Mark doesn’t like the beach. Or water parks. But Jaemin and Renjun love both of those things and like to think that Mark needs to get out of his comfort zone more often. Laying in bed and playing animal crossing all day is apparently not okay. So, now the three of them are at a water park. Or, Mark is at the water park and Jaemin and Renjun are god knows where, probably making out somewhere insanely unsanitary, so Mark rents a tube and heads over to the wave pool.
Not wanting to get soaked or completely ruin his hair (it’s dyed green and just reached the perfect color that the chlorine will fuck up), Mark hops in the tube in the shallow end of the wave pool. The waves are dying down, but they still somehow manage to pull Mark way into the deep end of the pool. Mark refuses to panic though, he’ll just let the waves send him back out and that way he’ll stay mostly dry and then can go find Renjun and Jaemin, compromising positions be damned.
Head back, squinting up at the sky Mark can ignore his dysphoria for the moment. Jaemin and Renjun didn’t know that water parks in general make him feel uncomfortable (too many memories of having to wear bikinis and being ogled by straight men), if they did they wouldn’t have made Mark come. But Mark didn’t want to make a big deal and well, he’s here now.
Once the waves start up Mark realizes what a mistake he’s made. Everyone has come much closer and now he has to grip his tube so as not to topple over. The waves are making him move probably around three feet up and down with each passing wave. One wave is larger than the others and someone next to Mark tries to ride the wave, but ends up completely flipping Mark’s tube in the process.
The water burns at Mark’s eyes and mouth as he struggles against the waves. There isn’t a clear way to figure out which way is up and the water is crowded with people. Mark touches what he assumes is the floor and pushes up from there, then he hits someone else’s tube, but he gets another breath of air which is a small win.
Before Mark can try to kick up again and resurface there’s a splash and arms circling around his waist. Then he’s being dragged up to the surface. He reaches the top spitting and coughing like there’s no tomorrow and shoves his hair back from his eyes, trying to blink all of the water out of his vision. There’s still arms around his waist and Mark wriggles to try and figure out who saved him.
“Who are you?” Mark asks, vision still fuzzy. All he can see is this guy wearing white and red, who might be blonde and is holding something red.
“I’m Jeno, the lifeguard who just jumped in here to save you from drowning.” Mark is kicking his feet to try and stay afloat and Jeno pushes the red thing towards him. “Grab this and let me help you out of the water.” Mark does as asked, still lightly coughing.
“I’m Mark, the guy who currently can’t see,” Mark replies, voice horse. “My contacts got all messed up.”
“Is it okay if I touch you then? It’ll make it easier for me to get you out of the water,” Jeno says and Mark nods. The waves are still going, although they’re much less strong now. Jeno wraps an arm back around Mark and starts to guide them through the water until Mark can stand on his own. Taking back the floaty, Jeno grabs Mark’s hand, interlocking their fingers. “Just walk forwards. I’m gonna take you to the employee break area since you don’t seem to have any physical harm. Unless you think you need to go to the nurse of course.”
“I’m okay,” Mark huffs. “I just need to get my vision back to normal and maybe drink some water. Maybe a snack as well.” Jeno laughs and pulls Mark a little closer causing Mark to almost trip over his own two feet. They step onto the concrete and Mark yelps since the concrete is hot, which makes sense. It is the middle of July after all.
“Are you sure you’re okay? I can carry you if you want,” Jeno offers and Mark doesn’t want to say yes, but fuck his feet are going to burn off in the heat like this.
“Normally, I wouldn’t say yes but my feet hurt so bad from walking on the concrete,” Mark confesses. Jeno does something that kinda looks like a smile, but Mark isn’t one hundred percent sure.
“Okay, since you can’t see I’ll lift you up and then just latch on with your legs,” Jeno explains, moving closer to Mark to wrap his under Mark’s arm’s and lift. Mark does as asked and grabs onto Jeno with all of his minimal leg strength and Jeno adjusts his hands so they are under Mark’s thighs.
