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love and healing

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Lørdag 9/3/19

 

Isak’s second least favorite thing to do is grocery shopping.

 

His first is cooking, mostly because he’s always been horrible at it, so much so that over time, he’d just given up trying to copy recipes and lived off of ramen noodles and garbage carbs. 

 

He’s not sure why anyone would find the task of grocery shopping fun, because Isak spent the entire time groaning until it was over and he was checked out and could finally leave. 

 

It was now reaching around 20 minutes of him being inside the large building and underneath its ominous florescent lights, and Isak’s grocery cart was already half full of various types of foods. It’d been about 2 weeks since he’d gone shopping, and today was the day he decided it was probably high time he stocked up his apartment again.

 

Why anyone let him—a suffering college student—live on his own, he had no idea.

 

Especially since Isak is pretty sure every time he steps foot into a grocery store, it may be the last time he ever takes a step at all. 

 

No grocery store is equipped without at least a few aisles of screaming children, spilled food, or obnoxious middle-aged women yelling into their phones about whether their husband is cheating or not. 

 

It might literally be Isak’s own, personal hell, but he always sticks it out until he reaches the freezers that contain tubs of ice cream, just because he knows he eats his weight in ice cream throughout the week and it’s honestly what gets him through the many late nights he spends studying. 

 

Last time he bought four gallon sized tubs, so it’s been awhile since he’s been in this neck of the woods, and for some reason he can’t remember where they keep the damn cookie dough ice cream. Needless to say, as his eyes scan the freezers, his patience is wearing thin.

 

If it weren’t for the cold temperature radiating off of the glass, he wouldn’t be able to feel the warmth that suddenly appears next to him, and it’s a little too close for his comfort, so he darts his head in its direction to see where it’s coming from.

 

Only, he’s met with possibly one of the most beautiful human beings he’s ever seen, and his breath catches in his throat. 

 

A guy, who is somehow taller than him, with blond hair styled into a pleasant mess atop his head, is gazing into the same freezers as Isak, concentrating his eyes on the shelves as if he too is looking for something. 

 

The man is wearing a jean jacket, and some really nice—tight—skinny jeans, and even though Isak usually isn’t one for hipsters, he’s finding it really hard to ignore how radiant the man is, and how enticing it would be for Isak to just run his fingers through that thick mass of hair.

 

“Can I help you with something?” the man asks, and it takes Isak a few seconds to realize that he’s just been standing there, staring at him. Way to be transparent

 

And, like the dumbass he is, he quickly spurts, “Uh, no. Do you work here?”

 

Which would be a well enough question if the man didn’t look like he’d never touched a name tag or a pair of cheap khakis in his entire life.

 

What kind of grocery store employee wears a fucking jean jacket? Honestly, Isak should just not talk ever, ever, ever again.

 

The man just chuckles lightly besides him, “No, I just saw you walk back and forth down the aisle about 4 times so I figured you were looking for something.”

 

You were watching me?”

 

The man smiles and closes his eyes for a brief moment.

 

“Half the store was watching you. It was actually pretty entertaining, to be honest.”

 

Well, fuck, if Isak wasn’t embarrassed before, he sure as hell is now. Which isn’t doing anything to prevent the rosy flush that’s now encroaching on his cheeks. 

 

“Yeah, well, I hate grocery shopping,” Isak spits out bitterly. 


He hadn’t meant to sound so harsh, but the angry teenager that lives inside Isak’s body wasn’t doing a very good job of staying hidden, like maybe it probably should have been to someone he’s only just fucking met.

 

Luckily, the guy didn’t seem to dwell on it. Instead, he looked over Isak’s shoulder at the pile of food in his grocery cart.

 

“Looks like you hate yourself, too,” the guy muses, raising his eyebrows.

 

“I—what?”

 

“Do you actually eat half the shit that’s in your cart?”

 

Isak takes that as an invitation to follow his gaze as he lands on the ‘Isak from 20 minutes ago’s’ choices of food, which has consisted of microwave meals, sugary cereals, bags of chips, popcorn, and…well, the list could go on.

 

Yeah, Isak’s not a master chef, he’s established that to himself already, okay, and he’s about to comment on the guy’s own food choices when he notices he doesn’t seem to have a cart or even a basket with him. Hmm.

 

“I’m a college student. I’m allowed to eat garbage,” Isak replies, half trying to defend himself and half agreeing that he doesn’t always make the best decisions.

 

“You’re just not doing yourself any favors,” the guy answers, clearly amused.

 

He’s still looking at Isak with a glint in his eye and Isak is looking back until he hears a shout come from behind him.

 

“Isak, hey!”

 

Isak knows that voice. He spent a good part of six months living around that voice. And fucking fuck, of course this would happen to him today, no less, at a grocery store, his least favorite place in the world.

 

Isak turns back around again to confirm his previous notion that yes, the world does in fact hate him as his ex-boyfriend rounds his grocery cart and stands between him and the ‘guy with the good hair’. Isak notices he’s carrying a single gallon of milk in his left hand.

 

Isak struggles to find words, because seeing his face still hurts, even though it’s been a month since they parted, and his voice dies in his throat.

 

“Can’t believe I’m running into you here!” his ex enthralls. 

 

Isak is shockingly able to get out a soft “Yeah…” before his ex is speaking over him again.

 

“Yeah, I’m just out to pick up a gallon of milk, Alexander and I were in the middle of baking chocolate chip cookies when we ran out, so…” he clicks his tongue as he trails off.

 

When Isak only nods back at him, his ex tilts his head, and the gaze in his eye changes as he leans just a tad bit closer to Isak.

 

“You know? Those chocolate chip cookies we used to make together?”

 

And fuck, Isak goes rigid at those words and it’s like he can feel his heart breaking all over again, even though he knows that he’s just doing this to get a rise out of him. That’s what he always did, and despite the fact that they aren’t together anymore, it’s still no different. 

 

The ‘guy with the good hair’, Isak notices, has been watching this little altercation go down beside him and he clears his throat, which causes Isak’s ex to turn his attention to him.

 

“Uh, who are you?” his ex asks, squinting his eyes, his voice in an accusatory tone.

 

And Isak is angry. He’s fucking pissed, and he’s suddenly seeing red, because his ex fucking took his heart and stomped on it until it was left in pieces, and he doesn’t get to do this to Isak after all the shit he’s pulled.

 

So, before the guy can answer, Isak smiles curtly and says, “He’s my boyfriend.”

 

Which, of course, has his ex reeling backwards a bit and blinking rapidly, which satisfies Isak enough to not think about the fact that he doesn’t even know the ‘jean jacket wearing’ guy’s name. Or, whether or not he’ll play along. And Isak is praying to god right now that he does.

 

Isak looks over to him, hoping he’s not about to run in the other direction, or call him a homophobic slur, or what have you, because fuck, for all Isak knows, the guy is as straight as a fucking toothpick.

 

Only, to Isak’s unexpected shock, the guy moves closer to him and smiles before wrapping an arm around the back of Isak’s waist, which causes him to jump a little in surprise. He’s suddenly so close to Isak, and Isak can’t help but look up at him for a moment, if only to focus on the tiny hints of stubble on his chin and the little scar on his cheek and—

 

His ex is speaking before Isak can continue his thorough observation.

 

“It’s nice to meet you, um…”

 

Even,” the guy finishes, and holds out his hand, “And you must be…?”

 

“Christian,” Isak’s ex spits out angrily, shifting his attention back to Isak.

 

“Oh, sorry! Isak hasn’t really talked that much about you,” Even smiles, his voice humorless.

 

And now it’s Christian’s turn to look like he’s just gotten punched in the stomach.

 

Isak glances up at Even again and Even looks at him from the side of his eyes and winks lightly enough that Christian doesn’t notice it. It was a horrible wink, really, but Isak momentarily relaxes into Even’s side, and it’s scary how natural this feels to him.

 

“Right, well, I’d better be getting home to Alexander…” Christian announces, deflated.

 

“You do that,” Even answers shortly, drawing Isak just a bit closer with his hand squeezing onto Isak’s hip, and Isak has to bite his lip from yelping. 

 

Christian nods at them once before walking away. 

 

As soon as he’s down the aisle and rounding the corner, Even lets go of Isak and positions himself so that he’s standing across from him again. Isak is all too aware of how incomplete he feels without Even holding onto him. 

 

Then, he remembers how he’d completely subjected Even to a massive lie, possibly the biggest lie he’s ever told. And it was all because his ex had riled him up to that point, the point where Isak became the type of person who would do such things. 

 

He doesn’t want Even to see him this way. He doesn’t want this to be the impression he gives him, even though they are only strangers to each other. He most likely won’t ever see Even again, and this will all be in his past, so he’s unsure of why apologizing feels so important to him right now. 

 

“I’m sorry about…well, all of that,” Isak blurts out, before he can overthink it and turn on his heels and run, forget the goddamn ice cream. 

 

Even nods and offers him a small smile, and Isak is just waiting for his face to distort and for him to start yelling. Anyone else would do just that.

 

“It’s no problem at all,” Even says, as if that just excuses everything, and Isak’s mouth hangs open a bit. 

 

Even is ridiculously attractive, and he’s leaning onto the edge of Isak’s cart, telling him everything is just fine, and Isak’s having the same breathing problem as he was before.

 

“Thank you for stepping in like that,” he squeaks, tilting himself onto his toes and then back onto his heels. 

 

The air is awkward as it hangs around them, but Even hasn’t stopped looking at Isak, not once.

 

Isak, on the other hand, has tried as best as possible to look anywhere BUT at Even. Because if he does, he’ll have to confront certain thoughts, and he’d rather not do that right now. 

 

“Anything for my boyfriend,” Even answers sweetly, and that causes Isak to finally look up at him and bite out a laugh. Isak thinks Even’s a very accepting guy for someone who is likely straight.

 

“Yeah, right,” Isak snorts, “You saved my ass. My ex—,”

 

Even cuts him off before he can continue.

 

“You don’t have to tell a stranger anything you aren’t comfortable with. It’s cool.”

 

Isak closes his mouth, before saying, “How are we strangers if we’re dating?”

 

“Good point,” Even chuckles, “But we should do this the proper way.”

 

“Uh, the what?” Isak puzzles.

 

Even steps forward a bit and offers out his hand.

 

“Hi, I’m Even.”

 

Isak blinks his eyes a few times as he slowly reaches out to take Even’s hand in his. And my, does he have some soft hands. 

 

Their hands feel good as they fit together, and Isak almost immediately begins to think about where else Even’s hands would feel good and—

 

He needs to shake those thoughts off right now.

 

So, he does, and he shakes Even’s hand too, and says, “Hi, I’m Isak.”

 

Even smiles a warm smile and Isak returns it just as warmly, even though, honestly, this entire situation is completely fucked up.

 

“Nice to meet you, Isak,” Even says. 

 

And maybe it’s the tone of Even’s voice, or the fact that their hands stick together a bit longer than they really need to, but Isak finds himself blushing again and the hair on the back of his neck is starting to sweat. 

 

This is very, very new, and that worries Isak, because he’s used to guys really not giving a shit about him, and from Isak’s first impression, Even is just way too kind to be like everyone else. 

 

He feels like, somehow, everything in his life is already different from the moment he’d walked through those automatic doors. 

 

Nothing is said between them for a few seconds, which seem to last forever in Isak’s mind, until Even speaks again.

 

“So, what flavor were you looking for?”

 

Flavor?

 

“Flavor?” Isak muddles, unsure.

 

Even laughs exasperatedly.

 

“Yeah, of ice cream?”

 

“Oh!” Isak almost shouts, and if it were socially acceptable for him to slap his forehead, he would be doing exactly that right now. 

 

How many times can Isak be stupid in one sitting? He’s pretty sure he’s about to hit the max limit.

 

“Uh, cookie dough,” Isak tells him, and Even raises his eyebrows at that, clearly shocked. 

 

“Wow, what a coincidence! Me too,” he says.

 

“Wait really?” What kind of fate type of bullshit is this?

 

“No!” Even laughs, throwing his head back, “Cookie dough is way too boring, I’m a double chocolate brownie type of person.”

 

“And you’re yelling at me for the shit that I’M eating.”

 

“Yeah, I don’t think I can date someone who likes cookie dough ice cream. Sorry,” Even smirks, doing a weird thing with his eyebrows.

 

Isak learns all too quickly that he very much likes that weird thing he does with his eyebrows. 

 

“You’re breaking up with me already?” Isak says, playing along. My god, this man is intriguing.

 

“Yup. It was nice while it lasted,” Even chortles, placing his hand on his heart.

 

It seems that, if the two of them were truly dating, this would be the moment where Isak would playfully push him and call him ‘babe’ or something, but the harsh reality is that Isak didn’t even know an Even like him existed less than an hour ago, much less an Even that could be his boyfriend. 

 

And the question as to whether or not Even could be his boyfriend is what bothers Isak the most, because if he was straight, then it was just never going to happen. 

 

Not to mention the fact that Isak himself is coming out of a toxic six month relationship and is undoubtedly a little, if not a lot, fucked up from it. But Isak’s little spat with Christian hadn’t really kept that a secret from Even, now had it?

 

Was it impolite to straight up ask a person about their sexuality? Yeah, probably. 

 

No matter how much he wants to, he’s not going to do it, and he’s going to let the question torture him probably until the end of time, because as soon as he walks out of those automatic doors, he’s never going to see “Even with the good hair’ ever again.

 

And that makes him sad, because having a fake boyfriend right now is becoming more and more inviting. If only the circumstances were different, if only they had done this properly, like Even had said not so much earlier. 

 

“Can I have your number?” Isak hears in the distance from the back of his mind, a place he’d assuredly gotten lost in for a good few moments. 

 

Even’s speaking, and—did he really just?

 

Isak focuses his gaze on Even’s face, and Even is still as solid and bright as ever, and—

 

Yes, he really did.

 

“My number?” Isak returns, confused. Why the hell would he want that?

 

“You know, in case you need me to be your fake boyfriend again or something,” Even says, and now he’s lowering his own head and shifting the weight between his feet. Almost like he’s unsure—or maybe nervous?

 

Whatever it is, Isak is baffled at how generous Even is, and how well he played along and kept himself guarded from asking too many questions, and if nothing else, he seems like he’d make a very great friend. 

 

Which is probably why Isak hands his phone over to him almost too quickly, and why Even offers his phone to Isak, and Isak notices his fingers trembling as he types the numbers into Even’s phone. 

 

They seem to finish typing at the same time, as they exchanges phones again, and this time yet another silence falls over them. 

 

Even, just like always, is the one to break the tension.

 

“So, I’d better get going…” he says, as he trails off. And Isak is still aware of the fact that Even has no groceries in his hands, no basket, no cart, nothing at all. And this is yet another question Isak is left torturing himself with. 

 

“Yeah,” Isak just replies shortly, not trying at all to mask his slight disappointment. 

 

“I’ll see you soon,” Even muses, some sort of strength behind his statement.

 

Will he see me?

 

Isak just nods as Even begins to walk away, only he takes his first few strides backwards.

 

“Oh, and Isak?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Cookie dough is in the fifth freezer from the south end of the aisle.”

 

Even’s words are like an affirmation as they drift towards Isak’s ears, and as soon as Isak processes them, Even is giving him yet another warm smile that fades as he disappears from Isak’s point of view. 

 

This might have been Isak’s first time grocery shopping where he didn’t hate absolutely everything about it.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Søndag 10/3/19

 

christian:

 

(10.15) hey isak

 

isak:

 

(10.22) what do you want christian

 

christian:

 

(10.23) easy

 

can we talk?

 

isak:

 

(10.24) talk?

 

christian:

 

(10:26) yeah. i miss you

 

(10.27) i still have your black sweater

 

isak:

 

(10.30) how’s alex

 

christian:

 

(10.31) come on issy 

 

isak:

 

(10.32) no

 

you don’t get to do this

 

christian:

 

(10.34) do what?

 

isak:

 

(10.35) act like you actually cared about me

 

christian:

 

(10.37) of course i did

 

i still do

 

isak:

 

(10.38) is that what you call sticking your dick up an asshole that wasn’t mine

 

while we were together

 

christian:

 

(10.39) i already apologized for that

 

isak:

 

(10.41) your apology doesn’t mean shit

 

and i’m dating someone else now

 

christian:

 

(10.43) i don’t believe that

 

isak:

 

(10.43) why not?

 

christian:

 

(10.44) because you’re in love with me

 

(10.45) always have been and always will be

 

isak:

 

(10.48) you’re wrong

 

christian:

 

(10.50) see i’m not and that’s the thing

 

you’d never date someone else while there’s still a chance

 

you stayed with me for months even after i fucked someone else

 

(10.51) you’re way too loyal to give up on anyone

 

isak:

 

(10.54) i’ve changed

 

and you fucked me over

 

(10.55) i’m moving on

 

christian:

 

(10.56) now you’re just embarrassing yourself

 

honestly it’s funny how you’d never mentioned him before yesterday

 

isak:

 

(10.58) i have changed

 

and even’s a better man than you ever were

 

christian:

 

(11.01) whatever

 

i’ll see you around campus

 

or did you forget that we still have classes together

 

(11.02) so either way, i’ll still find out the truth

 

 


 

 

Isak clicked off his phone and slammed it onto his nightstand in an attempt to calm himself down, but he couldn’t stop shaking. With anger, with fear, with anxiety, the whole lot. It was amazing, really, how much he still let Christian affect him, even after a month of refusing to be with him, a month filled with heartbreak, tears and—did he say he ate his weight in ice cream to get through school? Yeah, what he really should have said was he shoveled ice cream into his mouth to deal with the fucking stress. Generalized stress.

 

The sad part is that Isak thought he was getting better at it, he thought it was getting easier—but as soon as Christian saw him starting to move on, to let go, he’d drag him back by his leash and diminish all of his efforts.

 

The absolute saddest part, however, is that Isak always let him. 

 

And it was truly incredible how much he’d now managed to fuck everything up beyond any sort of fixing. 

 

He’d forgotten for a brief moment how much he saw Christian at school, how they’d decided to take a few general classes together way back when they’d started dating. He probably forgot because he was the pupil that always showed up on time and sat directly in the front of the room. And Christian, well, he was the exact opposite. 

 

Now that he thinks about it, Christian probably only signed up for those classes with Isak so that he could pass easily, as he knew Isak would give his goddamn arm to help him out with anything and everything.

 

And after all this time, Isak’s not really sure what he ever saw in Christian in the first place. This revelation doesn’t make it any easier for him to get over his heartbreak, though.

 

Then there’s this whole matter with Even that he now definitely needs to deal with, since he yet again shoved the fake relationship into Christian’s face and called it real. They weren’t actors, so of course Christian had his suspicions.

 

Only now, if he didn’t parade around town with his fake boyfriend, the whole lie would blow up in his entire face, and Isak would look more pathetic than ever. Not to mention the fact that Christian isn’t the type to let something like this go without at least letting a few hundred people know about it.

 

Isak wished he didn’t care so much what other people thought about him, but the truth was, he most certainly did. And that’s part of what was killing him inside—because he could just say fuck you and let the entire world think of him as a sad little pathetic boy—but Isak Valtersen is stupid and he’s not going to do that.

 

At least, he hopes he won’t have to. He’s kind of resting on the fact that Even backed him up in the grocery store and that might make it less intimidating for him to do it again? If he wants? He had kind of offered to, had he not?

 

Isak would never force him, but holy fuck, is he desperate. 

 

There’s also the question of Even’s sexuality, and if him even thinking about pretending to be with Isak grosses him out or not. It seemed to be okay with him before, but that could have just been Isak overly trying to reassure himself that he didn’t plunge himself into a huge pile of shit. 

 

Whatever the case is, Isak remembers that they’d exchanged numbers, and he had grabbed his phone again and was now scrolling through it in search of Even’s name. When he found it, he noticed that Even had inserted the little ice cream emoji next to it. What a fucking dork, Isak thought. This wasn’t doing anything to help him with his growing crush on the stupid boy.

 

He wasn’t even sure of Even’s exact age, but really, you can’t put a number on someone with such good hair—they could be 20 years your elder and their hair would still shine like it was being followed by the sun.

 

In all realities, though, he knows Even isn’t that much older than him. Oh god, he hopes not. 

 


 

 

isak:

 

(11.34) hey this is isak

 

even:

 

(11.41) hmm i don’t know an isak

 

isak:

 

(11.42) isn’t this even? from the grocery store?

 

even:

 

(11.44) this is even’s girlfriend

 

isak:

 

(11.45) oh fuck

 

i’m sorry

 

nevermind then

 

even:

 

(11.47) did you find the cookie dough ice cream?

 

isak:

 

(11.48) what?

 

even:

 

(11.51) oh my god isak

 

this is even

 

that was a joke

 

isak:

 

(11.54) oh

 

even:

 

(11.55) i don’t have a girlfriend

 

isak:

 

(11.57) oh

 

even:

 

(11.58) sorry if that was weird

 

i just thought i’d make a joke

 

since we’re supposed to be fake dating and all

 

(11.59) i didn’t really think that through fuck

 

isak:

 

(12.02) it’s okay

 

i just thought i was in some deep shit lol

 

even:

 

(12.04) nah i can’t fake date two people at one time

 

that gets too messy

 

isak:

 

(12.05) haha :)

 

so about the fake dating thing

 

even:

 

(12.06) yes?

 

isak:

 

(12.07) are you like

 

are you cool with it

 

(12.08) because christian asked me about it again

 

and if i don’t show up at places with you

 

he’s going to know that i lied

 

and…yeah i can’t really have that right now

 

but it’s okay if you don’t want to

 

(12.09) i don’t want to force you into anything

 

i feel really bad actually

 

even:

 

(12.11) jesus fuck isak slow down

 

it’s okay

 

isak:

 

(12.11) are you sure?

 

even:

 

(12.13) i mean…how couple-y do we have to be?

 

isak:

 

(12.14) i’m not going to do anything that would make you uncomfortable

 

even:

 

(12.17) okay so…boundaries?

 

isak:

 

(12.18) of course. and i’m just getting over a relationship so

 

yeah i’m kind of fucked up when it comes to this lol

 

even:

 

(12.20) it’s okay, i understand

 

isak:

 

(12.21) it’s really not okay but thanks

 

(12.22) what’s with the ice cream emoji btw

 

even:

 

(12.24) what?? we met in the ice cream aisle

 

it’s not that much of a stretch

 

isak:

 

(12.25) but why?

 

even:

 

(12.27) you really are quite boring

 

isak:

 

(12.28) i’m sorry

 

even:

 

(12.29) i’m kidding

 

i just think life should be colorful

 

(12.30) and this way every time you think about me

 

you’ll be thinking about ice cream

 

which will only make you like me more

 

(12.31) and it’s important that you like me

 

since you’re my fake boyfriend and all ;)

 

isak:

 

(12.32) lol okay

 

i didn’t put an emoji next to my name though

 

even:

 

(12.33) that’s okay, i did it for you

 

isak:

 

(12.33) what is it??

 

even:

 

(12.35) i can’t reveal all my secrets in one sitting

 

we’re not close enough for that

 

isak:

 

(12.36) it’s an emoji even

 

how secretive can it be

 

even:

 

(12.36) very secretive

 

(12.37) only a list of certain people get to see what i have them saved as in my phone

 

isak:

 

(12.37) oh?

 

and how does one get on this list you speak of?

 

even:

 

(12.39) that’s for me to know and for you to dot dot dot

 

isak:

 

(12.40) you really fucking typed that out instead of using periods

 

i already want to fake break up with you

 

even:

 

(12.41) it was fun while it lasted :(

 

(12.42) wow deja vu

 

isak:

 

(12.42) lol

 

(12.44) not to be weird but are you free on monday

 

even:

 

(12.45) depends on the time

 

why?

 

isak:

 

(12.45) well i have biology class and christian has it with me

 

and you know…if you show up to walk me out or something

 

(12.46) idk that’s kind of stupid i don’t even know what you do tbh

 

i don’t even know your age 

 

even:

 

(12.48) i’m 47

 

isak:

 

(12.48) nice try

 

even:

 

(12.49) no, i’m actually 21

 

and i attend UiO for film studies

 

i’m assuming that’s where you go too

 

isak:

 

(12.50) yeah

 

it’s my first year

 

so i really have no fucking idea what i’m doing

 

even:

 

(12.51) that’s okay isak

 

you don’t have to have everything figured out right now

 

isak:

 

(12.52) i’m 19 btw

 

even:

 

(12.52) see? you’ve got time

 

isak:

 

(12.54) i mean i know i love biology

 

but it’s hard to focus on that when your ex is right there

 

even:

 

(12.56) so the breakup must have been messy huh

 

isak:

 

(12.57) yeah

 

(12.58) he didn’t take me having a new boyfriend that well either tbh

 

even:

 

(13.00) well even though we aren’t actually dating

 

and we only met like 30 hours ago

 

that’s not really his place

 

isak:

 

(13.02) i know

 

it just sucks

 

i just wanna forget about him you know?

 

(13.03) but for some reason i just…can’t

 

even:

 

(13.03) did you love him?

 

isak:

 

(13.05) i think maybe i did

 

but after everything that happened

 

(13.06) i don’t know that i even know what love is

 

even:

 

(13.08) to me he just seems like an asshole

 

isak:

 

(13.08) even

 

even:

 

(13.09) sorry

 

isak:

 

(13.11) fuck i’m really sorry about dragging you into this

 

you don’t need to hear about my issues

 

even:

 

(13.13) what are fake boyfriends for

 

isak:

 

(13.14) lol yeah i guess

 

even:

 

(13.15) i gotta go though. i have a thing

 

i’ll see you on monday?

 

isak:

 

(13.15) uh yeah

 

15:30

 

even:

 

(13.17) i’ll be there

 

 


 

 

Isak willed himself not to question the abrupt change in Even’s text messages towards the end of the conversation, if only to focus on the tingling sensation he felt in his chest and in his stomach that lingered long after Even’s last message had come through.

 

It was weird, to have something like this, after so much heartbreak and stress. Something that he could indulge himself in—hopefully in a positive way—that didn’t have ample amounts of complications tied around it. 

 

He wanted so badly to believe that this was him truly moving on from Christian, that maybe this thing with Even could go somewhere, but he’d fought false hope before, and lost egregiously.

 

And Isak is pretty sure Even and him had just been flirting with each other, but Even had been that way from the start, and maybe that’s just how he is with everyone. Which is certainly not a bad thing, and that’s probably why Isak feels so attracted to him. He’s charming as hell, and it’s almost irritating. 

 

Isak spends the rest of the night thinking about his fake boyfriend Even and imagining scenarios of them together before he realizes he doesn’t even know his last name and he needs to catch a fucking grip. 

 

 


 

 

Mandag 11/3/19

 

“My biology teacher is homophobic,” Isak says, as he takes a seat next to his friend Jonas in the campus cafe. The cafe is smaller than the large lunchrooms that the university has, which Isak would be totally fine dining at, if it weren’t for Jonas and his troubling obsession with ‘hipster coffee’. Jonas says it just tastes that much better, but Isak likes to call it for what it is. 

 

“Is this another one of those shitty gay memes you’re always talking about?” Jonas asks incredulously, taking a bite of his grilled vegetable sandwich at the same time. 

 

“Hey, you’re the one who introduced me to tumblr,” Isak answers, in his defense. 

 

“There are more important things on tumblr than memes, Isak,” Jonas explains, “Like politics. Human rights. All that.”

 

Isak scoffs, “Tumblr is the gayest place on the internet, you should not be surprised that I choose to fit in with my people.”

 

Anyways,” Jonas accentuates, “Why is she homophobic?”

 

“Because she inconveniences me! I got an email and saw she just scheduled a test on Friday, and now I’m fucking screwed.”

 

“Oh my god,” Jonas groans, “You’re that fucking student who complains about getting anything less than a perfect score. You’ll be fine.”

 

Isak gives Jonas a tight, sarcastic smile before reaching for his own food. He’d apparently decided to go out of his comfort zone today and try something new—only this food has many words that he cannot pronounce and he’s quickly wishing he’d had better judgment. What the hell is a quinoa?

 

It’s no wonder Isak’s a little unfocused, considering his biology class begins in less than an hour, and then after that, he’s supposed to meet up with Even. Who just so happens to be his fake boyfriend now. Which his friends know nothing about. Not even Jonas, his closest friend. 

 

He’ll tell him soon just—just not right now. Not when he’s already sweating from nerves. 

 

Isak isn’t screwed for the biology test because there isn’t enough time to study—he’s screwed because his focus has shifted from avoiding Christian at all costs and stress-studying to avoiding Christian at all costs, stress-studying, AND keeping up this massive lie about having a fake boyfriend. And not just keeping it from Christian, but from everyone else as well, because that’s just too many questions and too many things to explain.

 

Isak doesn’t have to bring Even into all of his friend’s lives if he’s just going to end up leaving at the end of all of it. Once Christian gets off his back or once he finally fucking moves on—whichever comes first. Even is just some really attractive stranger that, for some reason, has decided to help him with his fucked up life. That’s it.

 

He let himself daydream about it yesterday—finally being off of Christian’s leash—but now it’s back to reality and that’s where his head needs to stay. Anything else is just going to result in him ending up hurting even worse than he is now. And he’s not sure he can handle that much disappointment and pain in his life without officially and completely breaking, yet again. He’s never considered himself a strong person and that would no doubt prove how true that really is. He doesn’t need more struggles for people to laugh at.

 

Sometimes, it feels like the world is swallowing him whole. And other times it feels like it’s spitting him back out. While one would think the latter should feel like a huge relief, both of them are equally as awful. It’s too much or not enough, and there’s never any moderation. Isak aches for a middle ground. 

 

That’s all he wants. He doesn’t even have to be happy, he just wants to be average. Okay, he thinks. He just wants to be okay.

 

That’s a difficult thing to wish for when literally everything has the ability to hurt him. Or, when he has the ability to hurt others. 

 

It shouldn’t be so hard, but it is.

 

 


 

 

Isak hasn’t spoken to Even all day, and he can admit that he’s a little worried that he’s not going to show. Maybe Isak deserves that, deserves to be stood up like this, and maybe it will turn out okay—or maybe not. Isak hates the unknowns. 

 

When the professor dismisses class, Isak takes his sweet time packing up his books and notes while the rest of the students pile out, leaving him to himself and Christian, who just so happens to be watching him from across the room.

 

“No boyfriend, today, huh?” he asks, acid on his tongue.

 

“Why do you care?” Isak deadpans.

 

“You didn’t have to lie to me, Isak,” Christian replies, a bit softer.

 

“Who says I lied?”

 

Christian doesn’t answer but waits for Isak by the door, so that if Isak plans on leaving anytime soon, he’ll be forced to confront Christian anyway.

