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like the ocean

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The cold wind is harshly blowing around, bringing the big and dark storm clouds from the horizon closer to the town. Mark zips his hoodie up as he steps onto the sand of the beach. He starts walking closer to the water, looking as it moves restlessly in the wind that creates high waves and rotating currents. As well as the sky, the ocean looks dark. Mark bets that the water is also cold; it’s been a rather cold summer.

Mark heads his way towards the furthest part of the beach where the lighthouse is located. The old lighthouse hasn’t been in use in years anymore and nowadays it works mostly as an attraction, both to locals and to tourists. It’s not very high so it’s easy to visit for all age groups. There are maybe forty steps to take to reach the top, where the vantage point is.

It’s been a while since Mark last visited the lighthouse. And he wouldn’t have come now either, if he didn’t have a good reason.

Mark walks up to the lighthouse. There’s no door to it anymore; it was taken off ages ago. He steps into the stairway. It’s very dark inside and Mark runs his hand along the uneven stonewalls. It helps him keep the balance while stepping on the old stairs. The wind is blowing even inside the staircase, entering from the doorways at the bottom and at the top of the lighthouse.

Mark takes a few deeper breaths when he reaches the top. He steps from the staircase to the vantage point. It’s the platform at the top of the lighthouse that circulates the lantern room. The old fence going around the platform is high enough for children, but slightly too low for adults. Sometimes Mark wonders how the town hasn’t stated it as a safety risk yet.

Mark looks around. The clouds have made their way closer to the town in a remarkable speed and now they are right above the beach. The view has gotten a lot darker. But it doesn’t prevent Mark from spotting the reason why he’s here. There, on the other side of the platform, is standing the person Mark’s been waiting to see again for a really long time.

He has his back turned to Mark. Mark isn’t sure if he has realized someone has joined him on the vantage point. His hair seems to be light brown now; it was black back then when Mark last saw him. His hair, as well his loose clothes flutter in the strong wind. But if he’s still the same person he used to be, Mark knows he loves the sensation. Mark also knew he would find him in here, this has always been his favorite place in the town.

“Hey Donghyuck”, Mark says, rather quietly, when he walks to stand next to the younger. He doesn’t want to startle the other.

Donghyuck turns his head slowly to look at Mark, “Hey Mark”, he says, “It’s been a while”

“Three years”, Mark breathes out.

Donghyuck hums. “Did Jaemin tell you I was back?”

“Yeah. He thought I would like to know”

“Did you?”

“Of course. Though I would have liked it to be you yourself who lets me know”

“I wasn’t sure you wanted to see me”

Mark is quiet for a moment. He turns his gaze away from Donghyuck and looks at the restless ocean instead. The wind seems to come from every direction. First it blows the hair off his face and a second later it throws it back in front of his eyes.

“I would never not want to see you”, Mark then whispers.

Donghyuck doesn’t say anything. Maybe he doesn't want to. Or maybe he doesn’t know what to say. Mark wouldn’t know.

“I never wanted for us to break up”, Mark continues, “Tell me, Donghyuck, did you? Did you really want to break up with me? Or did you do it just because you needed to get away from here? You always told me you loved me-“

Mark is cut off by Donghyuck, “Mark we were just kids back then. What did we even know about love?”, the younger clearly tries to sound firm, but his voice breaks ever so slightly.

“I knew enough to know that I truly loved you”, Mark says, quietly but determined. Donghyuck looks at him with uncertain eyes.

“Donghyuck, why didn't you give us a change? I realize you needed to leave, but we could have made it work. We would have made it work”, Mark asks then, a hint of sadness in his voice.

“I couldn't ask you to wait for me", Donghyuck whispers.

“You should have. I would have said yes", Mark whispers. They are again silent for a while. Just staring at the stormy water. Mark thinks that maybe Donghyuck likes the ocean so much because he's a lot like it. Beautiful yet dangerous in a way. Often restless, but still so calm and comforting at times. Unpredictable at best.

“Is it too late to ask now?”, Donghyuck then asks carefully. He brings his eyes back at Mark. The older moves his gaze to meet Donghyuck's eyes. The younger's gaze is full of regret, yet there's a hint of hope hidden somewhere in there.

“I know I broke your heart back then and that I'm three years late. And I don't even want to ask you to wait for me. I want to ask you to be with me. You're right, I didn't want to break up with you, I just thought that was something I needed to do. I had to leave to follow some other dreams and instead of putting my faith in us, I just let myself become too scared to even try. Mark, I'm so sorry. Just know that I still love you and I still want you”, Donghyuck takes a deep breath, “I just hope that I'm not too late", he then finishes with a whisper.

Donghyuck indeed broke Mark's heart three years ago. But that doesn't mean his heart hasn't still been yearning for the younger. Mark would be lying if he said he hasn't been waiting for Donghyuck even if the younger didn't ask him to. Mark's heart has always belonged to Donghyuck.

“I never stopped loving you”, Mark whispers, “I probably should have, but you're the only one I've ever wanted”

Donghyuck turns completely towards Mark and takes a step closer. He lifts his hand on Mark's cheek and softly traces his thumb along the older's bottom lip. He keeps his eyes locked with Mark's as he leans a bit closer.

“Can I?” the younger whispers.

Mark nods slowly. His eyes flutter close as Donghyuck's hand moves to his nape. Then the younger presses his lips on Mark's. The familiarity of the feeling brings a surge of comfort and joy to Mark. The cold wind blows aggressively around them but Donghyuck's lips are warm and grounding.

When they break the kiss, Mark opens his eyes and locks them with Donghyuck's again, “Donghyuck, no running away this time, okay? If you need to leave again, promise me, you'll take me with you", the older says.

“I promise”, Donghyuck whispers. A careful, yet incredibly happy smile forms on the younger's face.

Mark has really missed that smile.