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Everyday Problems Of Being Spiderman (Vol. 1: Having A Roommate)

It is so fucking hard having a roommate when you’re Spiderman. 

He was so sure that Yukhei was out clubbing with Jaehyun and Johnny tonight, which he had bailed, giving the excuse that he would get murdered by Donghyuck if he skipped bros night in favor of getting laid. On the converse, he told Jeno and Donghyuck that he was going to skip game night to get laid. In response to that, Donghyuck had cheered and said, “Yes, finally, replace that stick up your ass with pipe. Gerrit!”

Maybe Mark should just get better friends. But first, the problem at hand. 

Yukhei was supposed to be flirting with some girl (or guy, Mark knew he was bisexual) at the club, not sitting in Mark’s room on the swivelling office chair like he was on an amusement park ride. Mark watches, frozen, as Yukhei literally oscillates wildly from side to side, unbothered by the motion as he scrolled mindlessly on Instagram. Too bad, Mark didn’t have the stupid spidey sense to notice the swing stop to face the window. 

Now Yukhei sits, gaping at him, mouth wide open, and Mark holds back the classic retort of you’ll catch flies which would totally give him away. Mark still crouches, frozen with his feet firmly on the windowsill and an arm on the wall and another hand on the bottom of the lifted window frame. 

“Spiderman?” 

“Yes?” Mark deepens his voice, mimicking Yukhei’s own. 

“Why are you breaking into my house?” 

Mark presses his teeth onto his tongue, physically preventing himself from retorting, “What are you doing in my room?” Instead, he takes his phone, and passes it to Yukhei. “Your friend dropped this and left before I could catch up to him.”

Yukhei takes it gratefully, but Mark can tell by his downturned mouth that he’s not half-convinced. “You… couldn’t catch up to him?” Mark knows it’s not persuasive, with the webs that allow him to cross great distances easily, swearing inwardly at his own clumsiness. Yukhei continues, voice lifting at the end, “And you somehow knew where this guy lived.”

Mark gulps, saying nothing, hand at the ready to shoot a web that would (hopefully) propel him into the next dimension. Maybe if he swung hard enough, God would save him from this misery. 

“Spiderman, are you…” Yukhei hesitates, and Mark wants to dissolve, afraid of being caught. “Are you in love with Mark Lee?” Mark’s so grateful for the mask that conceals his expression, because under the mask, he’s giving Yukhei a stink eye that could rival the flat look he often received from Taeyong. Yukhei’s naivety and trust in people’s best intentions never failed to surprise him. 

He should berate Yukhei for trusting a stranger so easily, but he kind of needs to keep his identity a secret, so. “Yes,” Mark’s voice comes out strained and even cracks at the end, because he can’t lie to save his life. 

At Mark’s voice falter, Yukhei brightens considerably. “That’s cool,” he says, propping his chin on an open palm, looking at Mark with undivided attention. Mark’s heart sinks. “Did you, like, become a vigilante to watch over Mark? He somehow gets hurt really easily, he’s always bruising somewhere.” The wrinkle in the space between his eyebrows return, and all Mark wants is to reach over and smooth the skin down with a delicate touch. 

Yukhei’s worry for him and the heavy truth he hides from him weighs Mark down, and all he can do is whisper, “You could say that.” 

“I’ll put in a good word for you, then, Spiderman. You should save Huang Renjun too, he looks like his skinny shoulders are about to break from the weight of his thoughts.” 

While it’s not a wrong assessment of Renjun’s personality, it’s far too personal to be casual, and Mark’s heart sinks further. Suddenly, being in the suit is far too suffocating. “Well, I’ll head out first, then. Saving the world and all that.” It’s a lie. Their neighbourhood had many quiet nights, and this was one of them. Probably why he and Yukhei were both intending on retiring to bed early.

“Aren’t you limited to the tri-state area?” Yukhei asks, laughter from the very depths of his chest, booming outwards and capturing the attention of everything in its wake. Mark can’t look away, enamoured. “Take care, Spiderman.” He waves, and resumes oscillating in the office chair, attention wholly on his phone again, like it was a daily occurence to see a superhero.