“I hope I’m not too heavy for you,” Mark mumbles, slightly embarrassed from being carried around by a lifeguard.
“You’re fine,” Jeno replies. “It’s only like a thousand more feet until the employee area and I can help you get your vision back to normal.”
“I think I just need to take my contacts out, blink a million times, then put them back in.” Before Mark knows it, everything is darker and cooler, the air feeling way better than the blistering sun outside. Jeno sets Mark down on a chair in between stacks of brown boxes with what Mark hopes are dummies stacked on top of them. This would really suck if Jeno is actually a murderer and he saved Mark’s life, only to kill Mark himself.
“You’re looking at me a bit weird,” Jeno says, walking around the boxes, looking for something. Oh, fuck, maybe he’s looking for a knife to stab Mark to death with.
“You’re not going to kill me right?” Mark asks, just to make sure. Or to find out ahead of time, so he can at least shoot a text to Jaemin saying Renjun gets all of his stuff.
“No? Why would you think that?” Jeno asks.
“Well, you’re over behind some stack of boxes doing who knows what,” Mark replies, voice slightly shaky as he speaks, realizing how ridiculous he must sound.
“I’m changing my shirt, that’s all. No murder, I promise.” Jeno laughs. “Do you need help with your contacts?” Oh, right, the contacts. Mark reaches up to his left contact, pops it out and feels water drip down his cheek. He blinks half a dozen times and things start to clear up a bit. Popping it back in, Mark is relieved that he can now see out of one eye. Mark repeats the same process with the other eye while Jeno keeps searching through boxes.
“Okay, I can see,” Mark announces, grateful to have his eyesight back once again. He looks around the room, everything as he expected it to be. Except for Jeno. Mark catches a glimpse at Jeno with his shirt off around the other side of some boxes and oh good lord-- Jeno is gorgeous. Like, Mark is gay, and he’s obviously into guys, but even if he wasn’t into guys he would still be into Jeno.
“Oh, that’s great.” Jeno walks over to Mark (still shirtless by the way) and bends down so he’s in front of Mark, who leans back in response. “Let me double check that your eyes don’t look weird or anything. If they are red or something seems weird we have to go to the nurse.” Mark nods and Jeno lightly grabs at Mark’s jaw, angling his head so Jeno can stare into Mark’s eyes very carefully. Resisting the urge to shove Jeno off him, Mark feels his cheeks heat up. It isn’t often that Mark finds himself eye to eye with pretty shirtless boys while he’s dripping wet. Scratch that, this never happens. Jaemin and Renjun wouldn’t even believe him if he told them this happened.
“Are my eyes okay?” Mark asks after Jeno doesn’t relent his intense gaze. “There’s nothing wrong with them, right?”
“Your eyes are gorgeous,” Jeno mumbles, eyes glancing down to Mark’s lips. “You’re so handsome, Mark.” Mark’s hands open and close next to him, anything to try and cope with the rush of gender euphoria shooting through him at a million miles an hour.
“Thank you, you too,” Mark stutters out, internally cringing. Jeno pulls away and stands up straight, causing his stomach muscles to flex and Mark to lose his mind.
“Do you want a new shirt?” Jeno asks. “I didn’t find the box yet, but I’m sure it’s back here. I wish I could give you a new binder too because that doesn’t seem comfortable to wear while wet.” Oh, right, his binder. Mark didn’t even realize his shirt getting wet would make it see-through enough to see his binder, which clings to his skin as a reminder that it is wet and uncomfortable. “Did I say something wrong? Was I not supposed to mention your binder? I don’t know the rules here.” Jeno looks distressed, like he really had upset Mark.
“OH!” Mark exclaims. “No, no you’re fine. I just generally don’t announce that I’m trans upon first meeting someone, and your comment made me remember how uncomfortable this thing is wet.” This seems to calm Jeno down a bit. “Seriously, don’t worry. I will take you up on your offer for a new shirt though.”