 

When Isak reaches him, Christian steps right in his way.

 

Baby,” he says, “You and I both know that no one else can replace me.”

 

Isak retreats, his heart beating faster, mostly out of fear than anything else, and he’s about to say something when the door opens behind Christian.

 

It’s Even. Thank god. 

 

Even looks between the two of them, surprised, before he collects himself and looks Christian in the eye, who is now turned to face him.

 

“For someone’s ex, you sure seem to follow him around a lot,” Even spits out, his eyes dark and anger in his voice. 

 

For a fake boyfriend, someone’s anger seems pretty damn real, Isak thinks.

 

“Follow! Ha! We took this class together, didn’t we, Isak?” Christian says, as he looks to Isak over his shoulder. Isak is silent behind him.

 

“And I’m sure it was Isak’s choice to chat after it was over,” Even replies, looking over to Isak, and Isak’s sure from his eyes alone that Even can sense how scared he is.

 

“Isak’s free to do as he pleases,” Christian answers sweetly, “Whatever and whoever that might be.”

 

Isak finally finds his voice at that remark.

 

“I choose to go,” Isak says lowly, “Let’s go, Even.”

 

Isak hurries past Even until he notices that Even hasn’t moved, still tensed in his stance towards Christian, and Isak tugs lightly on his sleeve to get Even to follow behind him. It takes a bit more tugging before Even is turning around and shutting the door, trailing Isak’s feet before he catches up with him.

 

“He’s a piece of fucking work,” Even mutters as the two of them walk through the hallways together. 

 

Isak feels small now, something Christian always manages to do to him, to make him feel, and he hates it.

 

“Yeah,” Isak breathes out, flatly and emotionless. He’s exhausted now, just from those couple minutes alone.

 

Isak’s not sure how he survived six months with Christian. He’s never been more thankful for his friends and therapy than he is right now. Christian is toxic, and he knows it, he just wishes his brain could understand that and move on. 

 

Even must notice the expressionless demeanor that Isak is currently showing because he turns around as they reach the end of the hallway so that he’s facing him.

 

He reaches for Isak’s hand and Isak gasps as their fingers intertwine, the way his heartbeat begins to fasten. This time not because of fear, but because of something else.

 

“Hey, don’t let him get to you, okay?” Even says leaning in, softly so that only Isak can hear. Isak just nods in return. 

 

Even swipes his thumb across Isak’s hand once, twice, and then he’s letting go.

 

Isak misses the contact almost immediately, but he’s also grateful that Even didn’t push him for answers. He can’t even think about the questions Even must have without feeling like he’s on the verge of crying.

 

There’s nothing wrong with crying, but he’s only just met Even and that’s a sure fire way for him to make sure Even never comes near him ever, ever again. That’s just being way too open with someone you’ve only known for such a short amount of time.

 

Even speaks again as he takes his place on Isak’s right side and pushes through the hall doors.

 

“I was thinking we could get to know each other today,” he says, eyes towards the sky. Isak looks over, watching his profile. And fuck, everything about Even is gorgeous.

 

He should have chosen a less attractive fake boyfriend, one who doesn’t make him question his own motives. This is supposed to be like a contract, right? An agreement between two acquaintances. And while he’s not sure what Even’s exactly getting out of it, he’s pretty sure that wanting to kiss the lips of said opposite person of the agreement isn’t anywhere in any business contract ever.

 

“What do you mean?” Isak squeaks, and then coughs to cover it up.

 

“Let’s go somewhere. Do something. What do you like to do?” Even asks.

 

Isak’s mind starts screaming the word ‘DATE’ before he can stop himself. 

 

He’s too gay for his own good, really. 

 

“I, uh, I don’t know. I kind of always did what Christian wanted to do,” Isak answers, and then cringes once he realizes the information he’s shared. How pathetic does that fucking sound.

 

Even closes his mouth into a thin line and just nods, like he’s processing what Isak’s just said. 

 

“Sorry,” Isak says hurriedly, before Even can reply, “That was too…honest.”

 

Oh, the irony.

 

“Don’t apologize, Isak,” Even says, “I won’t pretend to understand completely, but I can always listen. And I will,” he adds.

 

“I’m bringing the mood down, though,” Isak admits, “I’m sorry.”

 

Even looks at Isak and smiles a short smile at his added apology. 

 

Isak really needs to work on not apologizing so much, he knows this. It’s just hard, like a lot of things.

 

It’s silent for a bit as Isak and Even continue their walk towards the trains, and Isak wants to, really wants to say something, he just doesn’t know what. 

 

He’s lucky Even is so charismatic and can make a conversation out of almost anything. It’s like the guy’s never embarrassed to keep talking, always knowing what to say. Filling the silence. 

 

“How about we test out some things so we can find out what you’re interested in, hmm?” Even suggests, his tone hopeful.

 

“What do you have in mind?” Isak asks tentatively, still looking down at his feet.

 

“You’re really smart, aren’t you?” Even asks, grinning and turning his face to Isak. Isak faces him as well. When Isak sees the light in Even’s eyes, he starts blushing. It’s barely hitting the evening hours and Isak’s already struggling to hide his affection for this boy. Fucking shit.

 

“Well, I…”

 

“Trivia. Food, Alcohol, and Trivia,” Even spells out, making sure to pronounce each and every syllable.

 

“Trivia?!” Isak questions, because what?

 

“Yes, Isak, trivia. And if you end up not liking kicking everyone’s asses, then there’s always the food and the alcohol. Or we can leave.”

 

Attending some sort of trivia night sounds like too many drunk middle-aged people to Isak but if he’s being honest, he’s more than half ready to let his competitiveness shine. If not only to impress Even, but just because it’s one of the things he does best.

 

“Okay. Fuck. Okay. I’m in,” Isak agrees, throwing his hands in the air, and Even claps his hands together once in excitement.

 

“Great! We’ll just drop your shit at your apartment and go, then,” he says, as he smiles at Isak, wide and with all of his teeth showing.

 

Isak doesn't miss the way his stomach flips when he sees Even smile so freely, and it distracts him so that he’s stumbling over his feet as he climbs onto the train.

 

He feels warm and fuzzy inside, and he welcomes the new feeling.

 

 

Chapter Text

Mandag 11/3/19

 

Isak didn't think Even would even want to get to know him outside of their performance in front of Christian, and now, the thought is kind of fucking with his mind a bit.

 

He’s looking at Even from across the small round table that they're sitting at, currently in some bar Isak's never heard of, and he sees Even's smile illuminating the space around him, and it's even worse when he opens his mouth and laughs.

 

Isak's officially fucked. Okay, it's actually fucking with his mind a lot, because Even's probably not interested in being with the mess that is Isak Valtersen and again, Isak's going to end up with nothing at the end of all of it. 

 

This was his exact problem, though—he's noticing this two tall glasses of beer in—he gets himself disappointed before there's even anything to be disappointed about. And yes, there's Christian, and yes Isak hates himself for still entertaining that whole thing, Christian’s like a hangnail that Isak just can’t rip off no matter how hard he tries. But then there's Even, and he's sitting across from him, and Isak’s sat here, not able to stop himself from wishing. From hoping.

 

Even had been right about the trivia—Isak enjoyed himself so much, and he got embarrassingly competitive with a bunch of middle agers, to be completely honest—but every time he answered a question correctly, Even would reach across the table and give him a high five, and Isak's hand would continue to burn not only from the sting of the slightly aggressive contact. 

 

He’d so far learned that Even had attended Elvebakken for high school, and when he heard that Isak went to Nissen, he told him that he’d almost transferred to Nissen for his final year but had ended up sticking it out. Even also mentioned that his biggest dream is to become an award winning director some day, and that he’s determined to make it happen, even though the chances are very slim. Isak admires his tenacity and wishes he’d had the same type of persistence, or if anything, any sense of direction at all. 

 

Isak carefully avoided any talk about Christian, and Even didn’t pry. They spent most of the evening laughing with each other and on occasion, stealing glances that left words unspoken in their wake. It also left Isak trembling right down to his core, but he just couldn’t stop staring. It was simply out of his control—and while it was admittedly scary—he couldn’t remember a time recently where he’d felt this alive. 

 

It might have something to do with the alcohol building up in his system, allowing him to finally let go, but he was hooked onto this feeling, feeling free—it was like a drug to him. He wanted more, and he never wanted it to stop. So he kept going. 

 

He tried to behave himself as best as he could, but he knows deep down it's really only a matter of time before he crumbles, and potentially ruins this entire fake relationship. He could come on too strong, and no matter how much Isak wants Even, it means nothing if he doesn't want him back.

 

Even doesn't drink, and Isak doesn't question it. He figures it's probably best to save that for a conversation they can have while Isak is entirely sober, and not shoveling beer down his throat like it's his job. How else is he supposed to deal with his absurd attraction to this man, though?

 

The night comes to a close quicker than Isak expected, he'd gotten lost in the game and the alcohol and Even. Now, the two of them are standing on the side of the street, waiting for a train to come and whisk them away to their apartments.

 

Actually, Isak's unsure of where they're supposed to go from here. Do they go back to Isak's? Or to Even's, wherever he lives?

 

"Yours or mine?" Isak slurs, swaying closer to Even and his puffy camouflage jacket. Even practically has to catch him from falling flat on his face.

 

"Uh, what?" Even coughs, and laughs shortly. 

 

Isak looks up at him from his tentative place in Even's arms and widens his eyes. Even stares back down at him with an unknown expression on his face. Isak lets himself study for longer than he should because he can't decipher the words in Even's eyes and also he's drunk, okay.

 

After a bit Isak huffs and removes himself from Even's hold.

 

"It's okay," Isak blurts out, a bit choked and reserved.

 

"What's okay?" Even asks, watching Isak as he spins himself in dizzy circles.

 

"It's okay that you don't want me," Isak explains, his voice hurt, like it was obvious what he meant, and this further explanation wasn't necessary.

 

"Whoa, hey, Isak," Even starts, reaching out for his arm to stop his drunken twirling, "Isak, look at me."

 

Even pulls Isak towards him and Isak lets him be guided in that direction, the only direction that makes sense, and he knows this, even though he's drunk. 

 

His cheeks are being cradled by Even's hands and they're warm against his cold skin and it takes Isak a moment to realize he's on the verge of tears. What the fuck is going on.

 

"Isak, are you okay?" Even asks, and his hot breath is hitting Isak's face like it was meant to sooth him, and it does for its brief existence, but when it's gone Isak barks out a short, sick laugh in its place.

 

"No, Even, I'm not," Isak whimpers, biting his lip to stuff away the saltwater threatening to fall, "And you are, and that's okay. I'm not okay but you are and that's okay. It's okay, Even."

 

Isak is distanced but he hears himself rambling his words and he's already regretting getting himself drunk before he's even partially sober. This was certainly not the direction he'd planned the night on going.

 

"Lets get you home, okay?" Even whispers, his fingers trailing lines across Isak's cheeks and chin, and Isak's given up just far enough that he lets himself nod in response, and he feels a quick pressure on the top of his head that's gone almost as quickly as it appeared, and Isak's too drunk and too tired to question it.

 

He lets Even issue him onto the train and then off and up the stairs into his shitty apartment, and he falls asleep before he can ruin the night even further, before he can fuck up anything else. 

 

 


 

 

Tirsdag 12/3/19

 

When he wakes up, Even isn't there. 

 

And Isak should have figured this, honestly, the guy barely knows him—and last night, now that he's remembering, Isak was a drunk, emotional mess—and it's hitting Isak hard only because he wanted it.

 

He wanted Even to stay, and he wished he hadn't put himself in a position where he was unable to communicate that. Because even if Isak would have gotten solid rejection from Even, it'd sure as hell be better than waking up with a painful migraine and regret on the tip of his tongue.

 

This was probably too much for him, Isak thought. I'm too much and not enough, all at the same time.

 

Isak is oddly finding comfort in this now, as he continues to go on, he's only validating this statement more and more. Maybe that's why it was so easy for Christian to toy with him, to emotionally ruin him.

 

Because no matter how much he loves, and wants to love, he's just never enough, or he's too fucking much—and there's no goddamn middle ground, not even on the horizon. It's buried underground with his happiness and his hope.

 

Isak reluctantly gets himself out of bed only to realize he should have just kept laying down, because his stomach isn't handling the change of position so well. 

 

Only he really needs to pee, so it's kind of a lost cause if he ends up vomiting in the distance between his bedroom and the bathroom.

 

Isak reaches for the handle to his bedroom door and turns it, the door creaking open so that he can step onto the wooden floor on the other side of it. 

 

He'd been inside of his painful head the entire time that he's just now noticing noises coming from the kitchen, and a faint smell of—is that waffles? Bacon

 

Does Isak even have those items in his fridge or pantry? He had just gone grocery shopping a few days ago, but he'd loaded up on salty snacks that took little to no effort and a balanced breakfast was a foreign language to him.

 

This is...strange, and Isak's stomach is rumbling, though be it from the fresh smell of the mouthwatering food or the nausea from his overindulgence in alcohol, he can't be sure.

 

He is sure that he still has to pee, so he does this quickly, as fast as his head will let him, before he's creeping his footsteps down the hallway and towards the kitchen.

 

Isak is met with the back of a white t-shirt and grey sweatpants, both articles of clothing which are presumably his. Though the butt that isn't his fills out those sweatpants way better than he can.

 

Fucking christ.

 

It's Even, and he's here and cooking breakfast, for fucks sake, looking like he just belongs, like he's cooked food in this kitchen many times before.

 

Maybe he has, in other universes, but in this universe they hardly know each other and Even's never so much as touched a utensil in Isak's kitchen and well, too be fair, Isak rarely has either, but that's besides the point.

 

In this universe Even is his fake boyfriend—or was, after last night—and he's not supposed to be here right now.

 

Only he is, and Isak has no idea what the fuck he's supposed to do with that.

 

It's surely what he wanted, but now that he has it, and sober, no less, he's one small snap from having a nervous breakdown.

 

That ass in those sweatpants isn't making it any easier for him.

 

Isak steps forward involuntarily and the floor creaks loudly, and he could have just brought a blow horn and set it off and it would have had the same effect.

 

Even whirls around from his position at the stove and looks at Isak, who is definitely sporting a red face and frown lines in his forehead by now.

 

"Good morning," Even says brightly, as he turns back towards the eggs on the stove and continues to push them around in the frying pan.

 

Isak didn't even know he had a frying pan.

 

"Uh, hi?" Isak manages out, his voice a tad strained and uncertain. He keeps his stance by the kitchen archway, because if he moves any closer to Even, his current uneasiness would just get even worse.

 

"I made breakfast," Even replies, and yeah, he sure did.

 

There's a plate of waffles sitting next to a plate of bacon, there's toast lounging in the toaster, coffee's brewing and he's making eggs?

 

"You made breakfast," Isak repeats, and this time his voice doesn't come out like a question, even though it most certainly is.

 

Isak has so many questions about this.

 

"Eggs are almost finished," Even hums and it's clear now that he's not going to address anything if Isak isn't going to.

 

His head is still throbbing, and thinking about last night makes him groan outwardly as he takes a seat at the kitchen table.

 

"Rough night?" Even asks, turning to him and Isak looks over at him and glares, before he realizes that he's joking, and it's about time he calms down that stupid grumpy teenager inside of him who's currently hungover and moody.

 

Isak's face softens when he sees Even's daring smile and he laughs as well as he can before his stomach can't take the clenching of his muscles anymore.

 

"How embarrassing was I?" Isak huffs, placing his hands over his face.

 

"It could have been worse, honestly," Even says, "You were pretty out of it, though."

 

"I can't believe I got drunk on trivia night at some shitty bar that you dragged me to."

 

Even scoffs. "You had fun, don't deny it."

 

Isak attempts to fight the smile that is forming on his face but quickly decides it's a useless venture anyway.

 

"You stayed," Isak says after a beat of silence, and it's a confirmation of more than just Even physically being there for him, in front of him, now. He keeps his eyes focused on a small crack in the cheap wooden table.

 

Even pours the cooked eggs onto a plate and starts to bring the food over to Isak. It takes almost no time—the man has got some long arms—and he easily balances multiple plates along them. Isak thinks perhaps he was a waiter in a previous life.

 

"I stayed," Even affirms once he takes a seat across from Isak. He's looking for Isak's eyes now, searching, and it takes all of Isak's might not to come apart underneath his stare.

 

Unlike how it was with Christian, he doesn't feel small with Even. Instead, he feels cared for, in a sense. Like he matters.

 

When Isak stays quiet, Even continues talking.

 

"I slept on the couch, so you don't have to worry. And I found these clothes in the dryer."

 

Isak nods as he reaches for the toast and brown cheese.

 

He wants to say that he wasn't worried, and that he would be more than okay inviting Even to his bed, but those words fall flat in his throat. Isak lives in a really shitty apartment though, as it looks barely lived in to the outside eye, so he's kind of hoping Even hasn't decided that Isak's too much of a project yet. Too many issues.

 

"Where'd you get the food? I know for a fact that I don't keep waffle mix in the flat," Isak says instead, in efforts to lighten the mood. He glances over at Even now and gives him a slight smirk, trying his best to control his lips from trembling. He shouldn't be so nervous around Even, but here he is.

 

"I woke up early and ran to the store. Figured your massive hangover deserved a better breakfast than just toast and cheese."

 

Isak laughs then, feeling properly called out. Neither of them missed the fact that even though Even had cooked him a feast of food, he'd still reached for the toast and cheese out of routine. How sad, honestly.

 

Isak also hadn't missed Even's confession of running all the way to the store for him, either.

 

"You didn't have to do that," he says, and Even just cocks his head in Isak's direction.

 

"I wanted to," Even replies, his voice soft and solid. And fuck, if that statement doesn't raise Isak's heart rate and cause the butterflies in his stomach to dance in circles. 

 

He can't stop himself from hanging onto hope now. It's pretty obvious that he's going to be doing that until Even tells him stop, one way or another. 

 

"Thank you," Isak speaks and he's talking to Even's heart, now, and gazing into his eyes. If you asked anyone else, they'd probably tell you there was a little too much eye contact between them for a casual meal between ‘business parters’, as Isak not so much likes to put it.

 

“Well, you know, anything for my fake boyfriend," Even smiles and Isak chuckles as Even joins in. It's a lighthearted statement, just like it always has been, but Isak fruitfully believes that Even deserves an explanation for all of this, for everything that Isak's already put him through. It's been a lot for only a few days, and even though Even seems good at practicing his pokerface, there have to be some parts of him that are aching to know the reason behind everything being the way that it is. For Isak being the way that he is.

 

And so Isak takes a deep breath before he says, "I should tell you what happened that lead us—me—to this point."

 

Even notices the change in Isak's vocal tone and facial expression and he waits for Isak to continue. Isak has to take another deep breath.

 

"I want to the blame the whole thing on Christian, but I just can't. The sad, fucked up truth is that even though he treated me like shit, I let it happen. I let him do it. And even though he kicked me while I was down time and time again, I never once told him to stop.

 

"I was so in love with him, or I thought I was so in love with him, that I just continued to deny what was right in front of me. I wanted to believe that he was a good person at heart, because that's who I fell for originally, and so I kept holding onto the past in hopes that it would transfer itself into the future, or at least the present. 

 

"And now that I look back on it, I don't think he was ever really good to me. I was just too blinded by my feelings to realize it. And that's where I can't blame him, because I was stupid and naive. I should have stopped it as soon as I noticed that something was off. But I didn't, and that's my fault."

 

Isak blows out a breath as he finishes, and Even is still sitting across from Isak, listening when Isak looks up at him. It calms Isak enough to know that Even hasn't run, that he hasn't bolted as soon as he learned these things about him. On the other hand, it also throws him off a bit, because he expected Even to do just that.

 

When Isak goes silent, Even hesitates for a brief moment before speaking.

 

"Please," he says, quietly, the word almost broken, "Please don't blame yourself, Isak."

 

Isak is unable conceal the shock he feels from the honesty in Even's voice. His mouth hangs open a bit as he soaks it in, letting himself absorb Even's statement.

 

Isak's not going to cry, not now. He won't do it.

 

"You aren't responsible for what he did to you, or what he continues to do. That's on him, not you."

 

Isak’s eyes fall as he sighs, "I want to believe that, Even. I do. I even went to a few therapy sessions to get myself to see that, to work through it all, and it helped massively, but there's still a small part of me that will always think I was the one who did something wrong. It sucks but that's just the way I am and how it has to be, I guess."

 

"No," Even speaks firmly, "That's bullshit. He doesn't get to affect the rest of your life because he doesn't deserve even a slightest bit of your attention. And it doesn’t matter how long it takes, you will come out on the positive end of this. I mean, I don’t know every single thing you’ve had to go through, but I do know that you’re extremely strong just by being able to talk about these things, and for still being here despite all of it. It’s not easy, I know, but we can get you through this, okay?”

 

Even emphasizes the entirety of his last statement, but Isak is hung on one single word. 

 

We?” Isak hurriedly asks.

 

Even blinks and smiles, almost like it shouldn’t be a question.

 

“Yeah.”

 

If Isak was shocked before, he has absolutely no idea what he feels now. That two letter word could mean so many things, and his mind is already running with it. He’s been unable to place a lock on those thoughts basically since he first laid eyes on Even and as he continues to be around him, it’s just getting worse and worse. 

 

“You’re a really great friend, Even,” Isak bites out, keeping himself from saying anything else. The warmth he notices in his chest is unexpected but comforting, and he almost cringes at the classification of Even as his friend, but knows that he isn’t in any position to ask for more. He told Even he wouldn’t do anything to make him uncomfortable, and he’ll keep to his word. No matter how difficult it is for him to keep reminding himself that their romantic relationship is fake.

 

Even just smiles at him silently before returning to his meal and after a beat, Isak does the same. 

 

 

Chapter Text

Onsdag 13/3/19

 

jonas:

 

(14.43) are you coming to the party on friday

 

isak:

 

(14.56) which one is that again

 

jonas:

 

(14.59) all i have is a location

 

and knowing there will be lots of alcohol

 

isak:

 

(15.08) well in that case

 

count me in

 

jonas:

 

(15.09) should we pregame beforehand?

 

isak:

 

(15.14) lol are we back in high school

 

should we call mahdi and magnus up

 

jonas:

 

(15.18) lol shut up

 

(15.20) have you talked to them recently?

 

isak:

 

(15.22) not really but i’ve seen them on social media

 

they seem to be getting on well

 

i think mahdi has a girlfriend now

 

(15.23) and magnus…well he’s magnus

 

his last 5 instagram posts have been him and his cat so

 

jonas:

 

(15.25) nothings changed tbh

 

i know mahdi is in madrid for uni but i think magnus is only a few hours away?

 

isak:

 

(15.26) i guess

 

i miss them

 

jonas:

 

(15.27) me too issy

 

isak:

 

(15.28) wow this really must be high school if you’re gonna start calling me that again

 

jonas:

 

(15.28) nah

 

we can get pre drunk together at your apartment though? friday?

 

isak:

 

(15.30) pre drunk before shitfaced drunk. i like it

 

sounds good

 

jonas:

 

(15.33) i’ll bring the beer

 

isak:

 

(15.35) i’m not drinking your organic hipster ass beer jonas

 

jonas:

 

(15.35) why do you never appreciate me

 

i offer beer and you call me a hipster. this hurts

 

(15.36) why am i even friends with you

 

isak:

 

(15.38) a good point

 

(15.39) i guess i must like hipsters then. fuck

 

how did i end up here

 

jonas:

 

(15.40) oh shut up. i’m not that bad

 

friday!!

 

isak:

 

(15.40) cool. peace

 

jonas:

 

(15.41) hipster to hippie. nice

 

✌✌✌

 

 


 

 

christian:

 

(18.21) no pics of your new boy toy on social media?

 

(18.47) you can’t keep up this charade forever isak

 

 


 

 

isak:

 

(20.04) hey can i ask you something

 

even:

 

(20.07) i mean i guess

 

:))

 

isak:

 

(20.08) do you think you could like…take a picture of yourself

 

and send it to me

 

even:

 

(20.08) wow isak how forward of you

 

(20.09) are you asking me for nudes

 

isak:

 

(20.09) no!! fuck!!

 

that’s not what i meant

 

(20.10) oh my god

 

even:

 

(20.11) oh relax its okay 

 

can i ask why you need a picture of me

 

isak:

 

(20.12) its about christian…

 

even:

 

(20.12) go on

 

isak:

 

(20.13) sorry i feel like i talk about him way too much

 

even:

 

(20.14) like i said i’m always here to listen

 

so don’t worry about that

 

isak:

 

(20.15) um okay

 

well he brought to my attention the fact that i don’t post about you on social media

 

and like…i don’t know what to do

 

because none of my friends know about you

 

(20.16) i mean not even jonas

 

jonas is my best friend by the way

 

even:

 

(20.17) wait jonas jonas?

 

isak:

 

(20.17) what do you mean jonas jonas?

 

even:

 

(20.18) like…walks around wearing beanies

 

smokes weed

 

listens to obscure indie bands

 

isak:

 

(20.20) oh my god

 

even:

 

(20.20) eats his weight in cafe food and drinks enough coffee for an average modern day family of four

 

isak:

 

(20.20) jonas vasquez?

 

even:

 

(20.21) yeah thats him!

 

isak:

 

(20.21) how the FUCK

 

do you two know each other

 

(20.22) I’M YELLING

 

even:

 

(20.24) we chill sometimes at this local cafe in oslo

 

and by chill i mean i literally have talked to him like 3 times

 

(20.25) but he seems cool. he comes in for this weird spicy coffee drink like 5 times a week

 

and i’m always there studying. you know looking cool, being suave and studious

 

isak:

 

(20.27) this is the worst thing of my entire life

 

please take all of this back

 

(20.28) WHAT ARE THE CHANCES

 

even:

 

(20.28) i can’t believe you’re friends with that guy

 

i thought he was supposed to have cool friends

 

and you’re…well you

 

isak:

 

(20.29) wow thanks

 

even:

 

(20.29) ;)

 

isak:

 

(20.30) no stop i’m still flipping the FUCK OUT

 

this is not happening

 

even:

 

(20.32) i don’t get what the issue is?

 

isak:

 

(20.32) HOW AM I GOING TO EXPLAIN THIS

 

TO HIM

 

(20.33) HE FOLLOWS ME ON EVERYTHING

 

even:

 

(20.35) look we don’t have to say anything right now

 

a lot of couples don’t flaunt their relationship on social media

 

(20.36) don’t let christian get into your head like this

 

isak:

 

(20.37) we’re not a couple oh my god

 

this is a mess

 

even:

 

(20.38) ouch isak thanks for reminding me

 

i thought what we had was special

 

isak:

 

(20.39) shut up

 

i don’t know if i can keep doing this

 

even:

 

(20.40) do you want me to come over?

 

isak:

 

(20.40) why?

 

even:

 

(20.41) idk. to help you figure this out i guess

 

isak:

 

(20.41) no i’ll be fine. this is just a lot right now

 

i can’t believe you know JONAS

 

(20.42) my jonas

 

even:

 

(20.44) your jonas????

 

are you cheating on me??

 

isak:

(20.45) GOODBYE EVEN

 

 


 

 

Fredag 15/3/19

 

Isak is living his life now full of distractions, which usually ends up with him thinking about Even mostly, only even that becomes futile any time he is confronted with Christian again.

 

He’s walking through the double doors into the science lecture hall when he spots Christian and some of his friends sitting around his desk in the back of the room. Christian looks over at Isak with a wicked grin and Isak tries his best to ignore it as he makes his way to his seat. 

 

Normally, Isak is the only one in the lecture hall for around ten to fifteen minutes before class starts, so he’s now wondering what the fuck Christian is even doing here, and why he’s with a few guys that aren’t even in this biology class. 

 

They’re talking loud enough for Isak to hear their conversation, and he’s about to put headphones in, but when he searches through his backpack, he finds none. He must have forgotten them at his apartment. Fucking great.

 

There’s pretty much no escaping Christian and his banter now, so he opens his phone and scrolls through the internet in order to keep himself busy.

 

Christian’s voice cuts through his thoughts and into his ears like sharp glass. 

 

“Yeah, Alexander and I are getting pretty serious, and it’s going really great,” Christian tells his ‘friends’, “Much, much better than my previous relationship.”

 

Ouch.

 

“Wait what happened?” One of his friends asks him.

 

“The guy was just too fucked up,” he says, “He was so fucking clingy, it was almost too easy. He wanted too much from me, and then got pissed when I couldn’t give it to him, and he never wanted to do what I wanted to do, he was just so fucking selfish. Always thinking of himself. It was such a waste of a relationship, and he was such a kid, it was hard for me to take him seriously. We fought all the time, and then one day he tells me it was actually my fault? And I told him it’s not my fault he’s too fucked up for anyone to actually love him. But he’s still stuck on me, I guess. Won’t leave me alone. It’s honestly so pathetic.”

 

“He sounds like he has serious issues, man,” Another guy says, “I’m glad you got out of that relationship.”

 

“Yeah me too, I just wish he would fuck off. Like he was a good fuck and everything but I never loved him. He was lucky I even entertained him for so long, because I don’t think anyone else could fucking stand him and his whiney ass.”

 

Broken, Isak thinks. He stops breathing, not sure he can even remember how, because everything is dizzy and it’s all too much and his chest is aching, and he can’t sit in his desk any longer or he might actually scream.

 

He hurriedly packs his backpack and rushes out the door, not missing the smirk on Christian’s face as he passes him. Fuck him and his fucking friends.

 

Isak rushes into the nearest boys bathroom, and hurries over to the sink, bending his shoulders so that he’s now resting on the counter top.

 

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

 

It’s not true. It’s not true. It’s not true.

 

It’s true.

 

Isak takes only a few seconds before he’s falling into one of the bathroom stalls and lurching onto the toilet, because apparently his body feels as sick as his brain does. 

 

He’s heard comments similar to these before, even while Christian and him were dating, but never so many, and never all at the same time. He feels the blow, deep in his stomach, and it hurts so fucking much Isak can’t bring himself to stand.

 

It’s not right. None of this is right.

 

How could he have ever thought he loved this man who tears him down time and time again, and then leaves him to himself? Who treats him like he doesn’t matter? Like he’s just a toy?

 

How could he have let this happen?

 

It’s too much. Too much. And Isak spends the rest of his biology class in the stall of the mens bathroom, unable to blink back his tears. He misses the scheduled test in the process. But for now, at least, he can’t bring himself to care about that.

 

He cries for the teenage boy inside of him that just aches to be loved.

 

 


 

 

isak:

 

(15.01) what are you doing right now

 

even:

 

(15.04) i’m just at the library

 

why

 

isak:

 

(15.05) christian got to me

 

and i feel like my chest is caving in

 

even:

 

(15.05) where are you?

