Mark’s problems begin almost as soon as he boards the Hogwarts Express.
He manages to spot Yukhei and Mina easily despite the overcrowded platform, grabbing onto their arms before he can accidentally lose them, but for the first time in seven years they have no luck snagging an empty compartment and have to squeeze in with a group of Ravenclaws that glare at them heatedly over their required reading.
Mark doesn’t mind too much, though, only happy to see his friends for the first time since the beginning of the summer. He listens to Mina’s stories about the hot lifeguard she’d met in France, to Yukhei’s enthusiastic imitations of the animals he’d seen at a magical zoo, and eats enough sugar quills that he doubts he’ll hungry for dinner. It’s a bit noisy, the way it always is when he’s around his friends, but Mark feels right at home, relaxing back into his seat with a small grin on his face.
It’s only when Mina reminds him that he should probably get ready to head to the prefect carriage that things start to tentatively take a turn for the worse.
“Have you found out who the Head Girl is yet?” Mina asks, watching as he pulls the Head Boy badge out of his pocket and pins it to the front of his robe.
Mark shakes his head.
“Not yet,” he answers. “I’m hoping it’s Jungeun, though. She was a prefect last year as well.”
Jungeun was also one of the few Slytherins that Mark genuinely liked. The rest seemed to if not actively dislike him then at least avoid him, his feud with their golden boy affecting their opinion of him before he had even as much as introduced himself.
“She’s nice,” Mina agrees. “I think she’s someone you’d want to share a dorm with as well. I’ve heard that she’s strict on cleaning, though.”
Mark thinks about his mismatched socks and ability to lose objects from one second to the next and winces, hopes that Mina is wrong. It would be the first year since arriving at Hogwarts that he wouldn’t be living in the Gryffindor Tower, moving into the Head Boy’s and Girl’s dormitory near the divination corridor, and he’d gotten used to the organized chaos of the Gryffindor dormitory. He already felt bad for the person he had to share a common room with, making a mental note to ask Doyoung about some cleaning spells.
His brother’s boyfriend had always been good at those.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Yukhei says, grin wide on his face as he raises a fist into the air. “Go kick some first-year ass!”
Mark laughs nervously, ignoring the disapproving glares he gets from the rest of the compartment, and tells his friends that he’ll see them at dinner.
A few prefects have already gathered when he sets a foot into the prefect carriage, and Mark is relieved to note that he recognizes most of them. He spots Jeno sitting on a chair next to another Ravenclaw and smiles in his direction, receiving a small wave in response.
He is considering walking over and asking him about his summer when Jungeun walks through the door, robe empty of a Head Girl’s badge. Mark bites down his disappointment, but feels it give way to confusion when even more seventh-years drop in, no one wearing a badge that matches his.
Eventually all the regular prefects are gathered, and Mark is left staring at the students blinking up at him with furrowed brows, wondering if he’d missed something.
“Umm…,” a girl named Jiwoo begins after another minute passes by. “Shouldn’t we start the meeting?”
“Uh, yeah, haha. I guess.” Mark scratches the back of his neck. “I was just waiting for the Head Girl. Does anyone have any idea who she is?”
Jeno raises a hand, but Mark is distracted by the sound of the door opening behind him, by his skin tingling like someone has just brushed over it with a hundred feathers. He sucks in a quick breath but is helpless against the shiver that runs down his spine, the way his heart speeds up.
He doesn’t have to turn around to know who had just entered the carriage.
The first thing he notices is that Donghyuck seems to glow.
The summer has turned his skin golden, given him an even deeper tan than the one he normally has, and he looks well-rested and healthy, like he’d spent the entire summer doing nothing other than swimming and sunbathing, relishing in the heat. His hair is longer than it had been in June, no longer a grey but an ashy brown, and not for the first time, Mark finds himself resentful that such an attractive face was wasted on such a horrible personality.
“You’re in the wrong carriage, Lee.” Mark says, throat dry.
Donghyuck’s looks him up and down, gaze as scrutinizing as always, and Mark does his best not to squirm. He wonders if his hair is still somewhat tamed, if his robe had somehow managed to get wrinkled on the short walk to the prefect carriage.
“Oh, trust me,” Donghyuck says without missing a beat. “If there were another carriage without you in it, I’d be there already. As it is, I’m pretty sure this is right where I’m supposed to be.”
It’s only then that Mark notices his clothes, the badge on his chest catching the light of the sun, drawing his attention.
Donghyuck notices him staring and sends him a smirk.
“Since I’m the new Head Boy, after all.”
For the second time in his life, Mark finds himself sitting in the Headmistress’ office glaring daggers at Lee Donghyuck.
“I know you must have some questions.” Headmistress Boa says, and for a moment Mark is fourteen again, a pair of too large glasses sliding down his nose while green-colored magic sparks from his hair, runs rampant in his body. The only difference now is that his magic feels more like a sprinkle than it does a storm, Mark more conscious of it than he usually is.
Next to him, Donghyuck sits with one leg crossed over the other, seemingly relaxed, but Mark knows enough about his body language to know that it's a lie.
“A few,” Donghyuck agrees, a tight-lipped smile on his face. “The first one being that Mark is a boy. I know that he might pass as a girl in certain lightings and has a way of weaseling his way into things, but I’m sure that there must be someone else who can make a better Head Girl. Probably half the castle, to be honest.”
Mark bristles, turning to Donghyuck who looks back at him with a raised eyebrow.
“If anyone is taking the Head Girl’s spot it’s you.” Mark responds. “Last time I checked only seventh-years get chosen to become Head Boys and you’re in year six. You’ll have to wait a year to burn the castle to the ground.”
Donghyuck opens his mouth, unimpressed by his comeback, but is cut off before he as much as speaks a word.
“Boys,” Boa says, voice cold.
Mark turns to her and fights down the blush creeping up his neck, withering under her disapproving stare.
“While it’s normal for there to be both a Head Girl and a Head Boy, it’s not a must. There have been plenty of times when there have only been girls or boys. This year the only girl I had in mind expressed a desire to spend more of her time studying.” Boa shifts her gaze to him. “And while Donghyuck is only a sixth-year, he has all the qualities of a Head Boy.”
“I thought one of the qualifications was good character,” Mark mutters under his breath and receives a sharp glare from Donghyuck in response.
“This might also be the last chance you get to put that silly feud behind you before you both graduate.” Boa adds, ignoring his comment, but Mark finds that unlikely.
While he doesn’t hate Donghyuck as much as he used to, the only way they’ll ever be able to make peace is if Donghyuck actually becomes a decent human being, and Mark doubts that will ever happen. Their best course of action has always been to avoid each other, and they’d done a pretty poor job of that even before Mark had found out that they’d be sharing a dorm.
They are dismissed shortly thereafter, and for the first time in his life Mark realizes that he has no reason to head towards the Gryffindor Tower. He also realizes that he and Donghyuck are probably going to be stuck walking together to the Head Dormitory, that Mark is going to be sharing a common room with the last person he’d ever want to share one with.
To his surprise Donghyuck doesn’t make a move to walk towards the divination corridor, instead turning right, in the direction of the Slytherin Dungeon.
“Where are you going?” Mark asks, furrowing his brows. “Didn’t you hear what Boa said? We don’t have our old beds anymore.”
Donghyuck is quiet for a second before he tilts his head, smile sugary and sharp.
“Worried that I won’t get a good night’s sleep?” Donghyuck asks. “That’s very sweet of you.”
Mark remembers why he never tried to initiate conversations with Donghyuck in the first place.
“Forget I asked.” Mark mutters, swallowing down his irritation. “Let’s just pretend like we don’t know each other. We might share a common room but there is no other reason to be around each other.”
For some reason this seems to annoy Donghyuck, the way it always did when they were younger. Mark had always figured that the best way to deal with people you didn’t like was to avoid them, to try to not interact with them.
He’d figured out very quickly that Donghyuck’s way of interacting with people he didn’t like was to bother them even more.
“Of course,” Donghyuck says. “For being Gryffindor’s pride, it’s not like you’re difficult to overlook in the first place.”
Magic boils inside of him, but instead of reaching for his wand Mark takes a deep breath and heads towards the Gryffindor common room, feeling a sudden need to surround himself with friends.
He must clearly look as awful as he feels because Mina takes pity on him, petting his hair gently when it’s past ten in the evening and he’s still lingering on the couch in front of the fire.
“You know, for all of Donghyuck’s shortcomings I doubt he would be the type to hex you in your sleep,” she says. “I think you probably don’t have to worry about sleeping there.”
Mark pouts but thinks that she’s probably right. Donghyuck would never hex him asleep when he could just as easily do it while he was awake and get the pleasure of seeing him struggle.
He makes it back to the Head Boy common room when it’s close to eleven, the room dark and empty. Donghyuck’s bags lie untouched by the entrance of his room and Mark frowns, wonders if he had actually decided that he’d rather sleep on the couch in the Slytherin Dungeon than share a common room with him.
For some reason the thought bothers him.
It continues to bother him as the week continues and he barely sees signs that Donghyuck has moved in, making him wonder if Donghyuck had actually taken his suggestion to pretend like they didn’t know each other to heart. His bags disappear into his room on day two, but Mark never sees him in the common room, only spotting him in the Great Hall when he’s surrounded by his friends.
The first time he actually comes face to face with Donghyuck after they’d both been appointed Head Boy is Thursday evening.
He’s patrolling the castle and trying his best to rub sleep out of his eyes when he bumps into him and his three other friends in the empty West Tower. It’s twelve o’clock, way past curfew, and from the way Jeno winces when he sees him and looks down at the ground, he knows that they’re aware of the fact.
Mark looks away from him, attention drawn to Donghyuck like it always is, to the loose tie around his neck.
“What are you doing here?” He asks, skin tingling like always. “It’s not your night to patrol the corridors. You’re breaking the curfew.”
Dark circles are vividly present under Donghyuck’s eyes, and Mark shoves his fingers into his pockets, tries to stop the energy that he feels buzzing through his body.
“You guys should head back to your dorms,” Donghyuck says, addressing the rest of his friends. “I’ll be fine.”
Renjun glances at the two of them for a brief second before he nods, slinging an arm across Jaemin’s shoulders and motioning for Jeno to do the same. It’s when they’ve all turned the corner and disappeared that Donghyuck finally answers his question, running a hand through his silky hair.
“Not that it’s any of your business, but it’s not breaking curfew if you’re accompanied by a Head Prefect.”
Mark crosses his arms over his chest.
“That’s only for emergencies. It’s not supposed to be used for hanging out with your friends. That’s just abusing your position.”
“You would know.” Donghyuck says, but doesn’t seem as battle hungry as he usually does, mostly sounding tired. “Isn’t that the only reason you’re such a stickler to the rules in the first place? Because you want to feel like you’re better than everyone?”
“It doesn’t take a lot to feel better than you,” Mark responds, and a part of him wonders if that had been a low blow. Then he remembers the time he woke up on a mattress in the middle of the Great Lake to a mermaid staring up at him with narrowed eyes and feels any guilt wash away, irritation clawing at his throat.
“Us being compatible is a joke.” Mark mutters, glaring at Donghyuck. “You’re never going to change.”
Donghyuck’s jaw clenches, his whole demeanor changing from one second to the next.
When he speaks, his words are dripping in ice.
“Jaemin’s grandmother passed away a few days ago and we’ve all been trying to cheer him up. If that’s ‘abusing my position’ to you then I feel bad for your friends.”
Mark feels his stomach drop, Renjun’s and Jeno’s grip on Jaemin suddenly making sense.
Then Donghyuck’s statement that he’d never support his friends settles in, and all he feels is anger.
“You don’t know anything about me.” Mark says, feeling his magic crackle underneath his skin. Donghyuck had been set on an anti-Mark agenda since pretty much the first time they’d met, hadn’t even attempted to get to know him before he’d decided to hate him. “And you never will. Once we graduate I’ll never have to see you again.”
This time it’s Donghyuck’s magic that bristles, flaring up inside of him like a beacon. Mark feels it even from where he’s standing, shocking in its intensity. It’s reflected in the mean glint Donghyuck gets in his eyes, the scowl on his face.
“Ah, yes.” He says, jaw clenched. “Once you graduate and move on to live in the shadow of your brother for the rest of your life. You must truly look forward to it.”
The magic that had been building inside of Mark snaps.
It sends him flying backwards, his wand dropping to the floor as he feels it respond to the magic in Donghyuck, unsure of what to do, how it should act. Mark tries to take a breath, to get it under control but fails and feels the force of their magic expand furiously, latching on to one of the candles lighting up the corridor and then exploding like a supernova. The resulting fire rains down around them and seeps into the carpet, eating away at the interior with a hunger that is too wild to be natural.
Mark watches in horror as the fire spreads towards them, an unstoppable force of pure energy. The heat scorches his arm, but Mark doesn’t have much time to register the pain before Donghyuck grabs onto his hand and pulls him to his feet.
Donghyuck’s hand feels cool in his, grounding, and the action seems to calm the ravaging fire somewhat because it momentarily stops from spreading wider, just short of reaching them.
