Author: magalina PM
Part 6 in the Underlying series. All the times Mark and Sandy saw each other through the years and couldn't help but fall into their old habits. Slash.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Friendship - Words: 4,000 - Reviews: 34 - Favs: 41 - Follows: 42 - Published: 11-10-11 - id: 2969289
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hey, guys! Sorry I've been away so long. This story is (hopefully) the first of a series following the boys through the years. I don't know how often I'll update, but I won't give up on it. There are several more fics in this universe coming up, as well as updates for my other story in progress.
Also, if you want to read anything in particular, you should follow the link on my profile and leave some suggestions. I take forever, but I write them eventually!
This was edited by Insomiak! :D
There was a knock on the door and then Chris called from the bathroom, "Wallace, get that. I'm not decent over here."
Mark snorted – it wouldn't be the first time the guy answered the door naked anyway – but set his books aside and got up from his bed. He stretched with a grunt, making his spine pop, and ran a hand over his face.
He needed a break. He was at the point in which the words he was reading blurred in front of him and stopped making sense. He was almost at the point in which he started throwing books at the floor and balling up his notes in a fit.
He would see who was at the door (probably one of the guys down the hall recruiting people to go out with) and then he would go downstairs for a coffee or something. Re-charge.
When he opened the door, though, and saw who was on the other side, all thoughts of coffee and throwing stuff out the window vanished.
"Mark," Rogers said and Mark's heart practically hit the roof of his mouth.
Rogers was standing there, looking at him from under the rim of a ridiculous woolen hat. His cheeks and nose were red from the cold outside and there were little snowflakes stuck to his scarf.
Mark could feel how wide his eyes were opening and couldn't control it.
"What," he started to say and then he was reaching out and taking a handful of Rogers' thick (but not thick enough, what was he thinking?) coat and pulling him in. Rogers smiled into Mark's neck and he pressed his cheek against Rogers' temple, felt the other guy's arms sneak around him.
Mark thought, wildly, that it was the first time he had hugged Rogers this tight while fully clothed and wanted to laugh for no reason at all.
"Hey," Rogers said.
"What're you doing here?" Mark asked at last, not that he cared but there were at least four-hundred miles between them and he hadn't been expecting to see Rogers until Christmas, more than a month away. And even then, he wouldn't have expected this sort of greeting, considering the way they had parted ways the last time they had seen each other.
"Got a weekend off." Rogers leaned back to look Mark in the eye, but Mark's body wasn't responding and his arms remained locked around him, not letting Rogers get too far. "I would've called but—"
"Who was it?" Chris asked from the bathroom and Rogers' gaze shifted to somewhere over Mark's shoulder.
"For me," Mark replied, his eyes not leaving Rogers' face. He looked tired, like he had just spent the last six hours on a bus, which he obviously had but Mark's brain was taking a moment to absorb that. Because – because the last time they had seen each other – talked to each other – Mark had been sure Rogers would never be willing to travel across the state to meet him. Hell, he had been sure the next time they met someone would throw a punch.
Still, his first instinct was to press Rogers against him. And Rogers didn't push him away, either, which was a good enough sign for Mark.
"Your roommate?" Rogers asked just as the bathroom's door clicked shut and Mark nodded and stared at his mouth and at the familiar way his lips shaped words.
The stubble dusting Rogers' cheeks and chin looked rough, a couple of days too old. He seemed taller, but that could be because he was wearing snow boots. He looked suddenly grown up.
Mark wondered how he looked. Probably like he hadn't seen the light of day for a couple of weeks, which was exactly how he felt. Or how he had been feeling up until two minutes ago.
When he finally looked back up, Rogers' eyes had gone a little glazed. "Did you have plans already? I was thinking we could grab a drink and catch up for a bit."
"Okay," Mark replied, but the thought of leaving the room didn't appeal to him anymore. Screw light of day, he could get that any time he wanted. "Or we could stay and catch up in here."
Rogers bit back a smile, sucking his bottom lip into his mouth and pressing their hips a little closer together. Mark's hands slid down his back to around the area where Rogers' ass should have been, but it was hard to tell with all the clothes he was wearing.
"If by catch up you mean fuck," Rogers said, low and close and openly smiling now, "then yeah."
"Fuck," Mark repeated and brought Rogers further into the room. "Okay."
They could talk about why the hell Rogers was there afterwards.
Mark stumbled backwards, pulling Rogers with him and pushed the door closed on the way. Rogers' hands were freezing when they climbed up to Mark's neck.
"Don't you own a pair of gloves?" He said as he started to undo Rogers' coat.