 

isak:

 

(15.06) the bathroom

 

(15.07) i can’t breathe even

 

even:

 

(15.07) which bathroom, i’m coming

 

isak:

 

(15.08) biology, next to room 535

 

i’m sorry

 

even:

 

(15.08) i’ll be there in just a few minutes

 

can you try to count your breaths until i get there?

 

(15.09) breathe in for 4 and out for 4 please

 

isak:

 

(15.11) i can’t

 

even:

 

(15.11) you have to isak

 

do it for yourself

 

and if you can’t do it for yourself

 

(15.12) do it for me

 

isak:

 

(15.15) he said he never loved me

 

even:

 

(15.15) i’m almost there

 

isak:

 

(15.16) why am i never good enough

 

 


 

 

The bathroom door opened as soon as Isak heard the tone of his message going through.

 

“Isak?” Came a voice, desperate and disconcerted. 

 

Even,” Isak whimpered from one of the bathroom stalls, his voice raspy from vomiting.

 

“I’m here, Isak,” Even said, as he tried to open the stall door, “Can you move forward a bit so I can open the door and see you?”

 

Isak unlocked the door and did his best to scoot far enough away so that the door could open.


When Even’s finally met with Isak’s limp body, Isak hears him suck in a breath.

 

He wasn’t sure why he messaged Even to come find him, it had just been an instinct in his brain, apparently, and now he’s wondering why he hadn’t messaged Jonas instead. But Even’s here and he’s bending down towards Isak as he’s resting his head on the side of the metal stall, next to the toilet in case he feels the need to throw up again. 

 

Maybe it’s better that Jonas isn’t here. Maybe this is finally the breaking point where Even can leave him without needing any other explanation. He was too fucked up for me, he’ll tell them. Just like Christian is doing now.

 

Even snakes his arm around the back of Isak’s neck and draws him in closer, slowly, so that Isak can rest his head on Even’s chest. Isak does, and the surface is much softer than the cold, unforgiving wall of the metal stall, but still firm enough to keep Isak from swaying. He still feels dizzy from hyperventilating a few moments ago, and he’s now noticing that he stopped doing that, though he can’t remember when exactly.

 

“It’s okay, Isak,” Even whispers as he curls his body into him, “It’s going to be okay.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Isak is able to manage out, but it comes out croaked as more tears fall down his face. 

 

He hadn’t wanted Even to see him cry, he thought he was better than that, stronger, but it’s happening now and there’s no way of stopping it. He can’t take it back. 

 

Even’s offering his support, and Isak can do nothing but lean his heart and soul into it, and he nuzzles his face into Even’s chest to try to feed off of his warmth.

 

Maybe, in another universe, there’s an Isak out there that takes care of Even like this, where the two of them have swapped roles, and Isak can’t help but think that’s the better version of him and that’s the version Even would fall in love with.

 

Not the one that’s currently sobbing into his likely expensive grey t-shirt.

 

“Shh,” Even coos, rubbing his hand down Isak’s arm, “You don’t have to apologize. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

 

Isak lets a few minutes pass with silence as he wills himself to calm down, even if it’s just a little bit.

 

“I still feel like you’re always coming to my rescue,” he says eventually.

 

“Is that a bad thing?” 

 

“It’s not bad,” Isak explains, sighing, “I just feel like I always make you sad.”

 

“Would you believe me if I say you never have?” Even asks, tentatively. 

 

Isak shakes his head.

 

“Then I’ll tell you I’m not sad, just upset.”

 

“How is that different?”

 

“Because you don’t make me sad, Isak. I’m just upset with your situation.”

 

“My situation?” Isak asks.

 

“I wish you didn’t have to go through this, you know,” Even tells him, “I can see what it’s doing to you, and I wish I could take all of the pain away. I really do.”

 

Isak moves his head up from Even’s chest so that he can look him in the eye, so that he can tell whether Even’s serious or not.

 

Even’s eyes don’t waiver, and his stare is firm. Isak finds himself getting lost in the blue swirls of his eyes. 

 

“It’s not your fault,” Isak breathes. 

 

Even smiles sadly as he reaches up to Isak’s face. Isak’s unsure of the reason, until Even uses the pad of his thumb to brush away the wetness coating his eyelashes.

 

“You should listen to yourself,” Even hums, and Isak watches as Even’s eyes switch from the focus on his own to some place lower. He swallows thickly, his adam’s apple bobbing in his throat.

 

Isak notices his own eyes traveling away from Even’s, and landing on his lips, and it’s an automatic reaction for Isak to dart his tongue out and lick his own. 

 

Even smiles a second time, and it seems like he’s about to speak again, before the bathroom door bursts open and a guy is hurrying over to the urinals, not paying any attention to the mess of limbs laying on the floor inside of the handicapped bathroom stall.

 

Was Even thinking the same as Isak? Were Even’s lips a silent invitation as much as his own? There simply can’t be another explanation for the thickness in the air that had appeared between them, how their bodies had responded with temptation having been so close to each other. Right?

 

Isak’s still struggling to believe that those few heated moments hadn't only been a figment of his imagination.

 

They stay quiet until the guy leaves, and by then, the atmosphere has changed, is lighter somehow. Without tension, maybe.

 

Isak’s partially glad for it, because if he’s going to kiss Even, this is not the time or the place. 

 

Besides—not that he would—but Isak doesn’t want Even to kiss him out of pity. 

 

It’s right, just not right now.

 

If nothing else, this at least solidifies to Isak that Even isn’t straight. And that despite all of the shit that surrounds Isak, Even might actually be interested in him?

 

Holy fucking hell.

 

Even stands up and offers his hand down to Isak.

 

“Should we get you home?” He asks.

 

You’ve said that before, Isak remembers. 

 

“Yeah,” Isak answers shakily, reaching for Even’s hand. It feels the same as it did when they were in the grocery store, only now, Isak can feel a solid glow in the pit of his stomach at the touch. 

 

Even drops his hand as soon as he stands up and reaches to open the stall door.

 

“Hey, Even?” Isak says from behind him.

 

Even turns around, “Yeah?”

 

“Thanks for not asking me about what happened.”

 

“You’ll tell me when you’re ready to,” Even nods. 

 

Isak follows him out of the stall and avoids looking in the mirrors.

 

 


 

 

When they get back to his apartment, an awkward silence falls between them. 

 

It seems as though Even is as unsure of what to do just as much as Isak is unsure of what to do, now that they’re here. Even had been on his mission to get Isak to safety, basically—safety being home to his flat—and now that that’s accomplished, Isak’s walking through the door and Even is left standing there, hands in his pockets.

 

There’s also the fact that the two of them had almost kissed each other in the men’s bathroom, and it’s pretty telling that Even can’t stop thinking about that as well. This is the first time Isak is witnessing Even actually being nervous, and he can’t help but smile to himself at this fact. Why does it feel like a victory?

 

“You know you can come in, right?” Isak finally speaks, motioning Even to leave his place from the doorway and come inside. Even nods quickly and does this, shutting the door behind him.

 

“Sorry, I just didn’t know if you wanted me to stay, after all of that…” Even trails off as his eyes focus intently on the ceiling. 

 

“Do you want to leave?” Please say no. Isak’s pretty sure it’s not a good idea for him to be alone right now.

 

“No!” Even assures him, “Of course not. Why would I?”

 

Oh fuck. Isak hadn’t really thought Even would ask him why.

 

“Just…if that was too much for you…I don’t want you to feel like you have to be here. I don’t…I don’t want to be a burden,” Isak finishes, feeling himself shrink a few sizes smaller. 

 

Even just tilts his head and walks closer to Isak, his strides with intent.

 

“Isak—what’s your last name?”

 

“Valtersen.”

 

“Okay. Mine’s Bech Næsheim by the way, nice to meet yo—,”

 

Even.”

 

Anyways, Isak Valtersen,” Even continues, “You haven’t done anything to make me want to leave you. Nothing at all.”

 

Even reaches for Isak’s hand and Isak lets him take it, and those same damn butterflies are starting to rumble in his stomach yet again. 

 

“Not yet,” Isak replies quietly, almost shamefully, as he openly stares at their intertwined fingers.

 

Even makes a noise in the back of his throat, a choked mix between a whimper and a whine. 

 

“You are not the pain that you’ve been put through, Isak.”

 

Isak just laughs.

 

“It’s funny hearing that after you’ve been told that you’re too fucked up to be loved.”

 

Fuck.

 

Isak slams his mouth shut as soon as the last word fights its way through the cracks in his teeth.

 

He feels Even’s hand go rigid and his body tense beside him, and he hadn’t noticed until now how close they had been standing next to each other.

 

“Christian told you that?” Even asks, his voice low. Angry. 

 

“Well, not directly, but it’s fine, Even—,”

 

“I’m going to fucking kill him.”

 

“What?” Isak backtracks, shocked, “Why would you do that?”

 

“Why would I do that? Why? Isak, he hurt you. He continues to hurt you. That’s not okay.” 

 

Holy fuck, Isak had never seen Even this angry before. Not even when he’d confronted Christian in the biology classroom. 

 

“It’s not your place, Even,” Isak tells him, his voice just an octave higher, “You don’t need to get caught up in this. It’s fine.”

 

Even breathes out heavily through his nose, “Isak, I’m pretending to be your boyfriend so that he gets off of your back. I’m already caught up in this.”

 

Isak swallows the lump in his throat. Even’s right.

 

“I don’t need your protection,” he forces himself to say, suddenly feeling the need to come to his own defense. It’s partially true.

 

But partially not.

 

Even hesitates momentarily before he squeezes Isak’s hand and draws him in closer in one swift movement, so that if Isak were to step forward any more, he’d fall right into Even’s arms. Isak gasps at the sudden closeness. 

 

Their faces are inches apart, and Isak’s heartbeat pulses right down to his toes.

 

“No?” Even breathes, and Isak feels his hot breath against his upper lip. He gulps. 

 

“I’m not a project,” Isak pointedly replies, looking from Even’s eyes down to his lips and back again. He’s surprised at how level his voice is when he says this.

 

“You’re not a project,” Even agrees, before adding, “You’re a solution.”

 

Even moves a bit closer, so that their lips are almost touching.

 

Wh-what?” Isak pants, breathless.

 

Even doesn’t answer, just smiles as he plays with the curls behind Isak’s ear and yup, he’s gone.

 

They stay in their places for a few moments, Even’s lips ghosting Isak’s, and just as Isak is about to say fuck it and crash their lips together, the doorbell rings. 

 

Isak and Even back away from each other almost too quickly and Isak blinks rapidly, trying to bring his heart rate down and his mind back into focus. And then he remembers.

 

Fuck. He’d forgotten it was Friday, and he’d invited Jonas over for pre drinks before a party.

 

That internalized voice is ringing in his ears for a second time tonight.

 

It’s right, just not right now.

 

Fucking shit.

 

Chapter Text

Fredag 15/3/19

 

Even and Isak are still facing each other when Isak says,

 

Shit. That’s probably Jonas, I forgot that I invited him over to pregame before some party that we’re supposed to go to tonight.”

 

Even nods, signifying that he accepts this, and Isak is pretty damn close to spilling out that he’d much rather the two of them fall back into their previous endeavors and forget about everything else. 

 

He knows that they can’t, and he’s wondering if they ever will, again, but nevertheless, this short moment of desperate attraction had clouded any notions of Isak doubting himself and Even and what they are. It’s like he can’t fucking think straight.

 

The whole situation had made sense, and then it didn’t make sense. Isak was ready to indulge, to give way, but maybe it’s not meant to happen like this.

 

Maybe it’s not meant to happen at all.

 

Isak finally tears his eyes away from Even and brings himself over near the front door to buzz Jonas in. 

 

“You can stay, if you want,” Isak talks to the open air in his apartment, hoping Even knows he’s obviously talking to him.

 

Even, who’s been seemingly frozen in time since their almost-kiss, turns himself towards Isak slowly.

 

“I don’t want to intrude…” he hesitates.

 

Even,” Isak says automatically, attempting to turn off his self doubt, “Please stay.”

 

Besides the fact that Isak really, truly wants Even to stay with him, there’s no way he’d be able to leave now without Jonas noticing him. And subsequently asking a million and a half questions since apparently, Jonas and Even are one step higher than just acquaintances. Again, Isak still doesn’t know how he feels about that, but there’s no escaping it now. It would certainly be much better for everyone if Even agrees and stays. And definitely not weird at all. Because…the tension in the room should evaporate as soon as Jonas walks through the door, right? Maybe Isak will completely forget about what may have happened had Jonas not been coming over tonight, right?

 

And on the other hand, perhaps he should just forget about it for his own safety. After everything that’s happened, is it wise for him to pursue Even when he’s still fucked up over Christian? By now, Even’s seen a lot of his shit, but he hasn’t seen everything. He doesn’t know how ugly it can get. How ugly Isak can get.

 

Because as much as he’d like to believe it, he’s truly not innocent, and he doesn’t want to fuck up Even too. Even’s been nothing but kind to him—even more than just kind, to be honest—and he doesn’t deserve the continuous whirlwind Isak would surely put him through.

 

Isak should push him away, as protection—for who, he doesn’t exactly know—but for some reason he just can’t seem to do that. 

 

Even said he wouldn’t leave, but Isak wonders why he’d ever want to stay. Which is why when Even falls silent at his request, he starts to sweat nervously and avoid any and all eye contact. 

 

It isn’t until Even softly says, “I’ll stay, for you,” that Isak lets out the large breath he didn’t even know that he’d been holding. 

 

For you.

 

That short sentence doesn’t do anything to calm his still beating chest.

 

When Jonas finally knocks on the front door, and Isak opens it, Jonas’ first reaction is to shoot his eyes up to Even, who’s still standing near the kitchen bar stools, and then open his mouth, only to shut it. He then looks over to Isak, and then to Even again, this time squinting his eyes. 

 

It’s pretty easy to tell that this is very unexpected to him.

 

Even?” He says, like he’s trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

 

Even nods, and then Jonas asks Isak, “You know Even? Even Bech Næsheim?”

 

“Wow, Jonas, didn’t know we were on a last name basis,” Even teases from the background, and Isak throws his arm backwards and shushes him.

 

Never minding the fact that he himself learned Even’s last name only moments ago.

 

“Yes, I know Even, and I know that you know Even,” Isak explains, “Now can you please come inside so we can start drinking, already.”

 

Isak knows he’s going to need alcohol to get through this. The situation is awkward enough as it is, and he needs to be drunk, like right the fuck now.

 

Jonas cautiously walks over to the kitchen and to the fridge, which Isak doesn’t mind because he’s known Jonas his whole life and he’s been over to Isak’s apartment so many times he could probably find everything with his eyes closed. 

 

He throws a beer over to Isak, who is now standing next to Even, and catches it, and then he grabs one and tilts it up at Even, only for him to shake his head.

 

“Can’t say I’ve ever met anyone at this college who refuses alcohol,” Jonas says as he keeps the beer for himself. 

 

“I don’t drink,” Even tells him, his voice short and almost quiet, like maybe he’s ashamed of being different from everyone else.

 

In truth, it’s just alcohol, and not everyone drinks it, but Isak can’t help but think there’s a deeper meaning behind his refusal. The way his voices fades out at the end is suspicious, and Isak wants to ask why he doesn’t drink, but he also doesn’t want to pry. He’s only known Even for such a short amount of time, and even though he’s come to Isak’s rescue quite a few times, and even though Isak’s shared personal information to him, that doesn’t mean he’s obligated to do the same. It’s like he told Isak—he’ll tell him when he’s ready.

 

Apparently, Jonas doesn’t feel the same way.

 

“Why not?” Jonas asks, and Isak cringes.

 

Even notices Isak’s reaction and visibly softens, lets his shoulders fall from their rigid state into a more comfortable one, and Isak is glad to have calmed him down, if only just a bit. It’d be about time their relationship became more equal.

 

It takes all of Isak’s might to not reach over to Even and grab his hand, to squeeze it as if to say everything is okay, but he quickly remembers that Jonas doesn’t know anything about their situation and that Isak isn’t even really dating Even, so who knows how he’d react?

 

They’d almost kissed twice now, despite Isak’s definitive horrid breath—he had thrown up, after all, though Even never commented on it—but both moments happened so quickly and Isak was so lost in them that he’s almost convinced he’d imagined the whole thing.

 

He’s just furthering his doubts, really. He’d normally be more confident—but after Christian, after all of that—he doesn’t think he has the strength to be that or the knowledge to even remember how to be that.

 

“Alcohol’s just never been on my good side,” Even explains, which only opens a door to more questions, but Jonas takes his answer as it is, and Isak is thankful that everyone just drops it. 

 

Jonas is leaning back against the fridge and Isak is still standing beside Even, potentially a little too close for it to be friendly, which is probably why Jonas’ eyebrows have been raised since the minute he’s walked through the door. It’s truly amazing how high those bushy eyebrows can get. 

 

It’s only been a month, there hasn’t been anyone after Christian—Isak didn’t have any interest or motivation, anyway—and sadly, Jonas has always been able to read Isak like a book. In conclusion, Isak is pretty stupid for believing that he’d be able to hide this entire thing from his best friend. 

 

He unconsciously takes a step away from Even and Even notices, looking at him with a look mixed between confusion and worry, until the realization dawns on his face that yeah, they should probably be trying harder to tone down the tension between the two of them.

 

Whether the tension is fabricated by the fake relationship charade or Even and Isak themselves, Isak can’t be sure. He would really like some answers though, and soon, so maybe his head could stop spinning every time he so much as looks at Even and his stupidly beautiful face. 

 

It’s only been about a week and Isak is already so tangled up with this man that he craves being unravelled, being taken apart by Even’s touch or his lips or really anything, at this point. Isak’s not picky when it comes to Even and his desire for them to choose a path and travel beyond the tension that seems to follow them wherever they go. 

 

He hopes Even is just as wound up as he is, because if not, it will be quite a doozy for Isak to try to unravel himself. He’s not positive that he can even really do it alone. 

 

Not when Even’s here, and he’s here even when he isn’t even physically here, and Isak doesn’t want to switch from here to there. Because if Even’s there, if he’s out there, then he isn’t here, where he should be, with Isak.

 

Isak’s glad for the alcohol burning it’s way down his throat because this revelation is a lot to handle and his slow spiral into dizziness is helping to keep his mind off of the fact that the air seems hotter and it’s definitely getting harder for him to breathe.

 

The three of them decide to go sit in Isak’s living room, which consists of one smallish couch and a coffee table and a flatscreen tv, and its also leading Isak to mentally kick himself because while he’s a fucked up nineteen year old who doesn’t unpack his shit, and while Jonas understands this and Even’s never questioned it—this means the three of them have to share the tiny couch. And it’s just like Jonas to sit on the outside, and Even is long and lanky so he takes the other side, which means that…

 

Isak has to sit between his skeptical, eyebrow raising best friend and his tall, very attractive, fake boyfriend who just so happens to shake him to his core every single time they touch.

 

And they’ve been touching a lot lately, but this—having the sides of their bodies pressed entirely against each other—makes Isak’s blood run hot and his tongue slack and dry in his mouth.

 

The tv is on, and Jonas is ranting about some capitalist bullshit while Even is nodding his head along, and while this almost feels like a normal occurrence, and isn’t awkward, Isak isn’t listening to a single word. He’s too busy focusing on the blood that’s anxiously pumping through his veins.

 

And, honestly, he’s also wondering why Jonas hasn’t asked any more questions about him and Even. He clearly knows there’s more to the story—because apparently, Isak is stupid and unable to hide his affection for that tall, extremely attractive, blond boy—but Jonas hadn’t even asked them how they’d met each other. Isak is a little more than just confused, but he’s also thankful. Since he really isn’t ready to say things like ‘I forced him to be my fake boyfriend to piss Christian off’ because he already knows Jonas would tell him that he could have just said the word and he’d kick Christian’s ass.

 

The amount of hatred Jonas has for Christian might be more than Even’s. Only slightly though, considering the veins in Even’s forehead were noticeably visible when he’d learned just a fraction of what Christian had said that had made Isak so upset.

 

Even pulls Isak out of his head when he moves in a certain way that his arm brushes over part of Isak’s chest and Isak audibly gasps at the contact, before realizing how telling that fucking noise was.

 

Even looks over at him and mumbles, “Sorry,” and Isak’s entire body is frozen.

 

“It’s okay,” he squeaks back, and it’s like he can feel Jonas’ eyes darting between the two of them on his right side.

 

The tension in the room could be cut through with a knife, and Isak is two seconds from rushing to the bathroom to try to calm himself down. Even’s just grazing him, small touches here and there, and he’s already about to fucking burst.

 

It shouldn’t be like this for him after such a messy break up, after the shit he went through, after Christian emotionally abusing him. And it definitely shouldn’t be happening so fast, so out of Isak’s control and so consuming, but maybe it’s for the best that way. Maybe red-hot and reckless is exactly what he needs.

 

He spends the rest of the evening before the party chugging alcohol and sharing simmering side glances with Even when Jonas isn’t looking. Even shuffles his body a lot, which causes him to rub against Isak’s side a lot, and even though it’s clothes on clothes rather than skin on skin, Isak all but forgets what it’s like to wish the world away.

 

Because the world brought him Even, and he’s becoming more than just a pleasant distraction by each heated moment, each day that passes, and though this doesn’t magically cure him, or make anything permanently solved, he’s beginning to believe that by finding salvation in Even that maybe, eventually, he can find salvation within himself. 

 

Maybe he can be okay.

 

 


 

 

Lørdag 16/3/19

 

isak:

 

(02.41) did yuo get homee okay?

 

even:

 

(02.45) yes, isak i got home safe

 

i’m not the one who was drinking, remember

 

isak:

 

(02.46) well excsue me for being concenred

 

even:

 

(02.46) are you home too?

 

isak:

 

(02.48) yaaaa

 

(02.49) jonass is spendnig the nightr

 

even:

 

(02.49) okay, just be careful

 

isak:

 

(02.49) wyh are you st ill awake

 

even:

 

(02.50) reasons

 

there’s just a lot of thoughts in my head

 

isak:

 

(02.52) yu have abeautifusll head

 

even:

 

(02.52) you’re so cute when you’re drunk

 

isak:

 

(02.53) nooo cute

 

even:

 

(02.54) hmmm

 

even though you ARE cute

 

alcohol doesn’t solve everything isak

 

isak:

 

(02.55) are you lecureting me

 

even:

 

(02.56) do you need to be lectured?

 

;)

 

isak:

 

(02.58) the phoen screen is swirly kdd

 

even:

 

(03.00) i think it’s time for you to go to bed

 

isak:

 

(03.02) youre not in charger of meee

 

you firsgt

 

even:

 

(03.02) isak valtersen

 

how can you be so cute and so bratty at the same time

 

(03.03) together then?

 

isak:

 

(03.04) okaay

 

even:

 

(03.04) on the count of three, we’re putting our phones away

 

okay?

 

isak:

 

(03.06) yaa

 

even:

 

(03.07) one

 

two

 

three

 

(03.08) goodnight isak

 

isak:

 

(03.08) nightr

 

(03.11) boyfriedn

 

 


 

 

Lørdag 16/3/19

 

When Isak wakes up, he’s a little disoriented and it takes him a bit to adjust to his surroundings. The light is shining brightly through the window in his bedroom and Isak’s definitely upset that Norway’s weather decided to be sunny and beautiful on today of all days. It’s a sharp wake up call for him to deal with his hangover. 

 

That aside, he’s more upset the minute he finally reaches for his phone and checks his messages from last night. 

 

And by more upset, he really means that he wants to crawl into hole and isolate himself so that he never has to confront Even ever again. 

 

All of the texts he sent to Even were toeing the edge of the line between fantasy and reality, however, Isak’s little misspelled but unmistaken ‘boyfriend’ at the end was really what sealed his fate.

 

Apparently, drunk him has a lot harder time distinguishing between what is real and what is not. And the fact that Even didn’t say anything after that clear mistake—even though they were both going to bed—has Isak sweating heavily into his sheets.

 

Yeah, they almost kissed twice now, but hookups are hookups are hookups, and Isak and Even’s natural connection is probably because they’re supposed to be out there, acting as if they are actually dating. Which, hello, Isak—you’re not dating Even. And he’s not dating you.

 

He needs to stop blurring those goddamn lines or he’s going to push Even away completely—or god forbid fuck him up—and somehow, over the past week, that’s quickly become one of his greatest fears. 

 

He needs to set this straight. Do some damage control. 

 

 


 

 

isak:

 

(12.01) hey, sorry about last night

 

don’t pay attention to anything i said

 

(12.02) i was really drunk

 

i don’t really remember even texting you

 

(12.05) like we’re obviously not boyfriends haha

 

even:

 

(12.10) right..

 

just fake ones

 

it’s okay isak

 

(12.11) i know you were drunk and you didn’t mean any of it

 

it’s cool

 

isak:

 

(12.11) thanks

 

so we’re cool then?

 

even:

 

(12.12) ice cold

 

isak:

 

(12.13) you’re such a loser

 

even:

 

(12.13) it’s one of my best qualities

 

isak:

 

(12.14) i think you misspelled worst

 

even:

 

(12.15) you misspelled a lot of words last night

 

i think it’s only fair that i get a turn

 

isak:

 

(12.16) shut up

 

last night never happened okay

 

(12.17) drunk me is just not a good look

 

even:

 

(12.20) hmmm i would say you don’t have any bad looks

 

but you just insulted me so

 

isak:

 

(12.22) goodbye even, you’re exhausting

 

and thanks for not making a big deal out of it

 

even:

 

(12.23) its chill

 

(12.25) goodbye totally not cute isak :)

 

 


 

 

Fuck. The flip-flop Isak’s stomach does at Even’s last text has him wondering how he let himself get so fucking deep, and why the fuck he continues to let himself go even deeper. He’s wondering how and when everything got so fucked up, even more so than when he’d first met Even and claimed him as his fake boyfriend. How, as time goes on, it doesn’t feel so fake anymore. 

 

 


 

 

Onsdag 20/3/19

 

Isak’s tired. 

 

Christian’s still giving him looks during biology class, and Isak’s still admittedly terrified of him, and he’s just downright exhausted.

 

After last Friday, he’s sick of being played with. So, here he is, trying his best to pay attention to the lecture while simultaneously pretending like he could give less fucks that Christian is behind him, boring his eyes into the back of his head.

 

He could feel that predatory look from a mile away, but after all the fucked up shit Christian put him though, Isak’s not the same person he was before everything that happened. He’ll probably never be confident enough to confront Christian straight to his face and tell him to you know, go to hell or maybe burn in hell…Isak’s spent a lot of time imagining the day where he finally gets his victory and stops feeling like the victim.

 

He’s not ready, not yet. But his patience is wearing thin and his own mind is pressuring him, and he can feel himself on the edge of breaking. Whether it’s mentally breaking down or finally breaking up the fucked up story that is Christian and Isak…well, Isak’s just not sure which one is going to surface first. He’s predicting that perhaps both will happen, but he’s no psychic, so the question of when and where is left unknown to him.

 

Even also fits into all of this—because he’s barely talked to him since Saturday, just a few texts here and there, and while it’s nice that Isak hasn’t officially attached himself to him yet—that’s a total lie and he knows it—he’s missing the physical presence more than anything. He’s tired of the miles that have been separating his and Even’s lips.

 

But kissing Even, like actually, fully kissing him, mouth on mouth and lips on lips and everything, will change it all. They haven’t spoken about the almost kisses since they happened and Isak’s almost convinced that Even’s completely forgotten about them and that maybe Isak should follow suit, but he really just can’t.

 

And the truth is, he doesn’t want to. Not when he has a fake boyfriend who looks like that and who’s told him he isn’t going to leave and maybe Isak’s hope is too damn high right now but Isak’s too mentally drained to care.

 

By the end of the lecture, Isak’s broken all of his pencil tips from pressing them into his notebook too hard.

 

 


 

 

Torsdag 21/3/19

 

When Isak is swiftly reminded of Jonas’ maths partners’ birthday part on Friday, he has to keep himself from outwardly groaning. He’d promised Jonas that he’d go with him weeks ago, and canceling now would just be a shitty thing to do to his friend. 

 

Parties are great and all, Isak’s gone to his fair share of them, but there’s this tiny itch in the back of his mind that’s got Isak wanting to spend his Friday night with Even for, well, reasons. 

 

Mostly because Isak’s just recently realized that being with him makes him happy? And he hasn’t even been close to that emotion in a very, very long time. 

 

Not that hanging out with his friend doesn’t make him happy, a different kind of happy, but Isak’s been healing slowly but surely with Even by his side, and though he’d be perfectly content kissing Even’s soothing words from his lips, he will most certainly take what he has now. He hasn’t felt this close to being free since the moment he’d met Christian many, many months ago. 

 

And there’s just something about Even that Isak can’t shake. And it’s been that way ever since Even had pulled him in for an almost kiss that had left him breathless and trembling from head to toe.

 

Even with Christian, he’d never felt that way before.

 

He tries to ignore the part of them that’s absolutely terrified that Even doesn’t want him back. His near radio silence over the past week is kind of fucking with his head.

 

With everything going on in his mess of a brain, it’s only natural that Isak misses Even, and wants him, and the words tumble out of his mouth before he can even attempt to stop them.

 

“Can I invite Even?” Isak asks Jonas. Jonas, who is sitting across the table from him at that same hipster cafe on campus. 

 

“Uh, yeah I guess…I don’t think that’ll be an issue,” he answers, “Why, though?”

 

“Um. He’s just a nice guy and it’ll give me someone to talk to when you’re out trying to hook up with some girl.”

 

Isak can hear himself talking a faster speed than normal.

 

“How do you know Even wouldn’t be out there doing the same?”

 

Oh. That’s kind of true. Even might agree and show up and then forget that Isak’s even there. It’s not like his attention is only allotted to Isak, anyway. They’re only exclusive if Christian is around. 

 

“I don’t fucking know,” Isak exhales, “Just never mind.”

 

“You can invite him, I don’t care.”

 

“Yeah, maybe.”

 

The truth continues to sickly carve it’s way through Isak’s stomach.

 

 


 

 

Fredag 22/3/19

 

Isak searches for Even in the campus library before his biology class, hoping that he’d be there just like last Friday. He decided that confronting him in person was better than texting, because their messages have been short and relatively mysterious, and Isak’s had quite enough of it.

 

He has no idea where this sudden burst of confidence came from, but he’s running with it.

 

The campus library is huge, and ten minutes into his search Isak’s right on the edge of giving up when he notices a familiar blond mass of hair hidden behind a textbook in the corner of a bunch of bookshelves. The figure is sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall.

 

It’s now or never.