Mark shoots a web to the neighbouring building, looking back to see if Yukhei had stuck his head out of the window to have his sight follow Spiderman’s path. Yukhei doesn’t, and Mark sighs. As Mark Lee or even Spiderman, he didn’t seem interesting enough for a person as colorful and vibrant as Yukhei Wong. 

He has to change in the musty ass alleyway he stuck his bag to, afraid that Yukhei would still be roaming around freely in their home. He stuffs his suit back in his bag, and runs in the opposite direction to Jeno’s apartment. Known to be more on the clean side, when he shows up at the door, Mark fully expects Jeno to slam it back in his face. His face must spell rejection, though, because despite the disgusted look Renjun throws his way, they open the door a little wider, a reluctant invitation for Mark to come in. 

“Did you get dumped in a dumpster?” Renjun asks, scrunching his nose and shooing Mark away from their ratty couch. 

Mark willfully ignores Donghyuck’s sneer of who invited this guy? and faces Renjun. “Ha ha, your language skills really improved a lot,” he says, not fully insincerely. Maybe he was still wary because of Yukhei’s words about Renjun. So what, sue him. 

He sets his bag down, moving to the kitchen to get a glass of water, or seven. No one had warned him about the amount of effort and sweat it took to be Spiderman. 

The problem truly begins when Jeno resumes his caring nature. He’d always been one to take care of Mark, making sure Mark wasn’t slacking off on his housework and had enough clean clothes for the week. Any other time, Mark would be grateful, or maybe even regretful that he allowed Jeno’s habit of cleaning after him to cultivate. 

Jeno’s already at his bag, rummaging, and no enhanced superpower could ever get Mark to stop him fast enough. “Mark-hyung, where’s your little handkerchief? I’ll throw it in the washing machine with the rest of your clothes later.”  

He freezes as Jeno pulls out his crumpled red and black onesie, Spiderman mask holding on for dear life onto the suit's fabric but ending up sliding across the floor, landing right in front of Mark’s feet. Renjun and Donghyuck stop too, at a loss at the turn of events. He places his palms outwards, a silent plea for them to listen to him. “I can explain?” 

“Wow, Mark hyung, we never knew you liked to cosplay as our local university superhero.” Donghyuck says, voice monotonous, and Mark cannot tell whether he’s joking. 

“…Surprise?”

Renjun falls to the floor, but this time, Mark uses his enhanced speed to catch him before he hits the floor. It gives him away completely, and Donghyuck grimaces. “So, when were you going to tell us that you were Spiderman?” 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Problems of Being Spiderman (Vol. 2: The World is So Damn Small)

Around a week later, Mark, Yukhei, Jaemin and Chenle are gathered at the cafe near their university where Yukhei did part-time work. "Sorry I'm late," Mark says, plopping into the seat next to Chenle, who pats his back sadly. He’s out of breath, having run across campus just to make sure he didn’t let the others wait too long. No matter how long he had been Spiderman for, his stamina still remained the same as before. 

"That's okay, hyung," Chenle says, the usual grin lost from his face. "It's not the worst thing in the world."

Yukhei, who sits beside Jaemin, shakes his head at Chenle's lacklustre reaction. He was technically supposed to be on shift, but the owner, Kun, was lenient towards his employees whenever there weren’t many customers around. Currently, the cafe was empty save for them and a few regulars who Mark recognized from all the times he visited Yukhei at work. But it was Tuesday afternoon, which gave Mark a few hours before Yukhei’s usual gaggle of high school admirers would drop by and watch Yukhei do work at the counter. 

But before that, he was determined to understand Chenle’s devastated mood. "What's wrong with him?" Mark whispers to Jaemin, who sips on his almost pitch black drink without a single care in the world. Chenle's hair is orange, and while the bright hair was not out of the ordinary, Mark had seen him yesterday with yellow hair, and Chenle only changed his hair color when he was depressed. That meant-- 

"His crush kicked him into the pool. Really horrible stuff. Full of shit, really." Jaemin says this almost joyfully, and Chenle groans and puts his hands into his hair, pulling the strands. 

