’s time to deliver big tupperwares of authentic Chinese meals.

Are they being babied? Maybe so, but Yukhei’s comforted by the fact that he’s not the only one being treated like a kid.

They managed to establish a routine between them, too.

On the Mondays and Tuesdays, Mark would be the one to wake up early for his 8 am class. Before he leaves, he makes sure to leave some breakfast for Yukhei when he eventually wakes up for his 10 am class (always a bizarre-looking egg with some burnt toast, but hey food is food so Yukhei won’t complain). Then on Thursdays and Fridays, Yukhei will be the one in charge for breakfast—he always makes a sandwich with whatever spread they have on their cabinet at the moment.

Wednesdays become their thing.

Having movie marathons, binge-watching TV shows, or just simply going out to the gym or playing basketball outside. It’s become their unspoken rule; Wednesdays are off-limits to anyone but each other because it’s officially ‘spend time with roomie’ day. Yukhei personally thinks the reason why they get along so well is because they take some time off to…bond.

It’s nice. Yukhei likes his current lifestyle. Yukhei likes Mark—

He’s a good friend and a good roommate to boot, Yukhei thinks he really struck the roomie jackpot with him.

 


 

Things start to get a ‘lil wonky in the by the end of their first semester.

Since finals are fast approaching, both Yukhei and Mark are absolutely flooded with college works. Mark’s club activities and Yukhei’s varsity activities also added to the burden of finals, and so the two decided that their Wednesdays bro-man-dude-fam hangouts should be paused until their schedules clear up.

Yukhei would be lying if he says he doesn't miss spending time with the smaller male, because he definitely does. But both his studies and the incoming preliminaries for the intercollegiate basketball competition are keeping him busy enough that he barely thinks about it anymore.

 

The basketball team is having a practice game on the university’s outside court when Yukhei sees Mark passing by. With his lips slowly curving upwards, he immediately stands up and starts walk towards the other’s direction. He's about to call out to Mark when another voice calls the smaller man’s attention before him.

A tall guy, probably a year or two older than both of them, runs up to Mark and engulfs him in a bear hug. A bear hug so tight it managed to make Yukhei stop dead in his tracks. He blinks thrice as he process the event in front of him, then suddenly, Yukhei remembers their first meeting:

                           Mark fidgeting in place as he looks up at Yukhei uncertainly. His resigned sigh as he admits that he’s gay—well, bi—

“Oh,” Yukhei mumbles or rather he thought he did but apparently he didn’t mumble it in any sort of way. His ‘oh’ catches Mark and his…friend’s attention, both of them turning their heads towards his direction. His roommate brightens up as soon as he sees Yukhei’s frozen form, and the smaller tugs on his companion’s wrist, pulling him towards Yukhei,and stopping dead in front of him.

“Hey, man! Practice out today?” Mark’s grin is so bright Yukhe can’t help but smile back at him.

“Yeah, the gym’s under the volleyball team’s clutches today,” he answers back, a little hesitant as he pointedly looks at the unfamiliar man beside Mark.

Clearing his throat, he decides to ask upfront about it because Mark is too busy being cute and smiley to understand his social cue. “So, uh who’s this?” He asks, voice a little tight and smile a little bland. Mark didn’t notice though, because he proceeds to tug his friend forward.

“This is Seongwoo hyung! We’re on the same club, he’s really funny and witty,” Mark introduces, chuckling a little as he smiles at his friend.

Funny, huh. I doubt he’s funnier than me.

“Hyung, this is Yukhei. My roommate,” Yukhei feels his smile drop a little more at the short introduction. Seongwoo smiles and stretches out his hand, Yukhei accepts it...but if he gripped it a little bit harder than necessary then let’s just say he did it by accident.

“Nice to meet you, I hear you’ve been taking care of our Markie here. Thanks for that.”

Markie, Yukhei’s left eye twitches at the nickname but he smiles nonetheless. “It’s nothing, we get along really well anyway, there’s no problem whatsoever,” he answers back, smiling at looking at Mark instead.

