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Life is now. (and now, and now)

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Fredag, 23:56
16.12.16

 

A week ago, it'd been untied shoes skidding around a street corner, police sirens in the distance, a stopping taxi and the tear on his cheek nearly freezing before it could drop to the empty city sidewalk.

He had no fucking clue how now it was fuzzy socks on tiptoe, a boisterous cheer behind them, mistletoe overhead, a circle around his waist strong enough he couldn’t remember what it felt like to fall.

Isak didn't hear, know, care. Even was here, here, taste on his lips, arm around him warm, everything he'd ever need and how long had he been standing here staring?

Halla, there you are,” Even teased, some kind of serenade and Isak blinked twice, finally tearing his eyes away from where he'd been gazing hopelessly up at his boyfriend.

“Hm? Did I miss something?”

Well, if the laughing boys were any indication. But Even was laughing too, pressing a warm, giggly kiss to his cheek and pulling half his mouth up in a crooked smile with it.

“It's not my fault,” he whined in complaint, shoving a half-hearted hand he didn't mean. Even caught it over his heart, fingers tangling as Isak sent him a very faux glare before turning dramatically to the boys.

“He's just that...fan-tastic of a kisser guys, dunno what to tell you.”

A brighter laugh, Even’s hand shoving him back as his cheeks lit up pink and it was Isak’s turn to go up on tiptoes again, peck one sweet smiling cheekbone to memorize the taste before it disappeared.

Jesus fuck, they were sappy.

Mahdi shook his head and Jonas ducked his, grin fading at the corners and drawing Isak's eyebrows together with it.

Now was hardly the time though, the party was nearly over and the boys still had to wrangle up Magnus from whatever he and Vilde dare do in the public hallway of an apartment building, then there was the whole fucking cleaning thing.

He'd never seen so much glitter in his life honestly.

“You boys are planning to stay and help out, right?” Isak smiled, innocent and bright-eyed as both Mahdi’s and Jonas’s faces dropped.

“Uh, man. About that…”

“He’s kidding. We’d no more ask you to stay than Vilde,” Even interjected, the arm around his waist shaking him as that infectious smile flickered his way.

“Excuse me, we? This is my house.”

“And mine!” Eskild piped up, sweeping past with a broom and a pail already in tow. “And Linn’s, and we agree that Even has just as much of a say as you, so.”

“What?!”

Isak’s mouth popped open as Jonas’s barked laugh of surprise echoed and Even’s touch disappeared to clap Eskild’s passing shoulder, smile bright as the fucking galaxies in his eyes.

“On that note, we’re heading out.” Mahdi and Jonas both offered salutes with smiles, Jonas’s tipping up just a bit more as Isak caught his gaze and held it.

“God jul, Isak.”

“I’ll see you again before Christmas,” Isak called after him and Jonas shook his head once, already backed halfway for the door.

“Still. God jul to you too, Even.”

“God jul!” Even caroled back, words nearly cut off with the kiss he planted on Isak’s cheek, one hand cupping carefully under his jaw as lips trailed up his cheekbone to ghost over his ear. “Hey you.”

“Halla,” Isak murmured in response, side of his mouth tipping up as Even’s arm snaked around his stomach, enough pressure to press his spine secure against Even’s chest as they slid in place against each other.

“Uh uh, don’t think I’m letting you get away with this again. I learned well enough the first go round, and you’re actually gonna help clean up this time. None of that false pretense of helping out just so you can try and--”

His mini lecture was cut off by the mouth on his again, two strong arms tightening around his stomach as Even squeezed him tight and kissed him deep enough to make his toes curl.

Yeah, see, the first time Even tried to kiss him he’d stayed after at a pre-drink to “help clean” and ended up spinning some story about aluminum legs to get close enough to go in for the kiss, which had been interrupted by Noora getting home but Isak hadn’t been able to clean a single goddamn thing for the rest of the night because he couldn’t stop thinking about how fucking close Even had been, how electric the look was in those eyes, how fucking fast his heart had been pounding.

No way he was gonna leave all the cleaning to Eskild and Linn again, he was already indebted to them for taking such good care of Even this week and.

And Jesus fuck, if Even kept kissing him like that he was gonna melt right to the floor.

“Mmrm,” he attempted to protest, but apparently Even took that as a moan of sorts because the next thing he knew he was being spun around, one hand on his shoulder and the other on his chest, shoving him hard into the closest wall.

He really did wanna help clean up, he swore.

In fact, he had absolutely no idea how both his hands made their way into Even’s hair, let alone how one of his legs ended up hitched over Even’s hip but fuck fuck, he couldn’t breathe, mouthing helplessly desperate at the lips that were probably leaving bruises back and he couldn’t fucking believe Even just pulled that fucking move, who did he think he was, shoving him around like this just so he could grind their hips together until the only thing Isak could see were ten thousand fucking stars--

“Holy shit?”

It was kinda a miracle Eskild’s voice registered at all, but Isak’s head snapped to the side fucking quick how much his brain wasn’t working.

Did Even stop? Of course not, now that he couldn’t ravage Isak’s mouth he was sucking and biting his way down Isak’s neck which was really also not helpful for the current situation.

“Fuck,” he managed, and the resounding gravel-filled purr Even sent into his skin wasn’t actually what he meant by that, Jesus Christ.

“Even, Even, hey--”

Vague shoving hands on shoulders and Even finally lifted his head, scanning Isak’s face before he finally caught on and followed his gaze.

“Oh.”

“Yeah, oh!” It came out a little high pitched and breathless, which only made Even’s gaze cut to his with that sharp intensity again and Isak had to physically peel Even’s hand off his hitched up knee to stand on two goddamn feet.

"Were you boys planning to help or...” Drawn out, wiggling eyebrows and all. Isak had no defense but to roll his eyes, spinning for the kitchen. Even's fingers tangled up in his, sideways and haphazard and making his heart pound.

“We’re actually gonna help, okay?” Isak shot Even a very serious glance over his shoulder and the only thing he got back was the eyebrow thing. Up down, quick but at least the little smile on his face wasn’t that mischievous.

They made it through emptying about half the beer cans before Even “accidentally” bumped Isak into the counter, making him fold from the force of it, just enough that sparks went right down to his toes and their locked gazes both shot straight to fire.

“The dishes,” Even started and yeah, no, they could clean the whole damn apartment tomorrow.

Isak shoved off the counter and had both his arms wrapped around Even’s neck less than three seconds later.

