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Baby, We Swim With Sharks

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Mark walked into the cool, air-conditioned lobby and immediately sneezed.  

 

Temperature differences , he grumbled to himself, sniffling with a scrunch of his nose, Gotta hate ‘em .

 

With a quick glance around, he picked out the main desk from amongst the three in the ridiculously elaborate lobby space, walking towards it with a hint of the rush his delivery get-up and bag of take-out would warrant.  Plastering a breathless smile on his face, he half-tugged his face mask down and ducked his head, letting the cap he was wearing cover his eyes. 

 

“Hi, um, I have a delivery for,” he checked the receipt where a name had been scribbled in Kun’s neat script, “a Kang Joonyoung?”

 

The woman behind the desk glanced up at him long enough to register his uniform (borrowed), the nervous smile (carefully kept in place), and the bag of savory smelling food (real and his lunch once everything was over), before waving Mark through. 

 

“Third elevator on the right, 14th floor.”

 

Mark bowed, muttered a hurried thank you, and headed in the direction she’d pointed, making sure he blended with a group as he passed by the lobby security station.  He needed to be forgettable, a delivery guy amongst many during the lunch rush. Otherwise they might as well have gone with Jeno’s plan and been done with it all by now. 

 

Mark waited in the elevator as the other people in it slowly got off at their respective stops, watching the digital numbers slowly ascend until they got to the 14th.

 

The doors opened on a receptionist desk with a small receiving space, and a single office walled off by frosted glass.  Mark smiled. 

 

Just like Doyoung said.  

 

“Hi,” Mark said, stepping off the elevator and approaching the desk, making a show of checking the receipt again, playing the part, “delivery for...Kang Joonyoung?”

 

The receptionist, a young woman in her mid twenties, sniffed subtly at the food with hunger and longing in her eyes, humming.  “Yeah, he’s expecting it. One second.”

 

With a small, barely there sigh, the receptionist stood and went to knock gently on the office’s door.  When she came back it was to nod at Mark, telling him, “Mr. Kang will be right out to sign for it,” before dropping back into her chair, returning to whatever she’d been doing before Mark walked onto the floor.

 

Good.  That’s what he wanted.

 

Mark waited as “right out” turned into a rude ten minutes.  If he’d actually been here to deliver food, he would’ve either said something by this point, or left.  As it was, Mark had all the time in the world. Well. Almost. He had until Jeno got too cramped up in his hiding spot and buzzed him with a ten second warning.

 

Eventually, once Mark had politely declined a seat once and an offer by the receptionist to sign in her boss’ place — coming up with a smooth lie about a fictional fraud incident — Kang Joonyoung deigned to step out of his office and grace them all with his presence.

 

Mark’s lips twitched in a barely there grimace.  Kang Joonyoung, somehow, looked greasier in person than he did in photos, the smile he directed Mark’s way unapologetic and wholly condescending.

 

Fraud, money-laundering, bribery, embezzlement, and, the one that put him on their radar: a young mother with mottled bruises, a little girl at her side, and a fierce protective fire in her eyes.

 

Mark’s muscles itched to move.  To strike. Energy thrumming through them in anticipation.

 

Not yet.  Not yet.

 

“Sorry ‘bout the wait,” the older man said, holding out his hand for the food and receipt.  “Had a call. Forgot I’d ordered in today.”

 

He ended his excuse with a markedly fake laugh.

 

Mark smiled, eyes curving up.  With a thumb, he pressed the simple signal button Taeil had whipped up years before, knowing that somewhere just above them, Jeno’s receiver was buzzing.

 

Thirty seconds starting now.

 

“No problem,” Mark said, holding out the receipt and a pen, making it clear in the way he stood that the man would need to come closer to take it.  “Just need your signature.”

“Right, right, of course.”

 

The man walked over, taking the pen and scrap of paper acting as a receipt stand-in, and moved over to the receptionist desk.  

 

...fifteen, fourteen, thirteen...