"The problem wasn't that he kicked me. It was that he ran away right after and just left me some clothes to change when I wanted to talk to him like a normal person. Now he can't even look me in the eyes." Chenle sighs, shoulders slumping forward, and it’s Mark’s turn to pat him on the back. 

Jaemin leans forward, noisily slurping his Americano. “Maybe he has a secret identity and you were about to accidentally expose him.” He cackles at his own suggestion, and is joined by Yukhei’s own loud laughter. Yukhei slings a loose arm around the back of Jaemin’s chair, and grins at Mark. 

“Like Spiderman?” The way he looks directly into Mark’s eyes sets him on edge, and Mark scoots forward in his chair, ready to defend himself. Nothing of that sort happens. Yukhei mentions offhandedly, “I met him the other day. His voice was so deep, and he told me he had a crush on--” 

Mark gulps down his watermelon drink, nervous at the next possible words and thinking about excuses to change the topic. He bounces his leg impatiently, and Chenle puts a hand on his leg, stopping the anxious rhythm Mark’s created. He hopes that Chenle’s next words-- hopefully about his own apparently unrequited crush-- will save him.

Chenle only digs Mark’s grave deeper. “Wait, he has a deep voice? Are you sure you met the real Spiderman and not some knock off cosplayer?”

“Spiderman actually has cosplayers?” Mark asks, mouth falling open.

“You don’t get the attention of all the girls in school without earning a bunch of jealous copycats.” Jaemin says, shaking his head. “Chenle and I were walking home after doing some shopping and passed by Spiderman swinging overhead while chasing a robber.” 

“He was shouting you will soon marvel at the might of Spiderman! like a child playing cat-and-mouse games. It was kinda hilarious, but I feel bad for the lady whose stuff got snatched from him.” Chenle’s voice remains nonchalant and he even tries to sneak a piece of Jaemin’s cookie placed on the table.

Jaemin slaps his hand away, and frowns at Chenle's iteration the memory. He clarifies, “His voice wasn’t really low or deep? Kind of boyish, actually? Or… Well, I don’t know how to explain it.” Mark sighs in relief and laughs, heart a little more carefree, heart filling with a false hope that the topic had been dropped and they had collectively given up trying to ascertain Spiderman's identity. Chenle throws his empty sugar packet at Jaemin, who ducks and loudly complains.

But Jaemin isn't quite done yet. After picking up the fallen litter, he looks at Mark almost accusingly, and exclaims, “His voice actually sounds like Mark-hyung’s?” 

The intonation of uncertainty is enough leeway for Mark to weasel his way out of the claim, hands at the ready to wave it off as a groundless thought, a piece of misinformation, but Yukhei beats him to it. “No, that can’t be right. I’m sure I met Spiderman. And I swear he told me he had a crush on Mark.”

“Maybe he was having a sore throat when you met him,” Jaemin says. “And are we sure that Mark-hyung is above using his own name to get out of situations like these?” He rocks his chair forward, face close to Mark’s analyzing his every expression.

Chenle makes an encouraging wooh! sound conspiratorially, obviously joking, but Mark feels light-headed. Weakly, he waves the claims off, and almost drops his cup as he lifts it to take a sip of his drink. That seems to placate Jaemin, as Yukhei merely beckons to the act without a word. The slip-up was apparently enough testament to Mark's lacking agility. 

“Whoever he is,” Yukhei says, “I might have a crush on him.”

Mark almost drops his cup again, and Chenle clicks his tongue against his teeth, tittering at Mark’s sudden clumsiness. Jaemin shakes his head, unbothered by Mark’s reaction. “Dude, get in line. Jeno’s got tons of Spiderman merchandise in his room. He's actually hellbent on marrying him."

At that, Mark actually goes pale.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Problems of Being Spiderman (Vol. 3: The Neighbourhood You Protect Also Happens To Be The One You Live In)

Mark remembers the day that Chenle and Jaemin had witnessed him chasing a man pretty vividly. The man had pickpocketed a wallet out of an unsuspecting lady’s bag skillfully, and Mark had shouted, “Pickpocket!” in an attempt to warn her. Instead of catching him immediately, an unintended effect took place and he had alerted the pickpocket that someone was onto his crime, allowing the thief to take off. 