They stumbled for the nearest hard surface, which was why Isak was propped on the kitchen counter with his legs around Even’s waist when all three of their roommates walked back in.

Unfortunately, neither of them heard until Noora threw a beer can into the trash, loud clatter making them both start. Violently enough on Isak’s part he almost fell off the damn counter. Even caught his hips just in time, and there really wasn’t any choice left but to bury his face in Even’s freakishly long neck and die.

The shoulder he was hiding in lifted, a shrug that would hopefully come along with an apologetic, eloquent excuse as to why they couldn’t get a single damn thing done--

“He’s really hot,” Even told them and Isak popped up, scoffing in offense as he socked the shoulder he’d been laying on a second ago.

“Don’t blame this on me!”

“It’s your fault!” Even shot back, gaze turning back to him and Isak’s mouth was open in offense, originally, but Even was looking at him like that and now he just couldn’t close it. The sparkly fucking eyes cut down to his lips and yep, okay, what roommates?

“Um, well. Before you jump each other’s bones again, could you maybe get off the kitchen counter? We still need to clean, so.” A smile mixed in which actually wasn’t helping because if they weren’t so damn happy for him then maybe he wouldn't be making out on the kitchen counter.

“We’ll help clean, really.” Isak very seriously peeled Even’s hands off his hips, attempting to wiggle free so he could hop down. “It’s not like we can’t--”

“Oh go get a room,” Eskild flicked his wrist at them and the next thing Isak knew he wasn’t on the kitchen counter anymore, he was being carried out of the kitchen with his legs wrapped around a tapered, pretty waist.

“Oy, oy, hva faen--”

At least he had the decency to shout an I’m sorry! as loud as he could before Even kicked their bedroom door shut behind him.

Three voices lifted in a chorus right back.

“God jul!”

Wait, fuck. Not their bedroom, but his, but Even had lived here for a week now and it was both the best and worst week of his life and god, fuck, he was gonna meet Even’s parents tomorrow, he was gonna meet his boyfriend’s parents tomorrow. His roommates had sent them off to have sex because they couldn’t keep their hands off each other and all his friends talked about how they'd never seen Isak so happy and looking in the mirror he wasn't sure he had either and

The mattress collided with his spine, bouncing where he’d been tossed onto his bed and by god, was he gonna have some words with that boyfriend of his once he stopped being so fucking hot about that whole being fucking hot thing he was doing. At the expense of Isak being toted and tossed around.

Which, wow, really wasn’t so bad when Even was looking at him with gray-blue burning like that, hands wide and possessive as they popped the button on his jeans, lifting his ass all the way off the bed to slide them off inside out. They were his darkest, tightest skinny jeans, which had been actual hell to get into but by god, he’d do it every day if Even peeled them off him like this.

“Skinny jeans, are you trying to start something?” A shaking head with a smile, all affection through the heat as he pressed a kiss to an exposed piece of thigh, jeans discarded and Isak lifted an eyebrow, fingers through the swirls of gravity-defying hair.

“I have no idea what you're talking about, aren't you supposed to dress nice for parties?”

“I showed up in a hoodie, that hardly counts as nice,” Even teased, and Isak cocked his head, running a thumb over where the material met the warm skin of his neck.

“I like you in my clothes,” he replied, a little soft and a lot honest. The first time he’d come home to see Even wrapped up in his favorite gray hoodie he’d nearly burst with the tightening in his chest. It was the same half-smile crooked on his face now, curls splaying on the pillow as Even leaned up over him, that same beautiful sparkle in those eyes.

“I like wearing them.”

The kiss to follow was so achingly domestic, short and soft and sweet and everything he’d never thought he’d find, but.

Here he was.

It turned pretty quick into a smatter of kisses though, soft and quick to quickening and heart-thudding, the kind he could feel tingling their remnants in his fingertips.

Breathless, swept away, lifted on the highest cloud and tugged through the deepest ocean, that’s what this felt like. Fuck poetry, but fuck Even Bech Næsheim, okay.

“Mmm, gotta say though, as much as I like you in my clothes,” a hand shoving between layers, sliding those strong arms free as he swallowed hard, gaze locked on the expectant scalding one,

“...I really like you out of them, too.”

Y’know, considering that a week and a half ago he was blushing dumbstruck as Even called him hot in the hallway, he’d say this was one hell of a glow up.

“Is that so?” Even purred, low and dark, teeth grazing his ear as his grip tightened involuntarily in swoops of pretty hair. “Because it just so happens…”

Isak’s breathing was picking up before quick fingers made it halfway through the gray buttons down his chest.

“...I like you out of your clothes too.”

“Merry Christmas?” Isak offered and Even laughed, peppering kisses down each piece of stomach he exposed, popping open the last button to spread his shirt open wide, teeth closing around the top band of his boxers as fingers curled to tug.

The snap against his stomach echoed as Even dropped the band from his teeth, eyebrows knit in concern as he looked up, wrists locked beneath Isak’s grip. It was kinda abrupt to just catch Even’s hands like that but he’d just realized something that was. High key important enough to stop this abruptly.

They hadn’t had sex in a week.

Which usually would be fine, but the last time they’d had sex Even was in a manic episode and he’d snapped right after, then fell into this terrifying depressive episode that had been their life of up and down since Saturday.

So they couldn’t just have sex, not when he wasn’t sure about how Even was feeling, really, and if this was what he wanted or if it was just what those kinda kisses lead to. Because he would be completely, entirely fine with just making out all night and curling together to fall asleep in the heat between them.

But the longer he held Even’s hands still, lips parted as he tried to figure out how to say that, the deeper the crease grew.

“Are you sure? I don't want...I mean, do you. I don’t want you to feel like...you have to.”

A moment’s pause as Isak held his breath, listening to the thud of the heartbeat under his fingertips. Strong, steady, beautiful.

“I don't feel like I have to,” Even swore, as incredulous and open as that day so long ago in the locker room, of course I’m not sad. “I want this. I want you.”

And it was with the same sweet certainty that he closed the space between their mouths, sliding up Isak’s body, eyes closed before their lips touched, hands cupping his neck the way that had that fuckin’ fateful day.

Today’s conversation was gonna end differently, he could promise that. When their mouths broke apart he kept Even close, hands weaving in his hair, eyes locked, ten thousand times more serious than he’d been in that locker room.

“I just want you to be sure. If you're not ready, it's completely fine.”

