your prompt: mina gets confetti in their hair. mark notices.
it's been a while. his life has been a series of back-to-back plane rides, promotions, interviews in a dozen different languages, new songs, new choreography, new groups . it's a wonder he can keep track of it all but that's why the company has the staff to think about these things ahead of time. it's a wonder he hasn't combusted himself but with so much riding on his shoulders, there's really no room for any sort of breakdown.
it's been a while and if he's being honest, mina hadn't been on his mind much since he stepped down as co-host. but with promotions in full swing again, he catches a glimpse of her between countdown performances with her dark hair and shining eyes. and something dormant inside of him comes to life and the only things he can think about are her giggles and the way her eyes crinkle into crescent moons.
the other members are in the holding room, more or less ready in makeup and the costumes for the day. the superhero concept is something he's been looking forward to, all sleek, comfortable, and sporty. he's getting antsy sitting on the couch and watching the other performers, even as taeyong takes a power nap next to him, heavy against his shoulder. the restless energy hums around him but he tries not to bounce his legs too much, lest he jostles the leader out of his slumber.
"hey," he mumbles, giving the other boy's hand a squeeze, "i'm gonna take a walk."
"nn," is his eloquent response as mark sets him against the armrest of the couch instead, taeyong's fist closing around nothing when mark pries his hand away.
the hallways are bustling with activity and he sidesteps running crew and fussing managers, aimlessly walking and stretching his legs before they're meant to film. he catches mina suddenly, disappearing into her own dressing room and he follows the same path his feet have taken, as if it hasn't been a while since he was last working here.
"hi – uh, hey," he greets her almost shyly, leaning against the doorway without entering, hands in the pockets of the white and red-striped cargo pants they've dressed him in.
mina turns around in her chair, hair tossed over her shoulder in what feels like a slow-motion shot. "mark! hi!" in bare feet, her heels discarded by her chair, she rushes over to throw her arms around him and because he's a boy and this took him by surprise, his hands hover awkwardly over her waist before he eventually returns her hug and tries not to think about how much skin her cropped top gives him access to. she smells like pears and something else sweet – but mark doesn't have a chance to ponder deeply on it because mina's pulled out of their hug, clasping her hands under her chin instead.
"i'm excited for your stage today! i've been listening to the song." she leans in conspiratorially so mark leans in automatically. " it's so good! i'm rooting for you." without warning, mina reaches up to cup his cheek, using her thumb to swipe away a bit of stray eyeshadow that's dusted his cheekbone; his eyes are surely as wide as saucers, utterly dumbfounded when her dresser hurries in, nudging past him with her wardrobe change.
"i'll – yeah. cool."
poetic words from the prolific rap prodigy. mark mumbles something incoherent when he exits to give her more privacy and wonders what he's doing with himself. there's literally no time for any of this and even if he was allowed to look physically close with another girl …
taeyong finds him this time, sleepy-eyed but concerned as he links their arms and pulls him towards the stage. "are you okay?" he asks, practicing his english carefully, his brows knitted in concern undeserving of whatever the hell mark is going through this afternoon. ( but then again, taeyong always sort of looks concerned about everything. that's just how those wide-set eyes work. )
"yeah, yeah, i'm cool." cool . and mark brushes it off with a roll of his shoulders as the leader wraps his arm around his waist to both steady him and steer him in the right direction.
"you – you will tell me if something is wrong? okay?" it's very sweet, watching him practice, so determined to master the language. mark just chuckles and nods and promptly wrinkles his nose when taeyong decides to pinch both his cheeks. "okay."
he somehow keeps it together when they bring him onstage with the other hosts, 'reuniting' him with mina as she squeals and happily welcomes him back. the thing about her is that her smile is always at full beam, that her natural sweetness isn't just for the cameras. she doesn't need to put up such a divide between gugudan mina and kang mina and – and –
maybe he's always been a little bit smitten ever since they were in school together.
with a very small tap to his arm as they are so, so very careful about what can and cannot be done in front of the audience, the fans, she wishes him luck and mark tucks that whispered fighting! into his heart, warmed inside and out.
their performance is good, powerful, and the kind of concept he's been wanting to do for a while. they don't take their first win on show music core but there's a series of performances lined up and a lot of internet buzz for the song. all of these are far from his mind when they do announce the winner and the confetti cannons go off and he can see mina squeal and laugh as she steps out of the way to let the winning group take the stage.
he's just about to head off when he feels someone gently and surreptitiously squeeze his hand. "you did well, mark." she's all smiles and sunniness and she's already pulling away from him as his groupmates wander in another direction.