Perhaps Mark should’ve used the pickpocket’s method and stealthily trapped him before letting him know that Spiderman was onto him. But it was too late, then, and Mark had no choice but to swing after the thief, but not before reassuring the lady that Mar-- err, Spiderman-- was on the case! (Which was why he had yelled you will soon marvel at the might of Spiderman!. Looking back, maybe it wasn’t the coolest phrase to shout, and did not provide any solid reassurance at all.)

Unfortunately for Mark (and the perpetrator), they were both fast but kept a small distance between them, just because the thief had a head start. This meant they were at it for a while, the pickpocket randomly throwing things in what he had hoped was Mark’s way, but was eventually just street litter. Once Mark had caught the man, he recognized him as one of the quiet people who sat at the back of church service every week. Mark was disappointed, initially about to berate the man for betraying God’s commandments. The man had beat Mark to the talking and excuses, though, pouring his entire life story and how he really didn’t want to steal but his son had nothing to eat for lunch tomorrow, and he was growing desperate. 

Mark was soft. This was one thing that he couldn’t shake off even after all the time he had spent as Spiderman. He was a guardian for their small neighbourhood, not an authoritarian figure, so instead, Mark told him to pass him the wallet he had stolen so Spiderman could return it to its rightful owner, and for the man to come over to Bae’s Baekery to get some food in the morning. 

Mentally, Mark had already been counting how much of his allowance would have to go in paying for this man’s breakfast and to keep Bae Jinyoung from asking questions about his identity. 

He was about to pass off the incident as a rare occurrence and move on, ready to take off after retrieving the stolen wallet to return it to the shocked lady from earlier. But the man pulls Mark into a hug, and he can feel the man shaking, mumbling apologies and crying with remorse. He walks home with a heavy heart, overwhelmed by the spectrum of emotions people felt because of his actions. The lady whose wallet he returned had given him a brief hug with a few taps on the back, repeating words of gratitude about how he had gone out of his way to help an old lady like her. 

When Mark came home that night, dragging his feet from the restless night, Yukhei had welcomed him with open arms, silently letting Mark melt in his embrace. That was one of the few emotionally charged days that actually drained him, but simultaneously had reminded him of the very reason why he was still Spiderman. No matter how long the day way, as long as he had Yukhei to come home to, everything was worth it, and it would all be okay in the morning. 

He very much prefers those type of days to quiet nights, though. Tonight is one of those nights, and Mark has his feet planted on the wall of the building across from his own apartment, crouched over. There are no sounds out of the ordinary, the neighbourhood unusually still, save for the occasional acceleration of an expensive car. People who look up and see him watching get startled and curse, sometimes flipping him off for scaring them. Mark does nothing but flash them a peace sign in return. 

He sighs, frowning. “I hate quiet nights.” He puts his chin over his folded knees, hugging them close. “Do people even know how much effort it takes to come out here?” He peers down at a man who almost drops his grocery bags upon seeing Mark’s silhouette. 

It’s silence that stretches on for what seems like hours, but Mark watches every person strolling until they turn the corner. No one bothers to make small talk, or even give a friendly wave. It makes sense, in a way. No one would want to interact with a not-even vigilante, only a young man in a spider suit and a mask. No one except--

“Spiderman!” Mark looks down to see Yukhei pulling (or being pulled by? Mark’s too far up the building to see clearly) a large white samoyed. “Come say hi to Milk.” Mark all but slides down the building wall, leaving a cloud of dust pillowing upwards into the dark sky. 

The soles of his feet feel like they’re on fire from the friction. Mark thinks of something along the lines of but it’s nothing compared to the burning of my heart whenever I’m standing in front of Yukhei , but he’ll never admit it. He leans down to pat the dog, who excitedly tries to lift his front paws to meet Mark halfway. 

Mark almost forgets he’s Spiderman, leaning down too close and Milk’s tongue coming to lick at the mask. That isn’t the problem; it’s that Milk also raises a paw to pat Mark’s face, and one of his nails catches on the fabric of Mark’s mask, pulling it off where it’s snugly tugged over his face. Yukhei lunges forward, gently reeling Milk back and away from Mark. He’s careful after that, bending down to return Milk’s energy but never again putting himself in a compromising position. 