When Professor Jung appears a minute later in his sleeping robes, a wild look in his eyes, Mark knows that they’ve simply traded one fire for another.
Unsurprisingly, they end up back in the Headmistress’ office once again.
“When I decided to appoint you both as Heads Boys I thought you would have the maturity to put your feelings aside!” Boa exclaims. “Not start a fire in the middle of the night and traumatize all the portraits on the third floor!”
Mark winces and glances at Donghyuck, expecting him to have some sort of witty reply, but instead he sits quiet, soot staining his cheek and clothes. Mark forces his gaze away when Boa takes a deep breath, suddenly seeming more tired than anything else, disappointed.
Mark looks down at his legs, the skin on his arm burning.
“Since you clearly lack that maturity, I’ll allow you to go back to your old dorms if you can get along until Christmas. Until then I expect you both to be on your best behavior. No more midnight explosions.”
She dismisses them with a wave of her wand, grumbling to herself, and while Mark should probably feel happy about her promise, he doesn't, a heavy feeling filling up his entire stomach.
It’s when they’re outside the office that he finally whips out the wand that he had just managed to salvage from the fire and points it at his arm, the skin a bright red. He mutters a healing spell but is left staring at the wound in confusion when nothing happens, the pain not diminished in the slightest.
Donghyuck, who Mark realizes must have waited for him, sighs.
“What are you doing?” He asks, grabbing onto his arm, and Mark just barely manages to suppress the shiver running through his body.
Donghyuck points his own wand at the arm, and Mark only tenses for a brief moment before he feels like someone has pressed ice against the burn. There’s a strange tickling sensation and then his skin clears, the red disappearing to go back to his normal skin tone.
Mark looks up to find Donghyuck turning away, releasing his grip on his arm, and Mark takes a shuddering breath, gathering himself.
They make it back to their rooms without saying another word, the enchanted clock on the wall letting him know that it’s almost two in the morning. Mark heads to his own room, too tired to do anything other than collapse onto his bed, and feels like he has just closed his eyes when his alarm rings.
He forces himself out of bed with a groan, hopping into the shower, and angles his wand at his eyes when he is feeling a little bit more awake.
His vision remains foggy.
There’s no sudden improvement in his eyesight, no surge of magic, and when he stares at himself in the mirror all he sees is an unfocused person staring back at him. He frowns, repeating the spell several times before he puts his glasses back on and inspects his wand closely, wondering if it had taken damage during the fire.
Eventually he just writes it off as being too tired and convinces himself that the spell will work after he’s had some breakfast.
Yukhei looks at him in surprise when he settles down next to him and reaches for a jug of orange juice.
“You’re wearing your glasses,” he says, taking a break from chewing his toast. “I haven’t seen you wear those in ages.”
“I think my wand might be broken,” Mark complains. “I tried the eyesight charm this morning and it didn’t work.”
“Can I see it?”
Mark nods, handing it over to Yukhei who inspects it carefully before shaking his head. Among all the different internships and part-time jobs Yukhei has had, Mark always forgets the summer he spent helping out at Olivanders.
“It seems to be working just fine,” he says. “Maybe you just mispronounced the spell or something.”
“Maybe,” Mark says, doubtful. “Must have been it.”
Mark pushes his worries to the back of his mind as Yukhei tells him all about his plans for the weekend, about how Hendery had found a way to smuggle firewhiskey into the castle. Mark pretends not to hear the story, once again finding himself annoyed by Donghyuck’s assumption that he’d never break the rules.
It’s only when they’re having their first lesson of the day and are instructed to practice different concealment charms that Mark truly begins to worry about his sudden inability to perform magic.
His magic normally responds to him without him ever having to call on it, reacting the same way a leg would to getting out of a chair, without a need for any conscious thought, but while he can feel his magic inside of him, it sits immobile in his body, latent.
Mark tugs at it, repeats the concealment charm Professor Oh had taught them, and swings his wand to no effect. He repeats the charm several more times before he feels someone place a hand on his shoulder, startling him slightly.
“Um, Mark, dear,” Professor Oh says gently, peering at him over bright pink frames. “You don’t have to yell for the spell to work, you know.”
Mark blinks, finds the rest of the class staring at him with wide eyes, and realizes that he must have gotten increasingly loud in his frustration over his magic not working.
“Uh, yes,” he sputters, feeling a blush warming his cheeks. “Of course.”
When the rest of the students have gone back to focusing on their own spells he turns to the teacher once more, scratching the back of his neck awkwardly.
“Professor, I was wondering if I could be excused to go to the hospital wing? I burnt myself yesterday and I think the wound might have affected my magic.”
She glances at his glass of water, the only one out of all the other glasses that is still visible, and pats his shoulder once more.
“Sure. The class is almost ending either way and I can tell that you’re not really having much progress.”
Mark brushes off Mina’s and Yukhei’s offers to go with him, telling them that he’ll meet them for lunch, and heads down the stairs and towards the hospital wing. He expects to see it empty, for Madam Pomfrey to sit around with a book in her hand, but to his surprise there is already another person there.
Mark slows his steps in hopes of listening in on the conversation taking place between Donghyuck and Madam Pomfrey, to find out what is causing Donghyuck’s frown, but Donghyuck notices him as soon as he steps a foot into the wing.
“What are you doing here?” Donghyuck asks, giving him a once-over. “Don’t tell me you fell down the stairs again.”
Mark ignores him.
“Madam Pomfrey, I was wondering—Could I could talk to you in private?”
Without even as much as taking a step in his direction, she asks, “Does it have anything to do with not being able to use your magic?”
Mark gapes at her, and then at Donghyuck, noticing that the smile has faded from Donghyuck’s face, that he’s biting his lower lip.
“How did you know?” He asks, getting a bad premonition.
“It seems to be a reoccurring trend.” She answers and looks at them with assessing eyes. “When Mr. Lee told me that he was unable to cast simple spells, I wasn’t sure what the root of the problem was, but after hearing that you fought yesterday and that you are suffering the same symptoms, I think I might have an idea.”
As much as he and Donghyuck had grown up disliking each other, they had always had an unspoken agreement to never mention their particular situation, neither of them acknowledging it, both pretending like it didn’t exist. It always caught him by surprise when people who knew about it brought it up, giving him further proof that it didn’t just exist in the small part of Mark that came alive when Donghyuck stood in the sun or laughed at something one of his friends said.
Donghyuck looks at him with unreadable eyes, something tense about his posture.
“Luckily for you, I think I have a solution to both of your problems.” Madam Pomfrey says, but before Mark can relax, take a deep breath, she adds, “Not that I think that either of you are going to be particularly happy about it.”
“Wait, let me get this straight,” Johnny begins, chuckles already spilling out, barely able to hold back his laughter. “You’re telling me that you have to hold hands with Lee Donghyuck for your magic to work?”
Mark releases a noise of distress, dropping his head into his lap, and Johnny finally bursts into laughter. When he looks up there’s a wide grin on Johnny’s face, and Mark finds himself regretting that he’d ever walked into his shop in the first place. He’d always been happy that Johnny worked at Gladrags Wizardwear, that his interest in fashion had kept him in Hogsmeade and made it easy to catch up, but occasionally he wishes that Johnny had taken a job on some remote island instead.
“I’m sorry,” Johnny says after a while, eyes twinkling. “I know that this is horrible for you but this might actually be the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
“It’s awful,” Mark groans. “This is literal proof that the universe hates me. I feel like I can’t escape him no matter what I do.”
Johnny snorts, smile still on his face as he continues to sort through different shades of fabric, holding it up against Mark’s face to see how it catches the light.
“I always found him kind of funny, to be honest.” He admits. “I remember him as this super energetic kid who always ran around with his wand raised and ready. I mean, turning all the mince pies into actual mice might have been chaotic but it was also the most I think I’ve ever laughed during my time at Hogwarts.”
“He just likes ruining things for others.” Mark pouts and swats away Johnny’s attempt to put a bright yellow hat on his head. “And he never respects the rules. That’s not funny, that’s just rude. I still remember when he tried so sneak into the Gryffindor Tower when I was fourteen. That’s what started this whole mess. Or maybe it was already a mess before then.”
Johnny hums, and while Mark knows that Johnny might not fully agree with him, he also knows that Johnny has always had his back ever since he first found him crying in an abandoned bathroom when he was thirteen, more than a little homesick.
“You know, I still don’t know the whole story,” Johnny says after a while. “Like I know that you two got into a brawl when you were fourteen and accidentally blew up some poor plant, but that’s about it.”
Mark looks down, fiddles with his fingers.
It isn’t strange that Johnny doesn’t fully understand every aspect to his and Donghyuck’s relationship, having been born to muggle parents, but it still makes Mark feel awkward to have to explain it himself.
Mark thinks back to the time when he’d been in his second year, confused and frightened, magic never having reacted that way before. It had taken him two hours sitting next to a trembling Donghyuck before he’d realized what had happened, what they were to each other, and even then, Mark had always known about the magical world.
“You know that magic develops gradually in a child, right?” He begins hesitantly. “That most don’t really start using their magic until they’re at least a couple years old.”
“Well, it’s because magic isn’t really stable in a baby. It’s like a limb that hasn’t fully formed, that can grow in weird directions or fizzle out. That’s what happens to squibs. Their magic never fully matures.”
Johnny nods and Mark wets his lips, clears his throat.
“Well, anyway, when I was a baby my grandparents took me to this fancy children’s get-together. I think they did it mostly because they wanted to prove to other people that they weren’t hung up on their grandchild being a half-blood, but Donghyuck was there, too. I don’t know the exact details but our magic kind of latched onto each other, I guess.”
“Oh,” Johnny says, his mouth parted in surprise. “I’ve heard about that happening. Isn’t that really uncommon though?”
Last Mark had heard that it was one in forty-thousand, said to only happen to children who were extremely compatible, but Mark knew that to be a lie. Back in the old days wizards and witches used to think that the connection only happened to soulmates, but Mark doubted that as well.
Mark’s grandparents had been over the moon, happy to have their grandchild connect to a pureblood, but Donghyuck’s parents had apparently not, thinking it better to separate them so that their magic could disconnect –which the healers said it would within a year or two of no contact.
It had been one of the reasons Mark at fourteen-years-old had no idea that he’d ever had a core that recognized Donghyuck’s magic as his own, why it came as a shock to hear that not only were they still connected despite several years having passed, Mark was also connected to the one person he disliked the most in the entire world.
Johnny pats his head, and Mark begins to wonder what it is with people not leaving the back of his head alone.
“So what, now that you can’t escape him for another year, you have to be besties?”
Mark glares at him.
“No, Johnny, we don’t—that’s not what—Madam Pomfrey said it was fine to just hold hands. That the two of us fighting must have somehow affected our magic.”
He thinks back to the feeling of Donghyuck’s hand in his, to the rush of magic he’d felt, the goosebumps on his skin. It had lasted for a maximum of thirty seconds, but Mark could still feel Donghyuck’s heat lingering on his skin, the way his hand had felt both bony and boyish in his.
He tries to forget all about it as Johnny locks up the store for the day and they head to a nearby café, Johnny treating him to some hot chocolate. They leave the topic of Donghyuck behind, and Mark is grateful for it as Johnny shows him some of the designs he’d been working on in his free time, his ideas for an upcoming launch.
It’s almost dinnertime when Mark makes it back to the castle, shuffling into the Head Boy’s common room a bit hesitantly, glancing around for Donghyuck. When he sees that the room is empty his shoulders slump, having at least expected Donghyuck to spend time in their dorm during the weekend. He hadn’t even seen him or any of his friends in Hogsmeade, either.
Mark drops the bag of candy he’d bought from Honeydukes onto his bed and jumps into the shower. When he gets out of it, Donghyuck is sitting on the couch, a book in his hand, legs crossed. Sun-kissed skin peeks out from underneath his trousers and Mark’s throat feels dry.
“Is your magic still working?” Donghyuck asks when he hears him entering the common room, and when Mark raises his wand and tries to cast the lumos spell his magic fails him.
“Does yours?” Mark asks.
“Like a charm,” Donghyuck says, and it takes until Donghyuck stands up for Mark to realize that he’s being sarcastic.
He considers telling Donghyuck to fuck off, that not being able to perform magic affects both of them but settles on simply glaring at Donghyuck when he reaches a hand out, refusing to take it.
“We only agreed to hold hands once a week,” he says, in a bad mood.
“Well, clearly that isn’t working,” Donghyuck replies. “I tried my best to avoid using my magic all day but it still stopped responding an hour ago.”
Mark contemplates Donghyuck’s words, always having imagined that it was time that determined whether or not he could still use his magic away from Donghyuck, not how much he used it. He also contemplates walking away, refusing to give Donghyuck his magic back, but knows that doing so would only come back to bite him in the ass.
Donghyuck had always been better at revenge.
“Fine,” he says. “But we should set up some guidelines. Like only holding hands for a minute at a time.”
“Fine,” Donghyuck says. “But if we find that it doesn’t work then we tweak it.”