"I didn't know I was coming to the fucking North Pole," Rogers snapped back, kissing Mark's jaw. "I bought the hat at the station."
"It's a ridiculous hat," Mark panted and tilted his head so Rogers' lips were on his.
They fumbled with Rogers' coat until it slid down his shoulders, and Mark grasped at the sweatshirt underneath, swallowing his thoughts on it (way too thin), and pulled it up.
The shirt caught in the hat as they were getting rid of it and then –
"What the hell?" Mark asked against Rogers' mouth.
"You cut your hair."
"Oh." One of Rogers' hands left Mark's face as Rogers lifted it to his head. "I've been keeping it short."
Mark pushed Rogers' hand out of the way and burried as much of his fingers as he could in the short curls. "Why?"
Rogers shrugged and licked his lips. Right, Mark thought, they could get to that later. He leaned down and kissed Rogers again, pushing their chests together, trying to get to the bed. When he finally hit the mattress with the back of his knees, he let himself fall on it, Rogers landing on top of him.
Mark felt paper crumbling beneath him and had the presence of mind to push everything he could reach onto the floor as he scooted further up on the bed. Rogers wasn't wasting any time getting rid of their clothes, and he was already tugging at Mark's fly when the bathroom door opened.
Chris' voice cut between them before Mark could look up from Rogers' neck.
"Hey, is that Alice? Becauwhoa! Whoa, Wallace, what the hell?"
Rogers sat up instantly, but Mark had to take a breath before he could face the guy. Chris had been shocked still while drying his hair, his arms were up and a towel covered his head and most of his face. But Mark could see one wide eye peeking out of it, going back and forth between him and Rogers.
The silence that followed Chris' shout stretched for a couple of uncomfortable seconds before Mark chocked something out.
"Um," he started, "give me a couple of hours?"
"Dude, what the fuck? I'll come back in the morning just…." Chris threw the towel into the bathroom and picked up a shirt and a jacket from his bed. "This is not cool, Wallace." He muttered as he put them on, eyes everywhere but on the half naked guys across the room.
A spark of anger made Mark sit up.
"What's not cool, exactly?" He asked.
"You're going out with someone!" Chris snapped and Mark felt Rogers shift between his legs. "You're going out with my girlfriend's fucking friend. You realize I have to tell her this, don't you?"
"I'm not going out with anyone," Mark said, half to Chris and half to Rogers, whose face was starting to close up.
"Whatever, Wallace." Chris sighed and opened the door to leave. "Crack open a window or something, okay?"
And then he was left alone with Rogers in a room that felt as cold as the night outside. This time, Mark didn't let the silence envelop them and he spoke quickly before things could get frostier.
"I'm not going out with anyone," he repeated. "He's been trying to set me up or whatever. I never-"
"You don't have to explain anything to me, Mark," Rogers said softly. "Of course you'd be moving on. You can do whatever you want."
Mark huffed. He could do whatever he wanted, but he wasn't the one that had wanted to be in that position in the first place. He wasn't the one that had decided distance wasn't going to work and then had appeared at Rogers' door months later.
"Why are you here?" Mark asked, resting his weight on his elbows – Rogers still kneeling between his legs.
"I don't know," he sighed. "I just…I went home for the weekend and your house – your family's house was empty and I thought, well I didn't really think. I just felt like seeing you. Sorry, I shouldn't have come."
He made to get up, but Mark closed his knees around him and stopped him.
"Why? I said I'm not seeing anyone."
"Yeah, but it doesn't really change anything." Rogers looked down at his lap before meeting Mark's eyes again. He looked so fucking regretful Mark was starting to get angry. "I still don't think it'd be fair to do this long distance."
"And how is this fair?" Mark snapped, gesturing between them with one hand.
"I shouldn't have come! I was…I was drunk, okay? I slept it off on the bus here. When I woke up I was ten minutes away. I stood outside this fucking building for an hour before I came in."
"Okay," Mark said. "You came in. Now don't be an asshole and stay."
Rogers looked at him for a moment.
"I missed you," he mumbled. "I didn't come here just to have sex."
Mark swallowed before talking back.
"Are you having sex with other people yet?" He wasn't sure he wanted to know, but the question was already out. He watched Rogers shrug and avert his eyes.
Mark couldn't help the pang of jealousy, even if he knew he wasn't entitled to feel it anymore.
And it had been years since Rogers had flatted out lied to him or avoided to answer him, so Mark knew he was being honest when he said, "I go out, I meet…guys. I don't know, Mark, I sleep with people."
