|Four Times Mark Was an Idiot
Author: magalina PM
Part 2 in the Underlying series. Mark and Sandy didn't hate each other anymore, but things were still a little rocky. Slash.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Chapters: 2 - Words: 8,468 - Reviews: 46 - Favs: 84 - Follows: 22 - Updated: 11-28-10 - Published: 11-15-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2864876
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hey, guys! Thanks for the reviews, especially to the anonymous ones I can't reply to! Keep sending your ideas, I'm making a list ;) I'll keep on working on stories for these two.
Edited by Insomiak! :3
Four Times Mark was an Idiot and One He (Almost) Wasn't
Part two of two
It didn't occur to Mark to wonder why the hell Rogers had to be at the hospital until he was halfway there. His arm hadn't bothered him in weeks, or at least he hadn't told Mark about it and Rogers was always telling him useless stuff like that.
Mark knew Rogers was a little freaked out about it popping out of its socket again – he saw him avoid bumping it against people at school and hold it close to his body almost all the time. But Rogers had admitted he was overreacting when Mark had called him on it once, when he had let Mark be as rough as he liked when they were alone in his room – not that Mark was rougher than Rogers was with him. Even though the things that got them off were not something they discussed once said things were over, neither of them had ever complained.
So, yeah, Mark had no idea why Rogers was at the hospital.
He was driving slowly, because he wasn't eager to be there or anything. He had planned to get there at the same time the physical therapy sessions used to end, even though he knew Rogers didn't plan on stepping into one ever again if he could help it.
When Mark realized what he was doing (checking the time, trying to be punctual, thinking about Rogers' reasons) he made a hasty left-turn onto a side road that took him practically all the way around town. It was the longer way there.
He had to remind himself he was the one who had offered to pick Rogers up this time just so he wouldn't feel like his driver again.
Only now, instead of feeling like his driver, he was feeling like an idiot.
So he got there fifteen minutes late, or at least fifteen minutes later than the time Rogers used to end with the sessions. He parked at his old spot, the one he had claimed as his own back when he had to sit in his car for an hour after being (gratefully) banned from the building. He killed the engine and, well, sat there, not sure of what to do next.
Rogers had said he'd be at the parking lot, but Mark couldn't see him anywhere and he was not going to go look for him. He turned the radio on – it was tuned to Rogers' favorite station – and rested his head back.
He absently remembered the last time he had sat there, waiting for Rogers to come out of the hospital with his arm finally healed. He remembered being pissed and horrified at what had happened in Rogers' room the weekend previous to that, and now, a month later, Mark was a little dismayed to find a bit of that feeling still in him.
Everything was still new – Mark had yet to accept the whole thing. If he didn't want it so fucking much, he would not have been bothering to learn to have patience with Rogers. He wouldn't have been trying as hard as he was.
Still, he had to admit to himself that not everything was difficult. There were some things that came surprisingly easy to them, and not just what happened up in his bedroom. Mark might've had problems being around Rogers when people were looking, but once they were alone, things just all kind of fell into place.
And yes, Mark realized he was the one with the problem in that area and he hated that everything appeared to be so simple to Rogers. Everything was always easy for Sandy Rogers. And there the guy was now, coming out of the building next to Steve, laughing at something he was saying.
Mark frowned. He wasn't very fond of Steve, something about the guy rubbed him the wrong way. Besides, it had been his fault that Mark had gone to Rogers' house that day, all because Steve had filled his head with ridiculous questions and he had wanted answers he never even got.
Now, if only he could find it in him to resent that….
Steve looked around and spotted him first, Mark could see his smirk all the way from where he was hiding in the car. He saw Steve nod towards him and Rogers turn and give a smile of his own, only his held no trace of mockery (because apparently hanging around Steve put him suddenly in a good mood or something). Mark quickly looked away.
God, he was embarrassed of himself.
He looked over again a second later and saw the two guys talking, Rogers leaning down to be at Steve's eye level. It was seriously useless to feel threatened by Steve, Mark knew it was, but still. The guy was always too fast in making Rogers laugh and Mark was sure they were laughing at him, which was something he was also trying to work on. Rogers had told him he couldn't take a joke, and Mark could. The fact that he was still sitting there, watching them get all close and comfortable together and probably talking about him and not stalking over or leaning on the horn to get Rogers to hurry the fuck up was proof enough.