The next words jump out of Mark’s mouth before he can really think about them.
“And no telling other people.”
Donghyuck expression turns pinched.
“Of course,” he says. “The pride of Gryffindor can’t be seen with a Slytherin.”
Mark scowls, but feels it fade when Donghyuck stretches out his hand again. It feels a lot more intimate holding hands when they’re alone, when Madam Pomfrey isn’t there to monitor them, and nerves flare up in his stomach.
“Any other suggestions?”
Mark considers reaching out and strangling Donghyuck instead, but after a few seconds has passed he slowly slips his hand into Donghyuck’s, his pulse jumping.
Holding hands with Donghyuck for the second time is just as intense as the first, and Mark takes a shuddering breath, wondering if he will ever get used to the way his blood sings in his veins when he as much as touches Donghyuck. He feels his magic react to Donghyuck by simply standing next to him, but touching him is different, sends all of his nerve endings tingling, a rush throughout his entire body. A part of him thinks that he could probably get addicted to the feeling of being around Donghyuck if he let himself.
Mark doesn’t notice himself tightening his grip on Donghyuck’s hand until Donghyuck glances up at him with an expression Mark finds difficult to read, but then he startles, pulls his hand away.
“That should be enough,” Mark chokes. “Since it’s late either way.”
He expects Donghyuck to argue simply for the sake of it, but to his surprise he nods, his clenched jaw the only thing revealing that Mark probably wasn’t the only one affected.
“I have Quidditch practice at eleven,” Donghyuck says, voice tight. “I don’t know what time you get up on Sundays but I’ll probably be here until then.”
For the next two weeks Mark wakes up at his normal time, gets dressed, brushes his teeth and then holds hands with Donghyuck right before they leave for breakfast. It’s only one minute, sixty seconds that Mark has to spend touching the person who had made him consider changing schools when he was fifteen, but Mark struggles to get used to it, struggles to ignore how well Donghyuck’s hand fits in his, how smooth his skin is.
They reach an unspoken agreement not to argue when they’re holding hands on day three after their magic bristles angrily and remains uncooperative, and it has the following result that they don’t really speak at all. Eventually they just take to simply holding hands when they’re making their way to the Great Hall, Mark jumping at the possibility to make it less awkward.
It’s on day five that they get caught by a fourth-year student who gawks at them with wide eyes, her mouth open in shock, and Mark panics for a whole minute before he realizes that no one is going to believe the poor Hufflepuff either way.
His theory is proven correct when Chenle, another Gryffindor who Mark has always had a soft spot for latches onto him at dinner, grinning.
“I heard the craziest rumor,” he says, laughing, and Mark joins in nervously.
“About what, hahaha?”
“That you and Lee Donghyuck are dating.”
Mark chokes on the water he had been sipping on and causes Chenle to laugh harder, attracting the attention of the people sitting close by. Thankfully no one seems particularly interested in their conversation, but Mark still finds himself relieved when Chenle moves on to ask him if he could help him with his homework after dinner.
He nods and spends the rest of the evening hanging out in the Gryffindor Tower, only heading back towards the divination corridor when it’s approaching bed time. To his surprise, Donghyuck is in the living room, a quill in his hand, focused on writing something on a piece of parchment.
He looks up when he sees Mark enter, and Mark hesitates for a second, unsure if he should just enter his own room without saying anything or if that would be unnecessarily rude even for him. When Donghyuck raises an eyebrow at his inactivity, Mark clears his throat, conversation with Chenle still fresh in his mind.
“Did you hear the rumor that we’re dating?”
It’s only when he has asked the question that he realizes that being quiet would have been a million times more preferable than asking Donghyuck about the two of them dating.
Donghyuck lowers his quill.
“You must be relieved that no one is believing it.”
Donghyuck looks at him for a long second before he snorts, going back to finding his school work more interesting than him, and leaves Mark more confused than he had been when he’d arrived. Mark hesitates for another second before he leaves the common room, already dreading waking up in the morning, hating the part of him that actually liked holding Donghyuck’s hand.
Madam Pomfrey had said that the best chance they had of stabilizing their magic while they were still attending the same school was to be close to each other, but Mark wonders what will happen over Christmas, how his magic will react once he graduates. He can only hope that his magic will get used to not being around Donghyuck over the summer, going back to how it had been before their fight, their hand holding nothing but a memory.
It’s a week later that his magic fails him again.
He’s in the middle of a potions class, using nonverbal magic to help stir the cauldron and keep the dried Wiggentree from burning when he notices that the concoction has turned from a pearly pink to a dark brown. Mark glances at his notes, wondering if he’d simply read the instructions wrong, but his book says nothing about the color suddenly changing. He casts another spell to get the cauldron to keep moving only for nothing to happen, leaving him with no other option than to attempt to salvage the potion by stirring the cauldron with a regular spoon.
He’s worried and sore by the time they’re dismissed from class, for once considering himself lucky that he runs into Slytherin sixth-years on his way to the Great Hall.
He considers himself less lucky when he doesn’t spot Donghyuck anywhere.
He hesitantly approaches a tiny girl he recognizes to be Jungeun’s friend, who looks more Hufflepuff than she does Slytherin.
“Um, sorry, do you know where Lee Donghyuck is?” Before he can fuel the rumours going around that they’re dating, he adds, “Not that, like, I need him for anything. Just, you know, out of curiosity.”
She doesn’t look entirely convinced.
“He was sent to the hospital wing, I think.”
They’d touched in the morning like usual, so it was possible that his magic failing him had something to do with Donghyuck getting hurt. It would have had to be a significant injury, though, since his magic hadn’t stopped working after Yukhei had accidentally stepped on his foot a few days ago.
Mark has taken two steps in the direction of the hospital wing when he feels his skin buzz and sees Donghyuck turning the corner, Renjun in a tow. All of Donghyuck’s limbs are still intact, but he looks a little bit disheveled, his hair messier than it usually is, falling into his eyes.
Donghyuck waves Renjun away when he sees him, tells him that he’ll see him later, and hoping to avoid listening ears, Mark pulls Donghyuck into one of the abandoned classrooms lining the corridor, dust whirling around them as Mark scans him up and down.
“Are you alright?” Mark asks. “I heard that you were sent to the hospital wing.”
Donghyuck seems to hesitate for a second, presumably between if he should be honest or sarcastic, but eventually sighs, running a hand through his hair. There’s dried blood on his knuckles. The sight causes Mark to frown.
“I’m fine. It was nothing.”
He seems to be telling the truth, and Mark’s thesis falls.
“I lost my magic in the middle of potions today,” he says, pursing his lips, and it’s probably the longest he and Donghyuck have ever had a conversation without fighting.
Donghyuck doesn’t look surprised.
“Well, at least you weren’t in the middle of a defense against the dark arts lesson,” he responds, and suddenly his wounds make sense. “I already went to Madam Pomfrey’s. She said to hold hands for longer, that a minute probably wasn’t long enough.”
Mark hesitates for a few seconds before he reaches for Donghyuck’s hand, and while Donghyuck startles at the action, swallows, he doesn’t pull away, curling his fingers around Mark’s own. A familiar warmth spreads up Mark’s arm, and Mark realizes that he’s spent more time holding Donghyuck’s hand than he has anyone else’s, that he’s gotten used to the feeling of Donghyuck’s fingers overlapping his own.
“How long do you think we have to hold hands for?” Mark asks, trying to stop himself from brushing his thumb over Donghyuck’s knuckles, wondering if Donghyuck would wince.
“I’m not sure,” Donghyuck says and looks down at where their hands are joined with an odd look on his face. “One minute was fine a week ago, I don’t know what changed.”
“Maybe our magic got used to it,” Mark says.
Donghyuck presses his lips together faintly.
They hold hands for a while longer before they finally detangle, leaving Mark feeling oddly shy. He isn’t sure if it’s because they’re in an empty classroom or because it’s probably the longest they’ve gone without hissing at each other, but he feels awkward, unsure of how to act.
He hurries to the Great Hall as fast as he can, hoping to escape the feeling, and manages to get through the rest of his afternoon classes before he feels his magic starts to dwindle again.
He complains about it to Mina, who unexpectedly turns a bright red and refuses to meet his eyes.
“What?” He asks, puzzled.
Mina looks like she wishes that she could be anywhere else.
“Well…I went to the library after you told us about your problem and found that there is apparently a more effective way to get your magic to stabilize than holding hands.”
Mark stares at her, feeling a bit betrayed.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because I thought you two had already solved it! That holding hands worked for you!” Then she glances around, lowers her voice. “The solution kind of also involved kissing.”
Mark nearly spills out his hot chocolate.
“What—kissing?” He stutters. “Why?”
This time he is the one looking around the room, relieved that there is no one around to hear their conversation besides Yukhei, and he seems more interested in finishing his spicy soup.
“Well, to be fair,” Mina begins, increasingly uncomfortable, “according to Lilinor Fluggle it’s the exchange of saliva that solidifies the connection and eases fractured magic, but kissing sounds better. There was also a study that showed that magic tended to stabilize after sex. I didn’t really think you would like me mentioning it, though. Reading about it was awkward enough.”
Yukhei pipes up, apparently not as engrossed in his food as Mark would have hoped him to be.
“You know, this kind of reminds me of a romantic comedy we watched in muggle studies,” he says. “There wasn’t any mandatory kissing, and the main characters didn’t hate each other or anything, but still. The feeling was definitely there.”
Mark wants to die.
He continues to want to die when he makes it to his dormitory and sees Donghyuck studying in the common room, wondering if that was going to become a regular occurrence. He had gone from not as much seeing as seeing a trace of Donghyuck in the dorm to running into him all the time now that Jaemin seemed to be in higher spirits.
Donghyuck is wearing a dark green sweater, his hair damp from a shower, and once again, Mark feels awkward, unsure how to behave.
At least until he notices just what Donghyuck is studying, and then he feels his heart jump out of his chest.
“Is that Lillinor Fluggle?” He asks, voice an octave higher than it usually is.
When Donghyuck nods, Mark swallows, decides that the best course of action is to escape the common room.
“Where are you going?” Donghyuck asks before he has even as much as opened his door, putting his book to the side. “We haven’t touched yet.”
The way Donghyuck’s phrases the sentence makes Mark pause, a shiver run down his spine.
“Right,” Mark says, slowly making his way over to the couch.
Donghyuck is waiting for him with one hand already outstretched, and Mark slips his hand into his, the contact doing nothing to ease his nerves.
He exhales, sits down next to Donghyuck, and side by side on the couch they’re close enough for Mark to smell the scent of soap that clings to Donghyuck’s skin, his hair. It’s only because they’re sitting so close that he can see the shuddering breath Donghyuck tries his best to hide.
“I want to try something,” Donghyuck says a few seconds later, and Mark glances at him out of the corner of his eyes. His voice is steady, unwavering, and Mark begins to wonder if he’d simply imagined Donghyuck’s reaction to their proximity.
“What?” Mark asks.
“From your reaction I’m guessing that you know about Fluggle’s theory that increased physical contact helps to stabilize magic.”
“I’m not kissing you.” Mark says, throat tight.
Donghyuck doesn’t roll his eyes, but Mark gets the impression that it’s a close call.
“I never said that we were going to kiss, dumbass. I think we should try hugging. Madam Pomfrey said that we could spend more time holding hands but that it probably wouldn’t make much of a difference, that we could try something with a larger impact but for a shorter time. Since neither of us have the time to spend all day holding hands, I think we should try it.”
Mark considers it.
Holding hands was easier, but it was true that they didn’t know how long they would have to hold hands for their magic to make it through an entire day. The only problem was that Mark couldn’t remember the last time he had hugged anyone other than his muggle grandmother, and that usually only lasted for a second or two.
He had a feeling that hugging Donghyuck would feel nothing like hugging his family—only the thought of it felt more intimate, sent a rush of heat throughout his entire body.
“Fine,” he eventually settles and hopes that his hand isn’t turning damp in Donghyuck’s. “But if it doesn’t work then it’s back to holding hands.”
Mark tries to stop himself from fidgeting.
“Should we do it now?”
In lieu of answering Donghyuck simply scoots closer, their legs brushing, their knees bumping. Mark sucks in a breath of air but quickly comes to the realization that hugging while they’re both sitting next to each other will be uncomfortable. The couch is too soft, and Mark is already sinking into it. He can practically feel pain in his lower back from even thinking about hugging Donghyuck in the position they are currently in.
“Wait,” he says, and tightens his grip on Donghyuck’s hand, getting onto his knees.
“What are you doing?” Donghyuck asks.
“I’m trying to get more comfortable.”
Donghyuck raises an eyebrow.
“If you want to sit on my lap you can just say so.”
Mark stumbles, and it’s only when he looks up at Donghyuck with wide eyes that he realizes that he is being teased.
“If anyone should be sitting in anyone’s lap it’s you,” Mark scowls, hoping it makes up for the flush creeping up his neck. “I’m older than you.”
This time Donghyuck really does roll his eyes.
