Erm Flintwood please if you're still doing 150. * Winning smile *
pairing: marcus flint x oliver wood
setting: modern, non-magical, soulmates-at-first-touch au
word count: 1394
Marcus punches his soulmate in the face the first time they meet.
It’s worse than that.
Marcus punches his soulmate in the face the first time they meet, the flats of his knuckles crunching against the guy’s jaw, hard enough to draw blood and leave a mark and hurt—and then there’s a strange fluttering sensation erupting in the pit of Marcus’s stomach, a comforting, calming warmth suffusing the blood in his veins and the marrow in his bones and it’s exactly like how they’d described it in Health class, the awareness—the connection—slotting into place so seamlessly that he’s astonished he’d never noticed something missing before now.
“Oh, fuck,” Marcus blurts out. “Oh—fuck, fuck, fuck.”
Marcus’s soulmate—who’s tall and lean and has the prettiest brown eyes, what the shit—is just sprawled out on the dirty arena floor, blinking and blinking and prodding gingerly at the bruise that’s already beginning to blossom—
“No,” the guy says firmly. “This isn’t happening.”
“Fuck you,” Marcus immediately snaps. “I rejected you first.”
The guy snorts, kind of irritatingly sarcastic, before grimacing. His emotions, so far as Marcus can tell, are all over the place; shock and dismay and frustration and—very, very deeply—a flickering, almost unwilling tremor of interest.
“It wouldn’t work, anyway,” the guy goes on, more loudly. “You have terrible opinions about hockey.”
“Fuck you,” Marcus snaps again. “You’re the one in the shitty jersey.”
“He’s won three Cups.”
“Yeah, and he was a fucking healthy scratch for two of them,” Marcus retorts. “Try again.”
“Hockey is a team sport,” the guy says hotly. “It isn't—it isn’t about individual accomplishments.”
Marcus rolls his eyes. “Sure, whatever,” he drawls, “but your shitty jersey is still shitty.”
The guy’s mouth falls open, and Marcus can feel the sour note of his indignation—the jagged spike of his outrage—as clearly as if it were his own. “Jesus fucking Christ,” the guy sputters, shaking his head like he’s got a nervous tic. “What are you so—what are you so angry about?”
Marcus raises his eyebrows. “Um,” he says slowly, because, really, what the shit, “I’m not angry. I’m confused.”
“No.” The guy frowns. “You’re definitely angry. I feel it, like—” He gestures vaguely to his chest and upper abdomen. “Right there. Like heartburn.”
Marcus’s nostrils flare, and he scratches viciously at the side of his neck to distract himself from the fact that this complete fucking stranger with boy band hair and, and Bambi eyes is apparently better at deciphering Marcus’s emotions than Marcus is.
“Oh, hell,” the guy sighs, “now you're—embarrassed, don’t be like that, I didn’t mean to—hey, come on, where are you—where are you going? You can’t just—hey! Come back!”
Marcus does not come back.
And the ensuing wave of regret that pulses through Marcus’s sternum is lukewarm and salty and depressingly difficult to pinpoint the origins of.
It’s not his, he thinks stubbornly.
Marcus lasts two and a half days before the persistent invisible tugging at his gut becomes too annoying to bear.
He follows it.
He follows it to a bench in Riverside Park that’s near where the gross little fish and chips stand is, and the scent of old frying oil undercut by whatever the fuck is currently decomposing in the Hudson is—less nauseating than it arguably fucking should be, seriously, what the shit.
His soulmate, his soulmate, is sitting with his legs spread obnoxiously wide, wrists crossed and hands dangling in his lap, squinting intently up at the clouds like he’s waiting for them to tell him what to do next. It’s endearing. Maybe. Marcus’s stomach is in knots—a tangled mess of dread and unease and, abruptly, relief.
“Oh,” the guy says, quirking his lips into something that Marcus chooses to generously describe as a smile. The bruise on the guy’s jaw is a lurid, chalky looking violet, partially obscured by the auburn of his stubble. “You found me.”
“Of course I fucking found you,” Marcus says, dropping down next to him. Their knees brush, just for a moment, and it’s like—lightning, bright and fierce and sizzling, coiling around the base of his spine. “There’s been this—this buzzing, in the back of my head—”
“Yeah,” the guy interjects glumly. “I know. I would've—if you hadn’t. I would’ve tried to find you.” He pauses. “I missed you, I guess, which is—weird.”
Marcus scowls down at the sidewalk. There’s a crack in the cement, and it’s dirty, gritty with loose gravel around the edges, splintering off into a dozen hairline fractures before disappearing into the grass. He can feel his own surprise at the guy’s admission, and it’s so—uncomfortable, knowing that there’s nothing he can hide behind. Making himself smaller, holding himself still; they’re not antidotes for anything, not anymore, and this guy—his soulmate—he’s got a rabbit-fast heartbeat and an intimidatingly focused way of feeling things. Marcus wonders how he’s supposed to get used to that.
“I’m Marcus,” he eventually offers, voice emerging gruffer than he’d have liked. “My name, I mean. It's—Marcus.”
The guy turns, slightly, to look over at Marcus. “Oliver. I’m Oliver.” He hesitates before he goes on, sounding nonplussed, “I still can’t believe you fucking hit me. Over a jersey.”
Marcus huffs. “It’s a really shitty jersey.”
Oliver grins, short and sweet and self-deprecating, before nudging at Marcus’s ribs with the point of his elbow. “I’ve, uh. I’ve been told I’ve got kind of a…bad habit of, of taking things too seriously.” His mouth twists, and the stabbing ache of some long-ago insult, or argument; it lances through the pads of Marcus’s fingers, stinging and sharp. “Obsessive. That’s what—I dunno. That’s what I’ve been told. I can be…obsessive. About—whatever.”
“Obsessive,” Marcus repeats, shaking out his hand. “That’s your—one big fault. Enthusiasm.”
Oliver shrugs, easy and casual, like it doesn’t matter, like Marcus can’t literally feel the crippling uncertainty—the tension, swampy and thick—weighing down his limbs. “Enthusiasm is…too nice of a word for it, I think.”
“Bullshit,” Marcus hears himself say, with absolutely zero fucking direction from his brain, or his conscience, or his admittedly flimsy sense of self-preservation. “Enthusiasm is the perfect fucking word for it.”
Oliver startles, slightly, eyes widening a fraction. There’s a coolly refreshing burst of—happiness, maybe; gratitude, definitely—coating the back of Marcus’s tongue. Citrus. Summer. Chlorine and coconut. It’s fucking nice.
“Oh. Um. Okay,” Oliver says, haltingly. “Thanks.”
A tentative silence descends between them on the bench. Marcus drums his fingers against the inseam of his jeans, jiggling his foot and glaring at a rotting spear of tree bark and swallowing around a metallic-tasting lump in his throat that he instinctively wants to label curiosity.
“Sorry,” Marcus grunts, slouching forward. “About the—hitting you. I just—sorry. I was angry. I get angry.”
Oliver stares at him, bottom lip clutched between his teeth, and there’s a swirl of something taking root in his lungs, something chewy and rich, like caramel, so that every breath he takes in is like burnt brown sugar crystallizing against the roof of his mouth, but then there’s more, too, a champagne bubble pop of amusement, and—
“It’s alright,” Oliver says wryly. “I heard I was wearing a pretty shitty jersey.”
Marcus snorts, and then groans, and then laughs, almost despite himself, before confessing, as quietly as he can manage—
“Yeah, I’m…not really sorry, anyway.”