In which, “is your teddy bear better at cuddling than me?” is an actual question.
Mark doesn’t actually like sleeping alone.
As a kid, he’d always use the excuse of a monster in his closet, or a boogeyman under his bed to cuddle into the spot unconsciously left for him in between his mother and father late at night.
They’d wake up and find him with a peaceful smile on his face, his legs thrown over his dad’s waist and his arms wrapped tightly around his mother’s neck. They’d laugh about it, a sort of fond one that would never fail in rousing Mark up and having him inquire about what was so funny.
It dragged into his adolescence though, and while it was cute when he was a kid, his parents didn’t know whether or not to enable their 15 year old crawling into bed with them in the wee hours of morning. It certainly had nothing to do with the fact that his ever-growing limbs were making it hard for them to not wake up with a crick in their necks from lack of space.
So they got him a teddy bear.
Mark wasn’t a child that needed many toys, but the few that he did have, he cherished and giving any other teenager a teddy bear wouldn’t fare as well as it did with Mark. He used it as a replacement, a form of human companionship when his sisters were off to college and his brother was going through that awkward phase where every form of touching was considered gross.
The name Mark gave his bear was generic but Mark was a simple guy, never one for extravagance or the out of the ordinary, so he named it Teddy. Short and sweet. Easy as pie. He brought him everywhere.
To sleep away camp, to over night field trips at school, to his orientation for college, on the plane ride to Korea, and he has it to this day, tucked away in the closet where Jackson won’t find it.
You only ever found out about it by chance. It was Bambam’s brilliant idea to play hide and seek while Mark and Jackson were off filming an episode of “After School Club” and having had dated Mark for a little over a year now, it was normal for you to hang at their dorm during your free time. You liked hanging with the guys and they liked having you around.
"I’ll count first." You wonder sometimes if Bambam is a five year old stuck in a teenagers body, but you go along with it anyways and JB watches as you wait for Bambam to turn around and start counting.
"Kids," you stick your tongue out at JB and walk quietly towards Mark’s bedroom, searching for a place to hide.
The closet seemed to be calling your name, and at first, even to your own convoluted head, it sounded like the Joker or something was begging you to “come, hide inside of me.” You probably shouldn’t have listened though, considering how creepy it all was, but Bambam was at 80 and twenty seconds was hardly enough time to find anywhere else to hide, so you ran into the closet.
You sit on something soft and plush, but you hear the door to Mark’s bedroom open so you have no time for a reaction apart from freezing in your spot and keeping completely quiet.
"I know you’re here." It’s a bluff you’re sure, because you’re so far into the closet that even when Bambam opens the door, there’s no reason for him to look any further. "Maybe she’s not in here?" The sound of his footsteps are getting more faint and you hear a, "JB hyung, do you know which way she went?" And then nothing else.
What you’re sitting on is a teddy bear. It’s brown fur looks well worn and you could tell its far from being brand new, but it looks preserved, the eyes aren’t popped out like any of your old stuffed animals and it still has all it’s soft limbs.
When you bring it up to your face for further inspection in the nonexistent light of the closet, the undeniable scent of Mark assaults your senses, and there’s no way it’s not Mark’s from the way it smells exactly like him, as if it was him that was standing a few inches away from your face and not a stupid toy.
Bambam is beginning to get frustrated, you could tell by the way his voice is getting all pitchy as he asks whoever is outside if they saw you go anywhere, so you place the bear back where you found it and walk out the closet, preparing to admit defeat.
Mark actually likes coming over to your humble apartment.
It’s small and cozy, decoration limited and the bare necessities visible. Much like Mark, you aren’t one for extravagance, so the small beige couch in your living room and the queen bed with muted sheets in your bedroom are more than sufficient for your living habits.
But it’s not only the simplicity and silence that draws him there, he likes sleeping over too, and after finding the bear, you’ve figured out why. He’d always been a cuddler and the first time he pulled you to him, burrowing you under the crook of his chin and wrapping his arms around your body tightly, you were a little put off. Growing up as an only child, you were never one to be all touchy, but after a few nights with Mark, it got easier and you began to actually look forward to nights when he was able get away from Got7 and stay with you.
"I found something at your dorm the other day," you start nonchalantly, toweling off your hair from the shower you just had.
"You did?" He’s sitting in the center of your bed, his legs crossed in front of him in his pjs, waiting for you. "What was it?"
"I don’t want you to think I was snooping or anything." You start, throwing the towel into a hamper and sitting in front of him on the bed, your head down, "I was just playing hide-and-seek with Bambam, and I hid in your closet," you eye him warily, carefully gauging his reaction, he only nods expectantly, urging you to continue, "and I found something."
Mark laughs, his eyes sparkling as he nods again, “you said that already, you know?”
"Yeah. I know- it was a teddy bear?" Your words turn up at the end of your statement, unintentionally turning it into a question that didn’t need an answer.
"Oh," he’s still smiling that blinding smile, the one that you fell in love with in the first place, but he’s looking down, staring at the hand of yours that he’s playing with in his lap, "you found Teddy."
"I think it’s cute." He groans once the words are out of your mouth, causing you to laugh, "It is!"
He glances up at you and your laughter dies down when you see his lip is caught in between his teeth and his cheeks red stained because he looks so amazingly innocent and cute, “I like to cuddle.”
A small, fond smile touches your lips and you scoot a little closer to him, “I know.”
"No one would cuddle me before you." He lets out a short chuckle, his gaze trained on your intertwined hands in front of him, "so Teddy was the only option."
"Aww," you coo, borderline mocking as you sit up and wrap your arms around his neck, your cheek resting on his shoulder, "you’re too cute."
"You’re mean." He grumbles, but his arms move to twine around your waist and there’s no malice in his words, he simply sounds like a kid who’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar before dinner.
"Who’s better?" You pull back only slightly, leaving your fingers interlocked behind his neck as you catch his gaze.
"Who’s better at cuddling? Me or Teddy?"
A bubble of laughter bursts through his lips, and he sighs, shaking his head at your asinine question, “Teddy’s good, yeah, but I don’t think he could compare to… You know- an actual person.”
"Goddammit, Mark." You use your hands to push at his chest and as he goes down, he pulls you with him, his arm going around your shoulders and gathering you close.
"I’m just being honest." His lips press against your forehead and he reaches across you to turn off the lights, "nothing is better than you."