“Alright.” Jeno smiles and heads back behind the rows of boxes and Mark stands up, attempting to wring out his shirt a bit. It doesn’t work. At least Jeno is nice and considerate. And hot. Mark’s cheeks flush again thinking about the fact that Jeno is shirtless less than five feet away from him.
Ah, fuck. Mark’s binder is itchy. Sticking a hand awkwardly under his shirt, Mark tries to relieve some of the pain, but it only makes Mark’s skin itch more. This really could not be worse. Except for when Jeno emerges from behind the boxes with a shirt on and a second one in hand, eyes immediately latching onto Mark’s hand, which is still under his shirt.
“This isn’t what it looks like,” is Mark’s first response.
“It’s not the weirdest thing, I’ll admit, but do you want to explain it?” Jeno asks, handing Mark the shirt. “I think that should fit you by the way.”
“My binder is itchy.”
“So take it off,” Jeno replies, like it’s that simple. And it literally is, but emotionally Mark isn’t sure he can do it.
“If I take it off, it’ll make my body dysphoria act up,” Mark explains, not making eye contact with Jeno because he’s always been so awkward talking about gender issues with anyone, cisgender or not.
“But it’s hurting you,” Jeno protests. “How can I help with your body dysphoria?” And Mark wants to cry because he doesn’t even know Jeno and Jeno isn’t even gender queer, yet he wants to help.
“Well, it helped a lot when you called me handsome,” Mark admits. “Anything like that reaffirms my identity is very nice.”
“Okay, I can do that. You make it easy though,” Jeno says, smiling. “You’re one of the most handsome boys I’ve ever met.” Mark covers his face with his hands and makes an inhuman noise.
“You’re laying it on a bit thick, but that is the general idea,” Mark mumbles. “Now hand me that shirt and go back behind those boxes so I can change.” Mark sticks out his hand and Jeno hands over the shirt, then heads back behind the boxes like Mark asked.
Very quickly, Mark strips off his shirt and undoes the hooks on his binder. The cool air makes goosebumps prickle up all over his skin, but he ignores it and slips the shirt Jeno gave him on. Mark can breathe properly again, but he still feels kinda self conscious not wearing anything under his shirt.
“Can I come out now?” Jeno asks.
“Yeah, come on,” Mark replies, cross his arms over his chest to try and flatten it a bit. He isn’t even that well endowed, but there’s just enough where they make a bump in his shirt. Mark frowns and doesn’t look at Jeno when he comes to stand in front of him.
“Are you okay?” Jeno asks. “I was thinking I could take you to get some ice cream, just in case you’re still not feeling great.” Jeno twiddles his thumbs and looks at the ground and Mark is ridiculously endeared.
“Yeah, I’ll be okay. And ice cream always makes it better,” Mark declares, moving his arms away from his chest. “But y’know what would make this even better?” Mark takes two steps so he’s right in front of Jeno, almost nose to nose if he wasn’t a few inches shorter.
“What?” Jeno asks.
“If this ice cream thing is a date.” Mark looks up into Jeno’s sparkling eyes and Jeno stares right back at Mark’s.
“Nothing would make me happier, my prince,” Jeno says. “Do you want to hold my hand as we walk as well?”
“Yeah, that sounds great.” Mark looks to Jeno’s lips and Jeno’s eyes seem to follow his. Blindly reaching, Jeno grabs Mark’s hand and moves his head a little closer to Mark. An unspoken ‘can I?’ is said between them and then Jeno feather lightly is pressing his mouth to Mark’s. Mark squeezes Jeno’s hand as his eyes flutter close. They break a moment later and there’s a light sweep of pink across Jeno’s cheeks.
“Do you wanna get ice cream now?” Jeno asks shyly and Mark gives a quick peck to Jeno’s cheek before dragging him to the nearest ice cream stand.