He never liked when Mark pulled the I’m-older-than-you card when they were younger, which was one of the reasons Mark had used it so often. It never really seemed to work, either way. Donghyuck simply continued to treat him as if he were younger or the same age as him since he knew that it never failed to annoy him.
“I can sit on your lap if that would make you happier.”
Mark glares at Donghyuck, and while he thinks that that would probably spare his pride, it would also give Donghyuck too much power, rendering it difficult to move, to get up if he needed to.
Eventually he swallows down his pride, tries to tell himself that it’s the lesser of two evils, and slings a leg across Donghyuck’s thighs, pushing down a sudden urge to smother him with a pillow.
His heart races in his chest.
“If you mention this to anyone I will kill you,” he says and wraps trembling arms around Donghyuck’s neck, does his best to relax against him. Donghyuck sneaks his own arms around his waist in response and pulls him closer so that they’re chest to chest, and Mark forgets to breathe.
Hugging Donghyuck is nothing like hugging his grandmother.
Up close he can smell the soap Donghyuck uses even clearer, smell something underneath it that is purely Donghyuck, a warm scent that Mark shouldn’t find as appealing as he does.
They’ve always been similar in build, Mark just one or two centimeters taller, although it had always been difficult to tell by the way Donghyuck seemed to walk with a natural slump, comfortable in his own skin in a way that Mark had always found a little intimidating. It makes it easy, comfortable to rest his cheek against Donghyuck’s shoulder, to exhale as he tries to calm the itch inside of him that wants to breathe him in, that wants to be even closer.
Magic sizzles inside him, seeps into every pore, every part of his body. His entire being tells him that being like this with Donghyuck is right, that it’s the way it should be. Mark takes a deep breath and is helpless against the heat that gathers in his lower abdomen, pants feeling tighter than they had a few minutes ago.
Mark squirms at the feeling, and when that causes him to accidentally push against one of Donghyuck’s thighs, adding to the pressure against his cock, he jerks away, decides that they’ve hugged long enough.
“Let’s just hold hands,” he chokes out when he is standing up, hoping that Donghyuck doesn’t notice his tented trousers. “Let’s only hug if there’s an emergency, if we really need to.”
Donghyuck just swallows, seems tense on the couch, and Mark pretends not to notice that his shorts have ridden up, suddenly feeling dizzy.
His magic lasts for three days.
He expects it to stop responding to him at the end of day one, staring at his wand suspiciously when the spells he casts work, and by the end of day two he wonders if hugging Donghyuck is what finally caused his magic to go back to normal. It’s only on day three after a full day of classes that he discovers that he’s back to square one, that he doesn’t seem to be able to access his magic once again.
It’s around the same time that Yukhei turns to him, a question in his eyes.
“You’ve gotten a lot more affectionate lately, you know.”
“What?” Mark answers, surprised. “No, I haven’t.”
Yukhei seems to disagree, raising an eyebrow at him, and it’s only then that Mark realizes that he has an arm thrown around Yukhei’s shoulders. Mark is quick to pull it back, feeling a little bit self-conscious, and laughs nervously.
“Sorry, must have missed you more than I thought, or something.”
It’s a concoction, but Yukhei grins at him happily, tells him that he’s missed him too, and throws an arm around him. Mark only escapes Yukhei’s excessive affection when he leaves for the Head Boy’s common room, surprised to find Jaemin and Jeno sitting on the couch in front of the fire, Donghyuck nowhere in sight.
“Oh, hey Mark,” Jeno says, sending him a warm smile.
Out of all of Donghyuck’s close friends, Jeno has always been the one he’s gotten along the best with, the one who usually grounded Donghyuck when he was on the verge of taking a joke too far. Mark had always wondered what it was that drew Jeno and the rest of his friends to Donghyuck, because while Mark disliked Donghyuck, he had always liked his friends.
“Hey,” Mark responds. “Are you waiting for Donghyuck?”
“Yeah, he’s just changing. We’re going to play Quidditch.”
“You’re welcome to join if you’d like,” Jaemin adds and Mark hopes he doesn’t look as surprised as he feels. He’s also happy to notice that Jaemin looks well-rested, that the usual sparkle is back in his eyes.
“Next time, maybe,” he lies, scratching the back of his neck. The later anyone finds out about his fear of heights, the better.
Donghyuck pops out of his room a second later, dressed in green Quidditch gear. He has a broomstick in his hand, and Mark struggles to tear his gaze away from him.
It’s by pure chance that he and Mina make their way past the Quidditch pitch later that afternoon. Mark is accompanying her to the lake so that she can gather some herbs for a project, and spots Donghyuck hovering above the ground, a golden snitch in his hand.
He is laughing at something, the sound of his laughter carrying across the field, and Mark finds himself straining his ears so that he can catch more of it. He understands why Donghyuck is grinning when he flies away, a swearing Renjun in tow, but from the smile on Renjun’s face, Mark doubts that he’s actually annoyed. Jeno and Jaemin are both laughing from the ground, the atmosphere happy.
The sight makes Mark pause.
As a child he’d always thought that the reason Renjun, Jaemin and Jeno hung out with Donghyuck was because they were childhood friends, that they were probably too nice to break the connection. When he’d gotten older, he’d realized that it probably wasn’t that simple, but he’d never really thought that they genuinely enjoyed Donghyuck’s teasing, that they teased him back.
It makes something close to unease swirl in his stomach, a tiny part of him wondering if he’d misunderstood their dynamic all of these years. He doubts it, but the worry refuses to leave him alone, and he’s still thinking about it later that evening when he’s waiting for Donghyuck to make it back so that they can hold hands.
He’s on the couch, a book in his hand, but when an hour passes without Donghyuck returning, he closes it, closes his eyes. He doesn’t mean to do anything other than take a short nap, but when he wakes up the room is dark and someone has put a blanket over him, placed his glasses on the table.
He doesn’t feel his magic buzz in his body so Donghyuck must have foregone waking him up, letting him rest. For some reason the thought makes him feel strange, makes him swallow, wide awake.
Mark waits for Donghyuck the next morning with a bated breath.
“Did you, um, put a blanket on me yesterday?” Mark asks.
Donghyuck licks his lips.
“Why?” He asks, tense. “Were you surprised that I didn’t steal your clothes and leave you to freeze?”
“No,” Mark responds. “I was going to say thank you.”
Donghyuck looks at him with wide eyes for a second before his expression shutters, almost looking a little bit suspicious.
Mark feels oddly wounded.
“Let’s just hold hands and get it over with,” he mutters, not sure why he’s so annoyed, feeling even less of a desire to hold Donghyuck’s hand than he usually does.
He’s still in a bad mood by the time he meets up with Mina and Yukhei.
“Why do think Donghyuck hates me?” He asks, stabbing his eggs with his fork. “He’s never been rude to you. It’s always just me.”
Mina hums, looks a bit contemplative.
“I don’t really know,” she says, “but it’s not like you were the nicest to him when we were younger.”
Mark opens his mouth to protest, but Mina holds her hand up, not finished.
“I’m not saying that you had a reason to be, but I never really thought his jokes were as mean as you did. You probably didn’t need to berate him as hard as you did when he tried to sneak into Gryffindor Tower.”
“He was trying to sabotage the Gryffindor common room!” Mark complains. “He also refused to listen to me even though he was just a first-year!”
To be fair, Mark still didn’t know what Donghyuck had been hoping to accomplish by sneaking into the Gryffindor Tower, but infiltrating a different house without an invite had still been against the rules. Mark had thought that Donghyuck response to his reminder would be to nod, to maybe apologize, but instead he had squared his shoulders and called Mark lame in front of his brother.
Mark had disliked him ever since.
It hadn’t helped that Taeyong seemed to like Donghyuck, that Donghyuck appeared to have made it his goal to make Mark’s life at Hogwarts difficult even after they had found out that they shared one core of magic and were told to avoid each other.
Hoping to escape his bad mood, Mark decides to use the prefects’ bathroom for the first time since the start of the new year. He isn’t entirely sure what has got him so worked up, but he knows that he doesn’t want to face Donghyuck until he’s calmed down, more in control of his emotions.
It’s empty, and Mark sinks into the bath with a sigh, combing his fingers through the pink foam that coats the surface of the bathwater, taking a few strokes until he comes to rest against the small bench that lines the pool. He lets out the air that he’d been holding and tilts his head back, stares up at the enchanted ceiling.
He doesn’t know how much has passed when he hears the door open, the sound of someone entering.
“Um, sorry, I’ll get out in a moment—”
When he opens his eyes, Donghyuck is standing by the entrance of the bathroom, a bag slung across his shoulders, cheeks pink. He swallows when Mark meets his gaze, scowls.
“I’ve been looking all over for you,” he says. “I know that the Gryffindor team needs all the help it can get but making me unable to as much as lift off the ground is a little extreme.”
“What are you talking about?” Mark asks, suddenly hyper aware that he’s almost naked.
“That our magic doesn’t work. I have Quidditch practice in thirty minutes, I think I would be a better player if I could actually play.”
Mark’s magic had still been working fine when he’d entered the bath, so it must have stopped responding sometime after he’d gotten into the pool. It explains why Donghyuck had felt a sudden need to look for him, to search him out.
Mark feels a rare burst of pettiness, the sort of mood that only Donghyuck seems to be able to draw out of him. It had always amused Johnny, making jokes that he’d never seen Mark angry until he’d met Donghyuck.
“I’m not finished taking a bath,” he says, crossing his arms over his chest. “You’ll have to wait.”
He’s grateful for the foam, even if it is starting to disappear, and the fact that he’d decided to wear his swim trunks. He still pushes down the part of him that wants to sink deeper into the water, that feels naked in Donghyuck’s company, never having worn so little around him before.
Donghyuck looks at him for a few long seconds, long enough that Mark begins to feel a bit awkward, to regret his outburst, but then he begins to unbutton his robe.
“Are you getting—What are you doing?” Mark panics, arms floundering, water splashing around him.
“I’m jumping into the pool,” he says, and Mark struggles to keep his eyes off Donghyuck as he removes his sweater, unbuttons his trousers. He’s pretty sure his hands are shaking, heart racing in his chest as he sees more and more of Donghyuck, the naked skin of his back, the summer tan that never seems to leave his body.
He’d always known that Donghyuck was handsome, but there’s a difference between seeing someone dressed in dark robes and seeing someone’s thighs and calves, the only thing left on his body being a pair of black underwear.
Mark sucks in a breath, forces himself to look away, to remind himself to breathe.
“You could have just told me to swim to the edge,” he says, voice weak, but knows that he probably wouldn’t have.
Donghyuck ignores him, steps into the water, and Mark realizes that he’s made a huge mistake. Getting out of the water to hold Donghyuck’s hand would have been a million times more preferable to holding Donghyuck’s hands while they’re both almost naked, the only sound coming from the hot water gushing out of the taps, from the blood rushing through his ears.
It doesn’t take nearly long enough for Donghyuck to cross the pool, to come face to face with him, the steam rising from the pool humidifying the air and turning his hair damp. Water laps against his neck, at his shoulders.
Mark is frozen.
“You said that we could hug if one of us really needed to.” Donghyuck says. “I’m using my emergency.”
One of the things Mark had always disliked about being around Donghyuck when they were younger was how out of his depth he felt around him. Mark could predict what other people would say in certain situations, how they would react, but Donghyuck had always been difficult to pin down, to understand. Mark would think that he had a foolproof comeback to something Donghyuck had said only for Donghyuck to flip the conversation, to say something Mark hadn’t even imagined, leaving him struggling to keep up.
He feels similarly out of his depth when Donghyuck steps closer, lean arms slipping under his to brush against his side. His hands come to rest against his lower back and Mark shivers, hopes that Donghyuck doesn’t notice.
They had hugged once before when both of them had been fully dressed and that had left Mark hard, but there is a world of a difference between touching Donghyuck when there are layers of clothing covering them and when they’re both shirtless, the feeling of Donghyuck’s skin on his overwhelming.
Mark has to stop his knees from shaking and falls back against the bench lining the pool, grateful that he hadn’t decided to meet Donghyuck halfway into the tub. Heat burns throughout his body, pooling between his legs, and when Donghyuck rests his head against his naked shoulder, Mark swallows hard, takes calculated breaths.
The stay in the same position for a minute or two until Mark has gotten himself under some semblance of control, and then he throws his own arms over Donghyuck, hoping to regain some power over the situation, over Donghyuck. He feels a moment of satisfaction when the action causes Donghyuck to release a strangled noise, but it only last until he realizes that he’s only succeeded in making it even more difficult for himself.
Donghyuck’s thigh is between his legs, and the wet underwear he is wearing is doing nothing to hide the outline of his cock. Mark doesn’t think he’s only imagining that it feels fuller than it should, brushing against his own in a maddening way.
Mark digs his fingernails into his palms.
“Do you think it’s like this because our magic is fractured?” He breathes against Donghyuck’s skin, finding himself a bit fascinated by the goosebumps that follow. “That it’s the magic reestablishing itself that causes this reaction?”