"But I don't want to— if you're seeing anyone, I don't want to come in between that."
"I said I'm not," Mark insisted. They stared at each other until one of them, Mark wasn't sure who, finally gave in and leaned in again.
Turned out it had been since his last time with Mark that Rogers had done some particular things, random guys in between or not, and Mark was all too pleased to remind him how much he used to enjoy them.
When Sandy woke up it took him a moment to remember where he was. He looked up at the unfamiliar ceiling and concentrated on keeping the headache he felt creeping up at bay. His entire body was sore, but not all of it was exactly unpleasant.
He still couldn't believe he had traveled all the way up here. He hadn't planned it, not by a long shot. All he had been sure he was going to do that weekend was to visit his mother, sleep a lot and maybe go across the street and see if Mark was there.
But his mother had little time to spare and one of the first things she told Sandy when he arrived on Friday night was that Mark's parents were away, that Mark hadn't driven down because he had exams coming up and that she was going to be buried in work until the end of the month.
So Sandy had slept until noon, called to check if anyone else was in town (no one was) and then he had gotten drunk on some of his mother's wine and some of a couple of errand beer cans he found on the fridge. Next thing he knew, Sandy was on a bus heading for Mark and he was freezing his ass off.
He hadn't been sure, standing outside and looking up at Mark's place, how things were going to go down. He was still slightly buzzed from the alcohol and a lot dizzy from the ride but…but he wanted to see Mark. He wanted to see if things were okay. Better than the last time they've spoken. Maybe they could go back to talking, at least. He missed him and if Mark didn't punch him on sight, Sandy would count it as a win.
The morning after, Mark was sleeping next to him. One of his legs was thrown over both of Sandy's and one of his hands was resting low on Sandy's belly under the covers. It had not been part of the plan, but Sandy wasn't complaining.
He was basking in the warmth and trying not to think that he would have to get up and get on another bus in just a couple of hours when the door opened and Mark's roommate walked in.
He took one look in their direction and shook his head, muttering something Sandy didn't catch. He went to the other side of the room, took his jacket off and let it drop onto his bed. After a second, he whirled around and glared at Sandy.
"I'm sorry about yesterday," he said. "I'm Chris."
Sandy was thrown for a moment before he replied.
"Um, I'm Sandy, hey." He tried to sit up but Mark was keeping him down, and he didn't want to wake him, so he lay there, feeling awkward as hell. "And it's okay, don't worry about it."
"Look, I know who you are," the guy went on. "I mean, I think I know. Wallace came back last summer all bummed out and I knew he had been dumped or something but he never…was that you?"
"Yeah," Sandy said, squirming a little. It was not his best memory.
"I didn't realize you were a dude. I mean, I thought it was weird that he wasn't going out and that he kept refusing to meet—" Chris cut himself off. "He never said, but I shouldn't have reacted the way I did yesterday."
Chris sighed, "Are you like, getting back together now or something?"
Sandy felt his stomach turn and had to look away for a second before he could answer. Long distance hadn't worked. They both had been miserable the whole time, and when they did get to see each other, it wasn't nice or fun. It had been at first, but things had deteriorated quickly as the year went by.
Sandy had missed Mark constantly, and it had started to affect his grades and his relationships with his friends and he knew Mark was going through something similar. So he had decided taking a break was for the best.
"No," he replied. "I don't think so."
Chris stared at him, his face blank, before he sighed again and sat down on his bed.
"Then what are you doing here?" He asked. "He was better. Gay or not, he had agreed to meet with this girl. Then you jump at each other the second you arrive and now what? Back to the beginning."
Sandy didn't say anything. He knew it had been a mistake, and yet he couldn't bring himself to fully regret it. Because he had missed Mark when they'd been trying to make it work, but after they had stopped – after they had yelled at each other and gone back to school, it had been even worse. Missing and wanting and hating it. Sandy could only imagine Mark's mood in the last months.
"I-" he started to say, he wasn't sure what, when Mark stirred next to him and his hand moved lower down Sandy's belly. He almost jumped out of the bed. He elbowed Mark's chest, hard, and heard him grunt next to his ear.
"What…." Mark breathed and clamped his hand up on Sandy's thigh.
"Your roommate is here," Sandy mumbled.
He was glad they had put on their boxers and shirts back on the night before – right after Mark had tripped out of bed to open the window – otherwise, Chris would have gotten an eyeful when Mark sat up all of a sudden and the covers slid to their legs.
"Hey," Mark said, not sounding fully awake yet. "You're back."