 

Isak waltzes over to him nonchalantly, trying his best to look slick and unbothered. When, in fact, he is just the opposite. His legs are wobbly and his knees are knocking, but the voice in his head is telling him to keep going. So he does. 

 

“Even?” Isak says quietly when he reaches the boy and his massive textbook.

 

Even lowers his textbook and squints up at Isak and it takes him a little while to focus his eyes, which has Isak further sweating beneath his jacket, until everything clicks and then he’s smiling up at Isak with the weight of the entire sun.

 

It’s scary how tactile his emotions are whenever he’s in Even’s presence.

 

“Isak, what are you doing here? How did you find me?” Even asks. 

 

“I, uh, just wanted to talk, I guess.”

 

Even nods and motions for Isak to sit next to him. The corner of the library happens to be mostly blocked off from the rest of the building, and Isak is thankful that their conversation is unlikely to be overheard. 

 

Isak settles into Even’s side, involuntarily, until he remembers that even the slightest touch from Even prompts his heart to go into panic mode, similar to riding a rollercoaster to the very top and waiting, just waiting for that life-thrilling drop.

 

He scoots to his right a few centimeters so that now there is a noticeable space between the two of them.

 

“What did you want to talk about?” Even asks him, putting his textbook down completely and focusing his complete attention on Isak.

 

Isak gulps and turns his eyes to the floor in front of him, unable to look Even in the eye. There goes his previous notion of confidence. 

 

“I, uh, was, um…” Isak begins shakily, “I was wondering if I did something, um, wrong.”

 

Even’s shock is unexpected and it puts Isak on edge until Even’s face softens and—did he move closer to Isak? When did that happen?

 

Isak can now feel Even’s entire body cringing. 

 

“You didn’t do anything, Isak. Why do you think that?”

 

“You, um, this past week…ever since last Friday, things have been different.”

 

“Different how?”

 

Isak sighs, and then prepares himself before he sounds utterly pathetic.

 

“We haven’t seen each other since then and the texts, I guess, have been really sporadic.”

 

Even’s brows furrow, and he frowns.

 

“And I didn’t know if you were avoiding me or something,” Isak finishes, quietly, focused on his hands in his lap. Even sucks in a breath.

 

“I wasn’t avoiding you Isak,” he clarifies, “I was avoiding myself.”

 

Isak finally looks up at Even then.


What?”

 

“Being your fake boyfriend is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.”

 

And that surprises Isak—not at all in a good way—and it’s so much so that the world seemly stops, his body going completely numb. Even’s going to leave. Of course.

 

Why should Isak be surprised? Christian was right all along. 

 

“I’m sorry,” Isak whispers eventually, unsure of what else to say.

 

“What?” Even startles, “Why are you apologizing?”

 

“Aren’t you—,” Isak starts, eyes beginning to water, “Aren’t you going to leave?”

 

Even stares at Isak, blinking and confused.

 

Then, after what feels like years, he pulls him in for a hug.

 

It’s sudden and a bit awkward, what with both of their legs facing forwards, so it’s a sideways hug but Isak’s heart flutters nonetheless.

 

When Even pulls away, he takes Isak’s face between both of his hands.

 

No,” Even tells him firmly, “I’m not going to leave you.”

 

Isak scrunches up his nose, “Then why did you say—,”

 

“I meant that I don’t want to leave, Isak. That after Christian finally fucks off, I don’t want to leave.”

 

What? If he doesn’t want to leave then what else—oh.

 

Oh.

 

Isak has the sudden urge to get up and do cartwheels or some shit when he finally puts the pieces together, but he forces himself to stay in place and try to keep his voice from traveling up too many octaves.

 

“Why were you avoiding yourself then?” He basically chokes out.

 

Even lets go of Isak’s face and turns forward again, breathing out a gust of oxygen from his lungs.

 

“Because it’s extremely selfish of me. I’m supposed to be helping you get rid of your disgusting ex boyfriend, and I am…but then I almost kissed you on Friday, and I hated myself for it, because it’s such a bad idea but for some reason I just couldn’t stop myself—,”

 

“I didn’t stop you, either,” Isak cuts Even off from his rambling. Even freezes beside him.

 

“What?”

 

“I didn’t stop you, Even,” Isak explains, “Because I wanted it. You have no idea how badly I wanted your lips on mine that night.”

 

I still do.

 

Even keeps his gaze on Isak’s eyes, and it seems like he’s trying to decipher what Isak’s just told him.

 

“You’re healing from heartbreak, Isak.”

 

Isak shakes his head, “Yeah, well sometimes you can heal alone and other times you heal with other people. And sometimes you do both.”

 

“I guess that’s true—,”

 

So, I don’t care if it’s a bad idea,” Isak rushes before he can stop himself, “I don’t care because I want it, Even. And you want it, too.”

 

Those words silence Even for awhile, long enough for Isak to reach out and touch Even’s hand. The skin on skin contact causes both of them to gasp.


Well, there’s that, then.

 

“Are you sure?” Even asks, looking down at their hands.

 

“I think so,” Isak replies, fitting his face with a smile.

 

Even smiles right back, and then firmly grips his hand.

 

“It’s still really stupid of us.”

 

“I know,” Isak admits.

 

“It’s very fast.”

 

“I know.”


“We should probably be more careful,” Even tells him.

 

Careful.

 

“We will,” Isak sighs, leaning his head into Even’s chest. Even lets him, and Isak can hear his heartbeat start to pick up. It’s almost too much for him—to know the possibility that he can affect Even like this, as Even does the same to him.

 

“We’ll take it slow, yeah?” Even offers, his chin resting against Isak’s forehead.

 

They’re still sitting in the goddamn library as before but now, it feels like they’ve somehow stepped into a completely different universe. 

 

One where Even and Isak might actually, potentially, be a thing, and where the word ‘fake’ just doesn’t exist. 

 

“Slow. Right. Yeah, we can do that.”

 

Isak’s pretty sure that’s easier said than done.

 

 

Chapter Text

Torsdag 28/3/19

 

Isak understands Even doesn’t want to rush things, wants to protect him, but the more he’s around Even, the more he just wants to grab his face and kiss him so forcefully that nothing, absolutely nothing about their relationship is fictitious anymore.

 

Fuck Christian, fuck Isak’s lies, fuck everything. Even might just be making an honest man out of him and Isak’s more than ready to accept that challenge.

 

The shameless truth is, Even’s been challenging him in other ways, too.

 

Because even though he’s been to Isak’s apartment quite a few times, everything is just different now. It’s like there’s electricity surrounding them, a buzzing atmosphere with sparks that fly whenever they are less than a few yards away from each other. It’s an electric spark that stings and it’s painful the more the two of them avoid physical contact.

 

Even wants to take this entire thing—whatever the fuck it is—slow, and Isak knows that’s probably a wise choice, but while Isak excels in academics, he fails in emotional stability. So, really, that’s why it’s a smart idea but also why Isak’s mentally and sexually frustrated beyond his entire being.

 

Over the past week or so, after Even and Isak’s little ‘cuddle session’ in the library, if you will, Even’s not so nonchalantly been spending more time at Isak’s apartment.

 

And Isak would complain and tell him to leave—no, he really wouldn’t—but goddamn, waking up to a cooked breakfast and having clean clothes that haven’t been sitting in the dryer for over a week is nice, to say the least.

 

Isak feels spoiled, and rightfully so, because Even has this thing where he suddenly wants to take care of Isak, and Isak usually lets him albeit some slight bickering and long, drawn out groans that tend to come out more fond than Isak would like them to.

 

Even insists on keeping his place on the couch while Isak sleeps in his bedroom, which is okay with Isak except for the fact that he is needy and is about to wedge himself between the couch cushions just so he can feel Even breathe next to him as he drifts to sleep.

 

It’s gotten a lot harder to study, too, because Isak had always been the type of person to go to class and come home and study so that everything is just quiet, so that he can give his complete and total focus. It’s also his safe place, considering that Christian could turn up at literally any place on campus, given the fact that he lives there. He doesn't have to worry at his flat, because Isak's previous therapist suggested he keep the location of it away from Christian as best as he can.

 

So, his apartment had been his prime choice of silence until this tall boy with tousled blond hair invaded his tiny space, making it impossible for Isak to concentrate.

 

In all honestly, Isak would throw all of his textbooks out the window if it meant more room for Even in his apartment. 

 

His ‘crush’ is becoming a HUGE problem because Even’s so fucking great that there have been days where Isak completely forgets of Christian’s existence. It’s as if that whole thing between them never happened.

 

Only, it did, because Isak still has to live with the aftereffects of their abusive relationship. Like, feeling the constant need to apologize, or being insecure about himself in other relationships, and then just dealing with his panic attacks whenever those occur. There’s more—Isak just doesn’t like thinking about them. And especially not when it’s a Thursday night and Even is sitting across from him on the sofa and Isak is leaning against the opposite padded armrest with his feet sprawled across Even’s lap. It’s so fucking domestic that Isak’s heart flutters every single time Even shifts, even if it’s just slightly. Because it’s just more confirmation that Even, Even Bech fucking Næsheim is here, right here, and with Isak. And he’s not going anywhere.

 

Isak has no fucking clue what they are to each other, and he should probably be concerned about that, but he can’t find it in himself to care when everything just feels so natural, almost like they’re tracing the steps of other Isak’s and Even’s in other universes that are doing the exact same thing, like there’s suddenly direction for Isak. And here and now, with Even smiling and tracing patterns on Isak’s ankles—which tickles like hell but Isak does his best to stay put—the only direction Isak can see is up.

 

And after having been on a constant downward spiral, he’s more than ready to grab ahold of Even and some hanging rope or whatever and climb with him all the way to the top.

 

Isak shivers at the thought. It’s a journey, surely, each knot different from the rest—but still very important as progress—each knot undefined, in need of definition, which leaves Isak trembling because if they make it, if they can make it together, what’s waiting for them at the very top? The younger side of Isak wants to think of it as a prize, and the older, aging part of him wants to think of it as a promise.

 

Every age and every side of him is impatient and just wants to know, like right now.

 

Can they do this together? Does Even want to do this together? Is he truly here for the fucked up Isak Valtersen like he said he would be? Isak’s not completely positive about that yet.

 

What he does know, though, is that domesticity fits somewhere on that knotted rope and Even and Isak are pretty damn close to untying it. If only Even would lighten up and let Isak maybe do some things around the flat to, you know, help. But Even just calls him his spoiled baby and Isak hates it but he's secretly in love with it, as well.

 

He’ll figure out how to help Even in other ways. Isak can admit that he needs help to function like a typical human being and not a human disaster like he has been, and Even—well, Even is a mystery that Isak’s desperate and eager to solve, but is willing to wait until Even is inclined to share that with him. 

 

How ironic, though, for this angst filled fake-relationship turning into a mess of cozy feelings and and the solid goal of healing. Isak knows it’s healthy, it’s what he needs, and maybe it’s what Even needs, too, but the primal part of him wants to be reckless and dive right into that hunger that always glimmers just for a moment in Even’s eyes and that leaves Isak breathless, locked behind his bathroom door. If Isak lets Even’s eyes shine on him like that for too long, his reserve will go straight out the window with the rest of those damn textbooks. And, if Isak’s any good at reading other people, Even’s also not doing too well with the slow version of whatever the fuck they are attempting to do. Which is probably why he keeps himself to the couch and Isak is solitary in his bedroom. 

 

The short but agonizing distance between the two of them every night means absolutely nothing to thoughts of Even that flood Isak’s brain and eventually, slowly but surely, lull him to sleep.

 

 


 

 

Fredag 29/3/19

 

Isak attends his biology lecture like always. He sits in the front of the room like always. His belly is full from his lunch with Jonas—and some weird hipster veggie burger Jonas insisted he try—like always. Even texts him a mess of emoji’s before his class begins, like always. Reminding him of the fact that he still doesn’t know what emoji is next to his name in Even’s phone.

 

That bastard. Isak is probably the most impatient person on this entire planet and it’s just going to eat away at him, bit by agonizing bit. 

 

Everything is the same as usual. Only, suddenly, there’s a girl wearing all black and a hijab setting next to his normally vacant seat.

 

He’s a little upset that he won’t be able to kick his feet up during the lecture, but he’s more confused than anything.

 

“Hi,” the girl says, barely turning in his direction. Oh.

 

“Hi?” Isak squeaks out. From the girl’s tense stance in her seat to the thin line spread across her lips, Isak’s definitely a bit intimidated. 

 

She says nothing to him, continues to look forward and begins to take her books out of her bag, and Isak is still sitting there, silent and unmoving.

 

“Can I ask why you’re sitting here?” he questions, his voice a little more solid, and that gets the girl to turn towards him. 

 

The girl gives him a fierce stare, then glances around the room, “What? Are we suddenly assigned seats?”

 

Still cold. Ah.

 

“No—that’s not that I meant—,” Isak stumbles. Isak hadn’t mean that she couldn’t sit here, just that it was odd, since it was the middle of the semester and all, and Isak had been alone at his table in the front of the room ever since the very first day.

 

The girl rolls her eyes, “Relax. I’m not here because I want to be.”

 

What?

 

“Oh..um, okay.”

 

This is the weirdest shit to happen to Isak since he’d claimed a stranger as his fake boyfriend.

 

“Apparently the universe thinks you need a biology buddy to coach you through this class,” she explains. 

 

Isak’s still staring at the girl. And if he was mistaken, he might have just seen a slight twinkle in her eye.

 

But again, that could have just been the reflection from the sunlight pouring through the windows. This girl is still acting very uninterested in this conversation.

 

“I don’t understand what’s happening right now,” Isak says exasperatedly. It’s a Friday and he really doesn’t want to deal with whatever this is. 

 

“Look, I know you’re the smartest one in this entire classroom,” she whispers, as the professor enters the classroom doors, “But I also know you have distractions. I’m here to protect you from said distractions.”

 

Distractions?

 

Class is about to start and it’s almost too late for Isak to ask what she means, but he’s certain this can’t be from the goodness of her heart. If she even has one. Isak’s not sure yet.

 

“And what do you get out of it?” he asks. 

 

The girl smirks and sits up straight in her chair, “You get to help me pass biology.”

 

“And what if I don’t agree to this?” Isak challenges.

 

Christian takes his seat in the back of the room, and Isak glances back at him. He’s late, as usual.

 

The girl follows his gaze, and smiles to herself.

 

“You will.”

 

Isak might be smart, but this girl is almost just as mysterious as Even. And he’s not exactly positive he can attempt to solve two people at the same time. 

 

“I’m Sana, by the way,” she says from the corner of her mouth, quiet enough so that the professor can’t hear them.

 

“Isak,” he replies. 

 

“I know who you are.”

 

What the fuck is this.

 

 


 

 

If not partying on a Friday night means arriving at his apartment building after class to see Even waiting outside of the main doors with a smile as wide as the oceans are deep, then maybe Isak could stop drinking his thoughts and fears and problems away.

 

At least for this Friday night, anyway.

 

Even had texted him all throughout biology—which Isak tried his best to ignore, but to no avail—that he’d noticed last time that Isak’s freezer was running low on ice cream and that he’d be willing to go back to that grocery story to go pick some up and you know, maybe eat that for an after dinner snack—since Isak was no longer allowed to replace meals with garbage food, if Even had anything to say about it—but Isak texted him back and said that he’d like to go with him.

 

Isak is willingly going back to the place he once called hell on earth just because of some crush he has on a guy. How pathetic.

 

A different kind of pathetic, though. Because Even made him feel like he could have happiness again and for some reason even just that small glimmer of hope made Isak want to say yes to everything and anything Even would ever ask of him.

 

Even was becoming much more than a distraction, and Isak didn’t know shit besides the notion that he really, really liked where this was heading. 

 

Even had promised he wouldn’t leave. Isak would keep him to that promise.

 

He’d been left too many times before, so much that he’d been so sure no one would ever want to stay. He was so transparent about his insecurities too, and that allowed Christian to feed off of them. When he felt strong, he could deny it. When he felt weak, he vomited those words into the nearest toilet. 

 

When he felted cared for, he was in Even’s arms, or simply in the close proximity of Even’s body. Just being near him was enough.

 

When he felt like things were changing, and for the better, he was with Even.

 

His fake boyfriend who wasn’t so fake but who wasn’t a boyfriend but who wasn’t a friend with benefits either. Isak’s been avoiding that conversation for as long as he possibly can. Again, he doesn’t know shit right now.

 

The oncoming spring still leaves a chill in the air and Even and Isak decide that walking to the supermarket is worth it, considering it’s not that far and they won’t be forced to deal with other people. A nice walk through the city with his non-boyfriend sounded pretty damn nice, if you asked Isak. Which is probably why he agreed almost too quickly.

 

And also why he noticed, while they were strolling, bodies noticeably far apart, that Even would do nothing until Isak was ready. That after almost kissing him two weeks ago, he’d been practicing self control, just as Isak had been. But no matter how much self control they had—or thought they had—the same tension still hung in the air between them like some sort of sticky, intoxicating cologne. 

 

And Isak felt like the open air of his surroundings was safe enough for him to inhale all of it in, to let it sweep around his body like a tornado ready to dishevel his persona from up and down and left and right. And all of the directions in between.

 

He told Even he wanted this, he knows Even wants this. He also knows Even wants to take it slow, to heal and be healed at the same time but not too fast where it becomes risky and impulsive.

 

Isak still can’t bring himself to be shameful for the imprudent side of Even he is anxious to see. Because beneath the surface of that pale, soft skin is a desperation as deep as Isak’s to just fucking go for it, to let reality fade away and just fucking embrace each other as the Isak and the Even somewhere out there who don’t have so many issues to fight their way through.

 

It’s this thought that prompts Isak to reach out for Even’s naked hand in the cold breeze and Even looks down at it for a moment and back at Isak and raises his eyebrows, a silent question and Isak only nods. Even smiles shortly and grabs his hand, which causes Isak to gasp, only this time, he’s a lot better at hiding it than he was in the library. What he isn’t that great at hiding, though, is that Isak Valtersen never wears gloves and his hands should be assuredly freezing but they burn hot as if he’d just touched the top of a lit stove, and this observation leads Isak’s cheeks to do the exact same.

 

Isak shifts beside Even as his heartbeat begins to quicken because holy fuck, they’re walking down the street and holding hands and this has never happened with any man before in Isak’s life ever and he’s so incredibly glad that his first time is with Even. Even squeezes Isak’s hand to get his attention and Isak snaps his head up at him, and Even is still wearing that same smile from before only it’s gotten wider, if that’s even possible.

 

Isak squeezes back, and Even squeezes again. And they repeat this again and again and again until Isak is chuckling beside Even and squinting his eyes.

 

“What the fuck are we doing?” he laughs.

 

“I’m just checking your reflexes,” Even replies simply and squeezes his hand one last time.

 

Isak opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. Who the fuck is this man and why is he so intriguing?

 

“What? I’m just trying to impress you by being all smart and doctorly,” Even explains.

 

Isak looks up at him incredulously and cackles, “That’s on the knee, you idiot.”

 

“I can squeeze your knees, too.”

 

“Don’t,” Isak warns him, eyes wide. It might be a slight secret that Isak is very, very ticklish near his knees.

 

“Why not?” Even taunts, leaning in closer. Isak breathes, or maybe he doesn’t? But nevertheless, he’s not about to reveal that secret to Even because that could bring torture in the approaching future.

 

“Because then you’ll have to let go of my hand,” Isak tells him. Even tilts his head.

 

“Am I not allowed to let go of your hand?” Even asks, voice softer. They’ve almost reached the supermarket by now. Isak crookedly walks closer to Even and bumps into him softly.

 

“Never let go, Even,” Isak speaks, almost a whisper.

 

“I’ll never let go, Jack,” Even whispers right back, close enough to Isak’s ear that he shivers.

 

Only, he’s heard that line before. It’s a pretty famous one, actually.

 

Isak shoves Even away from him with his shoulder slightly and rolls his eyes, “A titanic reference? Really?”

 

Even defends himself automatically, “C’mon, you made it too easy!”

 

Isak sighs, “I should have expected that from a film studies student.”

 

“Oh, generalizing, are we?” Even teases, and this time Isak actually does let go of his hand.

 

“Let’s just go get the fucking ice cream,” he says, as he walks through the automatic doors, Even trailing behind him. Only not for long, because Even catches up with him and laces their hands together again and while the two of them walk through the aisles, avoiding the ones with screaming children, Isak can’t help but feel this is right.

 

In every universe, this is right. And it’s right now.

 

 

Chapter Text

Mandag 1/4/19

 

The next time Isak meets Sana in his biology class, there’s a very small cactus in a very small pot sitting on her corner of the table. Isak sits down beside her casually, and says nothing about it at first, since she’s typing on her cell phone. He notices that her phone case says ‘black is my happy color’ and considering that she’s wearing all black just like last Friday, Isak guesses that statement is correct. The brightness of the little flower on top of the tiny cactus is in large contrast to that, however.

 

Isak’s too curious for his own good, and he has nothing else to focus on considering it’s about fifteen minutes until class begins. This is the first time since the semester started that someone else had entered the classroom before him. Though, looking back on it, he’s noticed Sana before, and she’s always been the first few to follow shortly after him. 

 

She’s sitting next to him so that she can pass biology, but if she’s made it past the midterm, he’s not sure why she would need the help now. 

 

Isak is nervous to speak with her since she had been pretty cold last time, but conversation is really the only way he’s going to get answers, considering she’s a very difficult person to read on the outside. 

 

“So…,” he starts, “A cactus?”

 

Sana finishes typing what looks like a text message and then clicks her phone off. She glances at the potted cactus and then at Isak and says, “Yeah, my girlfriend bought it for me.”

 

She’s says this quietly, as if they weren’t the only two people in the room right now. Almost like she doesn’t want anyone else to hear, which only confuses Isak more because they barely know each other and she’s already sharing this personal information with him.

 

“Oh,” he replies, “That’s cool.”

 

Isak wants to ask questions but he’s not going to push, out of respect. If it’s because Sana is ashamed of her sexuality, well, he’s been there. 

 

“I’m gay,” Isak blurts out, which is an easy statement for him to say aloud because given his messy past, he’s come to terms with his own issues—at least some of them—over the years.

 

Way to make the situation about yourself, idiot.

 

He meant this sort of confession to comfort Sana but he really sucks at knowing the right words to say, or you know, keeping his mouth shut when it really should be.

 

Sana doesn’t look at him.

 

“I know,” she says.

 

Isak’s publicly out so the fact that she knows this information about him isn’t really that surprising.

 

Sana’s looking down at her lap now, fumbling with her cell phone, but not actually using it.

 

“So, if you ever need to talk…” Isak starts. Sana cuts him off.

 

“I’m not afraid of who I am, Isak.”

 

They’re still the only two alone in the room. Isak doesn’t know what to say, so he just nods. In the few seconds of silence, Sana sighs and finally looks over to him.

 

“I’m not ashamed of being muslim, and I’m not ashamed of being bisexual. I just don’t like talking about it because I get enough hate for my culture and my religion, and people knowing my sexuality will just add to that. It’s none of their business, anyways,” she finishes, looking Isak dead in the eye. Isak nods his head again.

 

“I told you because I know you can keep a secret. Even when you’re drunk and you ramble on for what feels like hours, you still keep the important shit locked up.”

 

Isak has no idea what the fuck she’s talking about, and he’s about to ask, but Sana keeps talking, and Isak can do nothing else but keep listening.

 

“It’s not really a secret, though. I guess I’m just not the type of person who wants the world to know everything about me. I’m sure you can understand that, right?”

 

He does, of course. Not in the same way, not in the same struggles, but he can feel for her, get a sense of what she’s talking about. 

 

Isak has his own secrets, as well. He wants to continue, to ask more questions, but Sana seems about done with this conversation. So, he switches the topic.

 

“Why a cactus?” he asks, tilting his head towards the potted plant and smiling.

 

Sana glances at the cactus again and then she smiles herself.

 

“She told me it’s because I’m soft and lovable on the inside but on the outside I’m sharp and guarded only because I need to be, because that’s how I choose to protect myself.”

 

And that’s…a very deep explanation for a small gift and Isak’s thoroughly impressed with Sana’s girlfriend, whoever she may be. From what Isak’s gathered, the description seems quite fitting.

 

“She’s lucky to have you,” Isak tells her, because the shine in Sana’s eyes when she beams just looking at the little plant is enough of a give away for how much she really, really likes this girl. 

 

“I’m lucky to have her,” Sana corrects him.


“Can I ask what her name is?”

 

Sana hesitates for a moment before saying, “Eva.”

 

Sana and Eva. The names fit pretty well together, to be honest. 

 

Isak’s grateful that Sana trusted him enough to open up to him like this, though he’s still unsure where that comfortableness came from. Nevertheless, it makes Isak want to open up to her, to talk to her about the things he’s dealing with, like this whole Even situation he’s got going on, but he’ll save that for later. Now is about Sana, and she’s looking down at the phone in her lap and her face has somehow lit up brighter than before, and Isak can’t help but feel happy for her.

 

This is a completely different Sana than the one he’d met last Friday. And maybe having her sitting next to him won’t be so bad. 

 

“Thanks for telling me about this,” he says, “Even though we only met a few days ago.”

 

Sana snaps her head up from her phone at his remark and snorts.

 

“Yeah, Isak, last Friday wasn’t the first time we met each other.”

 

What.

 

Isak’s about to ask her what she means by that but amongst the little cactus discussion he’d missed all of the students that have filed into the classroom and that the professor is just about to start the lesson. He has no other choice but to dismiss the statement temporarily. 

 

What the fuck.

 

 


 

 

isak:

 

(19:31) this girl in my class today had a mini cactus on her desk

 

and it had a little flower blooming on top of it

 

(19:32) it was really cute

 

(19:41) idk what you’re doing right now but i just wanted to share that with you

 

because it made me happy for a brief moment

 

and usually when i feel happy i think about you

 

(19:45) because you make me happy

 

(19:53) i must be drunk already or something this is so sappy who am i

 

even:

 

(19:58) it’s 8pm on a monday and also i’m bringing chinese food to your apartment?

 

you couldn’t even wait to tell me until i got there awww

 

you must be drunk

 

isak:

 

(20:00) i must be

 

even:

 

(20:00) or you just really like me

 

isak:

 

(20:01) nah it’s gotta be the alcohol

 

even:

 

(20:01) always the alcohol

 

isak:

 

(20:02) yup

 

even:

 

(20:05) don’t pass out before i get there

 

isak:

 

(20:05) i make no promises uni is exhausting

 

even:

 

(20:07) oh i’m sorry do you attend uni and have a part time job and a professional blog to run

 

isak:

 

(20:07) you have a blog???

 

even:

 

(20:08) for my analyses on films…

 

isak:

 

(20:08) lame

 

even:

 

(20:08) lamer than getting drunk on a monday night?

 

isak:

 

(20:09) um i seem to remember you bringing me to a bar this one monday night

 

so are you calling yourself lame

 

even:

 

(20:11) i’m calling myself resourceful

 

isak:

 

(20:11) resourceful?

 

even:

 

(20:14) well what the fuck else are you gonna do with a guy you like on a monday night

 

isak:

 

(20:17) we could have went to like. dinner maybe

 

even:

 

(20:19) but thats a date

 

isak:

 

(20:20) are you saying it wasn’t a date when we went to the bar??

 

even:

 

(20:20) are you saying it was?? :)

 

isak:

 

(20:22) i don’t KNOW

 

(20:24) GOD FUCK EVEN why do i put up with you

 

even:

 

(20:27) because i feed you and keep you hydrated

 

isak:

 

(20:27) god you sound like my mom if she actually cared about me

 

fuck i’m sorry that got personal real fast

 

even:

 

(20:29) it’s okay

 

i won’t ask questions until you are willing to answer them

 

isak:

 

(20:31) i don’t deserve you honestly

 

in truth i don’t know why you put up with me

 

even:

 

(20:34) one day isak

 

one day you’ll believe that you make me happy too

 

and that you aren’t any of the things that christian has told you

 

(20:35) and i’ll be here there when that day comes

 

but until then the food order is now ready and in my hands

 

and i’m on my way to your apartment

 

(20:37) and maybe i’ll let you pick the movie we watch

 

(maybe)

 

isak:

 

(20:40) just get over here already

 

i’m tired of my empty apartment

 

even:

 

(20:42) be there soon :)

 

 


 

 

Tirsdag 2/4/19

 

For the first time in awhile, Isak actually agreed to chill out with Jonas in his campus dorm room.

 

Normally, the two of them hang out at Isak’s, since they’re usually smoking weed and it’s a lot easier to, you know, cover that stench up when you aren’t locked inside of a box resembling a prison cell. 

 

This Tuesday however, Jonas invited Isak over to help him out with maths because he’s been slacking and of course Isak made him beg for his help, given the little bitch that he is, but deep down—okay not really that deep down—he’s a huge nerd that actually enjoys solving maths problems.

 

It gives him satisfaction, no matter how simple the equation, considering the fact that he’s fucked and can’t solve any of his real life issues as they just keep getting messier and messier.

 

Another reason he’s happy he has Even now, and he’s incredibly grateful for his help through all of this, because even though he has Jonas and he’s had Jonas since he was a child, the two of them are completely different in that aspect.

 

Odd to think about because when you get them together, they couldn’t objectively be any more similar. The amount of hipster vibes that ooze off of the two of them as they bond over some weird music and ‘bro, that’s a sick jean jacket, dude’ is honestly enough for Isak to choke. 

 

However, the two are easily the greatest people in Isak’s life, so he guesses that all is forgiven despite all of that.

 

The two of them are currently sprawled on Jonas’s twin sized bed and burying themselves in books and Jonas had mentioned his roommate was out doing god knows what, so at least they don’t have to deal with him. 

 

It might be the world’s sickest joke that Jonas’s roommate is one of Christian’s best friends, and it might be even sicker that he likes to taunt Isak in a way that could be taking as a joke or as serious, and Isak hates it.

 

Isak’s glad that Jonas hates it, too. Only switching roommates isn’t such an easy process, so Jonas is stuck with him until the year is over. Thank god Isak lives alone so he has some sort of break from the drama that this college campus seems to bring. 

 

Isak is deep inside solving some complicated maths equation when Jonas speaks up beside him.

 

“So, that Even guy,” he comments, twirling a pencil between his fingers.

 

Isak would normally ignore him and keep concentrating only his focus is immediately broken when the word ‘Even’ filters through his consciousness. 

 

Isak looks over to Jonas, “What about him?”

 

“He’s a pretty cool dude.”

 

“I guess.”

 

“Pretty handsome, too.”

 

“What the fuck?” Isak laughs, but swallows hard. Jonas just furrows his eyebrows.

 

“Hey, I can appreciate another guy's looks,” he claims.