 

It took a second for Joonyoung to register that what he’d been given wasn’t a real receipt, frowning down at the piece of paper with nothing but his name on it with a confused squint.

 

“Hey.”

 

...eight, seven, six…

 

He straightened up, turning to Mark, anger brewing clear in his eyes.  “The fuck is this? There’s nothi-”

 

...one.

 

Jeno dropped from the air vent, landing with a solid thud.

 

“Wha-”

 

Jeno struck lightning quick, pulling the receptionist into a firm sleeper hold, expression calm as the young woman struggled against his hold, nails digging into the fabric of his fitted long-sleeve.  Mark, in the same breath, drew the gun holstered at his back, leveling it at a stunned Joonyoung, cocking it with a click.

 

“What?” Joonyoung squeaked, face draining of all color.

 

“Evening, Mr. Kang,” Mark smiled.  “Apologize about the fuss, but I imagine you know why we’re here?”

 

The man shook his head, looking for the world like a distressed bobble-head.

 

“Oh,” Mark pouted, plastering on an expression of mock disappointment, “I don’t think that’s true.”

 

Keeping his gun pointed right at center mass and gaze locked on the target, Mark placed the bag of food he was still holding on the receptionist desk, using his free hand to pull the packet of photos and papers he’d tucked in his waistband out.  He waved it at the older man before tossing them over with a flick of his wrist.

 

“Sixteen,” Mark said as Kang Joonyoung opened the packet with shaking hands, eyes nervously flicking between Mark, the gun, and Jeno — who was looming off to the side like a softly smiling shadow, dressed in all black as he was.  “Wanna guess what that means?”

 

Another shake of his head.

 

Mark’s smile turned more dangerous even as it seemed to soften, speaking at the same time that Joonyoung managed to get the first picture out.  “It’s the amount of bones ‘accidentally’ broken or fractured between your wife and daughter.”

 

Joonyoung flinched, letting out a startled yelp, dropping the picture in his hand like it burned him.  The simple, sterile snapshot of a little girl at a hospital with a black eye and oddly bent arm fluttered to the perfectly polished floor.  Joonyoung stared at the packet still held in a white-knuckled grip with dawning horror flashing across his features. There were twenty more pictures like that one of his daughter neatly tucked away in there.  Mark had counted.

 

“Still don’t know why we’re here?” Mark asked, voice low.

 

“Please,” Joonyoung begged, knees wobbling until they gave out entirely, hitting the hardwood floor with a painful sounding thunk .  “I didn’t- it’s not- they-”

 

Jeno, moving with the quiet grace of a predator zeroing in on its next meal, came to wrap his arms around Mark’s waist from behind.  He rested his chin on Mark’s shoulder with a hum, and Mark could just make out the slight, considering pout of his lips.

 

“I know we agreed on a less mess approach this time,” he started, voice a low purr that had alarm bells ringing in Mark’s head.

 

“But?” Mark asked, tone wry.  

 

He’d probably regret playing along, but, it was Jeno. And if he was weak for anything, it was Jeno.

 

“But,” Jeno drew out, tilting his head to nip at Mark’s ear, warm breath fanning out against the sensitive skin there.  “What if, you let me have a nibble.”

 

Mark snorted.  Oh boy.

 

“This is supposed to be a clean job,” he said, smiling down at the man kneeling before them, looking scared and confused.  “It won’t be clean if you go for a ‘nibble’.”

 

“I can be clean.”

 

“Remember last time?”

 

“I can try to be clean,” Jeno amended, sliding around so he was facing Mark from the side, lowering his head to gently bite at Mark’s shoulder, his biceps, working his way down to Mark’s forearm before he bit in with more purpose.  He bat his lashes up at Mark, ignoring a progressively more disconcerted Kang Joonyoung. “Just a bite.”

 

“You’ll get a stomach ache eating that ,” Mark said, blunt.  

 

Kang Joonyoung jumped, whimpering.

