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Things Look Different in the Morning

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12/09/16-18/09/16

Isak drops down onto the couch unoccupied by Noora and Linn, internally groaning at the thought of a flat meeting.

Normal flat meetings usually take the form of Noora making out a chore chart because she’s picking up everyone’s slack and Isak can handle that. Noora’s meetings are short and to the point; she gives them a mini lecture, makes Isak feel sufficiently like a chastised child, and then he skulks off to his room to play video games.

Eskild’s flat meetings on the other hand…

Eskild could talk for Norway and half the time, Isak doesn’t even know what he’s talking about. Especially when it comes to flat meetings.

As if summoned by Isak’s thoughts, Eskild swans into the living room with an indulgent smile in the girls’ direction before he rounds on Isak, perching delicately on the coffee table in front of him. And why does Isak suddenly feel like he’s at the centre of an intervention?

“Hello, little buddy,” Eskild greets sweetly.

Isak raises an uncertain eyebrow, melting back a little into the couch cushion behind him. “Hi?”

Eskild puffs out a breath, glancing over to the other couch at Noora and Linn again before clapping his hands together. “Okay! So the flat meeting is now in session.”

Isak just about refrains from rolling his eyes, tucking his legs up under himself on the couch. Better get comfortable.

“So, I was in class the other day,” Eskild begins. “And my friend Yousef – you know my friend, Yousef, right Isak?”

Isak’s not sure why the question is being directed at him but he shakes his head nonetheless. “Uh, no?”

Eskild waves a hand, dismissing him. “Sure you do! Lovely boy, nice hair. Anyway, I was talking to Yousef and he was telling me about his poor friend Even.”

Oh jesus.

“You see Even just broke up with his girlfriend of five years,” Eskild reveals, tutting sympathetically, and Isak’s still trying to figure out how any of this is relevant. “And obviously he has to move out of their apartment but now that uni’s started it’s impossible to get accommodation.”

Isak looks to Noora and Linn to see if either of them are any more clued into what’s going on but Linn is just staring at Eskild with an apathetic expression. Noora, on the other hand, is suspiciously avoiding Isak’s gaze.

“Yousef’s flat is full, you see,” Eskild continues, “And he can’t move back in with his parents because the commute would be too long in the morning and, I mean, who wants to move back in with their parents after living on their own for nearly two years?” Eskild laughs, the sound trailing off uneasily when he meets Isak’s blank stare.

“So,” he says, drawing the word out. “I told him he could stay here.”

Isak blinks, convinced he’s misheard.

“Eskild,” he says flatly. “We don’t have a spare room.”

Eskild straightens his back, expression turning sheepish. “That’s the other part…I was thinking he could stay in your room?”

“What?!” Isak demands incredulously. You have got to be fucking kidding me. “Eskild! Why can’t he sleep on the couch?!”

“On the couch?” Eskild exclaims. “Isak, the poor boy just went through a terrible break up and you want him to sleep on the couch?”

Isak throws his hands up in exasperation. “That’s not my problem!”

“He can’t stay in Linn’s room when it’s already the smallest and she lives in almost constant darkness,” Eskild huffs, ticking her off on his fingers. “Noora has far too much stuff; there’s simply no room for him. And I have too many gentlemen callers.” He finishes his sentence with a suggestive waggle of his eyebrows and Isak rolls his eyes so hard they almost fall out of his head.

“Your room is the only option,” Eskild concludes simply.

So Isak is a minimalistic virgin in his roommates’ eyes. Great.

“We took you in when you needed somewhere to go,” Eskild points out and that is not the same. What the fuck.

“You had a spare room!” Isak cries.

“It’s just for a few weeks,” Eskild says beseechingly. “Just until he finds somewhere else more permanent.”

Isak bites the inside of his cheek, feeling himself waver and hating himself for it. God, why is he even fucking considering this? His room is the only place he gets any peace and now he’s considering letting some stranger invade that space. But…Eskild, Noora and Linn had been there for him when he’d needed it and he feels kind of shitty at the thought of denying someone else that kind of help.