“Not ready? I was never incapacitated, thank you very much.” His eyes crinkled when he said it, but the corners of his mouth didn't. Yeah, okay, apparently he was gonna fuck up this conversation too.

“Nei, nei, I know that. I swear. But it's been awhile, and a lot has changed, and…”

A shaky breath as he cursed internally, Even’s smile fading entirely as his gaze shifted, bubbling up with emotion as blue flickered between his eyes like Isak was holding the entire world on the tip of his tongue.

“Are you sure?” Mouth quiet and closed for a moment, all calculations and sinking bones as Even’s gaze cut away, hands burning where they were still cupping Isak’s neck. “Because. I mean, if you don't want to be together like this anymore--”

“Wo-ah. No way.” Blue cut back up to him, just the slightest bit hopeful as Isak made his craziest you’ve got to be kidding me face he had, mouth open a beat and a half too long before he finally just fucking said it.

“...I've never wanted you inside me so bad in my life.”

Even’s eyebrows shot straight up on his forehead, the slightest hint of a smile tugging a corner of his mouth, looking so goddamn kissable in that tight white tshirt. Isak, not want to have sex with Even anymore? Yeah, uh, no way in hell.

It definitely wasn’t him he was worried about here.

“But seriously, Even, I'll feel awful if I ever overstep and I just. Don't want to, I dunno, push you into something just because you feel like you have to, or even just should,” he was rambling, but he still wasn’t really great at this whole talk-to-cute-boys thing so, “I guess I’m just trying to say you know you better than anybody else and I don't want to assume the way you feel--”

“I feel like I also have never wanted to be inside you more,” Even interrupted, one eyebrow arched up high and Isak stopped talking, mouth hanging open as he looked up at the shiny bright that’d crept back into pretty eyes somewhere in the middle of his insecure rambling.

“Wow. Well.” He swallowed once, double checking Even’s expression, the light in his eyes, the curve of his mouth, which he couldn't really tear his eyes away from now. “Glad we're in agreement then.”

“Mmhm.” A slight pause centimeters before their lips touched and Isak couldn’t breathe, lungs completely wrapped up again, then Even’s mouth was crashing into his and he was long gone all over again.

Their lips broke mid-kiss, leaving him gasping for air as Even mouthed his way back down Isak’s chest, stomach, eager and sweet with Isak’s hand in his hair. “Agreement, it’s uh, oh fuck, Even, fuck, ah ah--”

Well. It turned out they were on the same terms after all.

 

~*~*~

 

Lørdag, 09:49
17.12.16

 

It was actually the...first time, he’d ever woken up with Even’s arms around him. Between drawings and breakfast and staying up all night and the past week, it just hadn’t really happened until right now.

Fuck, what a reason to live for right now, though.

Isak smiled into his pillow - the blue one, which they were apparently sharing right now, no wonder he slept so well the gray one fucking sucked - and decided he was going to lay right here, with his eyes shut, forever.

Except either Even knew him better than he thought, already, or there was some telepathic shit he hadn’t been let in on, because he only got to lay there in utter blissful peace, two arms around him, warm breath on the back of his neck, knees tucked up behind his for like three fucking minutes before puckered lips were pressing down on his shoulder.

“Good morn’,” a low rusty voice reverberated into his spine and Isak groaned, squeezing the arm under his fingers in acknowledgment and vague protest.

“Ten more minutes,” he breathed, wiggling slightly to settle in closer to Even’s chest.

“You’re gonna fall back asleep,” the echo-y voice warned and Isak at least attempted a sound to negate it, but.

The next thing he knew it was somehow 10:30 and Even was kissing the back of his neck, a lot, enough that his brainstem was sending ten thousand messages up into his dreams, pulling him back into reality wrapped in silk and sunshine.

“Mmm, welcome back,” echo-y voice teased and Isak scrunched up his nose in offense, eyelashes fluttering.

“Hva faaaen,” he complained instead, turning to peek up at the pretty face smiling over his shoulder.

“Hmm?”

“I don’t wanna wake up, I wanna lay here forever.”

“Aww.” A soft kiss to his cheekbone and Isak groaned, dropping his head back to the pillow. Why did Even have to be a morning person. It wasn’t fair.

“Fuck off. I’m not getting out of bed.”

“No? We have plans today, remember?”

“Fuck plans.” Isak rolled just enough to see Even properly, grip secure to make sure the arms around his waist weren’t planning on leaving anytime soon. “Lay here with me.”

A soft kiss to his mouth, domestic and sweet, tugging enough to make little sparks go off behind closed eyes.

“Is this how you always are in the morning?” Even whispered into his mouth and Isak leaned back a little, letting the pillow sink beneath his head. Jesus, he could lay here gazing up at those pretty eyes with these arms around him for the rest of his entire life and not want a single other thing.

If only this could be how he always was in the morning.

“What, lazy and stubborn?”

“I was going to say soft and sleepwarm, but yeah, that too.” He could feel the laugh even louder than he heard it, tumbling out of Even’s chest just as warm as everything else too.

It wasn’t like he could listen to that beautiful laugh when he was this weak and not reach up and kiss Even for it. There was only so much a man could stand

“Mmm, what were our plans again?” Blinking slow, hand carding through soft strands when it finally hit him, eyes popping open instantly. “Oh yeah, we were gonna see your parents!”

“Yes, we were. I told my mom sometime in the afternoon, since you sleep in longer than anybody else I know.”

“Hmph. Funny.” He pouted a little, and Even kissed him a little more. Unfortunately, they eventually broke apart, hands on each other’s cheeks as Isak tried to focus on anything but the overwhelming sea of emotions he was currently drowning in.

“So. We should probably go shower, then.”

“Are you sure? We don't have to.”

“Don’t have to shower? I don’t know about you, but--”

“No, don’t have to meet my parents. If you don’t want to. If you think it’s too soon, or you’re just not up to it, which is fine, I don’t want to pressure you into anything.”

“Y’know, when I started with this line of questioning last night, I got ridiculed.”

“That was different.”

“Hardly,” Isak shot back. Even made a face, to which Isak made a more dramatic one and insisted, “...the gravity of the situations are pretty similar.”

Both eyebrows shot up.

“You think so?”

“I do, and I think last night went...really well.” Rolling up on top of Even’s lap, mouth open as he ran both hands up bare collarbones to lock behind that pretty head, pressing their foreheads together as the rest of their bodies slid into place, pressure in enough places to make him suck in a shaky, telltale breath.