But why the fuck did they have to stand so fucking close?
Just when he was starting to lose it, Mark saw Rogers straighten up and wave Mark's way. Then he turned on his heel and walked back inside. Mark was still scowling at the glass doors when he saw Steve rolling his way.
He considered only lowering the window, but ended up getting out of the car with an aggravated sigh.
"Well, aren't you a ray of sunshine," Steve said when he reached him. "Don't look so happy to see me, Freckles, you'll hurt yourself."
Mark's scowl deepened and he leaned against the car door with his arms crossed – quickly making sure he wouldn't scratch it with his keys or something – not bothering to answer the guy.
"Why, hello, Steve!" Steve said in a high voice, "You're looking as dashing as always."
Mark's entire body tensed, his fingers clamped around his biceps and then relaxed. He took a deep breath and fucking tried.
"Hey," he said and then shut up before he could blow it.
Steve's smile widened.
"Your boy forgot his bag, he'll be right out," he informed Mark, who was busy spluttering.
"He's not my—"
"He said you'd say that."
Mark stopped talking, taken aback. A second later he was outraged, but quietly, because he was still trying and besides, he had already been thrown out of that place for making a scene before. Once in a lifetime was enough, he thought.
"Did he?" He asked, managing to keep his tone to a normal volume. "What else did he say?"
Mark fucking knew they talked about him. What the hell had Rogers been saying to this prick?
"Oh, you know. Stuff."
"What stuff?" Mark grounded out but Steve dismissed it with a roll of his eyes.
"I never got to congratulate you," he said instead of answering Mark's question. "About getting Sandy to do the exercises. You never came back, though. I thought you wanted to know what he'd say about you."
"I want to know what he said now."
Steve stared up at him for a moment, his gloved hands closed loosely around his chair's wheels.
"He says a lot of things," he replied at last. "I don't think he's got anyone else to talk about this…. He says his friends are a little touchy about it. And you're obviously about as good as talking to a tree, so."
Mark was probably more than a little out of sorts because he didn't instantly take any offence to that. In fact, for one tiny second he agreed with Steve, and then remembered himself and got angry. Steve went on before Mark could snap at him.
"Anyway, he's basically still saying the same as before." He gave Mark an amused look. "You know, when the subject of conversation strays to you, which I gotta say is rare."
Mark wasn't sure if he was imagining the sarcasm in his tone or not, it was hard to tell with Steve, so he ignored that last part.
"Why is he here anyway?" He asked, hoping he sounded uninterested. Going by Steve's annoying smile, he failed.
"That was a smooth change of subject right there," Steve mocked. "He wants to volunteer."
"He wants to volunteer. Help out with the guys upstairs."
But Rogers hated it there. What the hell was he doing asking to be let back in?
"Yeah," Steve cut him off and sighed. "What does that tell you about how much of an asshole you are?"
"Fuck you. What're you talking about?" Mark barked, temper going up and up and up.
"He's having a crap time at home and you're too worried about acting like a tough guy to notice," Steve said, tone even and hard. The amusement and the smile on his face were both long gone. Mark stood there for a moment, looking down at him and not knowing what to say.
Then he glanced up and saw Rogers coming out of the hospital, making his way towards the car. Something swelled in Mark's chest (what, he had no fucking clue) and then he turned away before it could show on his face.
"Just…cool it," Steve said in a quiet voice. "You're probably too thick to even acknowledge what you're doing wrong, but his patience is limited."
Mark stared decidedly to his right.
"It doesn't matter how much he wants whatever it is you've got going to work, it won't if the two of you don't manage to fix some things."
Steve sighed again, an exasperated sound that made Mark's fingers twitch.
"Do you even want it to work?" Steve asked and Mark didn't answer because Rogers was close enough to hear. Steve pretended he had and said, "Then start fucking showing it."
Ten minutes later, Mark was driving back home, Rogers sitting next to him in silence. He looked calmer but Mark could tell he was still pissed. He hadn't tried to start any kind of conversation since they had left the hospital behind, not even to ask what he and Steve had been talking about. Mark was clutching at the steering wheel, doing his best at holding his tongue.
Then he thought of what Steve had said and cleared his throat.
"You're volunteering," he said, not managing to make it into a question. Rogers looked at him, Mark saw out of the corner of his eye, and shrugged.