Heaving a long-suffering sigh, he drops his elbows onto his knees and hangs his head. “Ugh, fine.”

Eskild claps his hand together in delight and Isak gives up entirely when he bounds off the coffee table to bounce onto the couch beside him and squeeze his shoulders. “Thank you, Isak! I’m gonna call Yousef right now!”

Eskild hops up again, sailing out of the room with his phone pressed to his ear.

Isak raises his head from out of his hands, looking across to the other couch as soon as he’s gone. Linn is already lying down and after turning the TV on; Noora, meanwhile, meets his gaze sheepishly.

“You couldn’t have talked him out of it?” he asks tiredly.

“I tried,” she tells him and something about her expression makes him believe her. “This is really kind of you, Isak.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

He just hopes this Even guy isn’t gonna be a pain in the ass.

*

Even’s not a pain in the ass. Even’s a problem.

He shows up bright and early Saturday morning with a backpack slung over his shoulder and a suitcase in hand and Isak almost chokes on his cereal.

This is who he’s supposed to be sharing his room with? This tall, blond swoopy-haired, blue-eyed, fucking ethereal specimen of a human being is his roommate? Isak is so fucked.

After a strangled, “Hi!” he lets Noora take over welcoming Even, opting instead to disappear to the kitchen. He’s not mentally prepared for a conversation just yet. He spends as much time as possible busying himself with washing up after breakfast and corners Eskild the second he comes into the kitchen a few minutes later, squinting his eyes at him. “Does the fact that he’s hot have anything to do with why you were so insistent on him moving in here?” Isak asks, voice low so Even doesn’t overhear where he’s still talking to Noora in the living room.

Eskild’s eyes light up. “You think he’s hot?”

And fuck, that’s not-

“Believe me, Isak,” Eskild continues before he can argue. “If I wanted him in my bed he’d be staying in my room, not yours.”

Isak sighs, fixing Eskild with an unimpressed glare.

“But go you, baby Jesus,” Eskild says, smirking appreciatively. “Show him some Valtersen charm.” With that, he winks and saunters out of the room.

“I hate you!” Isak calls after him, a beat too late.

He still hears Eskild’s “Love you too!” from the other room though.

*

Eventually Isak decides he can’t hide in the kitchen any longer. Since Even is moving into his room he kind of has to be the one to show him where he can put his stuff. He steels himself, looking longingly around his sanctuary before wandering down the hall and into his room.

He finds Even sitting on the floor sorting through a cardboard box, suitcase and backpack still closed beside him. He looks up when he notices Isak in the doorway, offering him a cheerful smile that very nearly makes Isak’s knees buckle. “Hey! I didn’t wanna disturb anything so I figured I’d just do inventory of my own stuff ‘til you were finished your breakfast.”

Oh fuck, he’s nice too? Isak is going to kill Eskild.

“Sorry,” Isak says awkwardly, cringing at his own stiltedness. “I didn’t realise you’d be here so early.”

Even waves him away, pushing himself to his feet. “I feel like I should be the one apologising. I’m the one inconveniencing you by taking over your room.”

“It’s cool,” Isak says quickly, leaving the relative safety of the doorway and stepping into the room. He and Eskild had pushed his standing shelves against the left wall next to his wardrobe last night to clear up some space so Even could fit a single bed perpendicular to Isak’s. Rather than seeming cramped, it feels snug almost; he doesn’t hate it as much as he thought he would.

“Uh, I cleared some space in the wardrobe and I emptied out the bottom drawer too so you can fit all your clothes,” he says, avoiding Even’s gaze and gesturing uselessly at his wardrobe.

He flits his eyes to Even when he doesn’t get a response and regrets it immediately because Even is grinning and fuck, his smile looks like the sun?!

“That’s really nice of you, Isak,” he says earnestly. “Thank you.”