 

Jeno licked over where he’d bitten, uncaring of the fact that there was clothing in the way.  His pupils were blown out, spreading past the bounds of his irises, filling up the whites of his eyes until two pools of glittering black were staring up at Mark from under a thick frame of feathery lashes.

 

Mark sighed.  Damn it. Why did Jeno have to be so pretty?  It was such an unfair advantage.

 

“Fine,” Mark relented.  He was never any good at saying no to Jeno anyway.  “A bite.”

 

Jeno grinned, a perfectly handsome smile with perfectly straight teeth.  It sent a shiver of fear racing down Mark’s spine. He smiled back, chest swelling with affection.  God he loved him.

 

They turned their full focus back to Kang Joonyoung, looking between them with fear-filled eyes.  He noticed Jeno’s eyes, inhuman in every way, and outright sobbed.

 

Please .”

 

Mark snorted.  "No."

 

Jeno was on him before he could even scream, almost six feet of graceful, compact muscle tackling the quivering man to the ground.

 

Joonyoug let out a pained gurgle, Jeno going for his throat with a wet crunch.  The man's feet thrashed, designer shoes scuffing on the smooth wood floor. And then he went still.

 

Mark hummed, tucking his gun away now that it was no longer necessary, pulling out the disposable phone he'd been given before the job, firing off a text.  ' Job's done.'

 

"Next time," Mark said, speaking to the sudden quiet of the room, tone light and matter-of-fact, "don't beat your wife and kid."



◄||



Mark realized he wasn't quite like the other kids early on.  Wasn't hard, really. Kind of stands out if your bone pops back into place on it's own after you break it (falling from a tree he shouldn't have been climbing in the first place, but that wasn't important).  Stands out even more if the bone had been poking out of skin, pale white and smattered with vibrantly red blood.

 

It's something he never tells anyone, terrified of what it could mean, his little eight year-old mind spinning with horrible thoughts of government sanctioned abduction and men in surgical masks ready to cut him open for science.

 

(He'd find out later that he wasn't that far off.  The cold, hard truth just shoring up his trust in his own instincts.)

 

So, he didn't tell.  Hasn't told. Managing to fly well under the radar as buddy-to-all-friend-to-none right up until all that goes to shit.

 

He'd just wanted to help.  A girl he recognized from the cafe he always went to was being cornered, two men reeking of booze backing her into an alley wall with matching leers.  Mark had shouted, gotten their attention, and then taken a knife straight to the gut.

 

Some instinct he hadn't even known existed had kicked in, then, a growl ripping from his throat as he'd yanked the short blade out -- a cheap ass butterfly knife --  and shoved it, hard , into the first man's chest.  It'd gone through bone, crunching straight through to soft, vital organ.

 

The man had gone down to the stunned whimper of his friend, who watched in horror as Mark's stab wound healed and closed under his torn shirt, while his asshole of a buddy sputtered and died.

 

"Fuck," Mark had sighed, staring down at his bloody hands as if he couldn't quite believe they were his.  The now frightened man, quivering where he stood, pulled out a gun from behind his back. Only when he held it out with shaking arms, pointing it at Mark's chest, did Mark notice the tattoo on one wrist.  Ah .  If Mark's memory and the numerous rumors he'd heard were serving him well, that particular ugly ass tattoo belonged to the local gang.  Mark sighed again. " Fuck."

 

" Shit ," the girl -- Yeri, he's was almost sure her name was Yeri -- hissed.

 

Yeah, Mark thought as the man pulled the safety down with an audible click.  Shit.

 

Getting shot hurt.  Mark learned later to work through that pain.  To move, fight, claw his way past it.  But then? Fucking hell.  It'd felt like getting slammed in the chest with a fucking sledgehammer and stabbed straight through with a spike.  At the same time.

 

It was fan fucking tastic, and it'd left Mark gasping wetly for air, the bullet having gone through and through, taking chunks of his lung with it.