"Just once or twice a week."
A beat and then, "Why?"
"Just wanted something to do in the afternoon," Rogers said, slow and cautious. If he thought Mark was going to react badly to that, well, he was right. But Mark didn't let his anger show.
"Oh," was all he said and gripped the wheel tighter.
There was another long pause in which Mark chewed at his lips too keep himself from yelling something he would regret later.
"You mind?" Rogers asked and Mark snorted, gave a jerky, one-shoulder shrug.
"You can do whatever the hell you want."
And then Rogers laughed, because he was the best at bringing out Mark's murderous side.
"Who's being a girl now, Mark?"
"Oh, come on. Who's the one running away to hide?" Mark cried, finally turning to Rogers.
"Um, not me," Rogers laughed again. "All you've done since…since all this started is hide."
"Why didn't you say—" Mark stopped mid-sentence, he was about to step out of the well known useless-fight zone and into the personal one. He turned back to stare at the road ahead off him, they were only a block away from their street.
"What?" Rogers pushed. "Say what?"
"That you were…that it wasn't good. At your house."
"With your mom and Frank," Mark muttered as he parked the car in his driveway. He took the key out of the ignition and leaned back against the seat. Rogers didn't answer for a long time, and when Mark finally looked at him, he was glaring.
"Are you fucking joking?" Rogers snapped. "Every time I tried to talk you—"
"So, what? Now you're gonna run to Steve because he listens to you?"
"No, you asshole," Rogers lashed out, his face red and an inch away from Mark's. "I'm going there because maybe I don't like that you're only half decent when you want to get off. Or that you can't even look at me in public, let alone say a fucking word unless we're shut out from the whole fucking world. Maybe I talk because it's what normal people do, okay? How else would you find out about my parents and about the hospital and about everything else, huh? Tell me."
It had been a long time since Mark had seen Rogers this wound up, and he remembered it being more satisfying that this. Now he just felt wretched. And guilty, and he hated feeling guilty.
"Look, I'm trying here—"
"Really? 'Cause I don't fucking see it," Rogers spat, settling back down.
"Well, I am."
"You're awfully good at pretending you don't give a shit, then."
Mark wished he could say he was using Rogers for sex, but that comment about only being nice when he wanted to get off had hit him, so there was no point in lying to himself. He was with Rogers. He was with Rogers because there was something about being with Rogers that…soothed him. Granted, Rogers could annoy the hell out of Mark, but overall, it wasn't that bad. In fact, lately the only times when it had been bad was when they fought. And yeah, it was usually Mark starting those fights, but old habits die hard.
Somewhere deep down, Mark liked Rogers talking his ear off about stupid shit and he sort of liked sitting around watching TV or playing videogames. And, yes, what they did up in his bedroom was great. But it wasn't the only reason Mark still picked Rogers up and drove him to school and listened to his ramblings.
Maybe, if being tortured, Mark could admit he sort of…liked Rogers. Sometimes. Okay, most of the time, except when he was being an insecure dick.
And Rogers liked Mark. Mark still wasn't sure just how messed up Rogers was for liking him even during all those years they were leaving their fists printed in each other's faces, but he really wasn't one to talk. Though he had waited until Rogers had started being something close to nice to even think about wanting to stick his tongue down his throat.
Because, despite what people may or may not think, they didn't get off on punching each other bloody.
So, and Mark could feel himself blushing in mortification even thinking it, they liked each other. It was just fucking unbearable how hard things could be between them sometimes.
"Your head looks ready to explode," Jessica said from across the table. "Thinking about something naughty?"
And then she blushed, too, when she seemed to remember this was his younger brother she was talking to.
"Shut up," Mark grumbled, pushing his food around in his plate.
He had let Rogers go without even trying to stop him. And Rogers had gone into his own house, even though on Thursdays he usually ate dinner at Mark's. It was another thing that had turned into a routine in the last month. Now Mark's parents were sending him questioning looks and Dan was complaining about Rogers not being there to watch a show on TV later that night, and Jessica was smirking to herself, even though she was still a little pink.
Mark was in a bad mood, and what was worse was that he was feeling an invisible pull in his chest telling him to get the fuck up and go explain himself to Rogers. But Mark still had some dignity left – he wasn't going to grovel for Rogers.