Isak nods, offering a weak smile. “Um, I tried clearing space on my desk but that didn’t really work?” He looks over to his desk sitting against the opposite wall, cluttered with science books and different scraps of paper. He’d tried putting them somewhere else but the only other option was his nightstand which offered space for little more than a lamp and his phone.

“Don’t worry about it,” Even says with a blasé wave of his hand. “I either study in bed or at the library. Consider the desk completely yours.”

Isak nods, unsure what to do next; after a moment he opts to drop down onto the end of his unmade bed. “Do you, um, do you need help unpacking or something?”

“Nah, I didn’t bring much with me,” Even explains. “Most of the furniture and stuff is at my parents’ place so I mostly just took my clothes and whatever I need for my classes. Oh, and my DVD collection.”

“DVD collection?” Isak repeats before he can stop himself.

Even looks up from where he’d been digging through his suitcase, sending him a bright smile. “Yeah, I’m doing Film and Media Studies at uni; I’m a pretty big movie buff.”

The twinkle in Even’s eyes suggests he’s more than a movie buff and it makes Isak smile. There’s something so enthralling about him – something hidden in his smile that’s instantly drawing Isak in. He’s disarming but in a charming kind of way that sends a little fizz of intrigue spiralling through Isak’s veins.

“So am I right in saying you’re a science major or are those textbooks on your desk just for fun?” Even asks wryly, carefully transferring his folded clothes from his suitcase to the drawer Isak had emptied for him.

“Just a bit of light reading,” Isak jokes. It’s a poor attempt but Even laughs nonetheless and the sound makes Isak feel warm. “I’m studying Bio-Chem,” he explains.

“I’m rooming with a genius,” Even hums, impressed. “I better stay on your good side then. That could come in handy someday.”

Isak feels a genuine laugh bubble out of his mouth, silently preening at the inadvertent compliment. “Yeah, if you want a place in my Nobel Prize acceptance speech you better be a good roommate.”

Even looks up solemnly, hand pressed to his heart in mock sincerity. “Isak- what’s your last name?”

Isak snorts, shaking his head. “Valtersen,” he supplies.

“Isak Valtersen,” Even begins again. “I promise to be the best literal roommate you’ve ever had.”

Isak barks out a laugh, flushing happily at the way Even’s serious expression transforms into a smile when he does. “Hopefully my only one,” he mutters.

“Until you get married,” Even points out, resuming unpacking his clothes and seemingly oblivious to the blush currently pinkening Isak’s cheeks.

As the morning progresses Isak finds himself relaxing in Even’s presence. He’s surprisingly easy to get along with once you get past the glaring good looks and he rarely lets an awkward lull in conversation occur, always asking questions and sounding genuinely interested in the answers. At the very least, Isak is pretty sure he hasn’t agreed to let a serial killer move into his room so that’s a bonus.

After the eventful experience of helping Even carry a mattress up three flights of stairs they’re lying on their respective beds, Even having abandoned unpacking about twenty minutes ago. It’s then that Isak’s curiosity finally gets the better of him.

“So how come you broke up with your girlfriend?”

He hears Even blow out a breath and it’s weird, he thinks, that they’re co-existing so comfortably already. “It hasn’t been working for a while; I think we both just finally admitted it.”

“If it hasn’t been working, why did you stay?” And maybe a little bit of Isak’s own resentment for his father seeps into the question. He doesn’t think Even notices.

“Sonja’s been there for me through a lot really shitty things,” Even explains. “It felt kind of like I had an obligation to stay.”

Even stayed when he really didn’t want to, why couldn’t his dad have sucked it up for another year or two and at least waited ‘til Isak finished school before leaving him stranded with his mother and no form of help?

“Like what?” And he doesn’t really mean to ask the question but he’s so caught up with thoughts of his parents the words just slip out.

“You don’t know me well enough to unlock that tragic backstory.”