He’s too busy snorting at Mark’s scrunched up face to notice Seongwoo’s small squint, the older's eyes glinting with realization as he looks at the two freshmen.

“Huh, is that so...” the older mumbles, more to himself really but the roommates both turn to look at him questioningly. “I’m glad then, sometimes it’s tough to room with someone...” Seongwoo trails off, side-eyeing Yukhei before grinning mischievously.

The older the proceeds to grab Mark by the shoulder, pulling the younger in until Mark’s back hits his chest. Seongwoo leans down, as if to whisper near Mark’s ear but Yukhei can clearly see the older had intended for him to hear it as well.

“If ever you have troubles just know you can come to my apartment….anytime. Okay, Markie?

When the older says that God-forsaken nickname, Yukhei can swear Seongwoo had looked at sneered at him. The taller can only curl his fist on his sides as he tries hard not to swing them at the older. Mark only laughs good-naturedly, pushing at the older and nodding his head.

Is he oblivious or what, the dude’s clearly hitting on him!

“Your roommate can come join us too if he wanna.” Seongwoo waggles his eyebrows suggestively but his eyes were clearly saying he does not, in any way, shape or form, want Yukhei barging into his and Mark’s time. Yukhei needed to remind himself that it’ll be disrespectful to throw hands against someone older than you, and just think about Mark, clearly he likes the dude enough to be friendly with him, he’d be sad if you punched the lights outta this….hyung.

”Shut up, hyung. Don’t be like that here, Yukhei’s straight he might become uncomfortable with your jokes,” Mark clarifies, smiling at Yukhei reassuringly. “Sorry, hyung’s just really touchy when we’re together.”

“Oh, he’s straight?” Seongwoo says, resting his arm on Mark’s shoulders again. “Shame, then.” But the smile on the older’s face did not indicate any disappointment.

Mark rolls his eyes, “Stop it—anyway, Yukhei? Will you be late again? Should I order some food for us or—” Yukhei opens his mouth to answer that yes, he'd be eating with his roommate tonight but…

“Wait, weren’t you supposed to eat out with us today?” Seongwoo interjected, and Mark’s mouth drops into an ‘o’ in realization. “Oh shit, I totally forgot—I’m sorry, Yukhei. Are you cool with that? I mean, I can order some take outs for you before I go?” Mark says, looking at him apologetically.

“Nah, it’s okay, bro. Don’t worry about it, I think the team’s planning to eat out too, I'll just join 'em.” Yukhei reassures him, and Mark smiles in relief.

Okay,  it’s nice to meet you Yukhei but Mark, we gotta go chop-chop. They’re waiting for us,” Seongwoo reminds the younger. Mark nods his head and waves goodbye to Yukhei, muttering a small ‘see you later!’ as he lets himself get dragged away by Seongwoo.

Yukhei watches them both walk away with a big sigh. Dinner alone at McDonald’s it is then.

 


 

 The next time Yukhei meets Mark’s friends , the two of them were eating at the cafeteria; finally managing to catch each other's free time after a long week of exams and projects.

Yukhei’s busy trying to out-maneuver Mark’s chopsticks in order to get the smaller’s last piece of pork tonkatsu, and Mark’s busy defending his food and kicking Yukhei’s shins in retaliation. Yukhei didn’t mind, Mark’s kicks didn’t hurt one bit. He nudges the other’s foot back before kicking Mark’s leg in and trapping both of his roommate’s legs between his obviously, longer ones.

“No fair! That’s cheating!” Mark complains as he tries to shake his legs out of Yukhei’s trap while he bats away Yukhei’s traveling chopsticks. “My food. Mine! It’s not my fault you’re like a vacuum cleaner with food—just whooshing­ your plate clean.”

Yukhei lets one of Mark’s leg free; effectively distracting the other and letting Mark think he’d managed to get away, before snooping in and stabbing the meat with his chopstick and in goes the tonkatsu. Inside Yukhei’s stomach, that is.