He doesn’t feel the need to clarify which reaction he means.
Donghyuck pulls back so that they’re eye level with each other, his face just a few centimeters away from Mark’s. This close Mark can see the mole on the left side of his face, the water clinging to his eyelashes. The warm water has given his skin a flush, made his heart-shaped lips rosy, and Mark feels lightheaded.
“No,” Donghyuck answers slowly. “It’s always been like this. Even before, the first time we met.”
Mark can only remember touching Donghyuck once before, back when he was fourteen and they’d actually gotten into a physical brawl. He’d been too wound up to notice if touching Donghyuck had felt right in a way that it never felt to touch anyone else, but he does remember his skin always tingling when he was close, his body’s own way of alerting him that Donghyuck was near.
He doesn’t remember it happening before their brawl, though. He doesn’t remember his skin tingling when he’d first ran into an thirteen-year-old Donghyuck on the Hogwarts Express, just remembers Donghyuck looking at him with wide eyes and red cheeks.
Mark intertwines his hand with Donghyuck’s, stares at their joint hands as their fingers break the surface of the water. He doesn’t see the magic flowing through their veins, but he feels it, thumb brushing the back of Donghyuck’s hand.
Donghyuck stills and Mark struggles to meet his gaze. He always does.
“I guess I understand why people think we’re soulmates,” Mark admits softly.
Donghyuck remains quiet, body tense, and Mark doesn’t know how long Donghyuck is planning on hugging him, but since he isn’t detangling their fingers Mark makes a move to tug him a little bit closer, coming to the vague realization that he’s beginning to get used to having Donghyuck this close.
He pulls at Donghyuck’s arm but miscalculates his strength, how his body is angled, and instead of tilting his head so that it comes to rest on Donghyuck’s shoulder, he pulls him closer almost as if they are about to kiss.
Mark startles, expecting Donghyuck to draw back. When he doesn’t, Mark sucks in a breath of air, the action dragging Donghyuck’s attention towards his lips. Tension permeates the air, filters through his skin, the small space between their lips electric.
Donghyuck’s eyes are darker than they had been a second ago, and Mark feels the need to kiss Donghyuck almost like it’s a physical ache that needs to be soothed. His eyes flutter closed, and he is beginning to close the distance between their lips when there is a sudden crash, water splashing over them.
“Can a girl not cry in peace anymore?” Moaning Myrtle complains, glowering at the two of them with teary eyes. “Why are there people in every single bathroom?”
There’s another splash of water, and Mark swallows, refuses to look at Donghyuck. They’d detached after the first wave of water, and the sudden distance between them seems unbreachable.
“Sorry,” he croaks. “We’ll be right out.”
When Donghyuck leaves for Quidditch practice a few minutes later, Mark is almost left wondering if he’d imagined everything.
Mark doesn’t see Donghyuck again until it’s Sunday, the entire castle gathered on the Quidditch pitch. Ravenclaw is playing against Slytherin, and while Mark’s feelings towards the sport has always been lukewarm, he finds himself sitting on the edge of his seat.
Mina, who is sitting next to him decked out in gold and red, follows his gaze.
“You know, for someone who claims to hate Lee Donghyuck, you sure seem to be staring at him a lot.”
“It’s called glaring,” Mark answers, a little weakly. “There’s a difference.”
Mina sends him a dry look.
“There is. You should learn it.”
Mark opens his mouth to respond to her but finds his attention side-tracked when Donghyuck shoots into the air, focused on something Mark can’t see. He’s told by the announcers that he’s spotted the golden snitch, and it doesn’t take long before Ravenclaw’s seeker joins the chase, speeding up and trying to force Donghyuck out of the way.
Mark isn’t close enough to see Donghyuck’s expression but he guesses that he’s annoyed, because a second later Donghyuck feints a move to the right and puts some distance between the two of them. Slytherin wins the game only minutes later, but Mark can’t find it in himself to feel quite as annoyed as he usually would, observing the satisfied grin on Donghyuck’s face as he stretches his arms out and is promptly tackled by his teammates.
“Definitely not glaring,” Mina mutters, and Mark elbows her softly in retaliation.
There’s a celebration party by the lake in the evening, one of the school’s many attempts to promote inter-house unity, to dispel all the potential bad blood that a game might have created. Mark goes because it’s expected of him, because he’d been helpless against Chenle’s cute nagging, but also because of the insistent itch pulling him from his dorm.
The celebration is almost entirely empty of Ravenclaws, but Mark spots Jeno talking to Renjun with flushed cheeks. He has his hands wrapped around what looks like a cup of tea, and Mark doesn’t have to look far to see where he got it from, an entire table filled with cauldrons containing different colored beverages.
Chenle runs off to find Jisung, telling him that he’ll be back in a few minutes, and in the meantime Mark goes to grab something to drink. He’s pouring himself some hot chocolate when Jeno comes to join him, back for seconds.
“I didn’t think you’d come,” Jeno says, a small smile on his face. “I never see you at parties. Or games, to be honest. I thought you disliked Quidditch.”
“I was there when Gryffindor played against Hufflepuff,” Mark counters, but knows that it’s a weak response since the game had taken place almost six months ago, before the summer break.
He’d also spent most of the game distracting himself by talking to Yukhei after the Gryffindor catcher had fallen off her broomstick.
“And missed the four games after that. I remember because Donghyuck was annoyed that you didn’t show up when Gryffindor played against Slytherin.”
Mark laughs awkwardly.
“Because he couldn’t rub the win in my face?”
“I don’t know, you never know with him honestly. He’s always been weird when it comes to you.”
For the first time ever, Mark finds himself wondering if Donghyuck had told his friends about their relationship, about sharing magic. He’d always assumed that he had since Mark had told Mina and Yukhei, told Johnny, but he doesn’t know for sure.
Almost as if knowing that he’s the topic of discussion, Donghyuck approaches, still wearing his Quidditch gear. Mark licks his lips, his throat dry.
“Jaemin is looking for you,” he says to Jeno, but his eyes slide over to Mark. “I think he used the excuse that he was in love with you to get out of a love confession again.”
“I’ve told him not to use that excuse a million times,” he says, crossing his arms over his chest. “It only ends with people glaring at me from the other side of the Great Hall.”
He leaves a second later, muttering under his breath, and leaves him alone with Donghyuck.
Mark tries to stop himself from fidgeting, raises his glass to his lips.
“You know that’s spiked, right?” Donghyuck asks, looking at the glass in his hand.
Mark gapes at him, splutters out a “What?”
“Hendery and Yangyang poured almost an entire bottle of Firewhiskey into the hot chocolate,” Donghyuck explains. “I think it backfired, though.”
It’s only then that Mark notices that Professor Jung is walking with determined steps towards the duo, a glass raised high into the air. And while Mark knows that he probably shouldn’t, he can’t stop the startled laugh that bursts out of him at the panic that crosses Yangyang and Hendery’s face, the half-jog they do to get away from him.
When he turns back to look at Donghyuck, smile still on his face, he notices that Donghyuck is looking at him instead of Professor Jung, that it’s the first time he’s ever laughed around Donghyuck, at something he’d said.
He swallows down the lump in his throat and meets Donghyuck’s gaze. He still feels unsure about how to approach Donghyuck, how to act around him, but he knows that he doesn’t want to upset the tentative truce that had somehow established itself between them.
“Congratulations on winning,” he says hesitantly. “I didn’t know you could play that well.” Worried that it comes out sounding a little condescending, Mark adds, “I mean I had heard, but never seen.”
Donghyuck looks a bit taken aback by the statement before he straightens out, kicks the grass beneath his feet.
“A compliment from Mark Lee. What an honor.”
The comment makes Mark frown.
“Why are you always so rude to me?” He asks, furrowing his brows together. “I know that you find me annoying but you’ve never been mean to Jeno and he’s also a stickler to the rules. It’s always just me.”
He doesn’t mean to pout, but it’s something he’d always wondered. He doesn’t even know how many nights he’d spent questioning why Donghyuck seemed to detest him so much.
“Shouldn’t I be the one asking that question?” Donghyuck asks.
Donghyuck presses his lips together, his jaw clenched.
“You know, I always thought that you were just strict on younger students, that that was the reason you didn’t like it when I played around, but you love Chenle and Jisung and out of all of my friends, it was always just me that you hated, didn’t want to talk to.”
Mark gawks at him for a long moment before he narrows his eyes.
“Chenle and Jisung never called me lame or put a spell on me so that I woke up in the Great Lake!”
“Well, maybe they should have!”
For a second Mark actually considers strangling Donghyuck, ten years of his life in Azkaban in exchange for a life without Donghyuck not sounding too bad. Then he takes a deep breath, blinks the red out of his vision.
“I can’t believe I thought we could ever become friends.”
Donghyuck looks bitter.
“We won’t ever become friends. We’re fucking soulmates.”
Mark is left staring at his back as he walks away, the truce between them broken.
Mark is among the last to leave the party, if it can even be called that, simply because he dreads going back to their dorm. He even heads by the Gryffindor Tower, steals some chocolate from Yukhei and willingly listens to the new exercise routine he’d created for lack of anything better to do, in hopes of passing the time.
When he knows that he won’t be able to put off going back to his dorm any longer he walks back, a little bit nervously, and is both relieved and disappointed that he finds the common room empty. Mark enters his own room with a sigh, unhappier than he remembers being in quite some time.
He thinks that it might be because they left it on a bad note, but he senses the exact moment Donghyuck enters the common room, his entire body buzzing, bones a compass pointing in his direction.
Mark tries to ignore it, tries to go to sleep like he usually would but eventually gives up, deciding that he might as well read a book until he feels sleepy, until his mind calms. He’s been staring at the same page for over five minutes, trying to get the sentences to stick in his head when there’s a knock on his door. It’s soft, almost as the person on the other side is hoping that he’s asleep, that he won’t answer.
Mark knows that it’s Donghyuck, never having felt his presence leave the common room, and wonders if he should pretend that he’s asleep.
Eventually the urge to see him wins over.
Donghyuck is wearing a strange expression on his face when he swings the door open, a cross between determination and apprehension, and the sight makes Mark freeze.
Somehow, he doubts that Donghyuck had knocked on his door to apologize.
“I need you to do something for me,” Donghyuck says, worrying his lower lip, and the statement catches Mark by surprise. Mark had always thought that Donghyuck was too proud to ask for his help, to ask him for anything. It especially comes as a surprise since he’d been angry with him less than a few hours ago.
“I’ve been thinking about this the entire evening,” he continues, “and I think this is the only way I can know for sure. The only way I can get it out of my system.” Donghyuck takes a deep breath, steels himself. “If you do this I promise I won’t ever bother you again.”
Blood rushes through Mark’s ears, and for some reason he is the one who feels nervous.
“Alright,” he says hesitantly. “What is it?”
He sees Donghyuck swallow, the slight shake to his hands, and then he takes a step forward and kisses him.
Donghyuck’s lips are firm against his, soft, and Mark stands frozen for a few seconds before he responds to the kiss slowly, the resulting rush of heat that spreads through him unlike anything he’s ever felt before. It flows throughout his entire body, out into ever fingertip, and Mark can’t help but pull him closer, curling his arms around Donghyuck’s neck.
Years and years have been building up to this moment, Mark thinks, from the first time they met as babies to the years they’d spent tormenting each other in the hallways, and Mark feels like he’s drowning, drunk off the taste of Donghyuck, off the scent of his skin, his hair.
Donghyuck shudders against him, deepens the kiss, and Mark can’t breathe, can’t even think, the slide of Donghyuck’s tongue against his wet and maddening. He’s never been kissed like this before, never like someone actually means it, the short peck he’d shared with a Ravenclaw a year back paling in comparison.
He pulls Donghyuck closer until there is hardly any space left between them, and somehow even that isn’t enough. He wants to kiss Donghyuck even harder, until everything else fades around them, the only thing left being the two of them, the feeling of Donghyuck’s lips on his.
It’s only the need to breathe that has him finally pulling away with a gasp, lightheaded.
When he opens his eyes, he sees that Donghyuck’s lips are pink and swollen, his pupils dilated. It makes Mark want to lean in once more, brush their lips together.
Instead he asks “Did you get your answer?”
Donghyuck swallows, and Mark tries to ignore how tight his chest feels when Donghyuck takes a step back, avoids his gaze for the first time ever.
“Yes.” He says. “I did.”
Three weeks pass with Mark’s magic working without a hitch.
Three weeks of Mark trying to catch Donghyuck’s attention in the Great Hall, of waiting up for him in the common room only for him to never show, of going out of his way to bump into him in the hallways only to not even receive a small nod as a greeting.
Mark hadn’t necessarily thought that things would change overnight after kissing Donghyuck, but he hadn’t imagined that Donghyuck would take his promise to never bother him again seriously.
He also hadn’t thought that he’d be so bothered that he did.
It makes him feel unsettled, never having noticed just how big of a presence Donghyuck had in his life. Even after they’d been told to stay away from each other as first and second-years, Mark had rarely gone a day without bickering with Donghyuck, without catching his gaze from the other side of the Great Hall, Donghyuck sticking his tongue out at him and Mark crinkling his nose back.