Isak picks his head up off his pillow to look over at Even’s bed and finds him smirking back with his eyebrows raised. He huffs a laugh, head falling back to his pillow again. “Fair enough.”

“What about you?” Even asks. “This is your first year of college, right? Did you just move in here in August? Is that how you drew the short straw of being lumped with me?”

“I moved in here when I was sixteen,” Isak answers automatically, not realising that probably sounds strange until Even makes a surprised noise in the back of his throat.

“How come?”

“You don’t know me well enough to unlock that tragic backstory,” he parrots back, biting down on his smile.

Even barks out a laugh. “Touché.”

They slip into silence after that and a part of Isak wishes he was sitting up right now so he could see what Even’s expression looks like.

“Do you think we should set up some ground rules?” Even asks after a moment and Isak does sit up this time. Even follows suit a moment later.

“What d’you mean?”

“Well, we’re going to be living together in really close quarters; the likelihood of us pissing each other off is pretty high.”

Isak is pretty sure the only reason Even could piss him off is because of his face being stupidly attractive but he lets Even continue anyway.

“So we should set up some boundaries to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Isak shrugs, “Sure. What did you have in mind?”

“I guess the obvious one is not taking each other’s stuff without asking?” Even suggests.

Isak thinks of his biology notes, organised in his own particular messy order and winces at the thought of Even disturbing them. “Good one. No blaring music – or movies, I guess – when one of us is trying to study or finish an assignment.”

Even grins at the movie comment but nods along. “If one of us gets a hook-up let’s just agree now to always go back to the other person’s house.”

Isak’s mind goes to unfortunate place of imagining Even hooking up with someone before he redirects his focus to his own pitiful dry spell. He thought things would improve once he came out but it turns out there hadn’t been a hundred out and proud boys at Nissen ready to make out with him when he’d finally told his friends the truth. He’s had a few hook-ups in the last year or so but nothing that really makes it past the club or party bathroom. He also feels weird hooking up with people when he’s out with Eskild, it’s like his dad is watching.

He realises he’s probably paused for too long and quickly flits his gaze to Even. “Yup, sounds good!”

Even gives him a funny look but doesn’t comment. “Anything else?”

“I think those are the major ones for now,” Isak agrees. “Anything else, I guess we can just talk it out if it comes up.”

“Ah communication!” Even exclaims. “The key to any successful relationship.”

How do I communicate do you that you referring to this as a “relationship” is making me want to jump your bones?

Isak smiles weakly, for once actually thankful when Eskild blusters into the room and announces they’re all going out for drinks tonight to celebrate Even moving in. It sets Even and Eskild off on an enthusiastic conversation about potential bars that has Even climbing off his bed and following Eskild out of the room to continue their discussion while making lunch. Isak is quietly glad for the reprieve.

Fishing his phone out of his pocket, he opens his last conversation with Jonas.

Isak: Roommate’s moved in, save me?

Jonas: That bad already? Yeah, man, come over

He manages to escape while Even and Eskild are distracted in the kitchen; Linn’s in the living room but she doesn’t even raise her head to acknowledge his existence while he silently toes on his shoes at the front door.

Jonas already has a sandwich and a beer waiting for him when he arrives and Isak really fucking loves his best friend. He collapses onto the couch and gratefully takes the proffered plate from Jonas’ hands, curling his legs up underneath him. “Thank you,” he sighs happily, taking the first precious bite and closing his eyes with relish.

“That text sounded ominous,” Jonas says by way of an answer, taking a pull of his beer and regarding Isak with a look. “So how bad is he?”

Isak huffs out a breath, pouting only a little bit. “He’s not bad, that’s the problem.”

Jonas screws his face up in confusion. “Huh?”

Isak rolls his head to the side. “Jonas, he’s so pretty.”

“Oh my god, Isak,” Jonas laughs, rolling his eyes in exasperation. “I thought the guy was a fucking creep or something.”