"Is everything okay with Sandy and Hannah, Mark?" His mother asked. "Should I go check on them?"
Mark frowned and then felt worse thinking about Steve saying that Rogers was having a crap time at home.
"They're okay," he replied, not being able to keep his voice from trailing off slightly. Rogers hadn't talked much about that.
"I talked to her this morning," his mom went on, "Frank is making as much a mess as he can. He's not going to let go easy."
"What a shame," Mark's father said, his tone quiet and regretful. "He used to be a decent guy."
When? Mark wanted to ask. All his memories of Frank (the few he had, Frank was never at home much) were of him fighting or mocking or scolding. Or of Hannah Rogers' mouth set in a thin line and Rogers glaring and miserable.
Mark felt his stomach roll a little and then his father asked, "Where are you going, Mark?" And then Mark realized he had gotten up.
"Um," he said.
Everyone stared at him, and Mark could swear they were holding their breaths. He scowled and crossed his arms over his chest, but didn't sit back down. Rogers was mad at him and would rather be alone in his house surrounded by bad memories than with him, and all because Mark got understandably freaked out about certain things. Okay, he would show Rogers. Mark would show him that he wasn't a fucking coward.
"Rogers and I are…." He stopped. What the hell were they doing? Mark didn't know how to put into words. Dating? They hadn't gone out anywhere that wasn't school or, well, the hospital. Sleeping together? Not really.
"Yeah?" Dan was grinning, all teeth and freckled cheeks. Mark felt his face heat up even more.
"Seeing each other?" He finished, averting everyone's eyes. His parents had the decency of acting surprised, though no one bought their fake gasps. Jessica and Dan burst out laughing.
"Sorry, now you look ready to explode," Jessica said.
Refusing to answer, Mark left. He could still hear them laughing from the front lawn. He stalked across the street and stood outside Rogers' door. He waited only a second to take a breath and then knocked before he could lose his nerve.
He was expecting Hannah Rogers to answer – he imagined Rogers locked in his room, sulking in the dark or something. So when the door opened and it was Rogers standing in front of him with a frown on his face and his mouth half open to say something, Mark just reacted. He threw caution out the window and moved before the guy could say something that would piss him off.
He clasped a hand behind Rogers' neck and brought their mouths together.
Right there, in front of the world.
Rogers made a noise that may have been a protest, but gave up and kissed Mark just the way Mark liked, with a little teeth and a lot of tongue. When they broke apart, Mark spoke before Rogers could.
"I told my parents about us. You. This. And I'm not…like, um, using you to get off or anything like that," he said in a rush, stumbling a little on the words, his voice rough.
Rogers looked up at him, mouth dark and wet. Mark saw him lick his lips and felt heat gather low in his belly. Rogers had always had an instant effect on him.
"And look," Mark continued, "I kissed you outside, see? I told you I could."
He thought he saw Rogers bite down a smile, but he was still frowning.
"Yeah, but the whole thing kinda loses its purpose if no one's around to see, don't you think?"
"I saw," Hannah Rogers said and Mark looked up as Rogers twisted in his grasp. She was standing in the middle of the stairs, smiling a little awkward smile. Mark's first impulse was to let go. Quickly. Instead, he tightened his grip on Rogers' neck and ignored the small spark of embarrassment he felt when he imagined what he looked like right then, and realized Hannah Rogers had heard them.
Rogers turned back to him, face red.
"Still doesn't count, she already saw us once." But his voice was soft, so Mark didn't think it mattered if people saw them or not, what mattered was that Mark had finally taken a step in the right direction.
"Is this a game?" Hannah Rogers asked as she came down the last steps. She smiled at Mark, her eyes tired.
"Sorta," Rogers replied. "Can we go upstairs for a while?"
She made a face, looked from Mark to Rogers slowly. "Leave the door open," she said.
No matter what Hannah Rogers thought, Rogers and Mark hadn't had actual sex yet – yet being the important part of that sentence. It wasn't that Mark didn't know the mechanics of the act. And it wasn't that they didn't want to, it was just…complicated. Not just because it was difficult to find a place they could be alone without risking someone walking in on them, but also because only thinking about it made Mark freak out. After the first time Mark had touched Rogers without jeans or underwear in the way, all he could do was stare at his hand and think I touched Rogers' dick, over and over again, half excited, half appalled at himself.