"mina! i – ah. thanks. thank you."
mark lee, aged nineteen in canadian years, is a busy boy, one of the youngest and most sought-after idols in the business. it's easy for him to forget how old he is considering how much he has accomplished since moving to south korea. he made the choice to steer away from a normal life and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world but the concept of a schoolboy crush has sort of punched him in the face and he can't believe it's taken him this long to realize it.
as he changes into his street clothes and uses a few different wipes to remove his makeup, he drifts off into his own world, the din of the other boys around him fading into nothingness. he likes mina. he has liked mina . quietly, he stands and tucks the front of his t-shirt into his belted jeans. johnny is the last one left, on the phone with his mom, and mark tells him they can take the last car together because he forgot something.
he wanders again, the hallway quieter this time, and he waves at a couple of folks he knows from variety engagements. of course he knows where he's going now and he knows where to find her, and by the time he hurries to mina's dressing room, she's clean and fresh-faced with her own subtle street makeup on, glitter dusting beneath her long lashes, lipgloss and nothing else. it makes her eyes look otherworldly reminds him of a fairy or some other mythical creature. but really none of them can compare to the way she looks when she's just mina, small and kind of perfect.
he watches her gather her things, tucking them into the leather purse she has clung around her body, before clearing his throat. "mina – hey. i just wanted to say bye."
"oh." she grins and carefully adjusts her bright yellow cardigan, folding the large sleeves up to her elbows. "come in, come in! before we both have to hurry." so mark does as she asks, even closing the door to afford them both a modicum of privacy.
"it was good to see you again."
mina leans against the dressing room counter, backlit by the bright bulbs of the mirror. "come here so i can see you in this light! it's like you've grown up so much since i last saw you." and because he just cannot resist , mark sheepishly stands before her, rubbing his upper arm and scratching beneath the sleeve of his plain white shirt. "ooh, so manly," mina teases, taking his hands again and spreading his arms so she can properly eye the new definition to his torso and the way his round cheeks are slowly giving way to sharp cheekbones. the boyish honey-blond hair can only do so much to distract from the way he's been growing and training himself. "maybe i should be calling you oppa now?"
"nooo," mark groans as he lets his head drop backwards, though he very, very much would like that, thank you. "come on, man!" it comes out in english before he can stop himself and he just looks embarrassed, a flush covering his cheeks.
" man? " she repeats with a lift of her eyebrows.
"i – i …" he laughs and she laughs and he tries to busy himself by looking for something to do, spying a piece of confetti still stuck in her dark hair. so, so tenderly, mark lifts his hand to brush the silver paper away from her wavy strands, moving from root to tip and he thinks he can hear her breath catch in her throat. the confetti is long gone, but his hand boldly lingers, brushing his fingers through her hair, brushing some strands behind her ear.
with the other set of hands still joined, mina uses that to pull him forward as she sits up straighter, confidently lifting her chin. "i missed you too, mark. aaand i think you should kiss me after all these years."
his wide eyes light up at the opening and he leans down to touch his nose to hers so he can watch the way her eyes crinkle, making them both giggle. his hand awkwardly settles on her shoulder as they close the gap between them, her lips so soft with her gloss tasting like orange creamsicles. he can feel the smile on her lips as they exchange a few more innocent pecks before she slides her fingers through his hair to hold him closer, encouraging him to ask for more. it's not his first kiss but he wants to remember every second of it, the flutter of his heartbeat, the way she looks in the too-bright light of her dressing room, so soft and pretty and unreal.
mina's lips part and she makes a soft noise against him as he tentatively licks into her mouth, his hands settling around her small waist. he finds that she likes feeling a little bit of his teeth against her bottom lip and that he really likes her hands in his hair and that he especially likes the smell of her perfume when he buries his face against her neck and hair and leaves sloppy, wet kisses along her throat.
"m-mark," she laughs, pressing her hands against his chest to gently push him away and looking up at him with glassy eyes and flushed cheeks. ( she makes him feel so damn tall, jeez. ) "johnny's calling your name."
right. the car. the dorms. johnny. he nods dumbly and slowly drops his hands from where they had settled on her hips this time. his lips are covered in her orange-pink tinted gloss and there's girl written all over him but he's going to wear that with pride.
"text me later, okay?" she tries to fix his hair but the spray and gel combined with her overeager hands have left him looking electrocuted. and just as well because that's how he feels from the inside out, his entire body thrumming with a new sort of energy that makes him want to run all the way back to his room.
"okay." he nods and smiles dopily as he walks backwards out of her dressing room. "okay, see you."
she likes me .