“Jonas, help,” Isak whines, drawing out the word and probably laying it on a little too thick.

“What do you want me to do about it?!” Jonas scoffs, shaking his head. “If you like him then do something about it.”

Isak almost breaks his neck, snapping his head up to stare at his best friend. “What?!” he asks incredulously. “I have to fucking share a room with this guy for the foreseeable future, I can’t hit on him.”

“Okay, can you actually explain to me what’s so great about him?” Jonas asks, looking far too amused about this entire situation. “You’ve only known him like five minutes.”

“Well, he has a nice face, like I said-“

Jonas snorts but gestures for Isak to continue when he scowls at him.

“And he’s just- really nice. Like he was so serious about not getting in my way or anything; he even fucking promised to be the best roommate ever. And he’s so easy to talk to! We were talking all morning and I- what?” Isak cuts himself off, eyes narrowing at the smirk on Jonas’ face.

“Nothing, I just think this is the first time you’ve ever had a proper crush.”

“I don’t have a crush,” Isak says, offended. “And even if I did, it’s not my first one so fuck you.”

“I don’t count,” Jonas argues, waving a hand dismissively. “I mean like, you genuinely getting flustered over some guy and gushing to me about it. You haven’t really done that before.”

“I’ve only been out for a year,” he mutters, feeling suddenly shy. Looking back on it now, he hasn’t really spoken to Jonas about boys all that much except to maybe fill him in if he hooked up with anyone on a night out. Honestly, he hasn’t really liked anyone since he came out. Jonas is right. “And there weren’t many options at Nissen.”

“Well, it sounds like you’ve got a pretty good option currently occupying your bedroom so I don’t really know what you’re doing here,” Jonas teases.

Isak rolls his eyes but the smile is hard to fight. “Come on. You know I can’t do anything,” he says seriously. “He just got out of a five year relationship with a girl. He’s probably straight.”

“That’s very heteronormative of you, Isak,” Jonas admonishes, maintaining his serious expression until Isak elbowing him in the side makes him laugh.

“I’m dealing with a real problem here!”

“Okay, okay,” Jonas laughs, holding his hands up in surrender. “Look, just relax. You’re a little starry-eyed right now because you just met the guy but you’re about to live with him. Everyone has gross habits; I guarantee he’ll fall right off his pedestal by next week.”

Isak chews his lip. Jonas has a point – Isak isn’t exactly the pinnacle of put together when he’s in the comfort of his own room, surely Even is the same? “You think so?”

“I’m telling you, you’ll be over here complaining about how he chews with his mouth open within a week.”

Isak nods uncertainly, picking at his half-eaten sandwich.

“Can we play Fifa now?”

That pulls a grin out of Isak and he nods. “You mean can I kick your ass at Fifa now?”

Jonas snorts, reaching for the controllers. “That’s definitely not what I meant.”

*

After a few hours of losing dismally to Jonas at Fifa Isak gets a text from Eskild demanding he come home so he’ll be ready in time for drinks later. When he gets back to the flat the first thing he hears is Noora and Eskild calling to each other from their respective bedrooms about outfit choices and Isak tiptoes past as silently as he can – he does not need Eskild trying to pick out his outfit for him tonight.

Successfully escaping to his room is a relief – or it would be if he didn’t walk in on a half-naked Even.

“Sorry!” he says instantly, whirling around to face the door.

Even’s laugh rings out behind him and Isak’s face is on fire. “Isak, it’s chill. We’re sharing a room, I’m pretty sure we’re gonna see each other shirtless sometimes.”

Please don’t put that thought in my head.

Slowly, Isak shuffles back around to face the room at large, ducking his head when his eyes land on Even grinning amusedly at him.

“Sorry,” he mutters sheepishly. “Usually walking in on someone around here entails accidentally opening the bathroom door when Noora’s in the shower or witnessing Eskild in compromising positions.” He clears his throat; he’s still scarred from the last time he walked in on Eskild.