He knows that he should be grateful that his days are suddenly peaceful, that he doesn’t have to wonder what sort of mischief Donghyuck is up to, but it just makes him restless, unnerved.
Needing someone to confide in, Mark stops by Gladrags Wizardwear, a pout on his face.
Johnny takes one look at him and then closes the shop, shooing the middle-aged couple that had been lazily browsing the store away.
“So, basically, Donghyuck stopped pestering you and now you’re moping about it?”
“I’m not moping about it,” Mark mopes. “I just don’t understand it. He can’t just kiss me and then never speak to me again.”
“Have you tried speaking to him?”
Mark frowns, thinking back on the weeks that had passed. It was true that he’d gone out of his way to see Donghyuck, walking past his lessons and the Quidditch field, staying up late waiting for him in the dorm, but he’d never really initiated a conversation with him. The only times he really could have was when he was in their dorm, and despite his efforts, that had mostly ended in him accidentally falling asleep or giving up and going back to his own room.
“You think that would be a good idea?” He asks, hesitant.
Johnny sends him a dry look.
“Well, I think it would be a start.”
Mark nods but doesn’t get a chance to speak to Donghyuck when he makes it back to the castle, Mina stating that she hadn’t seen enough of him lately and making him and Yukhei have an impromptu sleepover in the Gryffindor common room.
It isn’t any easier to search Donghyuck out the next day since it’s the long-awaited Gryffindor versus Slytherin Quidditch game. It’s raining, the November winds cutting to the bone, but Mark decides that he wants to go much to his friends’ surprise. It has more to do with wanting to have a reason to stare at Donghyuck than it is out of a newfound love for the sport, but he refrains from mentioning the detail to his friends, allowing Chenle to smear his cheeks with red paint.
He can tell that something is off with Donghyuck before he has as much as lifted off the ground, a tension to his usually relaxed shoulders, face void of a smile even after he hears the cheers from the crowd.
A gust of wind blows over the field and Mark huddles deeper into his coat, casting a heating spell over his feet. The wind toys with Donghyuck’s hair, makes his cheeks flushed, and Mark frowns, wonders how much colder it must be out in the open air.
The game is nowhere near as peaceful as the previous game had been.
The Slytherin Keeper gets hit by the Quaffle an hour into the game, falling off her broomstick and getting sent to the hospital wing. The stand-in does the best that he can, but it’s obvious that he wasn’t prepared to play, that he was placed on the back burner for a reason. Mark watches with mixed feelings as Gryffindor scores score after score, the cheers from his house growing in volume.
Donghyuck is the one who catches the golden snitch, gaining the Slytherin team another hundred and fifty points, but in the end it’s Gryffindor that wins, his effort going to waste. Since the joint parties have been paused for an unforeseeable future due to Yangyang’s and Hendery’s shenanigans, there is talk of a private celebration in the Gryffindor Tower, but Mark doesn’t have any desire to go.
Instead he heads to his room and changes into his pajamas, still feeling the sting of the November weather. He’s sitting in the common room when Donghyuck walks in.
Donghyuck looks tired, his hair messy, and he stills when he spots him in front of the fire, takes a deep breath almost as if he’s bracing himself for something.
“I saw the game,” Mark says, clearing his throat. He feels more nervous than he has any reason to be, but it’s the first time in almost a month that they’re speaking, that they’re alone.
Donghyuck leans his broomstick against the wall.
“Well, if you want to rub in the fact that Slytherin lost to Gryffindor, now’s your chance.”
Mark suddenly remembers that he still has red paint smeared across his cheeks and raises his hand to his cheek, tries to rub it off with the palm of his hand.
“That’s not…That’s not why I was waiting for you,” Mark says.
Mark opens his mouth, words on the tip of his tongue, but closes it a second later, not knowing how to even begin to explain his thoughts, his emotions. In the end he simply gets up from the couch, heart racing like it’s going to break out of his ribcage, and walks over and kisses him.
He isn’t sure what he was expecting, but it was at least for Donghyuck to return the kiss or push him away. Instead he just stands stock-still, frozen, and Mark loses his momentum, regret already beginning to settle over him like hot lead.
He still isn’t sure why Donghyuck had kissed him that night three weeks ago. Rather than it being because he wanted to, it could have just as easily been to mess with Mark’s head, a new way to confuse and torment him.
Mark pulls back, his cheeks burning.
Donghyuck doesn’t look tired anymore, instead there’s something odd about his expression, something pinched.
“Was that a pity kiss?”
“Does everything I do have to be rubbing something in or because I pity you?” Before he can think it through, he says “I did it because I wanted to. Because I’ve thought about kissing you for three weeks straight.”
Donghyuck swallows and doesn’t really look like he believes him, but the pinched look is gone from his face.
“You said that you didn’t want to kiss me. That holding hands was enough.”
“Well, maybe I changed my mind?” Mark says and thinks his cheeks must surely be as red as the paint decorating them. “Look, I’m sorry, let’s just pretend this never happened. You don't have to worry about me kissing you again.”
Before he has the chance to turn around with his tail tucked between his legs, Donghyuck takes a step forward and presses his lips against his. Mark startles, but only lets himself be confused for a second before he kisses him back, tries to stop the relieved smile from making its way onto his face. A scared part of him realizes that he’s missed Donghyuck, has missed the feeling of his skin on his, the way it makes his entire body hum.
He wraps his arms around Donghyuck, legs unsteady, and shudders as Donghyuck runs his tongue over the seam of his mouth. When he responds, deepening the kiss, Donghyuck makes a strangled noise that makes his blood sing.
“The couch,” he gasps against Donghyuck’s lips, and a few seconds later they’re on the armchair in front of the fire, Donghyuck underneath him, one of his legs between Mark’s thighs. Mark tugs at Donghyuck’s shirt, reconnects their lips, and wonders how they could have gone years without kissing, how he could have continued living his life without ever having known how Donghyuck’s lips felt against his own.
He’s pretty sure he could get addicted to kissing Donghyuck, to his tongue in Donghyuck’s mouth, to Donghyuck tilting his head so that they can get closer, the wet slide of his mouth against his.
Donghyuck’s hand slips under the fabric of his pajama shirt to ghost over his skin and Mark aches. His fingers caress his hip bones, his back, and leave goosebumps in their wake, trails of fire dancing over his skin. It pools in his lower abdomen, his cock, and when he grinds down, the need for friction overwhelming, he feels Donghyuck hot and hard against him.
Donghyuck gasps, and Mark breaks the kiss, wondering if he’d accidentally used too much strength.
“Are you okay?” He breathes.
Donghyuck’s eyes are blown, his lips red, and he looks so alluring that it leaves Mark speechless.
“Peachy,” Donghyuck replies, voice strained. Mark flushes.
“Oh,” he says, and kisses Donghyuck again before he has a chance to notice, to tease him for it.
Mark repeats the action, rocking their hips together gently, and the thin fabric of Mark’s pajama pants does nothing to hide the sensation of Donghyuck’s cock twitching against his, fattening up. Mark trembles, arousal burning through him until he can hardly think, and rests his head on Donghyuck’s shoulder. It feels too forward to wrap a hand around Donghyuck, to see him without his underwear on just yet, but only the thought makes him dizzy.
“Wait, let me just,” Donghyuck begins, and adjusts them so that both of his legs are between Mark’s thighs, so that there is friction exactly where there needs to be, and thrusts lightly. Mark squeezes his eyes closed, grip tightening on Donghyuck’s shirt, and breathes in his scent, barely biting back the moan that wants to escape his throat.
The wet fabric of his pants straining against his cock coupled with the knowledge that Donghyuck is just as equally turned on has pressure building between Mark’s thighs sooner than he’d ever thought.
He speeds up, gasps against Donghyuck’s lips.
“I’m gonna come,” he warns, and Donghyuck’s shudders against him, hands dancing up to Mark’s neck, deepening the kiss. Seconds later Donghyuck melts against him like a burnt candle, and Mark follows shortly after, everything around him fading to black.
After that, kissing Donghyuck becomes something of an obsession.
It’s only the next day that Donghyuck kisses down his neck and makes it difficult for him to think, to do anything other than stare in awe at Donghyuck’s flawless skin, drink up the sounds he makes when Mark kisses him hard, nips at his jawline.
Mark has no idea what they’re doing, if their feud is officially over or just paused, but he doesn’t want to overthink it, just happy that Donghyuck isn’t ignoring him anymore, that there seems to be something more relaxed, light about him. Donghyuck isn’t quite as sharp, quite as eager to bruise his ego, and the first time he makes a joke that doesn’t involve taking a shot at him, Mark is left laughing in baffled surprise, staring at him in amazement.
And it's strange, because for all their years of disliking each other, Mark realizes that he’d never really seen Donghyuck relax around him before, that there had always been a nervous edge to their interactions that Mark had never noticed until it was gone.
He feels like he's finally getting a view of how other people perceive Donghyuck, and while his gaze has always been drawn to him, always been kind of fascinated with his ability to make other people gravitate towards him, make them laugh, there’s a difference between simply witnessing something and experiencing it first-hand.
They’re in the Great Hall one day when Mark makes the mistake of accidentally smiling at Donghyuck, being unlucky enough that Yukhei catches it.
“Did you just smile at Lee Donghyuck?”
The smile is quickly replaced by an awkward laugh that sounds fake even to him.
“Haha—What? No. No, of course not.”
Yukhei narrows his eyes.
“You haven’t really been fighting as much as you usually do.”
“Well,” he begins, scrabbling at something to say to help salvage the situation. “We’re both head boys. And Headmistress Boa also said that we could get our old rooms back if we got along.”
Yukhei’s eyes remain narrowed for another second before he seems to believe him, shrugging.
“Yeah, that makes sense.”
He returns to eating his food, but Mark looks at his own dinner and feels his appetite disappear. He’d forgotten about Boa’s promise to give them their old rooms back if they got along, never really having imagined that they’d actually succeed, but there was only another week left until the winter holidays.
The thought of no longer sharing a dorm with Donghyuck leaves a bad taste in his mouth, leaves his stomach in knots. He’d gotten used to living with Donghyuck during the last few weeks, to spending time with him in front of the fire, whether it be kissing or simply watching him study. Their relationship was ambiguous enough as it was, Mark doubted that it would continue if they didn’t share the same space.
He couldn’t imagine Donghyuck choosing to come and study in the Gryffindor Tower to spend time with him, that he would deem it worth it to sneak off to secluded part of the castle so that they could be alone, that he thought of their relationship as anything other than a way to pass the time.
Donghyuck had too many options, too many people clamoring for his favor.
It leaves him oddly empty, never in his life having thought that he would miss Donghyuck’s presence. He’d always looked forward to graduating so that he could escape Donghyuck’s insistent attention, the way he seemed to thrive off of riling him up.
Donghyuck picks up on his bad mood later that evening, after Mark continues to zone out and doesn’t hear Donghyuck asking him a question. Mark blinks, turning to Donghyuck only to notice that the tension that hadn’t been there since the Quidditch game has returned to his shoulders, that his jaw is set.
“I knew that your eyesight was bad but I didn’t know that you were deaf,” He says, glaring at him.
“What?” Mark asks, confused. “No, sorry, I was just spacing out. I think I must be tired.” It isn’t the whole truth, but seems to be enough for Donghyuck because he relaxes, looks almost a bit sheepish.
“I thought—” Donghyuck trails off. “Never mind.”
Donghyuck kisses him a second later, harder than he has in a couple days, and Mark doesn’t know why, but he doesn’t complain, the feeling of Donghyuck’s lips against his pushing his worry about moving back to the Gryffindor Tower to the back of his mind.
More familiar with Donghyuck’s body than he had been when they’d first started making out, he kisses down Donghyuck’s neck, feels him shiver against him, and suddenly wants to do something more than just kiss. For all of the times that they had ended up panting against each other, magic running running wild inside of him, they hadn’t done more than rut against each other, sneaking hands underneath the waistbands of trousers.
Mark had been too nervous to take things further, lack of experience hemming, but there’s a new urge running underneath his skin, telling him that if he doesn’t muster up the courage now, he might never get the chance again.
“Um…Can I—Could I—You know, maybe try giving you a blow job?”
Donghyuck stares at him with wide eyes, speechless.
“We don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Mark adds hurriedly, taking his uncharacteristic silence as hesitance. “That’s like, really fine, as well. Like peachy. Forget I said anything, we don’t have to.”
But Donghyuck shakes his head before he can withdraw, red staining his cheeks, his neck.
“No, I—Yes,” he says, voice hoarse. “Yes. Definitely.”
And then Mark is the one left without an ability to talk, having lost all of his momentum.
The desire to do something bubbles through him, but he doesn’t really know where to start, never having given someone a blow job before. Hoping to hide his nerves, he leans in and kisses Donghyuck again, heart racing in his chest.