 

He'd hit the dirty asphalt with a jarring thud, body on fire.  Yeri screamed obscenities above him, oddly defiant and vicious in the face of imminent danger.

 

Again, later , Mark would find out that Yeri was very skilled, very deadly, and very much not in the danger he'd thought she'd been in.  In the moment, though, he'd thought she was about to be killed by a gun waving idiot.

 

So he'd forced himself up, chest piecing itself back together, small cracking sounds coming from the wound as bone and muscle snapped back into place protectively over freshly whole lung.  The sobered up gangster had looked like he was going to be sick. He looked, hah, like he'd seen a ghost.

 

“M-Monster,” the gangster whimpered.

 

Mark pursed his lips and scrunched his face.  He didn’t like how that sounded.

 

“Monster!”

 

And then Yeri, having shuffled to the side while Mark was unwittingly playing the part of decoy, was whacking the older man over the head with the top of a garbage can.

 

Mark stared dumbly, jaw slack.  His gaze went from the downed gangster to Yeri, looking annoyed more than anything, and then back to the unconscious man.

 

“I- You- That- Did you even need help?”

 

Yeri blew a stray strand of hair away from her face with a puff of air, looking up to regard Mark with a look that was equal parts assessing as it was wary.

 

“No. But I appreciate the thought. Say,” her eyes slid down to the blood stained hole in Mark’s shirt, directly over the right side of his chest, “I didn’t hallucinate you getting shot, did I?”

 

Mark eyed the casual grip she still had on the garbage can lid.  “Um, no,” he cleared his throat, “no, you didn’t. Haha, wild, huh?”

 

Yeri’s lips had twitched, eyes flashing with a sharp, excited glint.  “Yeah, wild .”



|►



Mark, back when he was a fledgling contract killer tucked firmly under the wings of more skilled assets — Taeyong’s newly established agency full of mother hen-like assassins and former intelligence agents — got to go on his first, sort of, solo mission three months after being recruited.

 

It was a simple job: transport a package from Point A to Point B.  He was accompanied by Yuta and Johnny (who Mark had had a painfully obvious crush on) as a sort of back-up, the two having overseen the bulk of Mark’s field training.

 

They’d meet their contacts at the drop point and take charge of the package, transporting it in an unmarked van.  Should trouble arise, they were to neutralize it.

 

Easy enough.

 

At least, until they arrived and saw that the package, contrary to Mark’s original assumption, wasn’t some easy to carry box but a giant ass crate.  A crate with holes and something snarling inside. Oh, and then there were the men with guns, who pulled up with military grade ammunition to shoot at their team and their contacts.

 

“What the fuck is in that package?” Mark had all but shouted, ringing in his ears fading as his ear drums healed, bullet holes closing up on his shoulder and all along his left thigh.  His heart was racing and he could feel the adrenaline pumping through his veins, adding to the jittery anxiety already roiling in his stomach.  “And why the fuck did those people want it so badly?”

 

“That,” Yuta growled, cocking his gun and jamming it under one of their contact’s jaw — the only one still alive, “was not a rhetorical question, asshole.”

 

“Careful,” Johnny warned from the driver’s seat of the transport truck they’d escaped in.  “We need him to own up to his company’s fuck up so we don’t take the heat for this absolute shitstorm of a situation.”

 

The man they’d taken, one of the three they were supposed to meet for the initial hand-off, made a vaguely distressed sound, cowering in the face of the very real danger he was still in.  Because Yuta had a temper. A well controlled one, but a temper, fiery and sharp as a knife. A temper that being ambushed on a job that was supposed to be easy tended to ignite.

 

“Please,” he sniffled, “I can’t- if my bosses find out, I’ll be a dead man.”

 

Yuta grinned, all teeth, eyes flashing with an almost manic light.  He looked pissed off and dangerous, and that was before you factored in the gun in his very steady hand.

 

“I promise you, you’ll be a dead man now if you don’t give us some answers.”

 

“That wasn’t part of the deal,” the man almost snapped, frowning despite his circumstances. 