“Mmm, is that so?” Even murmured back, two hands sliding over slightly bruised hips to sink into the top of his ass. The sharp inhale got swallowed up into a pecking kiss, mouths locking to drag apart, again, and again and fuck.

“Y-yeah,” Isak barely managed, head rolling across Even’s to lap at his mouth from another angle, fully aware of how fired up he already was, from just this alone. “And I bet this morning will be...great too, and then this afternoon when we meet your parents I'll be like mmm...completely chill.”

“Is that a request?” Teeth painted over his jawline, grip already tightening to squeeze before the reply.

Isak just kissed that beautiful, warm mouth, but he was pretty sure it was an answer in a language Even understood.

 

 

Lørdag, 14:10
17.12.16

 

“Don’t be nervous.”

“Nervous? Me? You think I’m nervous? I’m the master of meeting parents, I’ve met so many parents that I don’t even know what the word nervous means, what in the world would I be nervous about?”

Even paused on the staircase, tugging Isak to stop from where their hands were entwined.

“That bad, huh?”

“That bad? Nei! I’m completely--”

The hands on his jaw shut him up before Even’s mouth on his did.

Their foreheads touched as their mouths slipped apart, one hand fucking up the hair he’d worked very hard on making look nice, thank you very much.

“They will love you, promise.”

Isak was quiet a moment, tripping out a little with the fact that he was one stairstep above Even and therefore taller than him, for the moment, which was really unsettling, actually.

Enough that he tugged Even up one more step, pressing up to kiss him again. Much better.

Three steps later their hands were tighter than before and Isak apparently wasn’t as completely chill as he thought he was.

“Even?”

“Yeah?” He spun around, still halfway up this goddamn staircase.

“Are you sure they don’t hate me?”

“Hate you?? How could they possibly hate you??”

He needed both of his hands to throw them up for dramatic effect, but that apparently wasn’t happening because when he tried to pull free the one tangled with Even’s, he was suddenly in a deathgrip of Not Letting Go and just ended up with one hand awkwardly in the air and their entwined ones kinda halfway there.

“I dunno, maybe the little fact that before me, you had a girlfriend for four years, who I’m sure they love, and who was entirely fucked over, by me. Not only did I take you from Sonja, I then left you in a police station by yourself, the one time when you needed me most, and basically fucked up handling anything at all until it was almost too late and--”

“Hey,” Even interrupted, and his tone was serious enough that Isak did stop, blinking wildly and trying really fucking hard not to cry because he had no idea where that just came from but by god, maybe he should’ve tried facing his guilt and talking it out before they were a fucking door away from meeting Even’s parents.

“Hey. Isak.” A crooked finger ran over his cheek and Isak wiped at them madly, just in case, although they weren’t actually wet yet, halle-fucking-lujah.

How could Even look at him like that, after everything Isak had just reminded him of, all the fucking shitty things he’d done, all the reasons why he didn’t deserve to be pranced in front of parents like he was a good thing, when he’d literally fucked up Even’s life so goddamn much--

“It was me who kissed you, remember?”

“Yeah, but--”

“I was bipolar before I met you, so that literally could not be your fault.”

“Yeah, but--”

“Sonja and I weren’t happy, Isak.”

“Yeah, but--”

“But you came for me, you’re here, with me, right now, and you make me happy. That’s all they want, is for me to be happy, and you’ve made me happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I’d like to introduce you to my parents so they get the chance to meet the man I’m crazy about, but if it’s too much, we can do this another time. Okay?”

A moment’s pause and Isak wiped a hand over his eyes, sucking in a breath as he tried not to squeeze Even’s hand so fucking hard.

“Okay.”

“...okay as in you want to do this another time?”

“Nei,” Isak shot back. “Okay as in, let’s do this. Too late to go back now, right?”

The smile he got for that could probably fuel the next three hundred nervous moments of his existence, regardless of whether Even was there or not.

The tender kiss Even pressed to his cheek could fuel another ten thousand plus that.

“Too late to go back now.”

 

The last time he’d been here with Even had been before everything, a whole other world as they walked in and kicked off their shoes. Except this time, when Even called out hello, he didn’t say nice at the silence that returned, because silence didn’t shout back.

“Halla! Even!”

Blue shot him a look, barely seconds before the owner of said voice came all but swinging around the corner.

“And this must be Isak!” A beautiful - of course, she gave birth to Even, she had to be beautiful - woman swept open her arms, all wide smiles and crinkling eyes as Isak took in the messy blonde bun atop her head, pristine apron tied over a dress his mother would probably wear to church on Sunday.

“Mom, let him take off his shoes first,” Even complained, but there was a smile on his face as he stepped forward into the spread arms, stooping down into a hug.

Isak finished wrestling a boot off, hopping awkwardly on one foot for a moment before stepping forward - also awkwardly, and waited - still awkwardly - while Even’s mom rubbed his back and pulled back to hold his chin, look his face over.

“How have you been doing?”

“Fine, Mom, I promise.” She gave him a squinting once over before she seemed satisfied enough to finally let go.

Which meant it was his turn.

Isak went for his nicest not-too-bright smile, extending a hand to shake as he opened his mouth to introduce himself,

Hi, I’m Isak Valtersen, I’m the boy who’s banging your son. Or rather, being banged by, I don’t know if it makes a difference to you--

But before he got so much as a word out - how the fuck does one introduce themselves to their boyfriend’s parents - Even's mother (why in hell hadn't he asked what she went by? What the fuck was he supposed to call her? Even’s mom? Hi, Miss Even’s mom, I’m two and a half years younger than your son and have no idea what I’m doing in life let alone what I’m supposed to be doing in this relationship??)

Even’s mom bypassed his hand entirely and went straight for a hug.

It was a little surprising, but they were better matched on height and he managed to hug her back without crushing anything, although he couldn’t really feel his ribs and Even was most definitely laughing at him under that smug little smile he was shooting Isak over his mom’s shoulder.

“Oh, um. Nice to meet you too.”

“Here, here, come in, let me get a look at you.”

“Mom,” Even was protesting but Even’s Mom was already dragging him into the kitchen, one hand between his shoulderblades and a lovely smile on her face.

“I’m Isak. Valtersen,” he said, which was probably repetitive and he was pretty sure she already knew that but he really had no idea what else to say, and maybe--

“I’m Liv. Bech Næsheim,” she replied cheekily, taking a step to the side to finally let him breathe a little. “But you can call me Liv.”