"Yeah." Chris sounded resigned. "Sorry about yesterday. I didn't say anything to Millie. Yet. I figured you could tell her. I'll stand behind you as moral support or something."
"Okay." Mark was starting to look more alert now.
All three of them were quiet for a moment until Chris clapped his knees and got up.
"Okay, I'm gonna go have some breakfast now. I'll see you later."
"Later," Mark managed to say before the door closed and they were alone again.
Mark sat on the edge of his bed with his face in his hands as Rogers showered. There had been a weird moment in which they had both gone into the bathroom and almost into the shower together, but with one look they had decided it wasn't a good idea.
Mark wasn't delusional. He knew the night before didn't change anything. But still, it had…moved things inside of him. It had been stupid. It had been a bad idea.
He had just managed to stop thinking about (resenting) Rogers everyday. He had agreed to go out with Chris and his girlfriend and this girl he was supposed to meet. And now all these memories were filling his head and he had almost forgotten what it was like to be under Rogers, to know that his hands could roam anywhere they wanted, that everything was game with them.
But that was the way they worked. Holding back had never been something they could do well. Neither of them. Now Mark wondered how he was going to feel tomorrow, when Rogers was gone. It wasn't that he had consciously kept the fact that Rogers was a guy from people. It was just that no other guy interested him, so what was the point of making people believe he was entirely gay if he wasn't? He was (or had been before the night before) all for dating this supposedly great girl. He didn't think he could go out with that girl anymore, not without feeling Chris eyes on his back the entire time. Or the ghost of Rogers' lips on his skin, fresh once again.
Just as Mark was thinking this, Rogers came out of the bathroom enveloped in a cloud of steam. His hair was damp and sticking up everywhere, his skin scrubbed pink, and Mark had to check himself before he let his arousal win him over.
The room was still cold from leaving the window open half the night, and Mark busied himself by getting Rogers a thicker sweatshirt to wear. They didn't say much until they were outside, walking towards the bus station.
It was early in the afternoon, sunny but cold enough so that their breath fogged up in front of their faces as they walked, shoulder to shoulder.
Mark sent Rogers a sidelong glance, going for casual and probably failing, and saw him hunched up, his stupid hat all the way down to his ears. He snorted.
"Are you really that cold?" He asked and, before Rogers could answer, reached out and took his hand in his gloved one. He stuck both in his coat pocket and didn't look to see Rogers' reaction. This (walking around holding hands like a couple of fourteen year-olds) wasn't something they did even when everyone and their dog knew about them, back at home. But he felt Rogers squeezing back, and didn't give a shit about what they looked like.
"Are you going back for the holidays?" Rogers asked after they'd walked a few more blocks.
"Mmh," Mark nodded. "Mom keeps bugging me because I never visit anymore."
"Yeah, you haven't been around. Lately."
"Didn't feel like it," Mark said, keeping his tone light. He hadn't gone back at all since he and Rogers had broken up. He had been afraid he would run into him.
"You should," Rogers cleared his throat, "I mean, you should bring someone. For New Year's or something."
Mark felt like he had been punched in the gut, and tried not to show it. He loosened his grip on Rogers' hand, but the guy just held on tighter.
"The whole point of…splitting up was to try new things," Rogers went on. "With new people. Right?"
"I thought the whole point was that we were too horny to only see each other every two weeks," Mark muttered, with no real bite. Rogers sighed.
"You should be hooking up left and right," he said. Mark's ears perked up at his unhappy tone. He sounded as miserable and grouchy as Mark had felt when Rogers had told him he was already sleeping with other people.
Mark didn't reply, but he grabbed at Rogers' hand with renewed force. He was sort of glad Rogers wasn't moving on as easily as it had seemed.
Rogers bought his ticket at the station just as the bus was pulling up. They kissed one time, dry lips closed and pressed together, Rogers' hand still in Mark's pocket, and then looked at each other for a second.
"You should bring someone, too," Mark said, but he made no effort to hide his distaste at the idea. "We'll compare and everything."
"I'm sure our mothers will do that for us, anyway." Rogers smiled a little.
"And if we don't bring anyone…," Mark ventured. There was a little part of him, the one that was holding on to the night before like a life line, that was still a tiny bit hopeful. Rogers finally slipped his hand out of Mark's hold and put it in his own pocket.
He seemed to consider Mark, still smiling slightly, and said, "We'll see what happens then."
After the bus was long gone, Mark finally made his way back. He decided against going right into his room and went for a coffee instead. He needed a while before facing his mess of a bed and going back to his books.