 

Stupid move, in Mark’s opinion.

 

Yuta shrugged, pressing the gun harder into the soft skin under the man’s jaw.  “Neither was a small para-military force showing up, and yet, here we are.”

 

The man tried to stare down Yuta with an expression caught somewhere between fear and indignation, as if he was somehow above being interrogated like this by mercenaries, but too scared to say so.

 

Mark eyed him with a look of narrow-eyed judgement.  Fucking coward.

 

“You know what,” Yuta said, tapping his gun against the man’s jaw, “you don’t need to answer. Mark. Wanna go open it?”

 

Not particularly , Mark thought, eying the large crate that shook and growled every now and then, kept upright by a system of belts and tethers.  But their contact wasn’t going to answer, looking even more panicked now at the prospect of the crate being opened and Mark — if he was being honest — had developed a healthy does of distaste for authority since working with Taeyong’s gang of killers. 

 

So he unbuckled with a sighed out, “Sure,” and stepped into the back space of the truck.  He hedged past Yuta who was pinning down their contact, now struggling, shouting that they couldn’t do this, that Mark would get them all killed if he opened the box.

 

Mark didn’t particularly like being told what to do by people who weren’t his direct supervisors or friends who definitely knew better, so Mark ignored him and tested tugging at one side of the crate.

 

Whatever was inside stirred, a warning growl rumbling out from the pre-cut air holes.

 

Mark, not really concerned for his own safety, didn’t mind it.  He focused on finding a way to get the crate open that didn’t involve smashing one of the sides in, eventually realizing that there really wasn’t a better way while they were still all stuck in a moving vehicle.

 

Ignoring their contact’s shouts of distress, Mark reared back his hand and aimed for the thinner bits of wood between the air holes.

 

The sting of wood breaking and ripping skin was a sharp pinprick, there and gone.  He’d been working on progressively dulling his sense of pain. It had been a slow, grueling process of trying to self hypnotize with mind-over-matter as a mantra, but evidently, it was paying off.

 

Unfortunately, Mark only had a few precious seconds to marvel at that discovery after he’d broken a big enough hole in the wooden crate, because then he was being bodily tackled to the hard metal truck bed by a fast moving blur.

 

Shit ,” Yuta hissed somewhere behind him, the contact letting out a sound somewhere between a whimper and a sob.

 

“What happened?” Johnny shouted.

 

Mark, flat on his back with a heavy weight seated on top of him, snarling at him, didn’t really have an answer for that.  He groaned, tried to move, lungs aching from having all the air knocked out of them, and found that he couldn’t, thanks to a tactical placement of knees over the biceps of both his arms.

 

“Wha-”  And there was the snarling growl again, except this time much closer and significantly more menacing.

 

It took a second for his brain to process what it was seeing, somewhat dazed from not being able to breathe properly.  To process that there was a young man sitting on top of him, hands bound with heavy metal cuffs and mouth hidden behind an honest to god muzzle.

 

The man had to be around Mark’s age, a year or two of difference if any, inhuman sounds rumbling out of his chest like in such a clear warning.  He had dark hair and pitch black eyes (a voice in his head said they looked like the eyes of the demons in Supernatural, but that voice was soundly ignored, because now was not the time).  And, even bound up in some complicated restraints, muzzled and glaring, he was beautiful.

 

God, he was beautiful.

 

“You idiots! We’re dead now! It’ll kill us! It’ll-”

 

An animalistic growl ripped out of the man’s chest, cutting off the older man’s shouts.  It had the hairs on Mark’s body standing on end, goose-bumps raising on his arms, and, in the dark, deep corners of his mind, a curl of interest unfurled.

 

Mark sucked in a slow breath.  Mm .  “I don’t think,” he started slowly, “he likes being called an ‘it’.”  The young man snapped his attention back down to Mark, the look in his eyes indecipherable.  Johnny drove over a bump and the truck jostled. The man barely budged. Another slow breath Ah, strong thighs.   “I wouldn’t like it either.”