“Okay, I’ll just—” he begins when he’s disconnected their lips, swallowing, and lets his hand trail downwards until it’s resting on the button of Donghyuck’s trousers. So far, it’s familiar ground, and Mark unbuttons them slowly, waiting for any sign of reluctance on Donghyuck’s face. When he doesn’t find any, he pulls the zipper down as well, Donghyuck’s cock already straining against the fabric of his underwear. There’s a wet patch on the front, and Mark’s mouth dries, arousal turning his blood to fire.
Donghyuck spreads his legs wider, silently encouraging him to continue, and Mark’s sees his Adam’s apple bobble, never taking his eyes off of him. When he pulls the underwear down, Donghyuck’s cock springs free, leaking at the tip.
I’m going to die, Mark thinks unhelpfully. Even more unhelpful is the part of him that thinks that dying between Lee Donghyuck’s thighs probably wouldn’t be that bad.
He allows his hand to wrap around the base, feels it twitch in his hands, and wonders if he should go and sit on the floor, on his knees. Knowing that he can simply make the move later, he remains sitting on the couch, slowly beginning to lower his head.
He hears Donghyuck suck in a breath of air as he stops right before his mouth meets the tip of Donghyuck’s cock, exhaling against the head before slowly opening his mouth and letting himself taste it. He licks the tip, and Donghyuck jerks on the couch, unsteady hands coming to rest on his head, on his shoulder.
The knowledge that Donghyuck is equally as nervous, equally as eager, soothes Mark’s nerves, makes him muster up the courage to open his mouth more, to slowly lower himself down onto Donghyuck’s cock.
Donghyuck feels heavy in his mouth, heady, and Mark lets his tongue swirl patterns against the side, deciding that he likes the feel of it in his mouth. He likes the noises Donghyuck makes, how he is panting despite Mark not really having done anything.
Mark pulls back before lowering his head again, saliva making the slide easier, wetter. Mark tries hollowing his cheeks, applying light suction to the head, and the reaction Donghyuck has to it makes Mark curious enough to peek up at him, vision partially obstructed by his bangs.
Donghyuck is looking back at him, eyes blown, mouth open. His gaze is dark, warm, and Mark decides that he could definitely do this again if it means Donghyuck looking at him like he doesn’t know what to do, for once out of his element, the power entirely in Mark’s hands, his mouth.
It’s a sloppy blow job, Mark just mostly relying on instinct, on what he’d want someone else to do if he was the one receiving it, but Donghyuck doesn’t seem to mind, brushing hair out of his face and caressing the back of his head, almost overwhelmed.
Mark hums, tries to go deeper, but he doesn’t make it particularly far before he begins to tear up, eyelashes damp, and pulls back with a small cough, saliva dripping from his mouth. Mark’s cheeks burn, a little mortified, but Donghyuck doesn’t seem to mind, seems to apparently find it all too appealing, because a second later he is coming, streaks of white spurting from the tip and landing on Mark’s cheeks, his collarbones.
Mark doesn’t have much time to feel smug before he is tugged up and into a kiss, but Mark responds to it happily, curling his hands around Donghyuck’s neck.
It’s much later, when the cum has been vanished and they are breathing properly that Donghyuck asks the question Mark had apparently missed.
“I asked you what your plans for the holidays were.”
“Oh,” Mark says, a little bit surprised. “Taeyong is coming back from Sweden this week, so I think I’m just going to spend time with my family and maybe Doyoung.”
“I haven’t seen Doyoung in a while,” Donghyuck muses, absentmindedly playing with Mark’s hair, and Mark remembers that they were or at least had been close. He remembers seeing Donghyuck studying and playing wizard’s chess with Doyoung, listening to Donghyuck’s loud laughter when he won, to Doyoung’s whines. That had been back before Taeyong and Doyoung had gotten together, back when they had still been a little awkward around each other.
“You know when I said that you’d go on to live in your brother’s shadow once you graduate?” Donghyuck’s asks quietly, his hands stilling. “I didn’t mean it.”
“It’s alright,” Mark says, biting the inside of his cheek. “Even if you didn’t mean it, it’s kind of true.”
“No, it’s not.” Donghyuck says, tightening his grip on Mark’s hair until he winces, and Donghyuck goes back to stroking his fingers through it gently, a wordless apology. “He’s amazing, yes, the youngest Magizoologist to ever graduate Grimblehawk’s, but your strength has always been your diligence, your perseverance. I’m sure you’ll excel in whatever field you chose to work in, that you'll leave your own mark. I’m certain of it.”
Mark stares at Donghyuck, throat tight, chest tight.
Growing up, he’d wanted nothing more than to hear those words from his parents, from his grandparents; it seems almost ironic that they come out of the mouth of someone he’d always considered an enemy. For some reason, that’s also why he believes them in a way he wouldn’t if they came from Mina or Yukhei. Donghyuck has no reason to lie, no reason to say something out of pity.
“A world where Lee Donghyuck says that I have worth,” he says, but there’s a smile on his face. “Hell must have frozen over.”
“I always thought you had worth. I just thought you were very annoying.”
The twinge of worry Mark had felt about the two of them not sharing a dorm returns, a hundred times worse.
Christmas is objectively fine.
He gets to see his brother for the first time in a few months, Taeyong finally having returned from his time spent in northern Europe researching magical plants.
Like Mark had expected, he brings Doyoung, and Mark had hoped that he’d be sidetracked enough by him to miss how absent-minded Mark was, but he knows that he’s failed when he hears a knock on his door.
“Can I come in?” He asks, but the door is already swinging open.
Mark nods for the sake of it and scoots over.
“How are you feeling?” Taeyong wonders, sitting down on the edge of his bed. “You adore Christmas but you’ve been kind of agitated all day.”
“It’s nothing,” Mark says, but by the way Taeyong’s perfectly shaped eyebrows curve, he clearly doesn’t believe him.
“When you met Doyoung, did you kind of wish you could be with him? Or like, kind of wish that time could go faster so that you could go back to Hogwarts?”
“Well, we got together after we graduated,” Taeyong says, an amused smile on his face.
“Right.” Mark says, fiddling with his sheets.
Taeyong’s eyes soften.
“I did think about him a lot, though,” he says, ruffling Mark’s hair. “You can always write letters, you know.”
“I know,” Mark says, but knows that writing letters isn’t an option. Donghyuck was in Thailand celebrating Christmas with his family, and Mark had no idea what he would even write in one, if Donghyuck would even read a letter he sent.
Trying to cheer himself up, Mark attempts to avoid thinking about Donghyuck and their soon-to-be separate lives, and almost succeeds when his grandparents come over and tells him that he and Taeyong are invited to spend New Year’s at some pureblood’s family mansion.
They buzz around Taeyong like they always do, but the usual sting is gone, and for once Mark is actually kind of happy that he’s invisible to them, that their interest in him had faded when it had become clear that he wasn’t going to have an arranged marriage with Donghyuck.
It’s the only reason he’s left to his own devices on New Year’s, not introduced to a row of judgmental purebloods that care more about money and blood than they do anything else.
He is heading to get something to eat when he feels his magic buzz in him, feels a shiver run down his spine.
He turns around and spots Donghyuck dressed in a suit, his hair combed out of his face, and Mark’s heart stutters in his chest. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Donghyuck had also been invited to the party, the oldest child out of one of the few pureblood families left, but it leaves him frozen either way.
Donghyuck is with a pretty girl in a pretty dress, a polite smile on his face as he listens to what she has to say, and something ugly pools in Mark’s stomach, spreading through him, leeching warmth. Mark wonders how she would react if he went over and said hello, if Donghyuck would be happy or unsettled, annoyed that he disturbed a conversation, thought their relationship could ever survive in public.
Mark steps outside, the garden grounds decorated with different twinkling lights, a choir of enthusiastic house elves singing a horrible rendition of a Weird Sisters song. He finds Jaehyun and Sicheng standing by the courtyard and spends the rest of the evening talking to them, the last time he’d seen them having been at Johnny’s birthday party almost a year ago.
It’s almost midnight when Mark heads off to see if he can spot Taeyong and catch another glimpse of Donghyuck when he feels someone grab his arm, pulling him to an empty part of the balcony, finally coming face to face with Donghyuck.
“I didn’t know you were here.” Donghyuck says, a little breathless, the skin on Mark’s arm tingling.
“I came with my family,” Mark responds. There is kohl lining Donghyuck’s eyes, glitter dusting his eyelashes. It makes Mark feel dizzy. “I thought you were still in Thailand.”
“We made it back a few days ago.”
There’s a moment of silence where Mark’s nerves return. He wonders where the girl Donghyuck had been talking to is, who she is.
“Do you want to get out of here?” Donghyuck asks. “I think I’ve done enough socializing for the evening.”
Mark looks down at his watch, having told Taeyong that he’d meet him at twelve, but doubts that Taeyong would be too upset if he didn’t show. He really doesn’t want to leave Donghyuck now that he has his attention.
Donghyuck looks like he’s debating something with himself but then allows his hand to slide down Mark’s arm, intertwining their fingers.
It’s only when he navigates the halls of the mansion a little too easily that Mark tilts his head, understanding dawning on him.
“Wait, this is your house?”
“Our main one, yeah.”
Donghyuck doesn’t let him process the information before he opens a door and then pushes him gently inside.
The bedroom is white and cozy, pictures lining the walls, a “do not disturb” poster hanging sarcastically on the window. There’s a fire, a small balcony, and it’s cozy, not at all how Mark would have imagined that the Slytherin poster boy would live. Somehow everything about the room screams Donghyuck despite the fact, even the small gaming console on the table.
“This is your room?” Mark breathes, and Donghyuck nods, looks a little bit shy for once. “I didn’t know you played muggle video games.”
“I spent the entire summer figuring them out, trying to convince myself that it wasn’t worth getting expelled to hex people that were rude online. There were a few close calls.”
Mark laughs, something warm reflecting in Donghyuck’s eyes, and Mark thinks that he’s probably the most attractive person he’s ever seen, the vacation giving him an even brighter glow.
“You look good.” He says, unable to stop the words from spilling from his lips.
Donghyuck gazes at him, assessing.
“A suit man, then?”
“Not really,” Mark says. “But I think you would look good in anything.”
For a second, he worries that he’s said too much, overstepped his boundaries, but then Donghyuck hums and walks over and kisses him and Mark doesn’t anymore.
He tugs Donghyuck closer, his skin almost having a Pavlovian reaction to Donghyuck’s touch, cock twitching in his pants, and Mark wants nothing more than to lose himself in Donghyuck, in his scent, his presence.
“I don’t want to go find Taeyong,” Mark gasps against his mouth, following the wet trail of Donghyuck’s tongue.
“Then stay,” Donghyuck says, and Mark pulls away, eyes wide.
“Stay the night. With me. Spend it with me.”
Blood rushes through his ears.
Mark swallows hard, legs suddenly unsteady, and tugs Donghyuck closer, connects their lips again. Donghyuck hums into the kiss, nipping at his lower lip, and grabs onto the lapels of Mark’s suit, begins to push his jacket off of his body. It drops to the floor along with Mark’s sanity as Donghyuck moves them towards the bed, Mark falling onto it with a small thump, Donghyuck joining him a second later.
For all of their kissing, they had never ventured into any of their rooms, and Mark realizes that it feels a lot different to kiss on a bed than a couch, a lot more intimate, more erotic. People slept in beds, made love in beds, fucked in beds, cuddled.
Lost their virginities in them.
Donghyuck kisses down his neck, and when Mark finally opens his eyes it’s to find that for all he had gawked at Donghyuck’s room, he’d missed the most important detail.
Mark stares at the mirror glued to the ceiling and sees only how wrecked he looks, how flushed his cheeks are, how ink-black his hair is as it spills out over the white pillow. He sees Donghyuck’s back, the suit empathising his figure in a way that makes his throat dry, how unbelievably long his legs are.
God, Mark would write poems about Donghyuck’s legs if his brain didn’t stop working every time he as much as caught sight of them.
“I spent all of my trip to Thailand thinking about this,” Donghyuck breathes against him, and Mark full-body shivers. “Thinking about you. About how this would help stabilize our magic.”
At first Mark doesn't register the meaning behind Donghyuck’s words, continuing to enjoy the feeling of Donghyuck’s lips on his skin, but then there’s a feeling almost as if someone has thrown ice-cold water on top of him, every color in the room fading to grey.
Donghyuck doesn't notice, pulling himself up so that his kisses land on Mark’s lips, silently begging for him to reciprocate, but although Donghyuck on top of him is distracting, he isn't distracting enough for Mark to ignore the knife in his chest, the lump in his throat.
He can’t believe that he’d even for a second allowed himself to think that Donghyuck might have actually liked him, that there was something more to his kisses than getting his magic back.
Mark turns his head, nauseous.
“No—Wait,” he says. “Stop.”
Donghyuck looks back at him, a question in his eyes, and Mark aches.
He’d never really cared much about how or where he would lose his first kiss or virginity, never really considered it to be a big deal, but Mark doesn't want his first experience to be with someone who quite obviously doesn't love him back, who doesn't even care about him.