He’s thankful for Yukhei’s own consideration, looking up to smile at his best friend. He knows Yukhei can’t see his expression, but he hopes he can tell, anyway. “What are you doing out so late?” Mark asks, not bothering to deepen his voice as much, guard down because he’s with Yukhei. He tilts his head to study Yukhei’s expression a little more. “It’s dangerous for civilians to be out alone so late.”

Yukhei waggles a finger at Mark. “Hey, I didn’t ask you any questions, why are you allowed to ask me!” Mark laughs along with him, and then they share a few seconds of comfortable silence. Then Yukhei places his hands in his pockets, suddenly staring at Mark straight in the face. “And anyway, I wasn’t alone,” says Yukhei, rushed, pointing at Milk. “I have this baby here. And if not me, then who’s going to keep you company?” 

“It must be lonely being Spiderman.” Yukhei continues, and it suddenly feels too personal, and Mark takes a step back, crouching again to avoid Yukhei’s eyes on him, training his eyes on Milk instead. Milk seems to be able to sense the mood shift, too, suddenly sitting obediently with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. Yukhei releases a breath, not taking his eyes off of Mark. “If it means anything, I’m grateful for you.” 

Coming from you, it means everything-- this much Mark can admit to himself. But instead, like the friendly neighbourhood Spiderman that he is, he smiles instead, and says, “Thank you, kind civilian.” Or more like an emotionally constipated idiot, depending on who you ask. 

The snort of laughter that Yukhei lets out, which startles Milk into a barking frenzy, is worth every damn minute of Mark looking like a fool, though.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Problems of Being Spiderman (Vol. 3.5: Loneliness.)

Mark protects his neighbourhood fiercely, feeling a sense of obligation to protect the place he calls home because he has the ability to. Sometimes being Spiderman lightened his burdens, especially on days where he’s confused about who he is and his place in the community. But on nights where he can’t distinguish between his duties as Spiderman and as Mark Lee, first and foremost, the identity does nothing but suffocate him. 

Tonight is one of those nights. 

He has never claimed to be righteous, but when one of his actions to safeguard his home and neighbours have once again caused more harm than good, Mark can’t help but feel a deep sense of shame, mixing with regret. He should’ve never taken up the responsibility when he could never handle the role, when he was so damn far from capable--

“Mark?” Two raps on his bedroom door. “You haven’t come out of your room all day. Can I come in?” 

Closing his eyes, Mark takes deep breaths, trying to even out his breathing to sell the act that he had fallen asleep. Being a college student was hard work, he was sure that this excuse Yukhei could buy. At the lack of an answer, Yukhei sighs loudly. Mark can hear him through the thin walls, the sound amplified because his bed was right next to the door. Mark grits his teeth, eyes tightly shut. Hot tears escape regardless, his attempts at concealing his feelings futile. 

“Okay. Then, I’ll just stay with you here.” He stays outside, and Mark can imagine Yukhei taking a seat outside his door, long legs folded to tuck his knees under his chin, akin to Mark’s vigilante posture. “Keep you company.” 

Silence has never been commonplace with Mark and Yukhei, much less so in their shared apartment. Even mere moments before Yukhei had knocked on Mark’s door, Chenle and Jisung had been over in the living room, excitedly watching basketball match reruns. Mark should have been there, but he couldn't bear to get up and face his friends. His heart was still pounding, taking him to the worst crevices of his imagination. 

But when Yukhei couldn’t stop laughing when he found out that Jisung had been the kid who kicked Chenle into the pool, that at least made Mark feel a little better. But Mark still was processing the strange, twisted feeling in his chest.

The truth was this: being Spiderman was a lonely job. The nature of the job meant that he had to take up the role alone, to prevent his loved ones from getting hurt. It was also painful to know that he couldn’t help some people, or that he’d done more damage despite his good intentions. It was tiring being Spiderman.

But at this moment, he was just Mark Lee. He was just a boy covered by his heavy blanket with the lights turned off in his room, the only source of light being the open window which allowed the dim street lamps to illuminate his room with a soft glow. 