Okay, at least he knew what to call her now, but Jesus, what else was he supposed to say?

Thank god, Even chose that moment to reappear behind him, one hand settling on his lower back. Normally he’d balk, this wasn’t the comfort of a kosegruppa party or the anonymity of a hotel room, this was Even’s parents - parent - and Even was touching him but honestly he’d take awkward looks over drifting away aimlessly in this kitchen by himself.

“Would you like a cup of tea, Isak?”

“Um. Yeah, sure, thanks.” He offered another smile, looking up a little hopelessly at Even, who was shooting vague warning glances at his mother.

Who apparently wasn’t catching them, or just really didn’t mind them.

“Even, when you said he looked like an angel I thought you were exaggerating, honey.”

“Mom!”

“But you were right,” she continued, reaching up on her tiptoes to pull three mugs out of a cabinet. “What kind of tea do you like?”

“Anything’s fine.” He sounded a little dazed but Liv was sweeping off for the pantry so Isak had about three seconds to either kiss Even or tease the shit out of him for whatever that was just about.

“An angel?” Isak whispered, corner of his mouth tipping up as Even glanced over and glanced right back away, cheeks heating up.

Maybe he’d get enough time for both, Even looked absolutely adorable right now, blushing with his mouth all twisted to the side - it was the same look he’d given Isak that day on the bus, which he knew now was nervousness, what with that crush he’d had since the first day of school.

“It's the blonde curls, okay,” Even defended and Isak would let him off the hook for this eventually, considering he was actually glowing right now. Even’s mom wanted to know what Isak looked like and Even had replied that he looked like an angel.

But for now, he was gonna give him so much shit for it.

“Your hair is blonde,” Isak pointed out, reaching up to ruffle it just a little, finally making Even’s gaze cut over to him again. God, he was super fucking cute all embarrassed like this. “And your eyes are even blue. Sky blue, like the heavens--”

“Shut up,” Even said and Isak giggled, nose crinkling as Even’s little smile broadened, eyes all shiny bright again as the hand on his lower back shoved him closer, their chests colliding as Isak’s mouth tipped up, side-smile melting right into the kiss Even planted so goddamn sure on his lips.

It couldn’t’ve been that long until they pulled apart again, slow and smiling with their gazes still locked, all melty mushy and entirely Even’s fault, all of it.

Still, you’d think he had enough brain power left to remember that he was supposed to be putting on Meeting the Parents face instead of staring up dumbstruck at The Parent’s Son, but here he was.

Thank god, Liv cleared her throat, otherwise Isak probably would’ve stood there staring up at Even for the rest of time.

They both looked over in sync, like the way their goddamn hearts had to be beating right now.

Well, at least they were both blushing now. Or - fuck, apparently Even wasn’t anymore, it was just him. Okay, that was cool, fine, leave him out in the cold.

But Even’s mom had a smile on her face, that kinda was almost as sappy as theirs, so maybe it wasn’t so cold after all.

“Why don't you boys come sit down, your dad will be home soon.” She turned on a heel, headed for the dining room on her bare feet, that did not at all match the artfully disheveled updo or lovely swirling dress.

Thank god he’d worn something nice. Even had given him shit for it, but if he’d shown up in a tshirt he’d’ve felt terribly underdressed and better to look presentable when there were this many damn unknowns.

Like the little detail that apparently Even’s dad was gonna join them after all. Because that wasn’t going to be terrifying.

It was one thing to meet Even’s mom, who clearly meant a lot to him, and it was a whole other thing to be like hey, I’m screwing your son, to Even’s father.

“Well. I supposed I’ll start embracing for more surprises,” Isak offered, rolling his lips in and Even checked his shoulder, only to pull him stumbling back in with a hand on his waist. "I'm meeting your father? What am I supposed to say?”

“It’ll be fine! You’ll be totally fine. You’re fine so far, aren’t you?”

A kiss to his cheek and Isak cocked his head, starting for the dining room after Liv, before she came back out here to haul them in for taking so long again.

“I’m fine because you’re here,” he amended, allowing just one moment to reach up and peck a pretty cheek back in return.

“I’ll always be here,” Even told him and Isak smiled, tugging him one step closer to the dining room, one eyebrow cocked up with his favorite crooked smile.

“You better be. Otherwise, where am I getting my 500 a week?”

The way Even kissed him after that was definitely not appropriate for his parents’ house, but his heart was thudding anyways, what was one more reason.

 

~*~*~

 

Fredag, 20:53
30.12.16

 

It all started the weekend they were apart. Or well, it was only a Friday, but. They'd been practically living in each other's pockets for the past three weeks, so it was time they spent a night apart, make sure they both could still breathe without the other lying there beside.

Of course they spent time with other people, with school and his friends - who were actually becoming Even’s friends really quickly too - but all in all, it was still the two of them falling into bed every night. There were a few nights he spent at Even’s too. He did have bunk beds, after all.

Not like they used them, but it was the thought that counted. Isak never would’ve asked to spend the night there, but Even’s mother suggested it, after Christmas dinner because they ended up staying up so late chatting, Liv just offered for Isak to stay the night.

Even’s eyebrows had shot up and Isak had been frozen stiff for a moment, but Liv waved a hand, “he spends the night at your place all the time, no reason for you not to be able to spend the night here too,” and that had been that.

So between Christmas morning at his place with all of his crazy too-many roommates and Christmas dinner at Even’s house with his parents, then post-Christmas breakfast cooking with Even’s mom while Even slept quietly under his parents roof it was...things had just been really really good lately.

There was a little voice in his head that whispered a silent reminder, the better he let it get the worse the fall was gonna be but goddammit, when he walked into lunch to see Even and Mahdi in the middle of a heated debate about music, so heated that neither of them so much as turned to him when he sat down and Jonas just shook his head and smiled, well.

Isak was going to keep letting himself burst with happiness that Even was okay. Even was more than okay, he was working on a film project and talking to some of his old friends from Bakka and making more friends at Nissen and fit in perfectly with their family of teenage misfits living with 5 people in an apartment for 3 and well. Even was his.

Of course Isak was bursting with happiness. Even was too. Which was why, when he brought it up on the Tuesday after Christmas, the first reaction wasn’t too freak out, or even frown.