“Wha—You cheater!” Mark punches his shoulder and Yukhei only laughs at him.

“You snooze, you lose.” Yukhei answers, poking his roommate on the cheek with his forefinger. “That piece was delicious by the way.”

“Oh yeah, it’s only delicious ‘cos you didn’t pay for it—” Mark pauses as he looks at something behind Yukhei’s head.

“Daniel hyung!” The younger suddenly calls out, arm shooting out to wave someone over the table. Yukhei turns his head and sees a broad-shouldered man smiling widely as he walks closer to them.

“Mark! Hey, what’s up?” The newcomer asks, pulling a chair next to Mark and ruffling his hair in greeting.

“What are you doing here? Dance crew’s on a break?” Mark asks excitedly, eyes lighting up as he looks at the older in admiration. Yukhei scoffs silently beside him.

“Nope, not really. I just went to buy something then I’m going back,” the older answers and Yukhei thinks: Great, then he won’t be here long.

“Awesome, I hope you guys win the competition tomorrow. You really worked hard…I mean, no. I know you guys are gonna win. They have you, hyung!” Mark continues, praising the older and Daniel hyung rubs the back of his neck in embarrassment.

“Aw, thanks Mark—” Yukhei clears his throat and Daniel looks at him, then back at Mark. “And uhm…who?”

Mark blinks and claps his hand, he pats Yukhei’s arm and says, “This is my roommate! Yukhei, this is Daniel hyung. He’s part of the b-boy crew, they’re amazing.” Mark proceeds, smiling warmly at Daniel.

Recognition flashes before Daniel’s eyes and Yukhei raises his eyebrow at him, “Nice to meet you…hyung.”

Daniel grins at him, and Yukhei thinks there’s something behind that seemingly-innocent smile, “Likewise. I’ve heard a lot about you…thanks for taking care of our Mark.”

Again, Yukhei thinks, why do people keep on insisting Mark is theirs? He's his own person, dammit.

“It’s cool, we’re great friends anyway…” He answers shortly, Daniel gives him a considering stare, his mouth twitching slightly before nodding and turning his attention back at Mark.

“Oh, hey. Seongwoo keeps on asking for you to come by again sometime, we miss having you back at home. We always have so much fun.

Immediately, Yukhei’s mind conjures up not-so-innocent scenarios between Mark (small, clumsily adorable Mark) and the two older students. He finds himself curling his fists under the table glaring at Daniel as he watches the older stand up. The older’s bandaged hand curled on Mark’s forearm, “Make sure to visit soon okay?”

Mark nods in affirmation and then the dancer’s walking away from their table. Mark turns back to Yukhei, tilting his head in confusion as he sees the weird look on the taller’s face.

“Hey, dude? You okay?” Mark asks, touching Yukhei’s arm.

“Peachy,” Yukhei answers, clearing his throat and smiling at Mark once again. “So, how about a Marvel marathon when we get back home?”

“Oh hells yeah. C’mon!”

 


 

 Daniel chuckles as he twists open their apartment door, kicking the door close behind him. He’s toeing off his shoes when he sees a familiar figure greet him. Looking up, he grins at Seongwoo fondly. He reaches out a hand, grinning when the older gladly takes it. Pulling the older closer, he gives him a short peck on the lips then another on Seongwoo’s ‘constellation moles’.

“Hey, I’m back.”

“Welcome back,” Seongwoo greets warmly, looping his arms around Daniel’s waist.

“Oh, and I saw Mark!” Daniel adds, Seongwoo smiles at the mention of the younger’s name, “And his roommate.”

Seongwoo laughs, remembering the tall, drink of water Mark introduced to him before. Yukhei, was it? “Fun, isn’t he?”

“Totally,” Daniel answers back, laughing once more. “And babe?”

“Yeah?”

Daniel looks at Seongwoo straight in the eyes, “He is totally not straight.