Only the thought of having real sex with Rogers was enough to make him have to adjust the front of his pants. At the same time, though, the little part of him that still flinched when Rogers came too close was screaming to get the fuck away while he still could.
He thought about doing that Rogers, and absolutely loved the idea. Then he thought oh, God, doing that to Rogers? Actually pictured himself and Rogers and, fuck, he couldn't look anyone in the eye for a bit, he was too busy trying not to let his nerves make him lose his lunch.
And what about Rogers doing that to him? Mark was horrified the first time he thought about it and his dick jumped in anticipation. He didn't want that.
Except that sometimes he did.
And when he was crushed under Rogers' weight on a bed, legs between legs, moving and kissing and panting, Mark just wanted to get off. He didn't care how. He didn't even care if Rogers' door was half open, or that his mother could hear them if she came up the stairs. He needed a little more friction and a little more force, and he needed Rogers' mouth over his own.
"So," Rogers said close to Mark's ear as Mark pushed his hips down, for fuck's sake. "Not in it for this, are you?"
"Shut up," Mark muttered and tried to catch the other guy's mouth, but Rogers laughed and leaned his face away.
"What, you were so romantic down there," he laughed again. "Where's that guy now?"
Mark bit his shoulder.
It was moments like that when Mark knew they were going to have sex soon. And it was moments like that when he didn't care who did what to whom, he just wanted it too much.
"I didn't really mean it," Rogers said afterwards. He was lying next to Mark, head on a pillow and looking up at the ceiling. "It just feels that way, sometimes."
"I wouldn't put up with you all the time if I only wanted in your pants," Mark replied and then marvelled on how he could say that out loud without choking on his own spit.
"Why don't you talk to me at school?" Rogers grimaced after he said it, but Mark didn't mock him for sounding like whiny idiot. He didn't even think Rogers had sounded like one, but it was the principle of the thing. Anyway, he didn't call him on it. He just shrugged, which was awkward while lying on his stomach and feeling like his body was made of sand.
"You can say hi or something," Rogers muttered and scooted closer to him, turning to rest on his side, face an inch away from Mark's. "You care too much about what people think."
Mark frowned. "I don't."
"You do when it comes to this." A pause and then, "Also, I think that if you call me a girl one more time I'm gonna rip your balls off. Just so you have no right to say that to me ever again."
Mark scoffed, "Yeah, you can try, Sandy."
"Fuck you," Rogers laughed and reached out. Mark grabbed his wrist before he could get anywhere near his crotch.
"I can take you, Sandy," he teased, his thumb moving along Rogers' skin without his consent.
"I really don't like it when you call me that," Rogers said, moving a little closer.
"A girl? Yeah, I got that."
Mark's eyes widened slightly.
"Really?" He asked and was about to do it again, just to see Rogers frown, but thought better of it. "Good, because I don't like it either."
They lay on Rogers' bed until they heard Hannah Rogers climb up the stairs and go into her bedroom. Then Mark sat up, letting go of Rogers' arm. He swung his bare feet to the carpeted floor, and was about to stand to leave when he thought of something.
"Frank," he said. "How's that going?"
He turned to look at Rogers over his shoulder. The only light in the room came from a lamp on the desk, on the far wall, so it took a moment for him to see Rogers' face clearly. He was serious, eyes half closed and looking down at the bed. His lower lip pulled slightly up. Mark leaned down so Rogers would meet his eyes.
"I don't know, Mom won't say much about it," Rogers told Mark, his voice quiet and angry. "But I think it's pretty bad."
"Has he been up here?"
"No," Rogers smiled a little. "That you'd have found out."
"You wanna stay over?" Rogers asked, this time his voice was barely audible. Mark could have easily flopped back down and stayed, but he thought of Hannah Rogers at the end of the hall.
"Your mom wouldn't like it," he said.
"You could leave before she wakes up."
As tempting the idea of Rogers' bed was, Mark didn't want to have to wake up at five so he could sneak out of the house and into his own. He knew somehow, his own mother would be waiting there.
It wasn't until Mark was already standing back in his yard, his house dark and silent in front of him, that he thought of Rogers' tone and his hand on Mark's hand and the way he had looked at him when he'd asked him to stay over.
He was such a fucking idiot.
But at least Rogers couldn't say all Mark thought about was sex anymore.