 

Isak shakes his head. He already knows where this conversation is going.

 

“Yeah, he’s nice,” Isak says.

 

“You’ve been hanging out with him a lot lately.”

 

“I have.”

 

“Do you like him?” Jonas bluntly asks. Isak scoffs.

 

What?!”

 

“I don’t know, it’s just the way that you look at him.”

 

“Like what?”

 

“Like he hung the stars in the sky or some shit.”

 

“I do not!” Isak scoffs again. Though…he most certainly does.

 

He’s cursing the transparency of his feelings right now.

 

“Whatever, it’s cool. You just seem happy with him, it’s nice,” Jonas tells him.

 

Isak blinks, “Nice?”

 

“Yeah. It’s been awhile since…well, you know.”

 

Isak knows.

 

Since the months long tackle of his relationship with Christian. Yeah.

 

Isak clears his throat, “Uh, thanks.”

 

Jonas smiles, “Also, if you two ever decide to date, I better be the first to know.”

 

Isak freezes. I mean, there’s really no one else he would tell, but fuck.

 

If only he knew.

 

 


 

 

Torsdag 4/4/19

 

Even getting more comfortable in Isak’s living quarters is just…well, it’s nice…but it’s starting to become a problem. 

 

Because Isak’s been attracted to this man since day one and there’s truly not one thing Even could ever do wrong in his mind—as unrealistic as that sounds—and Isak might be stupidly falling for him but he’s not dumb enough where he doesn’t notice the signs.

 

The first and largest sign might be that Isak follows Even around his own apartment like some damn puppy dog following their owner. And maybe that’s because Even lights up whatever room he walks into and every other room without him is just grey and dull, but crushes are crushes and they make you do questionable things, okay.

 

And when you’re toeing the line of crush to more-than-a-crush, things get even more difficult. And mainly, for Isak, it’s been in a ‘I don’t only want to hold your hand’ type of way.

 

It gets to the point where it’s absolutely agonizing this one night where Isak is chilling on the sofa in his living room and Even is sitting opposite him. His feet are propped up on Even’s lap like usual and everything’s fine until Even asks Isak if he can use his shower.

 

Which makes Isak short-circuit and sends his brain very quickly tumbling down a line of inappropriate thoughts.

 

Even, naked and wet, in his shower is just…well, that’s almost too much for Isak to handle.

 

And he’s never felt this much tension before, never been so attracted to another person before. And maybe that’s because there’s been this build up just itching underneath his skin since the moment he laid eyes on Even, this ache in the middle of his stomach that hurts but in a delicious way that Isak just craves more.

 

He knows his cheeks are flushed and he’s starting to sweat and his body is definitely, without a doubt, reacting to Even and his innocent request.

 

He also knows that it’s been moments of Isak just staring at Even without actually giving him an answer. And Even just staring back.

 

“Uh…yes,” Isak shakes, his voice lower than a few minutes ago when they’d been discussing plans for dinner. 

 

Even moves to get up and Isak’s entire body trembles at the loss of contact between them, and where he’d normally get relief from this, it only makes him want Even to touch him even more

 

“I’ll just borrow those same grey sweatpants, cool?” Even grits out, and Isak just nods his head slowly, biting his lip to stifle a moan at the thought of Even wearing those sweatpants that hug is ass almost sinfully.

 

Even clears his throat and then walks away from Isak, towards the archway linking the hallway and the living room. Isak keeps his eyes on him, thinking he’s about to disappear behind the wall, but Even stops when he reaches it and turns back around to face him.

 

“That really does it for you, doesn’t it?” Even huffs, smiling. Isak doesn’t reply but instead chokes on his own breath. 

 

“Hmm? Me, in the shower? Naked?” Even continues, and this time Isak can’t stop himself from letting out a strangled moan. As soon as the sound leaves his mouth, he’s covering it with his hand, like somehow that would take it back, or something.

 

It was unmistaken, and Even knew it.

 

Wow, it really does,” Even breathes, his voice full of wonder and going softer, like this is some type of grand revelation. 

 

Isak breaks his eyes from Even’s to glance down at his crotch and notices the growing bulge there, and fuck.

 

“Shut up,” he manages to reply, “I haven’t had sex in months. That’s why.”

 

“So it has nothing to do with you finding me attractive?” Even teases automatically.

 

Isak is silently pleading for him to cross the room and kiss him or touch him or do anything to him, anything to release the tension that’s making it difficult for him to breathe. But, Even just stays in his place by the archway.

 

“Nope,” Isak lies. That’s the biggest lie of the century, his brain tells him.

 

“Right,” Even nods, the two of them locking eyes again. Something is lingering unspoken between them, but Isak’s not getting up and Even’s not walking over to him and it stings. It stings because they both want it, and they want it badly.

 

“Even?” Isak questions eventually, letting a few silent moments pass of the two of them basically eye-fucking each other.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“You’re still standing in the archway.”

 

“Sorry,” he starts, shaking his head, “You’re just making it really hard for me to leave when you’re…like this.”

 

And that makes Isak scoff so loudly he’s sure whoever the people are that are on the other side of the wall must have heard him.

 

“I’m making it hard?! You’re the one who—,” he stops midway, out of breath, his lungs heaving wildly. His brain not functioning properly.

 

So this was what it was like to actually, wholeheartedly want someone. Huh.

 

“You’re exasperating,” Isak exclaims, crossing his arms.

 

Even leans back into the wall.

 

Slow,” he enunciates, and Isak wants to scream.

 

“I’m starting to really hate that word.”

 

“I’m starting to hate myself for using it,” Even admits. 

 

Oh my fucking god.

 

“Just go take your fucking shower,” Isak leers.

 

Even waits a few moments before nodding and finally disappearing behind the wall.

 

He returns only seconds later.

 

“I won’t be upset if you jerk off thinking about me,” he tells Isak, out of the blue.

 

Isak looks up at him suddenly. His facial expression is enough for Isak to discern that, yup—he’s absolutely serious.

 

“Even for GOD SAKE,” he yells, groaning at the same time.

 

Even just throws his hands up, “Okay, okay. I’m going. Jeez.”

 

Isak exhales as soon as Even is out of view, and he waits for his breathing to slow down and the prickling feeling burning on his skin to go away, for everything to return back to normal, Even-less levels of Isak’s spastic heartbeat and body temperature.

 

Only, the issue in his pants is definitely not going to go away any time soon.

 

Their lips haven’t even touched each other’s yet and Isak’s already fucking wrecked, just from the stares and the dialog alone.

 

Fucking Christ.

 

 

Chapter Text

Tirsdag 9/4/19

 

christian:

 

(13.22) you’re avoiding me

 

isak:

 

(13.37) well that’s nothing new

 

i have been trying to for months

 

thanks for finally noticing

 

christian:

 

(13.39) we have to talk

 

isak:

 

(13.45) ’we’ don’t have to do anything

 

christian:

 

(13.45) it’s about your new boyfriend or whatever

 

isak:

 

(13.47) just leave it alone christian

 

i’m done with you

 

christian:

 

(13.48) i’m serious isak

 

that guy’s got major issues

 

(13.49) he’s not good for you

 

isak:

 

(13.54) wow okay

 

and you are right?

 

christian:

 

(13.58) just

 

fuck isak i don’t want to see you get hurt

 

isak:

 

(14.03) what the fuck

 

even would never hurt me

 

christian:

 

(14.05) yeah? how much do you actually know about the guy huh?

 

because it seems to me your ‘relationship’ happened a little too fast

 

(14.06) and if you knew half of the shit i have on him

 

you wouldn’t even be with him at all

 

you’d hate him

 

isak:

 

(14.07) seriously what the fuck is this christian

 

i would never hate even

 

(14.08) he’s been better to me than you ever have

 

christian:

 

(14.10) and so was your mom before she went crazy

 

so crazy that your dad had to leave her

 

she drove him away

 

isak:

 

(14.15) stop

 

don’t fucking talk about my parents

 

christian:

 

(14.16) you remember how much that hurt you issy?

 

i never want you to get hurt like that again

 

(14.17) and even’s fucked up okay?

 

just lets meet and talk so i can tell you all about it

 

i only want to protect you baby

 

isak:

 

(14.23) if anyone’s fucked up christian it’s you

 

for all i know you’re just making this shit up so i come running back to you

 

which is never going to fucking happen ever again

 

christian:

 

(14.25) it’s the truth and i have proof

 

just meet me in person and i can show you okay?

 

(14.41) isak?

 

(15.03) fine. i tried to warn you.

 

whatever happens now is on you

 

 


 

 

Onsdag 10/4/19

 

“There’s a huge party this Friday night, you should come,” Jonas says as he sits down next to Isak for their almost daily lunch outings. 

 

He’s thought about inviting Even a few times, because he know’s Jonas wouldn’t mind considering the two of them are basically formulated from the same fucking star or something, and the both of them can easily find anything and everything to talk about. 

 

He decided against that because his fake boyfriend and his best friend simply knowing each other is already enough to send his mind blowing in a million different directions, and when the two of them sit down to discuss arguments against capitalism or the importance of life imitating art—I mean, Isak is sometimes intrigued, but most of the time he’s ready to get up and say “Why don’t you two just fucking date each other, then,” and leave.

 

He knows how problematic that makes him sound, considering the fact that he should be happy that his best friend and his more-than-a-crush get along, but he’s a jealous bitch at heart and the more attached he gets to Even, the more he craves his complete and undivided attention.

 

He truly gets spoiled when they’re alone at Isak’s apartment. There’s no other distractions, and it’s just the two of them, and Isak finds that that type of environment is one where he is the least insecure within himself. That he has no other competition, or something along those lines.

 

Which he also knows sounds ridiculous, but Isak was never really that self confident even before Christian, and now he’s just a hollowed soul who needs constant approval. And that makes him sound pathetic, which again, he knows.

 

And Even’s been really good at positively affirming him, negating Christian and his fucked up lines, words that sometimes repeat themselves in Isak’s head. He’s been so patient with him and Isak just wishes he could pay him back somehow, could make the relationship more equal. He wishes Even was more open about himself, but then a part of Isak also wishes that he himself wasn’t so openly willing to share information about his past. There was just something about Even that made it so easy to let it all go around him. Maybe Isak’s been fooled to think there was some type of surety in whatever the hell the two of them were doing.

 

But Even hasn’t left yet. And that’s got to mean something, right? Isak could talk for hours about Christian and how fucked up he’s become because of it and Even is still there, stroking his fingers through his hair and murmuring sweet nothings that, on occasion, have allowed Isak to finally fall asleep.

 

It’s getting harder and harder for Isak to get sleep whenever Even doesn’t stay over at his apartment. 

 

And by now, Isak should be questioning Even, questioning why they never end up at his place or why he doesn’t talk much about his past or anything like that. 

 

And as much as Isak would like to deny it, his little spat with Christian over the phone had planted ideas in his head that he would very much like to squander as quickly as possible. 

 

He knows it’s wise not to believe a single word that comes out of Christian’s mouth, but a part of him does want to meet up, does want to hear Christian out, listen to what he has to say.

 

The other, bigger part of him, wants information on his non-boyfriend to come from Even and only Even. So, whatever he wants Isak to know is ultimately his decision. 

 

And if Christian’s lying, well, Isak wouldn’t be surprised. It wouldn’t be the first time.

 

This thought makes Isak’s stomach sink, because Isak’s a pretty petty person himself, and his growing affection for Even can be tied all the way back to a blatant, impulsive lie. 

 

It’s scientifically proven that you tend to mirror the person you are in a relationship with, but—as much as he wants to—he can’t blame that on Christian. He’s had a short temper practically since birth, and has been called out for it enough times for Isak to be able to accept the fact. 

 

Fuck, this much thinking is giving himself anxiety. He needs it to stop, and right now, before he has an undesired panic attack. Jonas would understand, of course, but the rest of his peers surrounding him in this tiny cafe would just give him looks. And that would only make it worse.

 

Breathe.

 

Slow down.

 

It’s going to be okay, Even’s voice echoes in Isak’s head.

 

Oh.

 

He’s startled when that low assertion cruises through his consciousness, because it didn’t used to be there. It didn’t used to be a type of comfort, a tactic for when his thoughts were on the verge of becoming physical rather than mental. It’s new, and it’s there because Isak let Even in, he trusted him with his head and his fucked up life and Even was always, always there for him. He was there even when Isak didn’t think he needed him to be. He was there when Isak doubted him, when he was so sure that Even would up and leave. 

 

No matter how unexpected Even’s voice was, it soothes him, fills his chest with warmth. It’s reassuring. Isak shuts his eyes for a brief moment and lets the deep calmness travel throughout his entire body, for it to surround him completely.

 

It takes a bit, but then it’s suddenly a lot easier for him to breathe, and he opens his eyes again.

 

He’s met with Jonas’ stare.

 

“You okay?” he asks worriedly, bringing Isak back to reality, back to his spot seated in the cafe. Shit, he’d almost forgotten where he was for that short period of time.

 

“Good,” Isak manages, and the word is a mumbled mess, but Jonas gets it. 

 

He nods at Isak before saying, “So, the party? You down?”

 

“Lots of alcohol?”

 

Jonas smirks, “A fuck ton.”

 

“Chill,” Isak smiles, as best as he can, “I’ll see if Even wants to come along, too.”

 

And, well, that sort of just tumbled out of Isak’s mouth before he could stop it—and a little too casually, at that—but Even likes Isak and Isak likes Even and these past few weeks are making it nearly impossible for him to be apart from him. Especially when Even treats him like he’s a Norwegian prince, or some shit. It’s a welcoming change from his past—Isak’s no royalty but Even pampers him as such.

 

It’s a bit much sometimes, makes him feel guilty, but Isak’s not going to say anything. Not yet. Not when he sees how much joy it brings to Even, for some odd reason.

 

“That’d be cool,” Jonas replies, “I’d like to talk to him as well.”

 

Isak crooks his head, “Why?”

 

“To make sure he’s good for you.”

 

“He’s not Christian,” Isak says coldly, automatically, in defense.

 

“Not being Christian isn’t the only personality trait a guy needs to have in order to be good for you, Isak.”

 

Isak sighs, “I don’t know why you’re being so protective. You and Even are practically the same person.”

 

“Oi!” Jonas exclaims, “How’s that?”

 

“You’re both hipsters which also means you’re both pretentious assholes.”

 

“Wow. No wonder you had a crush on me in High School.”

 

God,” Isak groans, “How many times do I have to tell you that was just curiosity, huh? I was just starting to become comfortable with my sexuality, it makes sense that my first serious guy crush would be on my best friend.”

 

“I’m just saying,” Jonas shrugs, smiling, “You have a type.”

 

Fuck off,” Isak practically shouts, throwing a french fry at him.

 

Ouch, Jonas mouths when the french fry hits his chest.

 

“Besides, Even and I aren’t together,” Isak laments.

 

“You might want to tell Even that. Or yourself, for that matter.”

 

Fuck, is it really that obvious?

 

“He’s just…helping me get over Christian. That’s it,” Isak lies.

 

“Oh, really?” Jonas raises his eyebrows. That cheeky fucker.

 

“Nei, nei, nei,” Isak shakes his head rapidly, putting his hands up, “Not like that. He just, like, calms me down or like, talks me through panic attacks and stuff.”

 

And, whelp, Isak knows his cheeks are giving everything away right now, burning bright red like a cherry.

 

He also holds my hand and tucks my hair behind my ears and kisses my forehead, too, Isak wants to say. He bites his lips to hold it back.

 

Jonas just laughs.

 

“I’m only joking. I’m glad he’s there for you, but just tell him that if he ever hurts you, he’s going to have to deal with me.”

 

“What are you gonna do, speech him to death?” Isak chuckles.

 

Jonas squints his eyes, “Fuck you!”

 

Isak spends the rest of his lunch with Jonas explaining to him why his speeches are so important, and Isak resists the urge to roll his eyes if only to keep the topic away from Even or more specifically, him and Even, together.

 

He’s like an egg on the verge of cracking open, an entirely too-filled glass waiting to spill over. 

 

He just wants all of the bullshit to go away so he can be with Even outside of all of the complications. He wants Even to kiss all of his problems from his lips, for the world to melt away. He just wants Even. Even, Even, Even.

 

He’s so fucked.

 

 


 

 

Torsdag 11/4/19

 

At one point in Isak’s life, he’d imagined himself being a renowned chef, a master of the culinary arts. 

 

Granted, that point happened to be around the age of six, after he’d eaten a good three-fourths of his aunt’s homemade chocolate cake that he’d begged her to teach him how to cook someday, which she agreed to after his countless efforts. 

 

Back then he’d had a wild imagination, and he ran with it head on, full force and unforgiving. Somewhere along his journey to nineteen he’d lost that childish glow, that easiness to be able to think of yourself accomplishing whatever you may please. 

 

He could become a doctor. A firefighter. A writer—no, scratch that—maybe a lawyer. He could do anything, be anything, feel anything. There were no limits, and he didn’t ever dare to limit himself. 

 

There’s no distinct memory Isak has where he could pinpoint to when he’d abandoned this mindset, and that’s probably because it happened long ago. Way before college, before high school, even. It was there and then one day it just wasn’t.

 

Reality settles in where it’s unwanted and for some it’s not as scary, but for many it’s quite intimidating. For Isak, it was the latter rather than the former. 

 

And he’s not necessarily angry about it—though a part of him thinks the moment he’d finished that last slice of cake, overindulging himself on chocolate well enough so that he’d gotten sick, was the beginning of the end for him—the rational part of him knows that’s not true. And present Isak can’t help but laugh at past Isak now, thinking his ass could ever cook more than a microwavable meal. He’d given up on improving his cooking skills long ago.

 

Save for the fact that Isak is the type of person who needs to be good at something right away, that not being good at something is an automatic turn off, but he’s now watching Even weave around his kitchen like he’s some chef at a restaurant, cooking up meals upon meals for his customers, and the ease of his movements topped with the relaxed muscles in his face has Isak wishing at this very moment he’d maybe spent a bit more time learning how to take care of himself. Like maybe he wouldn’t be such a mess of a person if he hadn’t given up so quickly and placed more importance on other things, like figuring out—and being completely puzzled by for literal years—why he thinks this boy at his primary school is pretty.

 

No, he’s not blaming his sexuality for the reason he simply cannot cook to save his life. No, he’s not claiming that any kitchen appliance other than a microwave is homophobic, he’s really not—

 

But when him boiling a pot of water, the supposed simplest fucking thing ever, resulted in him almost burning the house down, can you really blame him?

 

So, yeah, it’s probably a result of one traumatic experience on top of another as to why he’s handicapped in the food department, and likely because of his anxiety on many occasions.

 

Yeah, that too.

 

And honestly, watching Even in his element is oddly satisfying to Isak so if there’s one thing he’s glad he didn’t lie about, it’s his inability to cook. 

 

“Once you taste this, you’re never going to want to eat anything else ever again,” Even says from his position at the stove. He sounds so sure of himself, so endearing, Isak can’t help but smile wide as if he’d had two hooks pulling his cheeks apart.

 

“Well, that’s a little unrealistic,” Isak teases, sat on one of his bar stools.

 

Even just sighs, “Okay, fine. You’ll never want to eat anything else besides this and ice cream ever again.”

 

“That’s better.”

 

“By the way, you’re out again.”

 

Isak laughs, “What the fuck, already? How?”

 

Even turns around to face him.

 

“Well, when the guy you like—,”

 

“That likes me back,” Isak interjects, noticing that his cheeks are hurting from smiling so much.

 

Even chuckles, grinning and shaking his head back and forth before continuing. 

 

“When you keep him from going home by bribing him with ice cream and letting him force you to watch pretentious art movies and love stories, you tend to go through food a lot faster.”

 

Isak gets up from his stool and walks over to Even, stopping a few feet beside him and leaning on the kitchen counter. 

 

“So what happens all those nights I try to bribe you but you end up going home anyway?” Isak asks, and it’s an honest question, though meant to be teasing. 

 

Even doesn’t miss a beat.

 

“I lay in bed thinking about you.”

 

Isak takes this bit of information through his clouded thoughts and blurry vision and he ends up smiling at the floor because he knows Even is looking at him and he’s sure if he looks up he’s just going to fall apart under his stare, okay, and he can’t have that if he’s supposed to be following the only rule they have between each other: take it slow, do it right.

 

“Why think about me when you could be touching me?” Isak breathes, and to an outsider he knows this conversation would look silly, considering the fact that it seems to be happening between him and the ground right now.

 

Even makes a sort of struggled noise above him, beside him, next to him, all around him. Isak simply doesn’t exist without the presence of Even circling his aura. 

 

Faen,” Even whispers, his voice low and still not completely coherent, but Isak spends enough time with him to know his tells. 

 

He’s also a bit too focused on him, tuning the rest of the world out, so that everything Even does or doesn’t do is broadcasted right back to him. 

 

And what Even isn’t doing, is touching him. Which is obviously what Isak thinks he should be doing, since he’d basically just offered himself over to him. 

 

He hadn’t intended for the conversation to be sexual—and it really doesn’t need to be, either—because they touch all the time. Soft, comforting touches that linger on each other’s skin in innocent places but aren’t overly spoken about, not always addressed. Just there. So, if Even were to reach for Isak’s hand, or stroke the side of his face, it wouldn’t be that out of the ordinary. It would still make Isak’s heart beat like mad, but the fact that Even isn’t even doing any of that means he knows exactly what Isak meant.

 

And what Isak meant would be crossing over the line. Breaking that rule. He knows that. And he’s not going to push Even. He’s not going to pressure him. 

 

But fuck, if this whole waiting game they are playing isn’t testing the hell out of his self control. 

 

A bit of silence passes to where Isak thinks it may be okay to look up at Even, you know, maybe he’s gotten distracted and gone back to his cooking, so he does quickly glance up and—

 

Even’s eyes are searing blue orbs that shut his own green ones down again, and then sideways and anywhere but forward and Isak is trembling from nerves and tension and then Even says his name softly, beautifully, like it’s meant only for neat cursive in scriptures and anything less would be dishonorable, and Isak finds himself gripping onto the countertop so tight his knuckles are turning white, trying to prevent himself from melting into a pile on the floor.

 

“I want to tell you so many things,” Even says quietly, into the air above Isak’s head. 

 

“You can tell me anything,” Isak automatically replies, and he almost jumps at hearing his own voice, shocked that he’d even been able to find it underneath the pile of jitters and lovesick mush. 

 

Lovesick? That’s a new one, and one he’s preferably going to file away for later because…wow. That’s dangerous territory right there.

 

“It’s not that easy,” Even tells him, sighing and turning back to the food on the stove. He switches the stove off shortly after, signifying that the food has finished cooking, and Isak moves his eyes away from Even’s breathtaking side profile to look down at the food and his mouth is watering at the sight. 

 

But, no, he’s not going to let his stomach distract him from their conversation.

 

“Even,” Isak starts, his voice more solid than it has been all night, “You are there for me time and time again when I drag you into my own shit, and I’ll never be able to tell you how thankful I am for that, but even if you weren’t here, I’d still listen to you talk until your throat runs dry and you just can’t anymore, okay? You could talk for days and I would be by your side the entire time.”

 

Isak moves in closer and places his hand over Even’s where it’s resting next to the stove, and Even doesn’t turn his body back towards him but smiles down at their hands instead. 

 

“You’re amazing, Isak,” he says, “And I will tell you, it’s just…the timing and the place has to be…better.”

 

Isak smiles and squeezes his hand lightly, “You’ll tell me when you’re ready?”

 

Even nods and swings his long neck around to look Isak in the eye when he says,

 

“I will.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Fredag 12/4/19

 

EVEN

 

Even woke up in his own bed that Friday with a nagging feeling in his gut that just wouldn’t go away. 

 

It was a particular feeling that he’d gotten many times before, but today it was intense. It was fiercely burning holes through his stomach that felt like a violent climax, one that had been waiting to come to pass for a long time now. And Even knew, he knew what it meant.

 

Today was the day he would tell Isak everything.

 

Everything he’d been holding in and everything he didn’t think he’d ever get to say out loud. Didn’t think his brain would ever let him, didn’t think he’d ever get to this point with Isak.

 

He’d tell him why he was so afraid and why he’d been struggling, why he was confusing at times and why, perhaps, it was so easy for him to adapt to having Isak in his life, to live like a couple in a shared apartment. 

 

He’d tell Isak absolutely everything, from now all the way back to the moment he’d first laid eyes on him.

 

Starting at Christian’s house party, the first weekend of the fall semester. 

 

 


 

 

even:

 

(12.01) do you think he’ll hate me

 

once he knows

 

sana:

 

(12.03) no even i don’t think he’ll hate you

 

i don’t know him very well but

 

(12.04) i don’t believe you’ve done anything wrong

 

even:

 

(12.05) but i kept it from him

 

sana:

 

(12.07) you didn’t keep it from him you just didn’t tell him

 

there’s a difference even though it’s fucking complicated

 

even:

 

(12.07) i’m terrified sana

 

i don’t want to lose him

 

(12.08) i mean i don’t technically have him but i can’t imagine not being with him

 

that would kill me

 

sana:

 

(12.12) even i can’t promise you he won’t be angry but i really don’t think it will be as bad as you think

 

because it’s not your fault he doesn’t remember 

 

(12.13) and you have a perfectly good reason for why you didn’t tell him

 

even:

 

(12.15) i just don’t want to hurt him

 

he’s been hurt so much it would break my heart

 

(12.16) i want to protect isak from anyone and anything that could ever cause him pain ever again

 

but how can i do that if i’m the one causing him pain

 

sana:

 

(12.19) look even

 

you and i saw isak on the same night and i might not be friends with him

 

(12.20) but the isak i met that night was way different than the isak i saw the first day of biology classes

 

(12.21) and the isak i’ve seen since you’ve come into his life this past month is different than the isak i saw on the first day of biology

 

and that’s a long confusing explanation but i’m trying to tell you that if you’re causing isak to be anything, it’s happy and free from that POS 

 

(12.22) and i wish you would see that instead

 

and if isak get’s angry i have a good feeling he’ll forgive you pretty quickly

 

(12.23) you’ve already forgiven him for what he said that night 

 

even:

 

(12.25) but he didn’t know me back then

 

this is different

 

sana:

 

(12.28) is it?

 

you won’t find out unless you just tell him everything

 

(12.29) just explain to him why it took you so long

 

and just know that you don’t have any obligation to disclose everything about your mental illness even

 

(12.30) that’s based off of you and you only and what you’re comfortable with

 

and if today turns out to not be the day then you can try again some other day

 

(12.32) it’ll all work out in the end, my magic hijab says so :)

 

even:

 

(12.32) wow a joke and a smiley face from sana herself

 

maybe today is a good day for me

 

(12.33) takk for alt, sana ❤

 

sana:

 

(12.36) lykke til, even!

 

 


 

 

Even was more than thankful to have Sana in his life still—he’d known her through her brother all throughout high school and even though Sana wasn’t always easy to talk to, Even was the type of person that made anyone and everyone feel like they were at peace—and their friendship traveled over to university, not wavering for even a second. The minute he found out Sana would be attending UiO last fall Even insisted that the two of them celebrate together, and Sana not so begrudgingly admitted that having Even as a sort of guide throughout the campus was very helpful for her first few weeks. 

 

It was obvious to Even, since he was always so great at reading people, that she missed her friends from high school. Many of them had set off to college in different parts of Europe or farther out in the depths of Norway and communication wasn’t as easy as it used to be. Even was glad to be there for her.

 

And he was absolutely grateful that she was there for him in return. She was always the voice of reason for his mind filled with messy thoughts, most of them irrational and all-consuming. She never judged him and he never judged her, and their friendship almost seemed two easy for the both of them. 

 

Which was maybe why being close neighbors was a piece of fucking cake.

 

Sana had outright told her advisors that she wouldn’t feel comfortable being on campus all the time, and she’d mentioned to Even that she’d like to live somewhere else than at home, and Even was in need of distance from his own parents as well, so everything just sort of made sense.

 

An apartment complex had two studio apartments across from each other that were available come fall, and Even might have been a little too excited at how perfect the situation was, and so when he’d told Sana, he pretty much acted like he was already handing her a key. 

 

“It’s so wonderful, Sana,” he’d said, “Since they’re studios the rent is cheaper and this way we don’t have to live together but we’ll still at least know someone close by. And if you ever need anything I’m only like 5 feet across the hall.”

 

Even smiled so wide, and Sana rolled her eyes.

 

It took some time for her to decide, but eventually she agreed to it.

 

“The only thing that sucks is that we’re still close enough that I’ll be able to hear you blast all of those cheesy romantic films whenever you’re feeling extra lonely and desperate for affection,” Sana had said.

 

It was a dig, but Even only smiled even wider.

 

And when Sana met Eva, it was the most beautiful thing Even had ever witnessed. It was so pure and it just so happened to be at the same cafe Even spends the majority of his time at. Eva was in town visiting an old friend apparently and she’d just stopped in for a nice cup of coffee, only she couldn’t help but compliment Sana’s outfit and her eyes and suddenly it was as if Even wasn’t even standing next to them, and that was his cue.

 

He still watched them from afar though, over the edges of his textbook. They were laughing and eyes were sparkling and Even hadn’t seen Sana that radiant in a very long time and when Eva eventually left, Sana sat and watched her go and then stayed in her place, sighing and smiling and silently zoning out from the world around her.

 

Until Even slid into the seat across from her and made her tell him everything.

 

Sana had gotten Eva’s phone number that night, and even though Eva went to college quite a few hours away, the two of them were a couple before the month of September had come to a close. 

 

It was one of those romances that were just meant to be, Even surmised. 

 

He was incredibly happy for Sana and when she’d come out to Even as bisexual, he hugged the ever living fuck out of her and cooked her favorite meal—since Sana wasn’t so great in the kitchen—and that’s perhaps one of his favorite memories from his time at University. 

 

A close second to the times he’s spent with Isak, the times he’d allowed himself to believe they could have the type of romance that people always dreamed about, that Even himself had dreamed about. He wanted Isak so badly that it almost hurt whenever he wasn’t near him.

 

But, things needed to get sorted out first. There were obstacles. It had been complicated from the minute he’d noticed Isak in the crowd of drunk people at Christian’s party, and it’s been increasingly messy ever since. 

 

And no matter how many times Even had almost slipped up, had almost given in to that wanton need he has for that boy with the pretty golden curls—he has to let Isak know what’s been running through his brain. He owes him that, at the very least. 

 

He knows it’s been mostly Isak taking comfort in Even being there for him, and Even loving every minute of it, knows he would always be there for him, would protect him until the ends of the earth. But he also knows that Isak’s been a bit frustrated at the lack of knowledge Even gives about himself, about how secretive and closed off he can be. And Even doesn’t want to do that anymore.