“Spend a Friday night without each other? Getting sick of me already?” Even teased, leaning over to kiss the soft spot on Isak’s neck. Isak scrunched up his nose, tucking his shoulder up higher so he couldn’t get tickled again.

“Actually I’m just interested in whether I even know how to fall asleep without you anymore,” Isak shot back and if it was supposed to be a burn, unfortunately it really didn’t come out as one.

“Aww,” Even cooed, leaning over all the way to litter kisses down the side of Isak’s face. Isak attempted to shove him off the couch and failed miserably.

Failed so badly he somehow ended up in Even’s lap, making out with him for a solid ten minutes before Noora walked in.

“Rub it in some more, guys,” she said dryly and Isak popped up, making a cross face at her as Even instantly lifted him out of his lap and set him on the couch on his own.

“Sorry,” he started and Isak shoved him hard, still glaring at Noora.

“I’m not.”

“It won’t kill us to apologize--”

“Nei, I don’t have shit to apologize for. Noora, get over yourself, or go fetch William before you drive the rest of us batshit crazy.”

“Isak!”

“What! Someone had to say it! She doesn’t get to barge in here and be all snippy when I have a goddamn right to make out with my boyfriend on the couch--”

“Baby, calm down--”

“You two are sickeningly cute,” Noora noted, taking a sip of her tea before giving them a little finger wave and floating out of the room again.

“What in the world was that about?” The look Even was giving him was that surprise twisted with affection as he was reminded yet once more, of what a bitch Isak was down to the core.

“We are sickeningly cute, and I’m not letting anyone, especially my roommates come in the way of th--”

The rest of his rant was cut off by Even’s mouth on his again, Even’s hands pressing him hard into the couch cushions.

“You,” painted on lips between chaste kisses, “are sickeningly,” that were getting a lot less chaste, “cute.”

“Don’t you know it,” Isak said, but he was pretty sure the entire thing was muffled by Even’s mouth. Which yeah, was completely fine.

Was completely fine all week, actually.

They were spending New Years Eve together, obviously, which was on a Saturday this year, so that meant the designated Day of Separation was the Friday night before.

Which basically translated to spending every minute with each other until Friday, when they’d agreed to go their separate ways for 24 hours before they turned into the most codependent couple on the entire goddamn planet.

It was gonna be a pretty simple night, Even planned a dinner with his parents and would just crash there, because Isak was having the boys over for Boys Night.

Mahdi, Magnus and Jonas all got along fantastically with Even, the five of them spent plenty of time together. But it wasn’t too often anymore that it was just Isak and his boys, which was exactly how he wanted to spend one of the last days of this fucking rollercoaster of a year.

Of course everyone was down - by 19:00 they had the apartment to themselves. Noora and Linn spent the night at Eva’s while Eskild went out with his drinking friends and wouldn’t be back until the New Years Eve party on Saturday. So that meant blasting really loud 90’s hip hop, and playing the most ridiculous drinking games they could think of until everyone got plastered enough to sing along to all the raps they didn’t know.

That was the plan anyways, a simple nice quiet night of drinking, but well.

Isak wasn’t so good at being simple or quiet anymore. He’d spent so long being boring, sitting there dead silent in a chair while everyone drank and they argued listlessly about past hookups. No, that wasn’t gonna be how they did boys night anymore.

“We’re doing what?

“Oh, like you’ve never played it? Or are you just scared you’ll freeze to death?” He shot his best bitchy smile at Magnus’s flapping-fish open mouth protests, prepared as hell with his beanie, scarf, and deck of 52.

“It is a pretty fun game, since the stakes are so high,” Jonas backed him up, hand waving in the air while Isak nodded his head, shoving a pile of chips into the middle of the table.

“Takk.”

“Have you guys played before?” Mahdi was looking nearly as skeptical as Magnus, but Isak just rolled his eyes because yes, obviously, he wasn’t gonna suggest a game he’d never played.

“There was this one fucking crazy party during first year--”

“Oh fuck, I’ve never been so hungover in my life.”

Jonas groaned and Isak grinned.

“--it was fantastic, and tonight will be fantastic too. We’re not gonna end 2016 with a night sitting around and chatting.” The obvious disgust in his voice was exaggerated to fuck, but they were used to that, only gave him a few eye rolls and disbelieving glances in return. They were slowly warming up to the idea, though.

Which was kinda ironic.

“Snow poker, though? Serr?”

“Serr!”

“You just want an excuse to see us naked,” Magnus declared and Isak paused in the middle of shuffling the deck just to give Magnus the Highest Bitch Look on the Bitch Scale.

“Nei, I want an excuse to see you freeze your ass off and whine like a baby.”

Jonas snickered, but anyone who’d played strip poker in the snow knew exactly how high those stakes got. Still, he had to throw in the bit of pompous, just in case Magnus had some delusional idea about his chances.

“If I want naked boy, all I have to do is crawl in bed with my boyfriend,” Isak pointed out, nose up and lips pursed as he lifted one eyebrow in that you-don’t-have-a-chance look that always made Magnus all flustered.

A chorus of ooyy’s went up and Isak shrugged a shoulder, dealing out a round of cards as Magnus and Mahdi finally sighed and plopped down at the table.

“Boyfriend who isn't here, which means we can gossip about him, finally.” Jonas shot him a look over the cards he was picking up, one eyebrow up like he had just about the richest dirt in the world.

“What is there possibly to gossip over?”

“Well the hickie you've been attempting to hiding under your scarf is one point.” Mahdi pointed a finger and Isak looked down, trying to see what in hell he was talking about. “You know every time you move, the scarf slides over and flashes your neck, right?”

“Well fuck.” He attempted to rearrange, maybe tighten the folds around his neck, twisting the end of one and tying it off in a little knot. “There, are your delicate sensibilities satis-fied?”

Magnus snorted at Mahdi, who rolled his eyes to the sound of Isak gloating silent and smug from his chair by the window.

Jonas shook his head at them and popped up from the table, laying his hand of cards on the table face down and giving them all a very serious point.

“I’m getting the liquor, look at my cards and die.”

“Hard liquor, snow is cold.”

“Yes, Queen Isak, I know,” Jonas called over his shoulder and Isak narrowed his eyes viciously as his best friend turned the corner into the kitchen laughing.

Magnus and Mahdi were giggling too, which was absolutely the only reason why Isak reached over and picked up Jonas’s hand of cards.