He knew what Yukhei was telling him by giving him space yet sitting outside his room in solidarity. Maybe Spiderman was alone, but Mark didn’t have to be. 

“Xuxi…” Mark calls out softly, secretly hoping Yukhei wouldn’t be able to hear. If he didn’t, Mark could continue to pretend his heart didn’t ache from loneliness, that he wasn’t crumbling from all the secrets and quiet hurts he had been nursing and wasn’t quite ready to let go of. 

In a flash, Yukhei’s up on his feet, opening Mark’s door just the slightest bit, so that only a sliver of light from their hallway could come in. He lies on his side and raises his blanket, a silent invitation, and Yukhei walks over so lightly and carefully, as if he was afraid that any sudden sounds or movement would scare Mark off. 

Mark moves backwards until his back hits the wall, body curled inward slightly. He expected Yukhei to face the ceiling, a solid presence next to Mark, but Yukhei faces him, spreading his arms so that Mark could fill the space. So Mark crawls forward, arms hugging himself but body so close to Yukhei that he can feel Yukhei’s body heat. 

Yukhei’s hand hovers over Mark’s waist, and he hesitantly asks, “Do you need a hug?” 

It’s reflex to say no, to act like Yukhei is overreacting and that Mark is just tired or sleepy or sick. Okay, maybe the last one would be hard to believe, especially since Mark’s immune system was so strong that he hadn’t fallen ill even once during his time in college. It wasn't Mark's immune system that was currently down, but it was his defensive behaviour, finally allowing Yukhei to see him in a vulnerable state.

“Please,” Mark says, and he sniffs while saying it. Yukhei’s hand comes to rest on the side of Mark’s back, patting gently in a steady rhythm. Mark’s starting to get sleepy, emotional exhaustion taking over his body. It’s a rare moment where he actually feels safe and relaxed. Yukhei hummed softly, his hand on Mark's waist making him feel grounded. Mark had never considered it before, but in his hazy, half-asleep mind, he makes the connection-- Yukhei’s proximity and Mark’s tranquility were directly proportional, and Mark finds it impossible not to fall in love with Yukhei. 

Yukhei’s voice is lower than usual, and Mark focuses on the sound. His brain registers the noises his ears pick up happening a few buildings away, and the loud revving of a passing motorcycle and the cry for attention of a baby. Despite all that, he closes his eyes, and focuses solely on Yukhei. 

“It’s fine not to save everyone all the time. There’s only one of you. It doesn’t make you worth any less, or make what you do any less important.” 

It’s too specific to be just for college student Mark, and he would pay more attention and be more alarmed. But at the moment, with Yukhei’s voice as his lullaby, saying words of reassurance that he’s been desperate to hear since the first time he decided to be Spiderman, Mark can’t bring himself to care. Instead of feeling antsy at his secret being found out, Mark feels relieved, and his fingers curl around Yukhei’s shirt, cloth bunching up in his closed fist. 

“You must get lonely, sometimes, Mark,” Yukhei whispers. 

It’s a fact, because all humans experience the emotion, but it feels sentimental. Mark can’t help the tears that burn the back of his eyes, trying his best not to let them escape even though his eyes are already closed. The gentle tapping of Yukhei’s fingertips on the back of Mark’s ribcage, which start from his pinky down to his thumb, don’t falter, not even for a moment. Mark wonders where Yukhei gets the courage to be so consistently emotionally vulnerable, to read Mark and reveal all of his own feelings in return.

It’s so easy to forget that Yukhei goes through what Mark does, too. Yukhei who is like Mark in their physical distance from their homes, away from their childhood spaces that should provide solace during the difficult times. Yukhei, who is further from Mark in the language, would somehow feel alone for long moments, too. But in the midst of all the slowly growing distances between familiar and new, they hold on to each other. 

I’m here for you. 

Mark doesn’t say it aloud, but he moves closer, finding Yukhei’s hand in the dark and intertwining their fingers. The physical touch easing each of their doubts, a silent minute of tenderness. 