“Okay, note to self: always knock before going into Eskild’s room,” Even laughs and he’s still shirtless. He wants Isak to die.

“It’s better for everyone,” Isak agrees awkwardly.

Even chuckles again, finally shrugging into the t-shirt that had been dangling from his hand when Isak had walked in. “But seriously, I don’t care if you’re in the room when I get changed. I don’t get weird about that kind of stuff.”

Isak nods, venturing a little further into the room to search through his wardrobe.

“Unless you’re uncomfortable, of course,” Even adds and his expression is nothing but sincere when Isak looks up.

“No, it’s cool,” Isak assures him, even if it feels a lot like lying. “So uh, did Eskild say where we were going tonight?”

“He wants to go out for dinner first,” Even tells him and Isak pointedly stays turned into the wardrobe when he hears him start to change out of his sweatpants. “Then head to some bar near campus, I think.”

“Cool,” Isak croaks, pretending to be extremely interested in his t-shirts while Even shimmies into his skinny jeans out of the corner of his eye. What the hell was he thinking? How the fuck is he supposed to survive the next few weeks?

Getting a roommate was a terrible idea.

*

Isak ends up shoved between Even and Linn at the booth they’re sitting in for dinner and he tries not to focus on how the entire left side of him is humming with electricity everywhere he’s touching Even. He tries to pay attention to the conversation instead, listening to Noora’s story about Eva but after about five minutes he realises he hasn’t heard a word she’s said.

He knows Jonas is right. He knows this is just- a reaction to being subjected to a really attractive guy when he hasn’t hooked up with anyone in a while. He knows after a few days of living with him he’s going to start looking at Even like a normal person and he’ll laugh at the thought of being attracted to him. But right now- right now Isak’s a little distracted.

“So how did you all end up living together?” Even asks when there’s a lull in the conversation. “You seem like a bit of an eclectic friend group.”

“Well Linn and I ended up living together by pure chance,” Eskild informs him, settling in to tell his story. “I was moving out for uni and she and I both applied for the flat. We initially had two other roommates-“

“Oh do you still see them?” Even interjects interestedly.

Eskild snorts, shaking his head. “Oh no, I much prefer Noora and Isak.” He pauses to throw them both an indulgent smile before looking back to Even. “One of them moved to Germany right before Noora came back from Madrid so we had a spare room just when she needed it.”

A private smile passes between Noora and Eskild then and Isak feels his own lips tug up at the sight. Eskild might be a little overbearing at times but he’s easily the most caring person Isak knows. The way he unfailingly surrounds himself with introverts like Isak, Noora and Linn and never actually pushes them, just tries to make them happy, is all the more impressive considering his outgoing personality. Isak will never be able to repay him for all the ways he’s helped him.

“Our fourth roommate, Erik, was a bit of recluse anyway so we didn’t miss him much when he left to move in with his girlfriend,” Eskild continues with a wave of his hand, and Isak suppresses a laugh. He knows for a fact Eskild despised Erik and literally threw a party the night he moved out.

“We had a free room for a while since no one seemed to be looking but then Isak needed a place to stay so it worked out kind of perfectly.”

“Isak and I went to school together,” Noora supplies. “He’s good friends with my friend Eva so when we found out he needed a place to stay it was the option that made the most sense.”

It’s more than Isak had given him earlier and he can feel Even’s curious gaze burning a hole in the side of his head but he doesn’t look up from his food.

“And we’ve been a happy family ever since!” Eskild exclaims, throwing an arm around Noora and squeezing her shoulder.

“It sounds like it,” Even replies and it sounds genuine coming from him, not at all teasing. Isak likes that. He likes that Even seems to take people seriously and actually pay attention to them. Isak has had less than a handful of conversations with him so far but already he can tell that Even’s sincerity isn’t fake.