Magnus’s laugh went up two octaves and Mahdi started a low oooo that had Jonas shouting in from the kitchen, where he probably knew exactly what Isak was doing.

“You better not be!!”

“I would never!” Isak shouted back, not looking up from Jonas’s cards, scanning them intensely to make sure he had each one memorized.

He had them back on the table moments before Jonas stepped back into the living room with two bottles of whiskey and a bottle of fancy-ass kick-your-ass tequila.

Isak kept the most innocent look on his face, straightening the piles of chips in the center of the table. Jonas sat down the alcohol and tumblers first, then calmly slid his cards over to Isak and snagged Isak’s pile instead.

“Hey!” That pouty mouth interjected, looking very instantly and exaggeratedly offended. Jonas fanned them out and counted carefully as he spoke.

“If you spent all that time memorizing my cards, you know what they look like, might as well play them. Besides, odds are you were too busy messing with my hand to look at yours - oh look at that, these aren’t in order yet. Guess who was right, it’s me, I was right.”

Isak stared at Jonas with his mouth open in offense, Magnus stared with his mouth open in awe, and Mahdi burst off in a fit of giggles.

“How did you know?? How long have you two been friends again??”

“Too long,” Jonas said dryly, which is why he absolutely deserved the precious hand of cards that Isak threw right back at him.

Which may or may not have turned into an all out war of card-battling but after someone knocked over a bottle of whiskey - it had the lid still on it, thank god - it turned into a quick round of 52 card pick up then Jonas reshuffled and dealt the cards again, giving Isak the side eye the whole time.

Isak put both hands in the air and swore he wasn’t gonna cheat, but at this point all the boys knew better than to trust that.

Because as fun as snow poker was, Isak sucked. At cards in general, actually.

They didn’t have a porch to actually play outside, but there was a window right next to the table that Mahdi opened up wide, so it was cold as fuck, which was the only part they actually needed to keep the stakes high.

Strip poker was hard anyways, but when losing your clothes meant getting naked and freezing your ass off, you better hope to hell you had a good poker face.

Only problem was, Isak was a fucking shit liar.

“Jesus Isak, you’re terrible at this,” Magnus said for about the thirtieth time and Isak glared as he whipped off his last sock. Had he worn two pairs of socks in preparation? Yeah, maybe. He’d already lost his beanie, scarf, overshirt, belt, and now four socks.

On the bright side, Magnus was also a terrible liar. He’d already lost his shirts, belt, and socks to the game, and both of them were at least four fingers of whiskey in from buying back all the goddamn chips they’d lost. So yeah, they were both fucked, basically.

And then came another hand, which Isak lost, again.

“Fuck!”

“You suck,” Jonas exclaimed, loudly.

Isak scooped up the closest tumbler, sipped it as pretentiously as possible and shot them all a scandalous look over the edge of the glass, one eyebrow arched high and suggestive,

“Maybe I do.”

Everybody burst into giggles and Jonas leaned over, poking his neck on - ow - what must’ve been a dark spot, because that hurt and he made sure to pout enough and swat at Jonas’s hand so he knew it too.

At least Magnus lost the next round, a small victory in a losing war but at least Isak got to point and shout,

“Ha! You suck too!”

Magnus paused, eyes furrowing all confused under the layers of impossibly straight blonde.

“I go down on girls now, does that count?”

Someone threw a card at him and they were all giggling again, giggling like the girls in the kosegruppa squad probably did at sleepovers.

Isak highly highly doubted their sleepovers were nearly this fun. Or had someone losing their pants before midnight. But then again, they hadn’t had a night this fun in a while either.

“Okay, okay, seriously though. I like this hand, everybody focus, I’m gonna fucking win.”

“Isak, you’re not going to win, your hand is shit, it’s written all over your face.”

“You know what, Jonas? I’m just about done with your shit. Just you wait, just you--”

Well, it turned out - surprise! - Isak lost the round. Horribly. There were a lot of pointing fingers and shouting and Jonas going oh what was that? What was that you said, something about just wait, you had it this time?? I’ll tell you what you don’t have Isak, and that’s your shirt, motherfucker!

Which was true, he was now down to losing his shirt, which just. Ugh, he was cold, goddammit. Although he was drinking enough not to be freezing. He may be a bitch, but he wasn’t bitch enough to not play the game by the rules so.

“Fine. Fine, I lose my shirt, but I swear to god, you’re losing all of your chips in the next round, you just fucking watch, Jonas Noah Vasquez.” It was high-key hell to somehow wrestle himself out of the impossible article of clothing, but he finally popped his head free from white cotton and spun around to toss it victoriously. “Ha!”

The boys had all been laughing as he was wrestling with the goddamn cotton gods, but as he spun back around with the shirt thrown successfully across the room, Isak paused, half naked and full confused as one eyebrow lifted at the absolute, dead silence.

The room had gone entirely quiet in the four seconds it took for him to turn and throw his shirt, and based on everyone’s wide-eyed looks, he had completely missed something.

“What?”

All the boys exchanged slow, silent glances that were actually concerning, despite the fact that he was feeling tipsy and everything had been floating and nice like ten fucking seconds ago.

Eventually all the gazes settled on Jonas - you do it - and Jonas looked down at the table, sucking in a breath before he looked over at Isak, eye contact burning through him like he was a butterfly pinned to a wall.

“Are. Uh.” It took a few seconds for him to manage it, but Jonas finally swallowed and got his words enough together to carefully lay out the question. “Are you and Even okay?”

“Uh...yeah. Everything's great, why?” Isak gave his little signature shrug and Jonas rolled his lips in, looking back between the boys’ expectant faces and Isak’s very confused one.

“You're not just saying that? You know you can tell us anything, Isak. We’re here for you. No matter what.”

Okay, the look on Jonas’s face was starting to freak him out.

“What. What do you mean?” The half smile was more of a coping mechanism than joy, eyebrows furrowed as he tried to figure out what the weirdass silence and exchanging looks could possibly mean. Finally he narrowed his eyes playfully, head cocked as he pursed his mouth.

“If this is some ploy to dig more about my sex life--” Isak teased and Jonas stood up, pushing his chair back as he took Isak’s arm, lifted him up out of his chair too.

As soon as they turned from the table there was a muffled sound of shock behind them. He threw a look over his shoulder, which made the room spin a little because he was tipsy, and stumbling a tad, but he was too dumbfounded to do anything but be compliant, let Jonas pull him aside with a strangely gentle hand on his arm.