 

Because he has a pretty good indication that they could be fucking amazing together and virtually unstoppable once the shit—and a lot of it—gets fixed. Once the two of them can heal.

 

And Even is running recklessly with the fact that Isak admitted that he liked him and that he wanted more and that he’s still here, waiting for Even to let him in and today is the day.

 

He’s not sure if it’s his sexual desire finally breaking him down or the fact that he’s actually, emotionally ready for this confrontation, but either way, he’s determined that it’s going to happen today.

 

And he doesn’t even need to walk out of this unscathed—he’ll let himself be hurt if it means he still has Isak at the end of all of it. That the truth may actually benefit them and well, Isak deserves to know. He deserves the world and someday Even hopes he’ll be able to give that to him. 

 

Even decides it’s most comfortable for him to talk to Isak about this in his favorite little hipster cafe that can sometimes produce miracles and Even’s hoping today will be in his favor. 

 

It’s now or never.

 

 


 

 

isak:

 

(13.48) there’s a party tonight if you’d like to join me and jonas

 

i know you don’t drink but we could smoke?

 

(13.49) and i’ll restrain myself from the alcohol just for you

 

even:

 

(13.52) are you sure this is isak valtersen???

 

because the isak valtersen i know is married to alcohol

 

(13.53) so you’re saying you’re contemplating divorce???

 

isak:

 

(13.57) you’re so stupid oh my god

 

i’m saying alcohol and i…are on a break

 

(13.58) i can take a break for one night

 

it’s chill

 

even:

 

(14.00) WE WERE ON A BREAK

 

isak:

 

(14.03) holy fuck i’m going to block you

 

even:

 

(14.05) at least you got the reference ;)

 

otherwise i’d have to seriously reconsider my giant crush on you

 

isak:

 

(14.06) haha funny

 

even:

 

(14.06) i’m serious

 

isak:

 

(14.07) yeah like you weren’t about to jump my bones less than 24 hours ago

 

even:

 

(14.10) i can’t help that you’re irresistible ;)

 

isak:

 

(14.11) so why have you been resisting???

 

even:

 

(14.11) now who’s the desperate one :))

 

isak:

 

(14.12) still you

 

even:

 

(14.12) eh you’re probably right lol

 

no shame

 

(14.13) i want you 

 

it’s that simple

 

isak:

 

(14.15) except its not

 

even:

 

(14.16) yeah except its not :(

 

isak:


(14.18) ANYWAY i invited you to a party and you never gave me an answer you loser

 

even:

 

(14.20) i’ll go just for you 

 

but can we stop somewhere else beforehand?

 

isak:

 

(14.23) uh sure?

 

even:

 

(14.26) i’d really like to take you to my favorite cafe if you’re down

 

and i

 

(14.27) i think i’m ready to tell you some things

 

isak:

 

(14.30) yeah?

 

even:

 

(14.30) yeah

 

i’ll pick you up after biology?

 

isak:

 

(14.32) that’s chill :)

 

even:

 

(14.33) chill ❤

 

isak:

 

(14.35) ❤

 

 


 

 

Even’s heart jumps the minute Isak’s final message comes through. This is the first time they’ve sent hearts through text, and while it’s something arguably small, Even clings onto the hope that whatever feelings Isak has for Even will carry him through the difficult conversation he’s about to undertake.

 

 


 

 

“So,” Isak says, as he steps through the door to the coffee shop and looks around, “This is where you spend the other half of your life when you’re not with me.”

 

“My second home,” Even smiles.

 

“Aw, does that mean I’m your first?” Isak dralls, sitting down on a couch positioned in the corner of the cafe. Even follows him, smiling and shaking his head.

 

“Maybe so.”

 

Isak doesn’t reply to that, but it’s almost as if Even can hear his heartbeat as he takes a seat on the couch corner to him, separated only by a small coffee table. He sets his phone down.

 

Even fumbles with his hands as soon as he’s seated for quite some time, and he’s very aware that Isak is just watching him. Waiting. 

 

And Even’s waiting, too—waiting for his brain and his vocal chords to fucking connect and just say something. Anything. 

 

“We should order food,” Even quips. And well, at least it’s not silent anymore.

 

Isak nods and grabs a paper menu from a table nearby to scan through it, and Even’s been here enough times that he doesn’t have to. 

 

It takes only a few seconds before Isak is huffing and sighing and rolling his eyes.

 

“What?” Even laughs.

 

“You’re gonna have to order for me, I don’t understand this menu.”

 

“You—you don’t understand the menu?”

 

Isak scoffs, “No, it’s too pretentious for me. No wonder you and Jonas have bonded.”

 

And, well, Even can’t help but bark laughter at his adorable fake boyfriend. He shakes his head once again.

 

“I think I know something you might like. I’ll just go to the counter and order for us, yeah?”

 

Isak nods again and then Even is out of his seat. 

 

When he returns, Isak is looking at the ground, a weird expression on his face.

 

Even sits down.

 

“You, um, your phone went off.”

 

Even furrows his brow and looks over to his phone screen, clicking the side button to see what it could have been and—oh.

 

Fuck.

 

There on the screen is an iMessage from Sana, telling him she hopes everything goes well with Isak, once again, and Even’s heart climbs into his throat. 

 

“I—uh—I didn’t mean to look, but it was right there, and—,” Isak starts rambling.

 

Even sighs, “Isak, I promise once I tell you what I was going to tell you, it’ll explain everything.”

 

“I didn’t know you knew—know Sana,” Isak just says flatly. 

 

“I’ll explain that—,”

 

“I hope so.”

 

“Just, can I start from the beginning?” Even pleads.

 

Isak closes his eyes briefly and waits, and Even assumes that’s a sign to go ahead.

 

Here goes nothing.

 

He takes a deep breath before he speaks again.

 

“So, I’m sure you’ve noticed some weird things with my behavior.”

 

Even waits. A nod.

 

“And how we don’t really talk about a lot of personal things ab-about me.”

 

Another nod. 

 

“That’s because what I’m about to tell you is a lot, like, a lot to handle. And I mean there’s more to it than that, but I just—I guess I’ll just start here and then—yeah.”

 

Even knows he’s not making much sense, and Isak’s been eerily silent. And he’s not really sure of where to go from here, I mean—he could branch off into a ton of different things—but he figures if he’s about to lose Isak anyway, he might as well just come out and say it, instead of talking his way around it. 

 

It’s as if Isak can sense his discomfort then, because he reaches his hand across and sets it on top of Even’s knee.

 

And, well, that sort of does the opposite of calming him down. It kind of sets him on fire, so much that he lets his eyes meet Isak’s and there’s something unspoken in the irises of Isak’s eyes, like Isak’s guiding the conversation himself. Coaxing the words from Even’s mouth.

 

And Even’s never been confident, so as soon as the words leave from the cracks in his teeth, he wants to crawl inside himself and shield himself from Isak’s reaction, whatever it may be.

 

“I’m bipolar.”

 

At this point, Even’s not really breathing, just kind of gasping for air and he feels like he’s drowning—it’s so scary—but then Isak squeezes Even’s knee and brings him back to reality a bit and then he’s being ushered into what Even can only assume is a hug, his eyes won’t let him look, though and—

 

“Even, it’s okay, Even. It’s okay. I know.”

 

And—what?

 

“What?” Even breathes shakily into Isak’s neck, and then disentangles himself from Isak’s arms so that he can look at Isak’s face.

 

Isak smiles, “I mean, I didn’t know exactly, but I like, guessed.”

 

“You guessed?”

 

“I don’t know,” Isak continues, “I think the more time I spent with you, the more I just knew you weren’t okay.”

 

Even gulps.

 

“Wait, fuck—that’s not what I meant. Don’t take that the wrong way, fuck—I wasn’t thinking,” Isak stumbles.

 

Even smiles, though painfully, as it is. He leans back into the couch cushion and smiles, because he didn’t think this was how Isak would react. He figured he’d get up from the couch and walk straight out the door. 

 

“I’m not okay and you’re not okay, and it’s okay, Isak,” Even says, and Isak just looks at him, until he realizes.

 

“Quoting my drunk self back to me, huh? That’s low, Even,” Isak teases.

 

Even chuckles a bit wetly, “To be fair, I kind of altered it. So that it fit the truth better.”

 

“You know this doesn’t change anything right? I still want to be with you,” Isak affirms. 

 

“It’s not easy, with me, though,” Even starts, “Like sometimes I can’t get out of bed for weeks and if I have an episode, I can get out of control and I don’t want to hurt you, Isak, that’s the last thing I would ever want to do, but—,”

 

“You won’t hurt me, Even. I know you won’t.”

 

“You don’t know, though. Don’t say that just to try to make me feel better,” Even snaps, and he regrets it as soon as he says it.

 

Isak shuts his mouth tight, and then opens it again.



“You’re right, I don’t know that for sure. But neither do you. No one knows what’s going to happen in the future, so I suggest we just focus on the here and now, okay?”

 

Even sits there silently, unsure of how to reply.

 

“Okay?” Isak tries again, softer, leaning in closer, tilting his chin towards Even’s.

 

And it’s like his body just knows what to do, it follows Isak’s as Even leans in as well, and Isak’s face is only a mere inches from his. Even’s breath hitches but he nods slowly, shutting his eyes.

 

“Good,” Isak murmurs, before he moves a bit closer and kisses Even’s cheek lightly.

 

Even tries not to physically combust on the spot, because fuck.

 

He’s about to melt into the fucking sofa. 

 

“Fuck you,” Even breathes as Isak moves back to his original spot. It’s not malicious at all, though, the words are laced with sugary affection.

 

“What?” Isak laughs, confused.

 

“My heart is beating so fast right now,” Even tells him, as he places a hand over his chest. He gives Isak a smile, so wide it hurts.

 

Isak laughs again, “What the fuck, Even?”

 

What? You’re the one who kissed my cheek, this is your fault,” Even pouts.

 

Isak’s face suddenly falters, and Even can sense he’s a bit nervous as he asks, “Was that okay?”

 

Even still won’t stop smiling, so when he replies, “That was more than okay,” Isak’s face breaks again, only this time into a smile fitting a similar shape to Even’s. 

 

The two of them are caught within each other for a while until the waitress brings the food over to them.

 

 


 

 

ISAK

 

Isak watches as the waitress sets down a plate in front of him. On this plate sat two pieces of bread, covered in what seemed to be cheese and then god knows what.

 

“Uh, Even? What the fuck is this?” Isak asks, clearly confused by small pile of food.

 

“It’s two pieces of cheese toast with cardamom,” he says. Isak scrunches his nose.

 

“Cardamom? That’s weird.”

 

“I have a feeling you’ll like it.”

 

Even winks at him as Isak reaches for one of the pieces of bread.

 

“Oh, and I got you black coffee with two shots of espresso.”

 

Isak raises one of his eyebrows and pauses, the cheese toast skimming his lips.

 

“How do you know my coffee order?”

 

Even just laughs, “Well, you fight anything that could potentially be deemed as ‘hipster’. You study your ass off and won’t take anything less than a perfect score on any assignments ever, not to mention the fact that I practically live with you—,”

 

“Okay, okay, I get it,” Isak cuts in, “I’m predictable as fuck. You know too much shit about me. It’s cool.”

 

For some reason, that statement clearly makes Even uneasy.

 

“I’m sorry you don’t know as much about me,” he says quietly, shamefully and no, Isak’s not going to let Even’s brain go down whatever path it’s currently trying to. Absolutely not.

 

“Please don’t be upset about that. You tell me things at your pace, and it’s always going to be about what you’re comfortable with, okay? Like, there might have been a few times where I thought our relationship was unleveled but now I get why. And that couldn’t have been easy for you, telling me about your bipolar disorder. I’m so proud of you for doing that, by the way,” Isak finishes, giving Even a quick smile. 

 

“You really aren't bothered by that? Like, it doesn’t scare you?” Even asks, voice wavering and unsure. Even takes to hiding behind his coffee mug. 

 

Isak’s heart almost breaks. How could anyone ever find such a beautiful human being scary?

 

“I would never find you scary, Even, please don’t say that,” Isak almost whimpers, “It’s just another thing we’ll get through together, right? We can still work on ourselves together?”

 

“Of course, of course, together, yes,” Even rambles, “I just—you aren’t asking me a bunch of questions and it’s kind of fucking with me.”

 

“Should I be asking you a bunch of questions?”

 

“I don’t know. Most people I tell usually do.”

 

Isak ponders this for a moment.

 

“I think,” he starts, “That forcing you to open up about something so personal by asking a million questions is the opposite of helping you heal. In fact, it would probably hurt you, and I don’t want that.”

 

Isak watches as Even's jaw practically drops to the fucking floor. 

 

Holy fuck, Isak. How did I ever get so lucky to find you?”

 

“Well, I kind of roped you into being my fake boyfriend to make my ex jealous at a supermarket, so…” Isak trails off as he chuckles. 

 

“But that’s not really what this is anymore, is it?” Even asks, looking into Isak’s eyes, and this is the first time the two of them have really addressed that entire situation.

 

Isak gulps, “I don’t really know what this is, to be honest.”

 

Even nods in return, “Me either. It doesn’t need a label.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“For now.”

 

Isak rolls his eyes—because Even’s a fucking idiot—but he’s also an extremely cute idiot, so it’s completely fond. However, he’s still rolling his eyes, nonetheless.

 

They fall into a comfortable silence, and Isak finally takes a bite of the cheese toast as Even watches him, and although Isak hates giving him the satisfaction, the toast is actually kind of good? Like, really, oddly, good?

 

“You like it,” Even surmises, biting into his own meal, which is a sandwich of some sort.

 

“It’s alright,” Isak shrugs. 

 

Even laughs, “It’s okay to admit it. I’ve definitely cooked you way more interesting meals at your apartment.”

 

And, well, that’s true. Isak’s assuredly eaten quite a few meals from Even that were questionable, but always good. Always good.

 

“Fine, I like it, are you happy?” Isak snaps, pretending to be annoyed. 

 

“Yes. You make me very happy.”

 

That sends Isak into another eye roll fest. 

 

“So,” Isak begins, “Why don’t you explain to me how you know Sana?”

 

Even squirms where he’s seated, and Isak can’t help but be impatient, anxious to hear what he has to say. He knew Even was keeping stuff from him but this—this he didn’t expect. It doesn’t make sense in his head, and he hates when things don’t make sense. When he can’t solve the puzzle himself. 

 

Eventually, he speaks. 

 

“Do you remember when we first met?”

 

Isak squints his eyes, “What do you mean, do I remember? It didn’t happen that long ago, we were at the grocery store and—,”

 

“No, Isak,” Even shakes his head, “We met long before that.”

 

What?” Now his eyes are about to bulge out of his head, because what the fuck?

 

“The first time I saw you, you were downing shots at Christian’s ‘Welcome Back’ party. The first week of the fall semester.”

 

Isak blinks a few times, trying to think back to that time. That was months ago, and he remembers that party pretty clearly, except for, you know, the two or four or eight hours after he’d drunken himself mad. His dad had just left his mom, finally and officially, and even though Isak knew it was coming, he was still upset about it. Mostly because he was at home when it all happened, and when things got to be too much he dashed from his house to the nearest party he could find and things only got uglier from there. 

 

He doesn’t really know that for sure, but from the hangover he’d had for the few days afterwards, he suspects that’s what occurred. 

 

“You saw me?” Isak squeaks.

 

“Yeah. And you saw me, too, but you must not remember that part. You were pretty drunk,” Even replies, sighing.

 

“Okay,” Isak mumbles, unsure of what else to say, “What—uh—what happened? At the party?”

 

 


 

 

Isak was doing shots, and he felt good. With each shot of alcohol coating his throat, fizzing in his brain, he was feeling better and better. He was forgetting, which was his main goal in coming here, anyway.

 

The nice thing about college parties was that no one questioned who showed up. And he’s glad for that, because he doesn’t know a single soul here. He’d just walked in, found the alcohol, and starting downing it. He didn’t have a care in the world, at this point.

 

So, when a tall, blonde guy walked up to him, he barely even batted an eye. 

 

“Halla,” he said, voice deep and carrying its weight over to Isak. Isak turned his head slightly and nodded, noticing the guy holding a can of beer.

 

“Halla,” he said back, hoping to seem uninterested. The only thing he was interested in was where the next shot was coming from. 

 

“I haven’t seen you before,” the stranger hummed.

 

“I’m new, a first year here,” Isak replied emotionlessly, before taking a shot and then coughing. 

 

The stranger laughed beside him, “Well, for being new to college, you sure know how to take your alcohol.”

 

“I don’t usually drink like this,” Isak said, more honest than sober him would be, “My life’s just particularly shitty tonight.”

 

“Oh? Why’s that?”

 

The stranger sounded empathetic, almost pitiful. Isak didn’t want to be thought of like that—as some sad, pathetic boy with too many feelings. 

 

“My mom’s insane, so my dad left her,” Isak tells him, reaching for the next shot. 

 

The stranger almost chokes on his beer. 

 

“Insane? How?”

 

Stop asking a stranger personal questions, Isak wants to say. But he doesn’t want to be rude. Which is weird, because he’s usually grumpy, or at least that’s what his friends always told him. 

 

“She’s just crazy. Thinks the world is about to end and shit. I’m done with that.”

 

“You’re done?” The stranger prods.

 

“Yeah, I’m done having mentally ill people fuck up my life.”

 

Isak takes another shot. He has some people cheering him on now.

 

The stranger just nods beside him, but says nothing. After awhile, Isak turns his head to ask why he’s suddenly so quiet—only when he does, the guy is no longer there.

 

Isak’s too drunk to care that he’s been abandoned. He’s not looking to hook up tonight, so it doesn’t really matter. 

 

It doesn’t take that long before someone else approaches him, though.

 

“Hey,” the man says, “I’m Christian, you know, the head of this party. People told me there was a guy drinking all of my alcohol but they didn’t say you were this handsome.”

 

Isak whirls around and almost loses his balance, Christian holding his arms out to catch him.

 

“Sorry,” Isak mumbles, “I’m Isak.”

 

“Isak,” he says, “I think we should go lay down, Isak, hmm?”

 

It takes Isak a bit to decide—stay and down more alcohol or give himself a break and go with this man—but he finally realizes that he can’t remember why he was drinking tonight, so he goes.

 

While he’s walking, a few guys holler and whistle behind him.

 

“Relax,” he hears Christian shout at them, “I’m not sleeping with him, the guy’s drunk. I’m just going to go lay him down.”

 

Things get pretty blurry after that. The last thing he manages to make out is the sound of a light switch and a door clicking and shutting, immersing him into the darkness.

 

 


 

 

Even’s voice suddenly rang through Isak’s ears, bringing him back to the present.

 

“…eventually, I walked over to you, because I couldn’t control what I was feeling. Like, I just had to meet you—,”

 

Isak couldn’t breathe.

 

That guy, at the party. It was him. It was Even.

 

Fuck.

 

“Fuck!” he cut Even off, “Fuck, Even.”

 

Even stopped talking abruptly, staring at Isak. 

 

“What?” he asked worriedly, “What’s wrong?”

 

Isak’s mind was racing with a million different thoughts. It didn’t matter, though, because they all led to same conclusion.

 

I fucked up.

 

“Even, fuck, I’m so sorry,” Isak whined, covering his face. He could feel himself on the brink of tears.

 

“Isak? Isak? Why are you apologizing?” Even scooted to the edge of his sofa and braced both of his hands on Isak’s arms. Isak’s heart was breaking with the new realization because he had hurt Even, and here Even was, trying to comfort him.

 

I don’t deserve you.

 

“How can you even stand me? How can you sit here and talk to me? After what I said…” Isak was rambling, fast and messy, and Even was still acting like it was his job to calm Isak down. His duty to make sure he was okay.

 

I hurt you so bad, baby.

 

“You remember that?” Even asks, stunned. He leans out of Isak’s space a bit. 

 

“You started talking about it, and I—I guess I just—put the pieces together in my head. Fuck, that guy was you. At the party. God, Even, I don’t know what to say. I—,”

 

Isak,” Even said firmly, cutting him off, “That was months ago. You had no idea who I was. To be fair, I didn’t know who you were either. And yeah, what you said hurt me and I left, but—I’ve forgiven you for that since then. You were going through some bad shit, Isak. You were also drinking. Your head wasn’t in the right place. It’s okay.”

 

“No,” Isak shook his head rapidly, blinking back tears, “Even, you don’t get it. That’s just the type of person I was. I actually believed what I was saying. I took my mother’s issues and applied them to everyone else. I had so much hatred. It had nothing to do with the alcohol. And I never fucking think before I speak—I just—,”

 

“You’ve changed, Isak, can’t you see that? You said was, as in past tense. That means you know you aren’t that person anymore. And that’s what’s more important. Who you were in the past or what you’ve done in the past doesn’t define who you are today.”

 

Isak could finally start to feel the water trickle down his face. He was just so sad, he couldn’t believe it. It was almost worse having Even not mad at him, because that just made the anger inside of him grow larger to make up for it.

 

Baby…” Even murmured, reaching the outside of his hand to graze Isak’s cheek, wiping away some tears in the process. 

 

“Shit, Even,” Isak flinched, before leaning into the touch, “You know you could never fuck up my life, right?”

 

Isak looked up into Even’s eyes, searching for an answer. Anything, even a nod to signify that Even understood.

 

But Even was silent, his fingers still tracing Isak’s skin.

 

Isak suddenly grew frustrated, as the silence continued to become heavier and heavier. He reach both of his arms out and grabbed Even’s face in his hands.

 

Listen to me,” he said, “You are by far the best thing that’s ever happened to me. These past few weeks have made me the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. And yeah, it’s very new and yeah, I might not have known about your bipolar disorder, but I don’t feel any differently about you now than I did before we walked into this cafe today. Jesus, Even, I don’t think I could ever thank you enough for just being a part of my life, fuck.”

 

It took Even awhile to process what Isak said, but as soon as he did, the two of them were hugging similar to how they were before, only this time they were holding onto each other as if the concept of letting go was unfathomable. 

 

Even spoke soft words into Isak’s neck.

 

“Don’t hold past Isak against present Isak, okay? You can be pissed at yourself for some time but please don’t hold a grudge. We’re moving forward together, right? Healing together? So, please, don’t hate yourself because of this.”

 

Isak only grabbed onto Even tighter and hoped that was answer enough. He was sick to his stomach, mostly because he felt like he deserved some type of punishment for his actions—some type of degrading comment or physical reprimanding. He didn’t understand just the simple fact that Even understood him so well—knowing exactly what to say and when to say it. And knowing everything now, he’s completely floored by Even and his entire reaction when they’d met—apparently once again—at the grocery store. Why he didn’t turn to Isak after he’d said, “This is my boyfriend,” and tell him to fuck right the fuck off. Why he’d even been talking to him in the first place.

 

Isak didn’t deserve someone as kind and as beautifully crafted as Even Bech Næsheim. He was a piece of shit compared to him. And knowing what he knows now—what he remembers now—nothing makes sense. He thought there would be more clarity but everything is only getting more confusing.

 

His heart is throbbing, and he’s now managed to work himself up again.

 

Why?” He sobs into Even’s shoulder once he finds his voice.

 

“Why what?” Even exhales.

 

“Why did you come to my rescue?”

 

Isak hopes Even knows he’s talking about more than just the complicated fake relationship he’d created in the grocery store that night when faced with his emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend. This—whatever this is—goes beyond that, now.

 

Even’s entire body trembles beside him.

 

“Because beneath all of your layers, Isak—I saw the hell in your eyes and it matched mine.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Fredag 12/4/19

 

They didn’t go to the party. 

 

And really, that’s not much of a surprise given the heavy topics of their conversation at the cafe. Isak and Even had both agreed that it had left them physically drained and emotionally exhausted.

 

And yet, they still couldn’t get enough of each other. 

 

It drove Isak positively mad that Even could ever think Isak would have left him because of his mental illness, and it angered him even more that he was part of the reason as to why Even was so convinced that was what was going to happen. 

 

Of course, he didn’t blame Even’s trust issues on himself entirely. That would be selfish—for him to think he’d had that much influence on Even for the past half a year or so. He learned in therapy to not take someone else’s problems and make them your own, even if you were a part of the problem yourself. Since, one, that’s inserting yourself into another person’s issues and disregarding their own thoughts and feelings, and two, that’s really fucking unhealthy and gets you absolutely nowhere if your objective is to eventually be able to heal from whatever trauma you’ve faced. 

 

It took awhile for Isak to dump the problems Christian had thrown at him, and even longer for him to realize that some of the problems shouldn’t have been there in the first place. That that was part of the abuse, that no, he shouldn’t have to be at Christian’s beck and call for whenever he needed him and then be shamed if he wasn’t, and no, it wasn’t his responsibility to make sure Christian was happy. That it was actually Christian’s fault for making him believe the constant manipulation was okay. 

 

And with Even, it’s been getting easier. He isn’t reminded of Christian so often and usually when he is, it’s because Christian’s decided to pop back into his life by texting him or approaching him in biology class or whatever. It hasn’t recently been on the forefront of Isak’s brain unless it gets triggered by something or someone. 

 

And maybe that’s why present Isak is fucking humiliated by past Isak, because before Isak had those battles himself—before he was faced with PTSD and anxiety and depression—he didn’t want to be associated with the side effects or the turmoil of mental illnesses ever again. The mess with his mother and his father had turned him into a bitter teenager who thought that ‘crazy’ people were the cause of his suffering. He’d taken the experiences from his childhood and trivialized those who were ill down to the intimidating scientific names of their disorders and the stigma that surrounded them. 

 

And yeah, maybe he wasn’t completely to blame for that, given the circumstances he grew up in, but he was ashamed for it. People can grow, they can change, they can become better. They can heal, and be healed. They don’t have to be islands. He knows that, but this new information—being confronted with his past self head on like this—has him ready to get sick into the nearest toilet or maybe just sleep for a couple of days. 

 

He doesn’t want to deal with it, but it involves Even, someone he deeply cares about, someone he might even have more than just a crush on, so he will. He’ll take care of Even and he’ll take care of himself and he’ll address these problems because he knows that if he does, Even will be right there beside him. It’s kind of like superheroes fighting crime together—only it’s two scrawny Norwegian dudes fighting their minds instead. Which maybe isn’t really all that different, anyway.

 

Right now, though, he doesn’t have the energy for that, and he suspects that Even doesn’t either. Isak texts Jonas that the two of them won’t be going to the party, and then they’re boarding the tram back to Isak’s apartment even though it’s just nearing the evening hours, not normally time for bed yet. But this wouldn’t be the first time the two of them had spent a night together in Isak’s flat.

 

However, something feels different this time. The air feels different, almost warmer. But not suffocating—no, just…inviting. Enthralling. 

 

Isak feels closer to Even now than he’s ever felt before, and he hopes Even feels the same. 

 

As soon as they reach Isak’s apartment, Isak is heading straight for his bedroom to change his clothes and Even’s following him because, well, somewhere amongst all of the time spent at Isak’s, Even had made a little home for his own clothes in the bottom drawer of Isak’s dresser.

 

The two of them hadn’t even kissed, and yet they were more domestic than any couple Isak had ever watched on television. They were more domestic than he and Christian had ever been. 

 

And that thought vibrated throughout Isak’s entire body, lighting up his nerve endings, making him hyperaware of the presence behind him, the sounds of sliding fabric against skin as Even changed his shirt, put on his boxers, the whole lot—and Isak gripped the dresser because now, with the changing atmosphere, it was even harder for him not to turn around. 

 

And the disgruntled noise Even let out as Isak changed his own clothes meant that he was having similar issues as well. 

 

“Even?” Isak hummed as he stared at the wall in front of him.

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Do you think you could stay tonight?” he asked innocently. 

 

He could feel Even’s hesitation in the short silence that followed. 

 

“Stay?”

 

“Yeah, like…” Isak trailed off, “Like, stay? With me?”

 

Isak finally turned around after another moment’s silence and was met with sparkling blue eyes and a radiating smile. 

 

Isak Valtersen, are you asking me if we can cuddle?” Even practically sang, throwing his dirty clothes into a pile onto the floor. Isak rolled his eyes, but he smiled, too.

 

“Maybe. Only if you can keep your hands to yourself.”

 

Even snorted, “Isak, you do realize that the simple concept of cuddling is based off of touching, right?”

 

Isak climbed on top of his bed and sank into his pillows.

 

“You know what I fucking meant,” he groaned.

 

“I did,” Even says, as he lays his head down on the blue pillow next to Isak’s. 

 

Isak yawns, “It’s only like 9pm, why am I so tired?”

 

Even turns his body to face Isak’s, “Because you have depression.”

 

Isak rolls his eyes, turning towards Even himself.

 

“Yeah, but I’m more exhausted than usual.”

 

“It’s tiring talking about your problems. It’s tiring just talking in general sometimes.”

 

Isak allows himself to glance up to Even’s eyes, which are boring into his skin. He feels his face heat up and he mentally kicks himself for being stupid enough to not turn the lights off before they laid down. It’s nearly impossible for Even to miss the blush spreading across his cheeks. 

 

He’s laid down with men before, but he’s never been this consumed, this intoxicated. He’s never felt anything quite like this before. 

 

And he admits, Even’s probably right. It’s been awhile since he talked about his issues so openly and now that he’s remembering things from his past, it’s making those same issues larger than they used to be. And ever since he ended therapy, he hadn’t really spoken much about any of it. Not even to Jonas, his best friend. And certainly not to his parents, who you couldn’t even call a support system if you even so much as tried to find some sort of light there. They were seemingly non existent by this point.

 

And it’s important that Isak doesn’t rely heavily on Even, that he doesn’t become codependent, but he can let Even in. He knows that now. He trusts him.

 

And Even trusts him right back. That was so much as clear today, when he told him about his bipolar disorder. Isak’s still inherently proud of him for doing so. He can imagine what reactions he must have gotten in the past.

 

Or, you know, some stranger telling him mentally ill people just fuck up people’s lives.

 

Which is the farthest thing from the truth, the absolute biggest lie he’s ever fucking told, because sometimes—no, fuck that—most of the time, mentally ill people are the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Because they understand. Maybe not fully, but to an extent greater than those who can only sympathize. Make no mistake, those people are wonderful as well, but when people have walked similar shoes to you, have been in the same place as you, there’s just some sort of connection there that manifests itself all on its own. And this way you can find strength in each other’s endeavors. 

 

And sometimes, your brain decides to create a connection when you least expect it. When you’ve been fighting on your own and shouting into the void for some sort of savior, a mess of “Why me?” and “Why can’t I be normal?” and —

 

What’s so wrong with me? Why can’t I be loved?

 

And you need answers, you pray for any type of answer, any type of guide or solution or what have you, and normally nothing comes. Sometimes you feel like you’ll be stuck forever.