When Mark wakes up in the morning, Yukhei is still there.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday Problems of Being Spiderman (Vol. 4: Forgetting You’re Spiderman)

They don’t talk about that night. 

Mark doesn’t know if he should be satisfied by the way nothing has changed, because it’s given him an opportunity to think about his feelings-- or, as Donghyuck snidely puts it when he finds out what transpired on that night: hide. 

“You know, for someone who has no problem swinging from Namsan Tower, you’re a coward.” Donghyuck says, as Jaemin shushes him for fear of the words discouraging Mark. 

The words are true to an extent. Mark has always fared better when he’s faced with the problem without time to think or consider running away, when he’s no choice but to face what’s incoming head on. Maybe Yukhei knew that, too, which was why he looked for a time where Mark would be out of it, perhaps even out of it enough to confess his truths. 

He’s just run after yet another dog whose collar got inexplicably unchained from its attached leash and returned her to her owner, scaling the side of the apartment building across from his own home to take a breather. It was where he always stayed to stake out the neighbourhood for any suspicious activity. If he was being honest, he also thought that Yukhei might pass him by, just like the time he was walking Chenle’s dog. Somewhere they have already had contact, a place that Yukhei would cross and be reminded of Spiderman.  

He’s considering all the different ways Yukhei could surprise him by dropping by. He’s even got one where Yukhei is also a Spiderman, in a white and black colored suit to complement Mark’s red and black one. He’s so absorbed in the endless scenarios he's imagined that he doesn’t realize how Yukhei was literally looming above him, leaning over the ledge of the roof, a few meters above where Mark was stuck to the wall.

“Hey, Mark.” Yukhei says, tone bored, just like the one he uses to greet Mark when he comes home during examination periods.

“Hey, Xuxi,” Mark replies absentmindedly, waving half heartedly. It’s routine, and his brain does not register anything out of the ordinary, mind stuck on the image of Yukhei in a skin-tight monochrome spidersuit. 

“Do your feet stick to the wall, or are those your boots? I could never tell.” 

“Yeah, it’s my--” Mark’s brain finally catches up to the reality of the situation, and he gets up, momentarily forgetting that he was now standing horizontally, perpendicular to the vertical wall. Yukhei lets out a loud Woah! at the demonstration of how well Mark could actually stick to any given surface. “Wait.” He makes a movie-type slow turn to glare at Yukhei, shocked out of his mind at the live confrontation of his biggest secret. He slowly climbs up the wall, swinging his body over the ledge so his feet firmly hit the tiles on the roof. 

“Hi, SpiderMark. It’s me, Huang Xuxi.” Yukhei introduces himself like he’s new to a class, smile casual like he hadn’t just revealed Mark’s alter ego. “I finally got a way to keep you company properly.” He spreads his arms, showing off the ledge of the building’s roof. He climbs and sits on it, legs dangling off the edge without a single sign of fear. Mark sighs, accepting defeat easily. What was the point in denying it from his best friend? 

“Everyone’s going to know I’m Spiderman if you keep hanging out with me.” It’s a feeble attempt at pushing away Yukhei’s impending frequent visits.

“Not unless I spread the rumor that Spiderman has a crush on you.” Yukhei replies easily, not even blinking at Mark’s half-hearted attempt at distance. “Which, for the record, wasn’t created by me. I heard it from Spiderman himself.”

“I will kick you off this ledge.” Mark threatens him. Yukhei shrugs, grinning at Mark and tilting his chin upwards, challenging Mark to actually do it. Mark groans in frustration, raising a fist at Yukhei faux threateningly. “You should be at least a little scared!”

Yukhei looks puzzled. “Why? I’ve caught feelings for you, so the least you can do is catch me, too.” 

Mark laughs at the greasy statement, shaking his head in disbelief at Yukhei’s antics. Yukhei should tease Mark for his lack of protests, but he doesn't. If he notices that Mark scoots a little closer to him so that their shoulders touch, he doesn’t mention it either. They sit close together on the ledge, watching the neighbourhood in its rare moments of tranquility, until it wakes and comes alive. 

When the sun rises and Mark steps back onto the tiles to change back into his civilian clothes from his costume, like always, Yukhei is still there.