He doesn't know how he could he have sex with Donghyuck and then go back to living his life like nothing had ever happened, knowing that he’d never mattered.
“Is Taeyong that frightening?” Donghyuck asks, the beginning of a smile on his face.
It hurts to even breathe.
“No, this.” He chokes, and Donghyuck stills, finally notices the serious expression on his face. “I can’t have sex with you. I can’t do it. I won’t.”
The smile falls off of Donghyuck’s face and he tenses, withdraws.
Mark wants to grab his hand but he’s frozen.
“Why?” He asks.
“Because it won’t mean anything. I can’t do it if there aren’t any feelings involved.”
The color drains from Donghyuck’s skin faster than Mark had ever thought possible, Donghyuck recoiling from his touch almost as if he’d gotten slapped. Mark startles, the reaction Donghyuck has to his words taking him aback, not understanding it at all.
It takes a few long seconds before Donghyuck recovers enough to speak, but by then a storm has brewed behind his eyes.
“Oh, right,” he says, “I heard all about you and that Ravenclaw student last year. Basically, you can mess around and kiss me and suck my cock just fine, but this is where you draw the line?”
“You kissed me.” Mark reminds Donghyuck, because while he knows that Donghyuck probably doesn’t mean to make him sound cheap, dirty, the accusation is there nonetheless. “And why are you so upset? We never said we would have sex with each other.”
“I’m not upset.” Donghyuck hisses, his entire body shaking. “I only get mad at people if they fucking mean something to me. You don’t. Get the fuck out.”
Mark flinches, his chest tighter than he ever remembers it being, and stumbles out of the bedroom in a daze, the entire room swinging.
It’s a pure coincidence that he bumps into Taeyong and Doyoung before he meets someone else, both of whom gaze at him with worried, confused eyes.
“Mark, what happened?” Taeyong questions, placing a warm hand on his arm, and Mark blinks angry tears out of his eyes, his teeth aching.
“Can we go home?” He asks, voice trembling, and Taeyong frowns, throwing an arm around his shoulders.
“Yes, of course.”
They’re out of the mansion only minutes later, not even stopping to say goodbye to the hosts, their grandparents, flooing straight to their much humbler home. Mark is still trembling by the time Taeyong wraps a blanket around him, places a hot cup of tea in front of him, and asks him what is wrong.
Mark knows that Taeyong knows about their magic but not much more, and he’s not sure what Donghyuck has told Doyoung, so he simply begins by telling them about his and Donghyuck’s fight, about them slowly starting to hold hands, about Mark realizing that he actually liked being around Donghyuck, that he had missed Donghyuck over the break, that Donghyuck very clearly didn't like him back.
When he is finished, Taeyong hugs him in a way that Mark hasn't allowed him to since he was fifteen and had decided that it was time to grow up, to stop running after his brother, but it isn’t until it happens that he realizes how much he’s actually missed Taeyong’s hugs, how much he’s missed Taeyong.
Doyoung sits by the side, lost in thought, worrying his lower lip.
“Look,” he begins softly, his eyebrows furrowed. “I’m not saying that it’s okay or anything, but Donghyuck has always had a way of lashing out when he’s feeling hurt. He wouldn’t even be sparing you a glance if he didn’t care about you.” Doyoung exhales. “He used to always find a way of mentioning you in every topic of discussion. Taeil and I used to joke that he cared more about you than he did his us.”
Mark looks down at his hands, the tight feeling back in his chest.
The rest of the vacation passes too quickly and too slowly all at once, Mark doing nothing but try to ignore the anxiety curling in his gut, the image of Donghyuck glaring at him and then ordering him out of his room.
He spends the ride to Hogwarts pretending to be asleep in order to avoid Mina’s and Yukhei’s questions about his Christmas, about how he’d celebrated the beginning of the new year, and ironically finds it a small blessing that he at least won't have to share a dorm with Donghyuck.
He draws the curtains around him as soon as he enters the Gryffindor Tower and tells Yukhei that he’s too exhausted for dinner when in reality it’s just an excuse so that he won’t have to run into Donghyuck. Thankfully, Yukhei seems to believe him and promises to sneak some food from the table, but Mark has no appetite either way, falling into a restless sleep only minutes after Yukhei has left the dorm.
Mark doesn't see Donghyuck until the next day, when Mark does his best to keep his gaze on his food but finds himself slipping, glancing at the Slytherin table with his heart in his throat. He spots Donghyuck instantly, Renjun sitting beside him with a scowl on his face, a hard set to Donghyuck’s mouth.
There are dark circles under his eyes, and although he still looks as alluring as always, there’s something unusually pale about him, something that makes Mark frown before he remembers that he shouldn't care, that he if anything should probably be happy about small misfortunes falling upon him.
Mark looks away before Donghyuck can catch him staring, but finds himself unable to focus on anything but the fact that Donghyuck is in the same room as him, that they haven't spoken since that horrible New Year’s party.
It comes as a surprise when he hears a soft tapping noise coming from his window, a tiny owl flapping its wings outside, carrying a letter in its beak. The letter is short, just two sentences and without a signature, but Mark knows who it’s from.
Knowing that he probably shouldn’t, he puts his shoes on and heads towards the divination corridor, heart in his throat. He casts a spell on the way but his magic responds like normal, no need for Donghyuck to contact him because of their magic.
Donghyuck is already waiting for him when he enters, pacing in front of the fire, running a hand through his hair. He stills when he sees him, and Mark feels so tense he thinks he could shatter.
“Hey,” Donghyuck says, licking his lips. “I didn't know if you'd come.”
“Well...You sent a letter.” Mark responds, and then winces.
There's a moment of awkward silence, strange in a way that Mark can’t remember it ever having been even when they’d hated each other. The distance between them feels odd, and Mark wants nothing more than to close the distance between them, to go back to how it had been before the New Year’s party.
“Look, I didn't mean to blow up on you,” Donghyuck begins slowly, something tight behind his eyes, his shoulders slumped. “I just thought that after everything...I guess I just thought that maybe you had at least an equal amount of feelings for me than you did some random Ravenclaw. That for once, you might’ve actually begun to like me.”
Mark is quiet for a moment, and despite Donghyuck waiting for him to respond, practically humming with tension, Mark isn't entirely sure what he should say.
“I’m...I’m not really following,” he says, watching as Donghyuck takes a small breath.
“I know you lost your virginity to Sihyun in a cupboard last year. After a dare.”
Mark gapes at Donghyuck, having expected him to say quite literally anything else.
Donghyuck furrows his eyebrows together unhappily.
“Jisoo said you went into the cupboard a boy and came out a man.”
Mark hides his face in his hands, not entirely sure how the conversation had turned into this, ears flaming red.
“I had my first kiss, Oh my God, I didn’t have sex with her. And it wasn't because of a dare.”
When he peeks through his fingers, removes the hands covering his face, it’s to a Donghyuck that is frozen, all bitterness having disappeared from his face.
A puzzle slowly begins to form in Mark’s head.
“Was that why you were so mad?” He asks slowly, his heart racing a mile a minute. “Because you thought I didn’t care? That I didn’t like you?”
Donghyuck is silent, but it’s confirmation enough.
Hope blossoms like flowers in his chest, spreads out into every small cell in his body.
“The reason I didn’t want to have sex with you wasn’t because you don’t matter to me.” Mark says, and musters all the courage he has in his body, thinks that this conversation is probably long overdue. “The reason I didn’t want to have sex with you was because you were only doing it to get your magic back.”
Donghyuck absorbs his words, stares at him for a few long seconds, and then shakes his head.
“I never did anything with you because I wanted to get my magic back.” Donghyuck says. “I mean, at first I did, but that was just because you were self-righteous like always, looking at me like I was dirt under your feet. But I didn’t kiss you to get my magic back, I didn't...” He trails off. “ What a fucking joke, you not fucking mattering to me. You’ve been living rent free in my mind since the first time we met.”
Mark’s heart pounds in his chest, blood rushing through his ears, and while there is a whole lot to unpack, to talk about, he can’t stop himself from walking over and kissing Donghyuck, Donghyuck startling in surprise before he relaxes, almost melts against him, responding to the kiss eagerly.
“You matter to me. A lot.” Mark says when he pulls back, his cheeks burning. “I think you always have, even when I thought you were the most annoying person on this planet. I think that’s why it bothered me so much that you never listen to me, never liked me. I don’t think I would have cared so much if it had been anyone else.”
“Well, you were an asshole,” Donghyuck says, but it lacks heat and is weakened further by Donghyuck pulling him into another kiss.
They manage to keep their relationship a secret for almost a month before Donghyuck makes the mistake of kissing his cheek in public; Jisung walking head-first into a wall out of pure shock. Honestly, Mark isn't too upset by the turn of events, but it means that he has to spend an entire evening convincing Chenle that he really hadn't been lying when he’d said that they weren't dating and dodging Mina inquisitive questions, Yukhei’s tentative enthusiasm.
The entire castle buzzes with the news for several days, eyes following him wherever he goes, an influx of Slytherins suddenly being nice to him. He’s pretty sure the entire Great Hall goes quiet when Donghyuck comes over and sits down next to him at the Gryffindor table one dinner, Mark’s heart swelling at Donghyuck’s display of affection but fidgeting under the attention everyone pays them. He is only soothed by Donghyuck slipping his hand into his under the table, by Donghyuck adapting to the Gryffindors around him like he’d spent his entire life sitting at their table, completely at ease.
Mina and Yukhei take to Donghyuck almost instantly, Yukhei ending the dinner by squeezing Donghyuck’s cheeks and telling him that he’d never known that Donghyuck was cute. Mark is not surprised by Donghyuck’s ability to make everyone like him, but it still comes as a relief that he blends in almost worryingly well with his friends.
Mark knows that Donghyuck’s own friends are happy for them, that Jeno already likes him, but it still comes as a surprise when he’s cornered by Renjun, Jeno and Jaemin on his way to a potions class and is told that they're not compromising their Donghyuck-time, that he’ll have to start hanging out with them, too or else. A second later Renjun smacks the back of Jaemin’s head and says that they’d agreed not to threaten Mark, ending in Jaemin pouting and rubbing the back of his head pitifully, in Jeno laughing.
The only real problem comes with having to explain to Boa that they want their old Head Boy dorms back, but thankfully she agrees quickly, a knowing smile on her face.
Mark finds himself regretting the decision when he walks into Donghyuck’s room dressed in his glasses and old pyjamas—Donghyuck simply taking one look at him and then snorting.
“Feeling comfortable around each other really quick, are we?”
“Shut up,” Mark pouts, rubbing his eyes with his sleeves. “I could barely sleep last night after being interrogated by Mina.” When he opens his eyes again, Donghyuck’s eyes have softened and he scooches over to make space for Mark on his bed.
They end up laying side by side on the bed, Mark feeling like his heart is going to burst, his skin tingling happily.
“Can I ask you something?” He asks after a while, titling his head so that he can look at Donghyuck more clearly.
“Have you liked me ever since we were children? Since you said that you’d thought about me since the first time we met.”
Donghyuck bites his lips, and for a second Mark thinks that he is going to be sarcastic, but then he simply shakes his head softly, decides to be honest.
“Not really.” He says, thumb drawing circles on his skin, making a shiver run down his spine. “I had a massive crush on you when I was little, even tried sneaking into the Gryffindor tower to see you, but then you told me that I was breaking the rules and that I wasn't supposed to infiltrate Gryffindor as a Slytherin and just disliked you. And then I disliked you even more because you were nice to everyone else, you just seemed to hate me. It wasn’t until last summer that I realized that I might have just disliked you so much because I wanted you to like me. That the idea of you graduating and never seeing you again made me want to throw up.”
Mark’s heart clenches as he ruminates his words, comes to the conclusion that they'd both been stupid, letting a small fight dictate their relationship for several years.
Then he laughs a little, kisses Donghyuck’s neck.
“You know this is not really how I thought my final year at Hogwarts would go.”
“Didn’t think you were going to get a Slytherin boyfriend?”
“No, that was on the list,” Mark teases. “I just didn’t think it would be you.”
Donghyuck hits his arms but relaxes when Mark tugs him closer.
“At least it’ll be easier to hold hands if our magic fails now that everyone knows that we’re dating,” He says, and Donghyuck hums, nods.
“That’s true. But I’m definitely planning on seeing you over the summer so we’ll have to find some other way to stabilize our magic beside avoiding contact with each other.”
Mark swallows and places his glasses on the bedside table before he moves to straddle Donghyuck, his pulse racing.
“Well,” he says, clearing his throat. “There is something I’ve heard can help with that.”
Donghyuck sucks in a breath of air, one of his hands coming to rest on Mark’s waist, brushing over his skin. Mark burns, finds it difficult to tear his eyes away from Donghyuck’s lips, his eyes.
“We can wait, you know,” Donghyuck says, but Mark leans in to kiss him, his entire body heating up, a shiver running through him.
“I know,” Mark says, already breathless. “I just really don't want to.”