And then Even found him looking somber over piles of ice cream containers in some random supermarket, and Isak’s snarky ass claimed him as his own before he even knew that he wanted to have him. 

 

And Isak wants Even. He wants him so bad it hurts. 

 

At the time, Even had guided him to the freezer that contained the cookie dough ice cream but what Isak didn’t know, was that Even was guiding him straight into his arms. 

 

This was more than a fake relationship. It had always been more than a fake relationship. This was some sort of connection that even Isak himself couldn’t explain.

 

But he’d been under Even’s spell since the second he laid eyes on him. 

 

Isak is jostled from the inner thoughts in his mind when Even reaches out and strokes the side of his cheek lightly with his fingers.

 

Isak sighs, and he feels warm all over. He could lay here forever with Even just caressing his face and he’d be perfectly content. 

 

“You sound like you’re talking from experience,” eventually Isak murmurs. It comes out more like a purr though, as if he were a cat getting its head scratched. 

 

Even freezes slightly but then lets his body relax back into the duvet.

 

“Sometimes my depressive episodes get pretty bad. Where I don’t really talk the entire day and I just lie in bed and sleep.”

 

Isak shuffles closer to Even so that this time their chests are touching. He can feel Even’s heartbeat, how it stutters the minute the two of their bodies are pressed against each other. Isak’s sure his heart is matching a similar beat. 

 

“I’ll be here for all of it, Even. I’ll be here for you,” he tells him, before he leans his head up and kisses Even’s neck. Even shivers at the contact of Isak’s lips against his skin, and Isak smiles, knowing that he has that type of effect on him. 

 

“Can I ask you something?” Even says, voice wavering.

 

“Anything.”

 

“How did you know about the bipolar? Like, not that I was dealing with stuff, but like…I mentioned episodes and you didn’t even blink an eye. Why?”

 

Isak reaches for Even’s hand and squeezes it.

 

“I had a friend in high school. I haven’t talked to him that much since we graduated, but his mom’s bipolar. He explained to me what that meant once. So, that’s kind of why I knew what you were talking about. And as for knowing you weren’t okay—I might have seen you take some medication this one morning but I was too scared to ask you about it. I didn’t want to push you.”

 

Even goes limp next to him, burying himself further into the duvet, if that was even possible. Isak reaches for Even’s face this time and starts stroking it with his fingers. 

 

“You know you’re amazing, Isak. Absolutely incredible,” Even whispers, moving his face inches closer to Isak’s. Isak’s breath hitches. 

 

If he even moved just a little bit, his lips would be ghosting Even’s. They’d share that long awaited kiss and then—well who knows what would happen afterwards. Isak’s just too hyped up to care.

 

But he’s also shaken from the heavy topics of today, and his thoughts, and he knows this isn’t the right time. If they’re going to kiss, he wants it to be perfect. 

 

He draws his face back a bit and says groggily, “Big spoon or little spoon?”

 

Even chuckles and bites his lip.

 

“Baby, I can be whatever spoon you want me to be. I can even be a spork if you asked.”

 

And that, just that—Isak can’t resist bursting into giggles at that remark. Even’s so fucking stupid, he’s half determined to push him straight off the bed but the majority of him just wants to pull him even closer.

 

When the laughter dies down, Isak hums, “I think I want to be the little spoon tonight. Can I?”

 

“Of course you can,” Even smiles, and then pulls Isak into him, as Isak rests his head on Even’s chest.

 

This is right, it feels so right. This is exactly where he should be in this moment. 

 

He finds peace in the slow movements of Even’s chest heaving up and down and the erratic heartbeat his ribs are trying desperately to contain, but Isak knows. 

 

He knows because his ribs are doing the exact same thing. And this comfortableness, this warmth—this must be what heaven feels like.

 

It has to be, because Isak hasn’t touched a piece of heaven in his entire life. It’d been more like skidding across the line from reality to hell. 

 

Isak lets out a heavy breath as he relaxes more into Even’s embrace.

 

“You know,” he drawls, jabbing Even in the chest with his finger, “You still haven’t explained to me how you know Sana, mister.”

 

Even chuckles and Isak feels the vibration beneath him and it’s like music to his ears.

 

“Tomorrow, baby. For now, let’s just sleep. I want to fall asleep holding you.”

 

Isak lifts his head to ask, “Why?”

 

“Because I’m never letting go.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Lørdag 13/4/19

 

Isak woke up that morning engulfed in warmth, cradled in Even’s arms. It was a stark difference to any of his previous mornings, where he’d tossed and turned in bed for around an hour, debating about leaving it or not. With his depression, many times he’d just laid in bed for most of the day, only getting up to reach for some shitty food from his cupboards and then he’d return to his dark den and snuggle under his duvet. 

 

His blankets were his source of warmth then, contrasted to the chill his uncomfortable thoughts were always leaving down his spine, but now, he was almost on the verge of sweating. He could feel Even’s hair tickling the back of his neck as he’d rested his head there, and every time Even took a breath, his chest would push into Isak’s back ever so slightly. If that wasn’t enough to make Isak’s head spin—he’d been deprived of comfort and touch for so long, it seemed—the death grip Even currently had around Isak’s skinny body was not the only reason Isak was finding it hard to breathe.

 

Being this intimate, with someone like Even, who knew so many personal things about him, who had been opened up to his past and had stayed despite it all, left Isak flustered and strictly dumbfounded. He had to resist the urge to reach over to his phone on the nightstand to try and take a picture, capturing the moment—the moment he knew there’d be no turning back—because he wasn’t sure this would always be a normal occurrence for them. He wanted it to be, oh god, he wanted it so badly. But being deeply burned before had Isak questioning things he normally wouldn’t have second thoughts about, had left invisible scars on his skin.

 

Isak had never been shown such innocent and loving affection by anyone before he’d met Even, not even from Christian. Christian had never really been too focused on Isak’s happiness, on Isak’s pleasure, and so on. And previous to that, his parents were always focused on themselves and their issues. Though, he didn’t completely blame his mom anymore, especially after he’d been struck with mental health issues himself and he knew there were just some things the brain did that humans could not control no matter how much they wanted to. He mostly felt sorry for her now. And guilty, for leaving her when she was vulnerable. But, he was vulnerable too, a teenager who was in no position to take care of an undiagnosed mental patient by himself, so his mother was abandoned. His father, being his utmost egregious self, packed up a few things and left before Isak had, not once considering the situation he was leaving for both Isak and his mom to deal with. 

 

His dad was a selfish bastard, who took any opportunity to throw disgusting shit in his mother’s face, and when that wasn’t enough for him, he’d turn his words onto Isak, and during high school, it sometimes left Isak rushing to Jonas’s house in the middle of night and begging for help to escape that environment. 

 

They weren’t close with any relatives or family friends. They never were, which was a fate mostly created by his father once again. No one knew what went on behind The Valtersen’s doors. And now that Isak’s been gone for years, he doesn’t know either.

 

And he’s not sure he wants to, even if the guilt sometimes creeps through his bloodstream and makes him feel that heavy regret. But he never goes back, hasn’t ever since, and the relationship is disconnected so much so that his parents don’t even know that he’s gay. Maybe if he showed up suddenly to each of their residences and yelled, “Surprise! I’m gay!” or sent them both postcards saying, “I like dick!” or something, maybe they’d actually start caring about him. Even if it would just enforce negative reactions. 

 

But all of that aside, Isak shouldn’t be thinking so deeply about his issues with his parents when he has Even next to him and he’s breathing into the ticklish skin right behind his ear and making Isak shiver from his head to his toes, and maybe it’s the soft little laughter he barely registers that knocks him from his thoughts and causes him to involuntarily smile.

 

Even’s awake. Perhaps he has been for awhile, Isak’s unsure how long he’d actually spent digging around in his brain. 

 

Isak turns slightly towards him and sighs when he’s face to face with the most beautiful human being he’s ever seen, unable to believe that he’s so close to claiming this human as his, and only his.

 

Isak doesn’t say anything since Even’s eyes are still closed, just reaches out to tangle a few of his fingers through his hair as Even hums, clearly enjoying his mini scalp massage. Isak would give him a million scalp massages to see Even this at peace for as long as possible. 

 

His eyes are still shut, but shaking slightly, and Isak can’t help but find that the most adorable thing he’s ever seen. Even’s all sleepy and comfy and he’s purring like a cat and Isak’s fucking gone. He’s so fucking gone it’s almost unbelievable, and Isak moves absentmindedly to pepper a kiss to Even’s slightly sweaty forehead.

 

Chill? Isak has none. Nope.

 

He immediately thinks that might have been too fast—this is the first time they’d laid in bed together, after all—but Even smiles so wide and Isak’s remembering that you’ve seen the outline of his hard dick before you dumb fuck, so no, this isn’t fast at all. If anything it’s too fucking slow but Isak’s still crumbling underneath the sweetness of it all. 

 

This is completely new territory to him. To have someone like this that he can caress and hold and you know, not be mistreated by…it’s new, and it’s terrifying but absolutely exhilarating. He’s about to fucking burst just from his lips against Even’s skin that his mind can’t even think about Even’s lips on his own right now. Nope. That’s a short circuit, right there. Straight down to rock bottom. Or, no—straight up to heaven, more like. 

 

He already feelings like he’s floating on his way there. 

 

“I can hear you thinking from all the way over here,” Even mumbles in a groggy, sleepy voice, and Isak all but melts against him.

 

“All the way over there? You’re practically on top of me,” Isak laughs.

 

“I can be all the way on top of you, if you want,” Even says mischievously, eyes suddenly more open than before. Isak looks up at his face just as Even winks back down at him.

 

Isak snorts, “Yeah, because all first kisses should be subject to morning breath.”

 

Even rolls onto his back, away from Isak, scoffing as if offended.

 

“You’re accusing me of morning breath?!” he quakes.

 

“Everyone has morning breath, oh my god.”

 

“I bet your morning breath smells beautiful,” Even says, smiling brightly at Isak.

 

Isak rolls his eyes and playfully shoves Even.

 

“That was the most backward-ass compliment I have ever received.”

 

“Well at least I compliment you! All you ever do is insult me,” Even pouts, crossing his arms.

 

What a fucking child, Isak thinks. But in honesty, he’s only falling even further.

 

Or floating. Fuck.

 

“Stop being a baby,” Isak reprimands.

 

“I’m your baby and you’re my baby,” Even coos, quickly grabbing for Isak and pulling him closer. Isak gasps at the sudden closeness, his heart beating out of his chest.

 

If this is what sleeping with Even every night is going to be like, then Lord help him.

 

Which—slow the fuck down, Isak—Even doesn’t actually live here! With you! Once again! This could be just a one time thing. For awhile. Who fucking knows.

 

Sure as hell not you.

 

Isak’s about to ask Even a question regarding that whole situation when his phone buzzes on the side table next to him. He turns around in Even’s arms and leans over a bit to reach for it. 

 

He thinks it might be Jonas, or Sana maybe, about biology, or one of his casual hookups he’d had during the messy month spent post breakup from Christian. He’d been so caught up with everything that was EvenEvenEven that the last thing he’d expected to receive was a text message from Christian in the middle of all of it.

 

Isak doesn’t open it, he can’t with Even laying right next to him, and he’s almost tempted to pretend he didn’t even see it amongst the other notifications on his phone, but Even had gone completely rigid next to him and he could now physically feel Even’s body heat rising. 

 

So, that option was out of the window. He’s sure a text message from Christian was last thing Even had ever expected as well. 

 

Isak does nothing but freezes, opens his mouth a few times only to shut it again, not sure what his next move should be. He feels exposed, because anyone in their right mind would have blocked their emotionally abusive ex the minute they’d escaped from their grasp—but Isak hadn’t. He hadn’t because no matter what people believed, it was never just that easy. 

 

There’s silence for longer than Isak would like and he’s about to say something before Even beats him to it.

 

“He still texts you?” he asks, voice cold and short. Clearly not amused. 

 

Isak feels like he simply cannot move his lips, so he just nods slowly, and shuffles away from Even slightly. 

 

“You haven’t blocked him?”

 

Isak shakes his head no. 

 

“Can I ask why?”

 

Even’s focusing his gaze on Isak’s face and Isak, on the other hand, is too focused on looking literally anywhere else. He feels ashamed.

 

He shouldn’t feel ashamed, but he does. And that’s the sad truth of his reality. Of his short-lived happy bubble being broken by a single text.

 

Isak sighs, griping his phone to his chest.

 

“It’s—it’s complicated,” he manages to choke out, and coughs. 

 

Even lets go of his solid stance and gives him a sad, encouraging smile.

 

“It always is,” he says. 

 

“I just don’t want you to think I’m weak,” Isak blurts out, and then gasps at his own words, casting his eyes downward.

 

Too honest, too fucking honest. Good job, Isak, way to come through.

 

Even reaches over and grips Isak’s bicep, lifts his chin up then, piercing blue eyes into Isak’s green ones.

 

“When I told you that you were a solution, Isak, I meant it. You’re not a project needing fixing. You’re the survivor of abuse. You’re writing a story to its conclusion, your own story. You’re fighting, you’re strong. And you’ve gotten help along the way, but this is your story, Isak. This is your pen, your paper, your life. You’re the director. And the last thing you have ever been or will ever be is weak. Okay?”

 

Even’s words are so invigorating and pure and honest and pleading that Isak almost completely believes him. He’s this close, but there’s still a nagging part of him that wants to throw that pen or marker to someone else and watch his life go up in flames. 

 

But Even, fucking Even Bech Næsheim, makes him believe that maybe he can actually do this. Live a life not constantly crippled with trauma from his past. He can heal.

 

All he’s ever wanted since the start of university and the downhill of his mental health was to heal. Was to mend his broken heart and his broken brain. To be okay.

 

And it’s starting to become even clearer to Isak now that Even might be the glue that fastens everything back together. That him and Isak can do this together, like they’d promised each other previously.

 

They’ve got themselves and they’ve got a definite shoulder to lean on and Even—he’s a solution, too. Fuck, not just that, but—but he’s the man of Isak’s dreams. Like, deep down and in every universe, their souls just understand each other. It’s been almost too easy between them for any other explanation, and Isak’s a firm believer in the parallel universe theory. 

 

So, now he’s wondering why they’d just barely missed each other so many months ago at Christian’s party. Why dangle such a great thing in front of their faces and then snatch it away?

What does it mean?

 

“You don’t have to block him, now, Isak,” Even’s gravely voice breaks through his subconsciousness, “But I think it’d be a good idea if we worked up to that, together.”

 

Isak’s almost too overwhelmed, now. He throws his phone back onto the side table and curls himself back into Even’s chest.

 

Home, is the word that’s written all over Even’s body and his face and his lips, especially his lips, fuck—and Isak wants to feel rather than see it, all around himself, feel it in his bones, like the simple word is a blanket for all of his insecurities and doubts and mistreatments and Isak’s never liked the word before, given his past, but Even could very well be his future and his present and perhaps a revelation and —

 

He’s right fucking here, all Isak would have to do is move centimeters forward and taste the beautiful word that’s been so out of his reach for his entire life, right on his lips—

 

But Isak’s phone beeps again, and he stays right where he is.

 

 


 

 

Mandag 15/4/19

 

“So what’s it like being my personal bodyguard?” Isak muses as he takes his seat next to Sana, who’s scrolling through her phone.

 

Sana is silent for a few moments as she glances up at Isak, her eyes squinting, perhaps testing the waters. Putting the pieces together.

 

“I’ve had better gigs,” she sighs eventually. Isak smiles.

 

“Don’t pretend like I haven’t saved your ass in this class multiple times already. Honestly, Sana, how did you get through the midterm without me?”

 

Sana glares at him, one of those death stares she’s perfected over time.

 

“Shouldn’t you instead be asking how you got through midterms without me? The only reason you’re doing so well now is because I’ve kept your little in-class distraction away from you,” she fires back.

 

Isak shakes his head, eyes flitting back and forth. She’s right, Christian hasn’t approached him in biology ever since Sana had taken the seat next to him. And with Isak’s added focus on Even, he doesn’t have such a big urge to continuously glance at him seated in the back of the room. 

 

“How have you been keeping him away from me?” Isak asks, curious. He’s still not sure he’s okay with the whole protection setup Even secretly secured around him. But he has to admit, it has definitely been helping him focus much better in class.

 

Sana snorts next to him, “That’s easy. I’m intimidating, he’s just scared.”

 

And while that’s objectively true, Isak finds that explanation to be quite vague. He raises his eyebrows at Sana, inviting her to continue. After a beat, she does.

 

“My hijab makes him uncomfortable. It’s blatantly obvious.”

 

And yeah, Christian might be islamaphobic, it’s very likely true once again—he’s sure said some questionable shit to Isak while they’d been together—but that can’t be the deciding factor against—

 

“I also know things, so. There’s that,” Sana finishes. 

 

She knows things. Okay. 

 

“What kinds of things?” Isak asks.

 

“Things that could get him and his friends in a lot of trouble.”

 

“Things I don’t know about?”

 

Sana cringes, “I’d be really surprised if you did.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Well, that would say a lot about you as a person and who you choose to get romantically involved with.”

 

“So, he hid shit from me,” Isak huffs, throwing his hands up in the air in exasperation, “He’s not a good person Sana, I know that better than anyone, now.”

 

“No, but you are.”

 

“Are what?”

 

Sana shrugs, “A good person, as far as I can tell. Otherwise I wouldn’t let you within five feet of Even. The boy has been through enough shit in his life, and if I thought you were just going to add to that, I wouldn’t allow it.”

 

Isak chokes back a laugh at her blatant honesty and need to have control over situations. He can relate. 

 

“Does Even consult you on these things?” Isak teases, “Does he ask you for permission?”

 

“Only when he’s being smart and not thinking with his dick,” Sana concludes, smiling, her bright white teeth showing between her dark red lips and oh, okay, she’s joking right with him.

 

This time Isak lets himself laugh fully and openly. 

 

“Besides, I just look out for the people that I care about. It’s kind of my thing.”

 

“Is that why Even asked you to protect me? In this class?” Isak questions.

 

Sana gives him a look, “Oh, he didn’t ask me to do anything.”

 

What?

 

“What?” Isak sputters, “Then why did you…?”

 

Why are you doing this, then.

 

As Isak trails off, Sana smirks and winks in his direction.

 

Isak’s brain is currently rewiring while simultaneously throwing itself through a loop. If Even didn’t request that she look out for him, then Sana did it all by herself, on her own free will. Isak suddenly feels undeserving and most of all, Sana’s been misunderstood inside his brain this entire time. He thinks back to the cactus Eva had gotten her and further appreciates the sentiment of it all. 

 

“Surprised someone as cold as me could be so compassionate?” Sana says, directing her attention now to her biology textbook. Class is about to start.

 

At first, Isak thinks she might be mad—but when he looks over to her, her facial expressions aren’t screwed tight and she isn’t frowning. On the contrary, she’s smiling, a knowing smile, a you thought this one thing about me for so long but I am the opposite of so many things you may believe smile, a there are so many things you have yet to learn smile, an it’s okay smile. Isak wills himself to nod and smile back, returning the gesture. 

 

It’s the least he can do.

 

 


 

 

Tirsdag 16/4/19

 

even:

 

(07.55) you don’t have class today

 

isak:

 

(07.58) did you really wake me up at 8am just to tell me that i don’t have class

 

which 1 you ALREADY knew and 2 now i’m ready to throw hands

 

even:

 

(08.01) i woke up thinking about you

 

(08.02) sweating

 

isak:

 

(08.04) um okay?

 

even:

 

(08.04) just…your lips isak holy fuck

 

i was so hard

 

isak:

 

(08.07) even

 

(08.08) shit it’s too early for this

 

even:

 

(08.11) my thoughts exactly but my dick wasn’t having it!!!

 

i’m so desperate for you baby

 

(08.12) i want you so bad

 

you’re always on my mind

 

even when i’m sleeping

 

isak:

 

(08.13) fuck i want you too

 

(08.15) shit you gave me a boner

 

even:

 

(08.15) ;)

 

i’d send you a dick pic to help but i kind of…already got myself off

 

isak:

 

(08.16) send it anyway

 

i wanna see you baby

 

even:

 

(08.17) someone’s shameless when they’re horny

 

isak:

 

(08.17) fuck off

 

even:

 

(08.18) besides what’s the point in sending a picture when you’re just going to see it in person anyway ;)

 

isak:

 

(08.18) tease

 

even:

 

(08.19) you love it

 

isak:

 

(08.20) no actually i hate you so much

 

for giving me a fucking boner when i should be asleep right now

 

even:

 

(08.20) oh don’t pretend like you haven’t gotten off thinking about me before

 

(08.21) about my body pressed against yours

 

skin on skin

 

(08.22) my mouth around your dick

 

isak:

 

(08.22) fucking hell

 

even:

 

(08.23) you don’t need a picture baby i can make you come with just my words

 

isak:

 

(08.27) you’re not wrong

 

even:

 

(08.27) ;D

 

isak:

 

(08.29) fuck

 

even:

 

(08.30) did you come?

 

isak:

 

(08.30) fuck even you know i did

 

even:

 

(08.31) pics or it didn’t happen :p

 

isak:

 

(08.31) oh my GOD i hate you 

 

even:

 

(08.32) that’s not a very nice thing to say to someone who just helped you have an orgasm :’((

 

isak:

 

(08.33) you’re actually the worst

 

like

 

even:

 

(08.34) thanks :DD

 

so do we sext now

 

(08.35) is that a thing ;)

 

isak:

 

(08.37) oh i don’t know Even! when are you going to kiss me!

 

that could make or break this entire thing

 

even:

 

(08.39) whys that

 

isak:

 

(08.42) because i don’t even know if you’re a good kisser or not

 

(08.43) what if you suck and i have to ‘break up’ with you

 

even:

 

(08.45) i do suck but not at kissing ;)

 

isak:

 

(08.45) wow

 

WOW

 

(08.46) i’m not sure i believe you

 

even:

 

(08.49) what if i took the tram to your apartment right now and showed you just how good of a kisser i actually am

 

isak:

 

(08.50) no stopppp i look so gross in the mornings

 

especially at the ass crack of dawn

 

even:

 

(08.51) you never look gross isak

 

you’re the beautifulest

 

(08.52) plus i’ve seen you in the morning plenty of times now

 

isak:

 

(08.53) 10am me is different from 8am me

 

two completely different people

 

even:

 

(08.55) fine prevent me from meeting all of the isaks in the universe then

 

i’d let you meet all of my evens

 

isak:

 

(08.57) would you? like honestly

 

even:

 

(09.00) i think so

 

i mean there’s always sides of ourselves we don’t want to show people

 

(09.01) like i’m scared for you to see me during an episode

 

manic or depressive

 

(09.02) but you make me want to let you

 

everything just seems so easy with you

 

(09.04) idk if i’m making any sense

 

am i making sense to you?

 

(09.07) isak?

 

isak:

 

(09.09) yes

 

you are sorry

 

(09.10) it means a lot to me that you trust me like that

 

thank you

 

and you know i’d stand by you through anything

 

like i’m always here

 

even:

 

(09.12) this got really deep for a conversation that started because of a wet dream that i had lol

 

isak:

 

(09.13) that’s kind of our thing though

 

i like being able to joke and be serious with you

 

(09.14) and not have to worry that i’ll misstep and you’ll get angry and well

 

you know

 

it’s just really freeing to feel that way

 

(09.15) i’ve never felt like that before

 

even:

 

(09.17) i know

 

me either

 

you’re really special to me isak

 

don’t ever forget that, okay?

 

isak:

 

(09.19) you’re special to me too even

 

thank you so much for everything <3

 

even:

 

(09.20) of course baby

 

isak:

 

(09.20) also side note i get really sleepy after orgasm 

 

even:

 

(09.21) you should go back to bed

 

get some sleep in that insomniac body of yours

 

isak:

 

(09.21) i’ll text you later

 

even:

 

(09.22) sweet dreams!!

 

isak:

 

(09.23) <3

 

even:

 

(09.23) <333

 

 


 

 

Fredag 19/4/19

 

Isak thinks maybe he should have planned the night better before he’d subjected Even to his routine of dousing himself in alcohol and simultaneously not giving a single fuck for the rest of the night.

 

Though, his quick memory of a certain bar and a certain few choice words has him squandering that self-doubt pretty quickly.

 

Even’s already seen Isak be a mess. That’s pretty much ingrained into his personality at this point. It’s fine

 

What Isak wasn’t going to do, however, was influence Even to become a part of his mess. And now Isak’s having anxiety over needing to control his inhibitions and you know, not be a bad influence for once in his life. 

 

Now that barriers are being removed between him and Even on the daily, it’s worrying that he won’t be able to play the part. That he’ll be too screwed up to be anyone’s significant other after everything that’s happened. 

 

Remind him to send a ‘thank you’ letter to Christian’s address for his current mindset.

 

When Even arrives at Isak’s apartment, wearing his usual attire—jean jacket, check, pair of skinnies, check, little green sketchbook(?), check, and if Isak smiles to himself when Even can’t see at this cute addition he’ll tell no one ever in his life—he seems pretty over the whole idea already.

 

Or, that’s how Isak interprets his bouncing feet and distracted gazing.

 

The two of them sit silently on the couch together and suddenly it’s too much, having Even here, after the intimacy of last weekend. It’s overwhelming and scary and Isak puts as much distance between him and Even as he possibly can in hopes that maybe he’ll be able to calm down then. 

 

It’s wonderful in theory, but fails in practice.

 

“What do you normally do before parties?” Even asks, breaking the looming quietness. He’s watching Isak cautiously, ticking his every movement, and it’s this that makes Isak think Even may be just as nervous as he is, if not more. 

 

Isak gulps. He’s starting to sweat, and Jesus Christ—did the fucking heater decide to kick in or what—he needs to end this, and fast. Before Even asks him more questions, like why he has to change his clothes or something.

 

“Uh, I usually pregame with Jonas and drink a couple of beers,” Isak answers, clicking his tongue as if to finish his statement.

 

And if this doesn’t further signify the distance between the two of them—which is a solid two feet, at most, considering how small Isak’s budget couch is—and don’t take this the wrong way, Isak isn’t chastising Even for not drinking, but shaming himself for not having any self control when it comes to alcohol. 

 

He’d normally blame his childhood and Christian, but tonight, he’s blaming himself. 

 

Because now the pleasant side effects of intoxication aren’t there to ease Isak’s mind, where it usually would be, and he could use some liquid courage right about now, and about every time he’s so much as two feet within Even’s embrace.

 

Granted, he could just get up and walk to the other side of the room, but the stupid, touchy-feely part of him doesn’t want to do that at all. In fact, his heart is two seconds from jumping out of his chest and planting itself right on top Even, anywhere and everywhere, all of him. If his heart could swallow Even whole, then it probably would have by now. 

 

Isak should be thankful that that isn’t scientifically possible, but he’s caught himself teetering in the middle, between out-of-breath desire and passive nonchalance. And if he could just make a fucking decision already, just fucking pick a goddamn side—

 

“Oh.”

 

It comes out like an unamused hum that got itself lodged in Even’s throat, and this is awkward, it’s so awkward, abort, abort, abort, abort—

 

And yet stay, stay, stay

 

And now he’s gripping the edges of his throw pillow, biting his lips to keep himself from screaming, he’s like a teapot ready to spill absolutely everything—

 

But then Even keeps talking, and it’s like he’s saved Isak from himself without even knowing.

 

“I have an idea.”

 

“Hm?” Is Isak’s immediate reaction, it’s a habit he’s formed in situations as such when he needs a bit longer to think before speaking actual, decipherable words.

 

“Let’s get out of here.”

 

It’s an ominous statement but Isak’s thanking whatever God that might be out there for this disguised silver-lining. 

 

Thank you, for making Even the impulsive fucker that he is.

 

“Where?” Isak spits out, as Even is already making his way over to Isak’s front door, and unlike Even, who didn’t take off any of his layers when he’d came in, Isak follows and reaches for his green bomber jacket that’s hanging on his coatrack. 

 

It’s amazing, really, how Even just always seems to be ready for anything and how Isak seems to always need to the time to settle things before jumping in—and perhaps this is why they work.

 

Though, he takes one look at Even’s styled blond locks and swoons at the fact that he has to look up, just ever so slightly, to reach his eyes head-on and thinks that there’s definitely more to their connection than just that. 

 

Even wiggles his eyebrows at Isak once they’re both looking at each other and smiles mischievously.

 

“Anywhere,” he says, and he opens the front door after Isak pats his pockets, making sure to at least bring his cell phone and his keys.

 

It’s a Friday night nearing the end of April in the heart of Oslo, and he’s with Even, the king—no, the master—of making plans (or so he’s mentioned, to Isak, multiple times and on several occasions, after Isak’s scolded him for stealing his lines) and well, there’s no telling what exactly Even has in mind. If he has anything in mind at all. 

 

He’s impulsive and reckless and that’s where him and Even match up—their recklessness paired together could potentially be a recipe for disaster but if there’s a chance they’ll both die, Isak’s pretty sure there’s no one else he’d rather go out with. If this is it, then he’s just happy to have Even by his side as they near the end with a bang.

 

It’s only around ten and the city is only just approaching darkness as Even and Isak enter the streets. The nice thing about Isak’s apartment is that it’s near Frognerplass so that it’s very, very close to the city center. Which is where people would argue that all of the magic happens. 

 

He has yet to be invited into Even’s apartment, but he knows it’s not as remote as his own. He also knows it isn’t as nice, and while he’s unsure of where Even gets his finances from, Isak is still living off of his Dad’s charity money which he used to hate but now thinks he deserves, if anything.

 

It’s a really nice night for a walk, Isak notes, and he finds himself reaching over for Even’s hand, almost instinctively, as if the motion is ingrained inside of Isak’s body. Which, if he’s to the point where his actions around Even don’t have any mathematical calculations beforehand, than that’s terrifying, and he’s truly fucked. He should just give up now and let the dams go, let everything rush in. 

 

Even grips his hand in return, and Isak’s thinking it’s a start.

 

“Did you plan this?” Isak asks, finding that his voice is much smoother than it was before, that the openness of the night air has given him some room to breathe.

 

Even furrows his brows, “Plan what?” 

 

“This, wherever we’re going right now,” Isak lifts his free hand to gesture around them.

 

He watches the gears click in Even’s brain and then Even’s laughing and swinging their connected arms and hands aimlessly. 

 

“Isak, I might be the master,” he coughs, for dramatic effect, “of planning things, but even I didn’t think to plan you not having a plan for our plans.”

 

Isak rolls his eyes.

 

“It’s not that I didn’t have a plan—excuse you—it’s just that we normally watch some tragic romance movie and like, chill at my apartment. But then you said yes to accompanying me at a party and you never go to parties so now I don’t know how to act.”