 

The man assessed him, growling low in his throat when Mark slowly started to raise his hands.

 

“I just want to get that thing off you,” Mark explained, heart racing in his chest, but not out of fear.  “Can I?”

 

No! ”, then the sound of Yuta grunting, pinning their contact to the truck bed, face ground into metal with a strong, unrelenting hold with a grumbled, “Fuck you’re difficult.”

 

Mark held the man’s gaze, arms still until he received a small, short jerk of the head.  Permission to continue. Mark gave him a small twitch of a smile in return. The man’s eyes widened a fraction, barely noticeable but there.  Before Mark could raise his arms much more, the man was leaning in close, a sudden, startling movement. His fringe was brushing over Mark’s forehead, feather light.

 

“You wouldn’t reach the clasp.”

 

The man’s voice was deep.  Deeper than Mark had initially thought it’d be, but considering how long the man was he shouldn’t have been surprised.

 

Mark cleared his throat, swallowed, mouth suddenly dry.  “Right.”

 

The man smiled.  Mark’s heart just about stopped.  Oh no.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Yeah, no-”

 

And then there were teeth, buried deep in the soft skin of his throat.  Teeth ripping out his throat. Teeth, perfectly straight and dripping with his blood.

 

Pain and searing, itching heat flared to life in tandem as he immediately started to heal, staring up at the beautiful man as he swallowed Mark’s flesh .  Still smiling sweetly.  So, so sweetly.

 

Their contact screamed.  Yuta and Johnny, from where he’d turned in his seat, cursed.  Mark fell in love. Just a teensy bit.

 

Not normal, he thought faintly, Not entirely human.   Mark smiled, his throat piecing itself back together, muscle and skin covering his trachea.  Like me.

 

The man stared, eyes definitely wide, now, absently licking his lips as Mark regenerated before his eyes.  “You-”

 

Mark, driven by excitement and a reckless sort of abandon that only he could afford, moved one of his hands, reaching for the man’s cuffed hands.  It earned him a quick bite on the forearm, teeth sinking in quick and deep, like a fucking stapler.

 

Mark laughed.  “Ow, sorry, I was going for the cuffs.”

 

The man detached his mouth, licking over the holes his teeth had made with broad flat swipes of his tongue, looking up at Mark from under a thick curtain of lashes.

 

And that was it really.  There, in the back of a moving truck, escaping from armed gunmen.  The beginning of the end.



||►



Mark was making dinner — a skill beaten into him by sheer necessity — when Jeno slunk up behind him, acting an awful lot like a cat stalking its prey.

 

“If you make me chop off a finger again I’m going to be very disappointed,” Mark said, sensing more than seeing Jeno flinch barely a hairsbreadth away.

 

Jeno booed him, placing a quick kiss to Mark’s cheek before hoping up onto the counter next to the chopping board.  “I told you, that was an accident.”

 

“Mhmm.”  Mark watched him pick up a sweet potato chunk, sniff it, then put it back with a delicate grimace, wiping his hand on the leg of his sweat pants.  “And the time before that?”

 

Jeno smiled, eyes disappearing into the sweetest of curves.  “An accident.”

 

“Uhuh, and the time before that? And the one before that ? Oh, how about the time time I lost three making stew?”  He made a face and slapped Jeno’s hand away from where it was reaching for the meat going into the night’s dish.  A simple curry that Doyoung had taken pity and taught him to make back when he’d first started working with their little agency of mercenaries.  ( “Just because you probably wouldn’t die from it, doesn’t mean you should go around starving yourself.” )  Mark fixed Jeno with A Look, eyebrow raised for full effect.  “All those accident, too?”

 

Somehow, Jeno’s smile brightened.  He tilted his head, swinging his legs, kicking his heels against the counter cabinets like a a big kid.  “Yup.”

 

Mark snorted.  “Yeah. Okay. Sure. Whatever you say.”