Conversation moves on after that and they last another half an hour at the restaurant before they migrate to the bar. Once they arrive, Noora and Linn make a beeline for a table in the corner so no one else can claim it and Even offers to get the first round of drinks. After he’s taken everyone’s orders he turns to Isak. “Help me carry them?”

“Sure,” Isak says, ignoring Eskild’s eyebrow waggle and following Even to the bar. He stands at Even’s side – closer than he’d intended with people constantly trying to wedge their way up to the counter to be served – and watches as the bartender sets down first Isak’s beer, followed by Eskild’s gin and tonic, followed by Linn’s daiquiri, and finishing up with a Coke and a Sprite.

Isak knows the Sprite belongs to Noora, the Coke however- “You’re not drinking?”

Even looks at him as he hands the bartender his card. “Part of that tragic backstory I don’t know you well enough to talk about yet,” he says with a wink.

“But how are you ever supposed to tell me the tragic backstory if you don’t get drunk enough to let your guard down?”

Even laughs, handing Isak his and Eskild’s drinks to carry once the bartender has returned his card. “Fair point. Guess you’ll just have to figure out another way to get me to spill all my secrets.”

Isak flushes at the thought, shoulder bumping Even’s as they make the walk back to their table. “Okay but that means you can’t wheedle my tragic backstory out of me when I get drunk tonight. That’s cheating.”

Even casts him a sidelong glance. “Fine. We’ll save it for a late night deep and meaningful when neither of us can sleep.”

Isak huffs a laugh, “Deal.”

*

Despite his warning, Isak manages not to get past tipsy tonight. It’s more for his own sake than anything else – god only know what he’d tell Even with alcohol loosening his tongue. Eskild gets drunk enough for the both of them anyway.

They walk home together the five of them: Eskild linking arms with both Noora and Linn while Isak and Even walk a little bit behind them. Eskild is singing and Linn, in her slightly inebriated state, is actually laughing along. Noora just keeps saying placating, “Okay Eskild”s.

“Regretting moving in with us yet?” Isak asks dryly, hands stuffed in his pockets to ward off the chill.

Even barks out a laugh and suddenly that same chill all but disappears, warmth spreading throughout his insides at the sound. “And miss this? Not a chance,” Even retorts amusedly.

Isak gives him a sceptical look. “Tell me that again in a week and maybe I’ll believe you.”

Even puffs out a breath in surprise. “You mean this is all a façade? Am I about to be ritually sacrificed when I get home?”

“Yeah, I mean I didn’t wanna say anything. But since you asked.”

That startles another laugh out of Even and god, Isak really likes that sound. Even raises his eyebrows at him and Isak finds himself laughing back, a little more comfortable in his skin with the beer quelling his anxiety.

“Well, if this was my final night I guess it was a good one,” Even declares dramatically and Isak rolls his eyes at him, desperately fighting a grin.

Yeah, he thinks, it’s been a good one.

*

Isak manages to get out of another awkward changing–in-front-of-each-other scenario by shrugging on his own pyjamas the second Even goes to use the bathroom. He then spends probably longer than necessary in the kitchen getting a glass of water while he waits for Even to change.

It isn’t until he’s lying in bed with the lights off, Even falling asleep in his own bed only meters away, that Isak remembers the problem.

His insomnia’s been killing him lately.

With the stress of starting college and his mom not doing so well at the moment and his dad continually trying to ingratiate himself into his life, he’s barely slept more than four hours a night for the past three weeks. Normally he reads or researches for his assignments or watches a movie or something to try and tire himself out but he can’t do that when there’s someone else in his room. He’d have to turn on the light or the movie would make too much noise.

So instead he lies awake, staring up at his ceiling and watching it slowly become clearer as his eyes adjust to the darkness. At some point Even’s breathing evens out and becomes heavier and the sound is almost enough to trick Isak’s body into feeling tired too but no matter how hard he tries, he can’t keep his eyes closed for longer than a few minutes.

Watching the light outside his curtains slowly get brighter Isak thinks, yeah. Even might be a problem.

*