 

Wow, Isak, points for being too honest yet again.

 

Even doesn’t tease him, however. He smiles knowingly and swipes his thumb across Isak’s skin and it’s this combination that sets Isak on fire despite the chill of the late night breeze.

 

“You know I only said yes because I wanted to spend time with you, right?”

 

Isak halts. And he knows he shouldn’t, that this shouldn’t come as such a surprise to him, it shouldn’t feel like a punch in the gut, in a beautifully twisted way, but it does. He’d gotten half used to himself being painfully honest whenever Even’s around him that Even flipping the honesty card right back at him in this moment had caught him off guard. 

 

Since they’re holding hands, Even is brought to a stop as well. He whirls almost gracefully around to face Isak and dammit, does the man ever do anything that’s less than perfect in Isak’s eyes.

 

“Why?” Isak ponders, genuinely confused. He thinks he knows the answer that’s about to leave Even’s mouth but he needs to hear him say it. He doesn’t know why but he just has to.

 

And there’s Even’s smile again. The blinding whiteness of his teeth mixed with the childlike excitement written all over his face should be illegal. If not for the entire world, then at least in Norway. In his free time, Isak should contact the local government and see if that can be arranged, you know, if not for the citizen’s safety then for the safety of Isak himself. 

 

“It’s no secret that I like you.”

 

Even’s voice has a trace of humor behind it, but not like he’s laughing at Isak. More like he’s addressing the dancing they’ve been doing around each other without crossing the lines of PG to PG-13, and certainly not R. He’s addressing it with his tone instead of words, because his words speak truths Isak’s already known and his tone expresses just as much as any the tragedy that is the fact that they haven’t even kissed yet.

 

Despite the both of them itching, dying to do so. 

 

But because of that, Isak doesn’t know how to reply. He’s not sure what he’s allowed to say, really, that wouldn’t either make it awkward or plunge him deep within waters he’d been previously content just skating the surface. 

 

And by content, he means safe. Careful. 

 

So what does Isak do? He laughs. Chuckling nervously, he squeezes Even’s hand and notices that his palm is starting to become gross and sweaty. 

 

The silence is awkward for only a few seconds more before Even’s entire face lights up and he’s ushering Isak over to a rack of bikes. 

 

As soon as they’d reached the Rent-A-Bike station, leaving Isak a bit out of a breath from running and Even heaving from excitement, Even let go of Isak’s hand to hop on one of the seats and then he begins adjusting for his height. 

 

Which, okay, if Even had really wanted to ride bikes tonight they could have just used Isak’s from the get-go, he has one sitting in storage at his apartment after all. It’s not as nice as these light blue-tinted ones, but it would have done the job. 

 

“What are you doing?” Isak asks, bewildered. He’s standing behind Even so that Even has to look over his shoulder to respond. 

 

“What’s it look like I’m doing? I’m renting a bike.”

 

“But why?”

 

“Because it’s fun. Now get on,” Even orders, patting the space behind him. 

 

Oh.

 

If anything, Isak had expected Even to request that Isak rent his own bike, he hadn’t really thought that the two of them would ride together. That Isak would most likely have to sit with his chest against Even’s back, his arms wrapping around Even’s middle. Holding on to keep them balanced. Holding on for his life. 

 

It never occurred to Isak how intimate bicycles can be, had never really given it a second thought. Not that he’d ever been in this position before, with anyone, ever. He and friends had always ridden their own bikes and it’s not like any one night stands he’d ever had had asked him to bike them home, or anything. 

 

Even unlocks the bike from it’s hold on the front wheel by some force of magic—Isak has no idea how these things work—and starts moving backwards, which propels Isak to move out of the way. 

 

“I have no idea what’s happening right now,” Isak mutters, shaking his head. 

 

Even’s eyes are shining in the impending moonlight.

 

“Just get on the damn bike, Isak.”

 

“Why, though?”

 

Even laughs brightly, “Jeez, you’re so fucking stubborn.”

 

“You’re the one always telling me to be careful so this is me asking what I’m getting myself into!” Isak sputters, raising his hands to emphasize the message.

 

“I’ll kiss you if you get on this bike with me,” Even blurts, wiggling his eyebrows.

 

Isak scoffs, “Do you really think I’m that desperate?”

 

Even says nothing but keeps his gaze on Isak, boring his eyes into Isak’s own. And maybe it’s the jitters in Isak’s stomach that spark his reprieve, or maybe it’s the warmth in Even’s eyes that melt Isak’s walls down, but Isak finds himself run-walking over the rear of the bike and hopping on, his arms immediately circling Even’s middle.

 

He’s so warm, Isak thinks involuntarily. He’s always so warm, so inviting.

 

It’s as if the bright smile Even is wearing spreads throughout his entire body. He’s like the sun and Isak’s the moon and the two have met in a solar eclipse. 

 

“Ready?” Even murmurs, quieter now that Isak’s closer to him. Isak leans his head into Even’s back and nods, breathing in deep through his nostrils and surrounding himself in a mixture of the scents of spring breeze and Even. Isak thinks he could fall for Even’s smell alone.

 

They’re off, down the streets of Oslo, Even pedaling with extreme might and Isak trying not to let any tears fall from his wind-stricken eye sockets and onto Even’s clothing. It’s not his fault that cold gusts of air cause his eyes to water, but he’d rather not explain why there’s a giant wet spot situated right next to the hood poking out from underneath Even’s jean jacket. 

 

Isak doesn’t keep track of where they’re going—he’s way too high on the feeling of ecstasy and adrenaline to even slightly care—and he only lifts his head from Even’s back once the bike suddenly stops.

 

He’s quick to notice that they’re no longer surrounded by tall buildings but rather smaller houses, ones with yards in between. He’s about to ask Even why they’ve stopped when Even turns his head and speaks ahead of him.

 

“We should go jump,” he says, which confuses Isak until he follows Even’s trail of vision to a trampoline sitting inside the fences of someone’s backyard.

 

What?” 

 

“That’s what you do on a trampoline, isn’t it?” Even waggles his eyebrows once again at Isak as he steps off of the bike. Isak is still frozen, only letting his arms slide away from Even’s body. 

 

He watches as Even sets pace down the sidewalk and towards the trampoline for a few moments, before his brain catches up with his body and he’s shaking his head and thinking okay, we’re really doing this and so he drops the bike and follows him. 

 

“Are we really going to break into someone’s yard?” Isak hisses as soon as he’s back by Even’s side. He continues to walk with him until Even begins fumbling with the lock on the gate, taking out his keys and using various objects on them to try to get it to open.

 

“We’re not breaking in, Isak,” Even muses, “This is my aunt’s house. This is her yard.”

 

“Then why are you fucking with the damn lock and don’t have any actual keys?!”

 

Even turns to Isak with a smile once the lock clicks just right and the gate swings open.

 

He places his hands on either side of Isak’s face and that seems to calm Isak, a bit at least, as he’s forced to look nowhere except right back at Even.

 

“Relax. She’s just on vacation, okay?” Even murmurs, nuzzling his forehead against Isak’s. Isak lets out a huge breath and nod slowly. 

 

That’s all Even needs before he’s bounding through the open gate and climbing onto the trampoline and Isak has to basically run after him—those long legs of his really take him a great distance in such a short period of time—and then the two of them are jumping vigorously together, gleefully, and nothing stands still anymore.

 

Everything is everywhere and all at once so that Even is everywhere all at the same time, and given the fact that they are two grown adults and not two young children there isn’t much room on the trampoline to spread out, so it’s quite the battle for the two of them not to tangle limbs with one another. 

 

There’s whooshing noises and squeaks coming from the springs that are flooding Isak’s ears so loudly that he almost doesn’t hear Even demanding him to move out of the way, but he does, so he stands as close to the edge as possible as he watches Even jump high once, twice, and then proceed to complete a front flip and land it perfectly on his ass.

 

Isak’s never laughed harder than this. The entire night so far has been filled with adrenaline and laughter amidst genuine wonder and affection and Isak feels so, so very free.

 

He releases himself from Christian, cutting ties in an instant, and it almost knocks the wind out of him, this realization—but Even is looking at him like he’s simultaneously the bane of his existence and the mere reason for it—and Isak simply doesn’t care about a past or a future, because all of it, completely all of it, is right now, in this moment.

 

And right now he really wants to fucking show Even who the master actually is.

 

And so he ushers Even out of the way, tells him to shimmy to the side of the trampoline and just fucking watch, okay, just stand over there and watch how it’s done—and if their hands brush slightly as they pass each other on Even’s way over to the imaginary ‘bench’ then Isak’s not going to let it faze him, nope—and then Isak mimics Even’s movements from before, only jumping even higher, once, twice, flipping himself over and there, he’s done it, his feet just have to touch the mesh netting of the trampoline and then it’s over, and he wins—

 

And his feet do, they brush the mat ever so slightly until Isak’s realizes he’s severely overestimated his momentum, and fuck, now he’s lunging head first into the edge of the trampoline, about to get a face full of sharp metal and he hears Even gasp loudly in the background and then Isak’s screaming, “Nei!” and Even’s screaming “Nei!” and reaching for him quickly and Isak sees his life flash before his eyes, it truly is going to be over

 

But Even’s fast, and he grabs what he can of Isak’s body and tugs him backwards, so suddenly that instead of toppling forward Isak is now barreling towards Even’s body and the whole encounter ends with the two of them, absolutely tangled together and splayed out on the mesh, settling with Even’s back in the middle of the trampoline and Isak laying right on top of him.

 

And then everything just stops for a moment. Heavy breathing and eyes that were filled with dread and worry now filled with fire, the tiny squeak of the trampoline going static heard in the distance and it’s hot, the looks the two of them are giving each other and Isak pauses and waits as Even opens his mouth and yells,

 

“Isak! You have to spot your landing! You almost fucking died!”

 

And really, it’s more of a breathless scold that temporarily breaks the spell and Isak pats Even’s chest and rolls his eyes and chuckles.

 

“I didn’t almost die. Stop being fucking dramatic.”

 

Isak feels Even’s breathing slow just a bit as he focuses back on Even’s face, Even, who is now looking up at him with dark eyes, darker than Isak’s ever seen him wear before—

 

“Seriously, you have to be more careful,” Even lectures, voice much quieter now, and he swears he sees Even’s eyes falter just a tad and Isak really could just fucking punch him right now—because fuck that, fuck being careful, fuck everything

 

“Maybe I don’t want to be careful, Even,” he laments, “Maybe it’s time I let myself fall.”

 

And he watches as Even’s eyes widen ever so slightly, drinking Isak in and Isak gives him a look as if to say yes, yes, yes, I am saying what you think I’m saying, just please let me—

 

“Can you at least start with something that won’t break your fucking neck?”

 

And okay, if he’s really going to keep going on about this, then Isak will get up and off of him right now, he really will, and it doesn’t matter that he can feel Even’s arm begin to snake around his waist, he’ll just forget about all of it—

 

“Like what?” He breathes the words, and flicks his eyes down to Even’s lips, which are much closer to his own than they were before, which, um, when did that happen?

 

But if Even is going to lay here and say something like, “Try golf!” or some other dumb shit he surely would say, then maybe Isak will just slap him like the idiot he is and get on the bike and just pedal away—

 

“Something like this.”

 

And then, just like before, the fire is back as Even swiftly presses his lips against Isak’s, somehow tucking his bottom lip expertly between Isak’s two thin lips, and it’s closed-mouthed but so, so fucking good and Isak’s knees might be scraping from the roughness of the mesh trampoline but at least his lips are moving against a surface much, much softer and okay, if Isak were to have died tonight, it would have been from this, this feeling burning inside of his stomach and not from breaking bones from landing on the hard ground.

 

Isak opens his lips slowly, testing the waters to see if Even’s okay with it—and he most certainly is, because as soon as Isak’s lips are moving then Even’s are, frantically, as if he were a man starved, and Isak understands because he’s been starving himself of this pleasure for so fucking long that getting to have it is the greatest luxury he’s ever experienced.

 

And he never wants it to fucking end.

 

And so they kiss, and kiss, and kiss, and it feels particularly magical when he can hear how heavy Even is breathing against him, how much this is affecting him, just as much as it is affecting Isak, and it isn’t until now that Isak notices the strong hold Even’s arms have around him and the way his own hands had subconsciously found their way to grip onto Even’s hair and fuck, fuck, fuck, it’s so good, and as his tongue reaches out to meet with Even’s own he thinks the taste of Even is enough to make him higher than any joint he’s ever smoked, more drunk than any drink could ever possibly inebriate him—

 

He feels himself on the verge of bursting into flames so he comes up for air, let’s himself breathe in the fresh oxygen around them before he’s looking down at Even again and he’s positively smiling, sinfully, the fucker is smiling so wide and his lips are glistening in the moonlight from saliva—most likely a mixture of Isak’s and his own—and Isak can’t help but smile back, just as unabashedly, and he leans forward and tucks his head into Even’s neck, nuzzling there for just a moment, and Even sighs happily into his ear, twisting his head to peck Isak’s cheek. And they lay here, silently, for awhile, just enjoying each other’s embrace. 

 

“I can’t believe I thought you were straight at one point,” Isak blurts out, eventually.

 

Even snorts below him, “Wait a minute. Straight?! You thought I was straight?!”

 

Isak leans up so that he’s face to face with Even again.

 

“Shut up,” he says, as he rolls his eyes, “I had to deal with my attraction to you somehow.”

 

And he’s about to lean in for another kiss when Even narrows his eyes and grins mischievously and alright, what is he going to—

 

“Attraction?” Even teases languidly, “You find me attractive?”

 

“Really, Even,” Isak scoffs, “I just had my tongue down your throat, what does that tell you?”

 

“It tells me that maybe you’re keen on doing it again,” Even replies, lowly, his eyes falling to Isak’s lips, and who is Isak to deny him?

 

And so Isak practically launches his lips at him, attacking him now feverishly, a mix of tongues and teeth and it’s just as good as before and perhaps even better when Even bites down on his lower lip and then licks at his upper and yup, Isak’s dying, and the lower half of him is definitely taking notice now of the action he’s getting upstairs.

 

“Holy fuck,” Isak speaks breathlessly, tugging strands of Even’s hair and Even grunts and it’s possibly the sexiest sound Isak’s heard ever in his life.

 

“Yeah,” Even says in passing.

 

Isak drags his tongue over Even’s plump lower lip which springs Even’s tongue out as well and Isak sighs contently.

 

“No straight guy could ever kiss me like this,” Isak concludes, his head officially in the clouds. He’d never expected kissing Even to feel so dizzying, so life altering, but it is as such, and he’s thoroughly fucked for sure.

 

“Mmm,” Even hums his reply against Isak’s lips, and the two continue making out as he reaches outwards for Isak’s hand and grasps it, squeezes it, and for the first time in Isak’s life, his entire being feels at home.

 

 

Chapter Text

Fredag 26/4/19

 

The past week has been purely blissful.

 

For Isak and Even, that means loving each other up at each and every given opportunity, short kisses here and slow, languid kisses there. It means a shit ton of heavy petting and difficult breathing and Isak’s heart has never been so full. 

 

There’s been this feeling creeping up on him for awhile now, and he’s been putting it off for as long as he possibly can, but this past week has been testing him. A lot. And it’s fucking hard because he’s not sure if he’s ready to confront that, or what that would mean for him. For them. 

 

He also knows deep down that there simply isn’t a universe where Even would reject him, in any way, shape, or form, but his conscious brain can’t quite grasp that concept. He’s lived way too long a life where he’d been repeatedly thrown to the side and it’s eaten away at the rational part of his brain, causing it to not work properly. 

 

Which sucks, but. Even accepts him for who he is. He has to reassure him of that a lot, but it’s there. And Isak couldn’t possibly be more grateful for it. 

 

Isak hadn’t celebrated Easter in literal years which of course meant that Even was insistent that they do. Even though it was a religious holiday and Isak and Even weren’t really into that, they could still enjoy the fun. 

 

He’d successfully avoided attending the Easter carnival in Oslo the week before, having been too focused on school and such and Even had only mentioned it to him once. He was one for partying but not one for partying with a bunch of kids. 

 

If Even was disappointed, he didn’t show it. However, perhaps waking him up early the Saturday before Easter after they’d spent the previous chilly night cuddled together on a trampoline was his way of getting back at him for it.

 

Which—probably not. Even wasn’t one for mind games, really, but Isak had tried to think of something so he could feel less guilty for being such a grump in the early morning sunrise. 

 

“6AM? Really?” Isak had muttered to himself and to Even as Even was situated on top of him, his entire body squishing Isak into the mattress.

 

“Come on, Isak,” he pestered, “It’s Easter.”

 

“Actually, the holiday isn’t until tomorrow, dumbass,” Isak said without emotion, but two seconds later he cringed. 

 

Be nice, a voice somewhere inside his brain scolded him.

 

“We have to hurry, though,” Even continued, ignoring Isak’s sarcastic comment, “I found a bakery in the city that’s actually open the day before Easter but they’re only open until noon. I figured if I woke you up this early you’d be ready by then.”

 

Isak groaned, “6 hours?!”

 

“Hey, I didn’t say you had to get out of bed now. I just want to spend the day with you,” Even pouted, and Isak rolled his eyes and pushed Even off of him so that he was cuddling into Isak’s side. 

 

“Did you even sleep? We got back to my apartment at like, what? 3AM?”

 

Even hid his face into the crook of Isak’s neck and breathed in. Isak felt his reverence let up slightly. 

 

“Not really,” he sighed, “I was too excited and you were right here.”

 

This boy.

 

Isak sighed as well.

 

“You should have told me. I would have stayed up with you.”

 

“No, you needed your sleep.”

 

“All humans need to sleep! You’re gonna be tired all day, baby,” Isak replied. 

 

“So are you.”

 

“That’s because I only got three hours! If that!”

 

Even frowned, “I’m sorry.”

 

And nope, Isak didn’t like that. He hated seeing Even the tiniest bit of upset. 

 

He cuddled him even closer.

 

“Stop that,” he said, “It was worth it. Completely, totally, entirely, worth it.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

Why does he sound so nervous? Does he not know, not understand how fully gone I am for him? How could he possibly not know?

 

“Of course it was. If it was up to me, I’d stay in this bed and kiss you all day.”

 

Even smiled and leaned up and pecked him happily on the lips, and Isak couldn’t help but chase them. Even put his finger up to stop him, though, touching his lips ever so slightly. 

 

“But we can’t do that. Because of Easter.”

 

“Fucking Easter,” Isak cursed, rolling his eyes once again. But he wasn’t angry, not at all.

 

Only Even could wake him up at 6AM on a Saturday morning and cause Isak to lose his grumpiness for he was in turn promised a day full of EvenEvenEven and that was enough to sate him. No matter which way Isak got to have him, he was there.

 

Everything felt so real now, so raw. Even was in his bed for the second time and he wasn’t going anywhere without taking Isak with him. 

 

It must truly be a crime to be this happy and at peace after only receiving three hours of sleep. Or perhaps the true crime was that Isak had gotten those three hours of sleep in the first place, because that had been three hours without Even who was laying in his bed next to him and he was right there.

 

Suddenly, Isak understands what Even means now. What it means to be so caught up with someone that you don’t even want to go to sleep, you don’t want to be without them for even a second. He sees it now, though the familiar dull ache in his bones for this man and the fizzing in his brain for this man confirms that perhaps he’s always seen it, felt it, just not so consciously. So exposed.

 

They share more than just kisses, now. Because Isak is looking into Even’s eyes and Even’s looking back and laughing adorably at Isak’s mock anger and he knows they share hearts as well.

 

To be understood, more than anything, is so much better than just being okay. And Isak’s well surpassed his previous goal as such.

 

Even insists they go out and get a bunch of sugar donuts to celebrate and Isak thinks this gesture is not just for Easter, but to mark a date in his head and a flavor in his mouth for the day Even and Isak came together as one. For the day he truly felt equal. 

 

 


 

 

It’s scientifically known that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So of course, after a week Isak could only describe as a honeymoon of sorts, would be when everything started to fall apart. 

 

A Friday night at some party right off of the campus mixed with copious amounts of alcohol certainly played a part in kicking it off. And maybe, if it wasn’t for Isak’s fucked up past, then everything could have been completely avoided. But he couldn’t change the past, and he couldn’t see the future. So how was he to know that Christian, the man of his past, was far from done with him? Isak was certainly done with Christian. He’d assumed from the increasing lack of texts and persistent communication that for him it was the same. Alexander and them were living happily away from Isak and Even and Isak and Even were sure as fuck living happily without that constant reminder.

 

This particular Friday, Isak and Even had actually showed up to the party with Jonas, who right away bid them adieu and went in search for his weed buddies. Isak shooed him off anyway, content with having his boyfriend by his side. 

 

Boyfriend. Were they boyfriends? They’d been over the line and back so many times it was hard to keep track. And they had yet to officially declare themselves as such. 


But obviously, in Isak’s head at the very least, they were boyfriends. He hoped Even’s head held the same thought.

 

The two of them were dancing together—more like swaying, but a bunch of drunk college kids stumbling all over the place really have no room to judge—and Even had promised Isak that he had no issue with Isak having a few drinks. And like a moth to a flame, Isak easily found his way to the beer table and began his decent. 

 

So, with a beer in one hand and Even’s fingers dancing across his other, they’d cemented themselves a spot on the dance floor and Isak could feel the buzz of his surroundings, the tingles of having his lover so close to him, the alcohol coursing through his system. He was having the time of his life, and if Even’s blinding smile and encouraging, firm hands on Isak’s hips had anything to say about it, Even was enjoying himself as well. 

 

They’d so far managed to avoid being seen in public together by Christian that Isak really shouldn’t be so surprised that the image Isak and Even so blatantly plastered themselves as on the dance floor would trigger him. Up to this point, Christian had been convinced that the entire thing was a scam.

 

And yeah, it started out that way. But no one watching them now—the way their two bodies moved together with some sort of psychic connection, so in tune with the movements and so mixed up within each other—absolutely no one could tear off a sticker with the label ‘fake’ and paste it onto them. Just test that on Isak, why don’t you. He’ll grab Even’s face and kiss the ever-loving fuck out of him to prove you otherwise.

 

As soon as Isak had spotted Christian’s eyes across the room, that familiar, dark and sick glint he knew all too well casted downwards, his chest puffed with anger, he just knew something was going to happen, and it was not going to be good. 

 

Even already hated the guy, so Isak tried his best not to alert his attention to him, hoping, praying, that just maybe Christian would take Alex’s hand and disappear instead. Like Isak was a moth to a flame with alcohol, he’d learned previously that Christian was similar with protecting his ego and his pride. 

 

For him to be wrong about Isak moving on from him? That was just lighting the fire. 

 

But, Isak couldn’t run this time. Something inside of him wouldn’t let him, and so he stayed right where he was, waiting for the inevitable, swaying Even in ways that he wouldn’t notice the heat radiating off of Christian from across the room. He was scared, yes, but he was also so utterly done.

 

He gulped when Christian finally approached them, to Isak’s face and Even’s back.

 

“You two look cozy,” he spit, eyes ablaze. 

 

Even whirled around before Christian could even finish the sentence, taking a spot by Isak’s side but slightly situating himself forward, his right foot in front of Isak’s left. Isak gripped onto Even’s bicep. 

 

“Leave us alone, Christian,” Isak warned. 

 

“So, I take it I was wrong, huh? You weren’t setting me up?”

 

Isak could feel the daggers being thrown at him already. He tensed. 

 

“I told you, he’s my boyfriend. He has been this entire time.”

 

Christian smiled bitterly, looking between him and Even, and Isak glanced at Even as well. His face was tight, forehead creased, and he was nowhere near as relaxed as he was before.

 

Isak waited. There was silence. 

 

And then, he laughed. Christian laughed aggressively, punching the sound out of his lungs into Isak’s face. 

 

“So, you love him, then?”

 

Isak hadn’t thought much about it until then but he nodded. He knew it was fucking true, anyways, his brain was just a coward after the piece of shit standing in front of him had fucked him over. 

 

Christian shook his head, still smiling, and then he stopped. His next words were filled with venom. 

 

“I’m not surprised. The only person that could ever handle being with you would have to be out of their fucking mind, anyway. And, well, you’ve found that, huh? Bipolar, was it? Or are you just a psycho?” Christian turned his gaze onto Even, and Isak just fucking breaks

 

He snaps. As soon as the last line leaves Christian’s mouth, Isak’s fist is replacing it. 

 

And fuck, he’d forgotten that punching someone in the face really hurts like a bitch.

 

Isak yells in Christian’s face, an incoherent mess, his eyes fading into a deep red, his chest seething with anger.

 

“Fuck! Don’t fucking talk about him like that! How fucking dare you! You can’t just say that shit!”

 

He’s about to go in for another swing, unable to control himself, when Christian moves too quickly and catches him by surprise, knocking him backwards.

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you, you piece of shit!” Isak growls, and he can feel the warmth of red liquid starting to drip down his face, his nose throbbing from the pain. 

 

Everyone is watching them now, surrounding them, but Isak almost entirely pays them no mind at all, because making Christian pay for the shit he’s done—finally, even if it means violently—is currently more important to him than any impression he could ever leave on the people around him. 

 

They’re going at it, on the floor, switching from Christian pinning Isak down and Isak on top of Christian and in the midst of it all, in the back of his mind, Isak’s wondering—where is Even? Where did he go?

 

Christian’s almost connected his fist with Isak’s face for a third time until he feels the weight being lifted off of him suddenly, the throbbing around the center of his face making it difficult to focus his eyes on anything, but he’s able to blink a few times to clear his vision and oh. Oh fuck.

 

Even’s above Christian now, pushing and pushing and pushing and throwing punches and he’s yelling, he’s definitely yelling something, but Isak’s ears are ringing and he’s still groaning in pain on the floor to get up and do anything about it but Even, he’s…if before was Isak snapping, then Even’s on a completely different level. 

 

Even,” Isak can hear himself groan, turning over onto his knees in efforts to get up off the floor, feeling his head glitch from dizziness, “Stop it. Stop it. Even—,”

 

“Don’t you ever come near him again!” Even shrills, pounding Christian’s face once more.

 

“Get him the fuck off of me!” Isak hears Christian scream for help.

 

Isak is eventually able to pick himself off from the floor and usher over to them as a few bystanders finally step in, shock on their faces, trying to break up the fight. 

 

This is all my fault.

 

“Even. Even. Even,” Isak repeats, over and over again, reaching for him, for his face, pulling him up from the ground. He protests, for awhile, before he relents and lets Isak guide him away as a few other people hold Christian back as well. 

 

“If you ever hurt Isak again, I will fucking kill you,” Even spits at him, leaning forward, and Isak holds his hands up to his chest in order to stop him.

 

“Even, Even, stop,” Isak pleads, “Lets just go. Come on.”

 

The sight of blood painting Even’s beautiful face breaks Isak’s heart. And it’s all his fucking fault. 

 

“Come on,” Isak says again, more forcefully this time, and he grabs Even’s arm and guides them out of the house. 

 

When they get outside, the chill in the air helps the tension and rage begin to slow them down, and Even leans against the siding.

 

“You’re bleeding,” Even sighs, reaching his hand up to caress the side of Isak’s face, avoiding the blood around his nose.

 

Isak shivers, tearing his head away from Even’s grip.

 

“So are you,” he points out, “You’re so fucking stupid.”

 

Even drops his hand. “What, I was just supposed to let him beat the shit out of you?”

 

Isak huffs wearily.

 

“This is all my fault.”

 

Even shakes his head.

 

“It’s not your fault Christian is an asshole.”

 

“But the things he said about you, Even…” Isak continues, “He’s attacking you because of me! This happened to you because I dragged you into my mess.”

 

His voice is beginning to wobble, and it’s pretty clear that he’s on the verge of tears. Fuck

 

Even reaches out for Isak’s battered face again, only this time, Isak doesn’t flinch away, instead leaning into the touch.

 

“Listen to me,” he says firmly, “His actions and words are not yours to bear.”

 

It’s almost too much, the sincerity in Even’s voice. Isak’s eyes are flooding with tears as Even draws him into a hug.

 

“I’m so fucking sorry,” Isak sobs into his shoulder. 

 

“Shh…,” Even hushes him, “Don’t apologize. It’s done now. It’s okay.”

 

It most certainly isn’t okay, but the more Isak leans into Even, the more he realizes he doesn’t have the energy to protest that right now.

 

A few moments later, Jonas pops out from the front door of the house, walking over to them. Since Isak’s cuddling his face into Even’s shoulder, most of the damage is hidden.

 

“Shit,” he mutters urgently, “Are you guys alright? I heard that a few guys had gotten into a fight, but I didn’t know—,”

 

Even backs up when he hears his voice, letting go of Isak slightly. There’s a few streaks of blood staining Even’s clothes were Isak’s face was. 

 

“I’m fine, Jonas,” Isak sighs, reaching his hand up to touch his nose, and then wincing, “Fuck!”

 

Jonas eyes him for a few moments.

 

“That might be broken,” Jonas says.

 

Isak rolls his eyes, thinking Jonas is just being dramatic. This isn’t the first fight Isak’s gotten into. 

 

But, apparently, Even agrees with him.

 

“We should go to the ER and get that checked out, baby,” Even hums, rubbing his hands down Isak’s arms for comfort.

 

No, we should be making sure that Christian isn’t going to press any charges,” Isak protests, “I didn't see him after I dragged you out of there, Even, but if the sounds I heard were anything to go by—,”

 

“He’s not going to press charges,” Jonas cuts in.

 

“How do you know that?”

 

“Because my roommate deals hard drugs and sometimes Christian joins him. He knows if he contacted the law at all he’d get in way worse trouble than either of you guys.”

 

Isak’s jaw drops. “Hard drugs? Fuck.”

 

Even moves his hands from Isak’s arms to his back, gentle, circling motions.

 

“Yeah, you guys will be fine,” Jonas assures them, “Now, ER?”

 

Isak groans.

 

Even leans into Isak’s ear.

“Babe?”

 

“Hm?” Isak replies.

 

“You know I’m not letting you go back to the apartment without getting seen by a doctor first, right?”

 

“It’s not bleeding that bad—,”

 

“That’s because most of the blood is on your hands now.”

 

Isak sighs, then turns to Jonas.

 

“Fine, hospital. Lead the way.”

 

Jonas and Even walk on either side of Isak a few steps, Even close enough for the two of them to bump shoulders, before Isak realizes that Even is limping slightly. Of course he would ignore the pain he was in to help Isak first. That’s a typical Even move, and Isak should have known better.

 

“I can feel you limping, baby. You’re going to see a doctor, too,” Isak insists.

 

“Alright.”

 

Isak could tell it was going to be a long night.