 

Jeno stayed there, content to sit on the counter and mildly hassle Mark as he fixed up dinner, swinging his legs, always moving.  Always, always moving.

 

Even when he was still, body lax, staring at Mark from under heavy lashes and a too long fringe, he still had a wild sort of antsy energy to him.

 

It felt like a ploy, the predator that hid its true face under the pretty facade of Jeno’s entire being waiting patiently for something only it could see.  Waiting, waiting, waiting for…

 

Mark reached across him to grab something from the cabinet shelving behind his head, and Jeno calmy grabbed his arm, and bit him.  It wasn’t deep, or particularly surprising, didn’t even really hurt. Just a gentle press of teeth into the softer bit of Mark’s forearm. 

 

But suddenly, things clicked.

 

Ah , Mark thought.  So that’s what this was .

 

“Aw, baby,” Mark chuckled, full on laughing when Jeno simply pressed his teeth more insistently into his skin.  “Where you hoping I’d lose a finger or two to the chopping board?”

 

Jeno nawed on his arm like a teething puppy, shrugging his shoulders.

 

Mark huffed out an amused little breath, shaking his head.  It was hard to measure the extent of his feelings for Jeno. He’d never really felt this way for anyone before (excluding the occasional lust he felt for some of the older mercs from the agency, because despite what Donghyuck liked to say, that didn’t count).  Even with his abilities and inexperience, though, he probably had to love Jeno a whole fucking lot to let him eat him .

 

“Why can’t you just ask like a normal person,” Mark complained half-heartedly, rubbing a hand over the faint and already fading bite mark when Jeno released him with a pout.  “I wouldn’t tell you no.” He moved so he was standing in-between Jeno’s legs, hands running up and down his thighs, heating the material of Jeno’s joggers until the other man was squirming slightly on his perch.  Mark smiled sweetly. “You know that, right?”

 

Jeno made a low sound in his throat that was a few only a few octaves away from a purr, eyes flickering, pupils blowing out.  He reached out a hand, carding his fingers through Mark’s hair, then dragging them down Mark’s face, smiling to himself.  

 

“I know.”  His fingers trailed down to the collar of Mark’s t-shirt, using it to tug Mark closer, wrapping his legs around and locking his ankles behind Mark’s legs.  Keeping him in place. “I didn’t bite you because I’m hungry.”

 

No, it was just the way Jeno liked to express his love.  He could kill with a bite, with the grip of his hands, so to not, to be gentle and purposely hold back, even with the way Mark was — because of the way Mark was — was an act of love.

 

Mark squeezed Jeno’s thighs where his hands had come to rest, spine tingling a bit at the way the strong muscle there jumped.  He moved his hands, sliding them down the sides of Jeno’s thighs to his knees and pulling, bringing Jeno closer. This close, he could feel the soft puffs of Jeno’s breath on his lips, see the way Jeno’s eyes sparkled with crystalline flecks along the currently thin edge of his iris.

 

“So you’re not hungry then.”

 

Jeno leaned forward the last tiny bit of distance to kiss him, quickly escalating the kiss into something heated and all too wet with a few clever swipes of his tongue and nips of his teeth.  “Mm,” he hummed when they came up for air, gaze hooded. “I didn’t say that .”

 

Mark’s dick jumped in his joggers.  Not for the first time, he found himself (unfortunately) agreeing with Yeri and Yeeun that there was something probably wrong with him.  Jeno wanting to literally eat him should not make him as horny as it did.

 

I’m an adult, for fucks sake, he thought balefully at his uncooperative erection, slowly filling out to half chub at just the thought of Jeno’s hands on him, his teeth sinking into him.  Fucking hell, stop that!

 

“After dinner,” Mark told him, the words come out a touch too breathy for his liking.  He could feel his ears turning pink and hoped against all odds that Jeno couldn’t smell or hear the sudden rush of blood on him.  “Well, after my dinner. Which I still need to finish, by the way.”

 

Jeno sighed like the thought of having to wait for anything was the worst thing in the world and Mark decided firmly that he’d been spending way too much time with the Terrors Three —  Donghyuck, Renjun, and Jaemin being awful influences on him.

 

Somehow, Mark managed to finish cooking without major incident.  He had to sacrifice a few fingers to the cause, but they grew back quick enough he didn’t really mind.  Jeno, eyes little shining voids as he munched through bone the way a normal human would chips, sat pressed into his side when Mark finally settled down on the floor in front of their coffee table, plate of dinner in hand. 

 

( “You have a perfectly good couch,” Jaemin complained, jostling for space with Yangyang and Lucas, “I don’t understand why you don’t use it.”  

 

A bat of long lashes and a simper Jeno had to have learned from Donghyuck, “Oh, but we do .” )

 

The good behavior, unfortunately, didn’t last for very long.  Jeno finished his snack before Mark finished his dinner, and then found himself with nothing to occupy his hands or sate the twitchy, vaguely horny energy that for some reason went hand in hand with hunger for him.

 

Mark breathed through his nose in a slow sigh, trying his best to ignore the mouth sucking sweetly at his neck and the calloused hands mapping out the muscles of his stomach under his shirt.  If he made any sound, leaned into the possessive touches in any way, Jeno would smile and push a little more. And if he so much as hinted at the way his dick was quickly swelling in his sweats, blood rushing south in warm pulses with each breathy, over-the-fucking-top sound that spilled from Jeno’s mouth, well, Jeno would pounce.

 

Jeno licked over Mark’s pulse point, fully leaning into his side, one little adjustment away from being in Mark’s lap.

 

Mark’s grip went white knuckled around his spoon.  Jesus christ.

 

“You’re impossible,” he groaned, voice cracking.  

 

Fuck it was embarrassing how hard he was, tenting the front of his sweats at that point but still trying to finish his food, driven by the desire not to cave and encourage this horrible, horrible behavior.  But then Jeno’s hand, previously dragging its nails lightly across Mark’s stomach, was sliding down, down, down, coming to rest over Mark’s crotch. Mark sucked in a breath and almost choked on his rice. Jeno licked over the shell of Mark’s ear and gave his dick a squeeze.  Mark just about jumped out of his skin.

 

“Fine,” he hissed, forcing himself to let go of his spoon, the metal lightly dented.  “Fine. You win. You fucking win.”

 

Jeno laughed right in his ear and bodily tackled him to the floor, swallowing down the grunt Mark let out on impact.

 

Jeno got Mark’s clothing off and ate his fill, moaning with every mouthful he swallowed.  Willing always tasted better than not, he’d told Mark once. Something about the lack of sour stress and bitter fear in the blood stream.  

 

( “You taste best of all, though, hyung.”  Jeno smiled, black-eyed and bloodied, the dusty scent of gunpowder sticking to him.  “Because you love me. Like I love you.” )

 

Jeno ate his fill, licking his lips and his fingers like a kitten would cream, and then they fucked there on the floor like animals.  Mark flipped their positions, leveraging his strength and Jeno’s willingness to be taken care of when he was full. He fucked Jeno hard and fast, gasping hotly as Jeno licked over patches of freshly healed skin, tasting Mark’s blood where it still stained his skin a damp red.  Pain raced with pleasure along Mark’s spine, the two sensations forever entwined with each other thanks to Jeno and his habits, thanks to the heavy-lidded looks Jeno cast him as he ate, thanks to the way that Jeno had somehow come to represent both in the best of ways. And Jeno was love.  Simple as that.   

 

Laying sated on the floor, breathing heavy, Mark ran his fingers through Jeno’s sweat damp hair.  When Jeno blindly fumbled for his arm, he let him grab it and drag it down so he could bite it again, a deep, firm press.

 

“Love you,” he breathed, pillowing his cheek on Mark’s chest, directly over his heart.

 

Mark sighed, affection settling warm in his chest.  “Love you, too.”

 

Yeah, simple as that.