What the fuck, Jonas was holding onto him so fucking...lightly, like he was afraid Isak was gonna break, which he wasn’t, he was just gonna shuffle the few feet away Jonas pulled him and stand here pouty-lipped and confused.

“Man, I need you to be honest with me.” The depth of sincerity in his best friend’s eyes was highly fucking concerning, so he held the gaze and replied back with as damn deep and sincere as he could.

“Jonas. I am. I promise.”

“Isak.”

“What is everyone freaking out about?!” He didn’t mean to shout, or throw his arms up, but Jonas was kinda scaring him, which was not a fun feeling when the room was spinning a little and everything was so goddamn quiet. “Why are you all…”

He didn’t even know how to explain everything they were all doing right now, so he ended up waving an arm around to indicate the palpable worry in the air.

This.”

He looked back to his best friend with a bit of a wild look in his eye, the way he looked at Vilde when she ran up to him at his locked and bombarded him with a thousand reasons why he was hosting a party at his place, goddammit.

If only this was that simple, or if someone would so much as tell him something, he’d take Vilde’s overtalking over this silence any fucking day of the week.

“Huh??” Isak pressed, looking accusingly at Jonas, who was chewing his lip in clear debate of what to say. Well, Isak could help with that, he could just, y’know, tell the truth about whatever the fuck they’re all freaking out about.

And Even? What could this possibly have to do with Even?

“Jonas,” Isak tried again, desperate this time, probably so desperate even Magnus could see it.

Finally, fucking finally, Jonas sucked in a breath, leaning in a fraction as he dropped his voice that much lower, quieter, private and motherfucking dripping with worry.

“Have you seen your back?”

“My back?” The amount of confusion on his face, mouth popped open and face scrunched up as he looked at Jonas like he’d grown seven fucking heads.

Jonas was just looking back, steady stoic and waiting for an answer.

“What the fuck…” Isak kinda turned-ish, he couldn’t see much and angles were a bitch when you weren’t tipsy, but he could see enough of one shoulder to. “Oh.”

Jonas was still just watching him as he turned back. What was the big deal about--

“Oh. OH. Wait did you think--”

Isak froze with his mouth open and one finger in the air, head turning between the solemn boys sitting at the table and Jonas’s stoic silence and the state of the shoulder he’d seen, which.

Oh fuck. All of that concern, pulling him aside, asking if he was okay and how his relationship with Even was doing, all because of some bruises on his motherfucking shoulders, his friends all see him shirtless and the first thing they fucking think is that he’s in an abusive relationship Jesus fucking Christ--

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Isak repeated aloud, exhaling every fucking cell out of his body as it finally sunk in all the way, the looks on their fucking faces, fucking hell--

He took a second to gather himself, arm swinging out wide as he gestured a little wildly and gave them the most duh face he had.

“Most of them are hickies!”

“...what?” Magnus said quietly and Isak would laugh his ass off if they weren’t all so seriously fucking concerned.

“Oh god, what the fuck. Even has never laid a violent hand on me a day in my life, I fucking swear.”

The whole room breathed out collectively, tension visibly deflating as Jonas managed a strangled-sounding laugh of relief. Wow, he’d actually managed to scare them all pretty badly. Well they scared him too, acting all freaked out and whatnot, he’d thought something was seriously wrong.

So he had a few hickies. Or well, more than a few, and there were a couple of other sex-related bruises in there, which he really should’ve thought about before he took off his shirt, but it wasn’t like he fucking took count of the marks every morning in the mirror.

Jonas was shaking his head, trying to catch his breath with his hands on his knees and Mahdi was pouring a round of drinks, despite the fact that no one was anywhere near buying back chips.

“Are they really that bad?” He attempted to peer over his shoulder again but he really couldn’t see much as this angle.

Only tripped twice on the way to the living room mirror, neither of which ended in a faceplant, so that was a success, but the minute he got there and turned around, the last thing he was thinking about was how tipsy he was.

“Oh fuck.” His shoulders were positively mottled, littered with purple and blue, his hips were bruised, he had faded bite marks down his spine and there was that red mark from the door frame he'd hit a little too hard.

“Yeah, oh fuck,” Jonas repeated, a little high pitched still. No wonder they’d been freaked out, he’d be freaked out if he didn’t remember exactly every fucking incredible shuddering moment that lead to each and every one.

“They're all consenting, I swear,” Isak repeated, taking one more look in the mirror. They looked a lot like hickies if you asked him, he was pretty sure he wouldn’t mistake those for anything else, but. Still. “What the fuck.”

“What the fuck,” Mahdi agreed, sounding relieved as hell. Isak shook his head, a final glance to fix his hair before making his way back to the living room without tripping over any of their discarded clothes.

Well that was fucking dramatic.

“I completely forgot,” he started, which was hardly the apology they deserved but he couldn’t get another word out before Magnus’s Confusion was suddenly interrupting.

“But how do you end up with your shoulders dark purple??! Not to mention the fucking fingerprints on the back of your neck.” Magnus lifted his chin, one hand going up as he waited for an explanation.

Explanation. Right.

“Uh. Well.”

“What do you mean most of them are hickies?” Jonas asked slowly, careful not to bump Isak as he scooted past him for his chair again. Isak touched his arm briefly on his way past, a quiet thank you he knew Jonas wasn’t going to miss.

Apparently, Jonas also hadn’t missed that comment, though. Because yeah, Even’s mouth made the majority of those marks, but so had Even’s hands, and the wall, and.

God fuck. He was gonna have to explain this. They were still all looking at him in vague worry when there was literally not a single fucking thing to worry about, this was way more of a “you go man” than an “are you okay man” moment but.

Apparently they weren’t getting that, or understanding how he managed to get hickies on his shoulders, which he thought was pretty fucking obvious but. Better to rip it off like a band-aid, right. Might as well just.

“Well these,” Isak poked the ones he could reach, hoping they kinda got the extrapolation to the rest of the marks and their locations, “--are because I was on my hands and knees, and since kissing at that angle is basically impossible, Even’s mouth had to go somewhere and...yeah.”

He sucked in a breath and looked down, staring at the table just in case it was going to be kind enough to swallow him up and make his cheeks not as bright fucking red as the rest of him was apparently purple.

“Oh wow,” Mahdi said. Yep. Wow was right. Isak rolled his lips in, eyebrows going up as he tapped his fingers once on the table and pointedly did not look at anyone.

And then, of course, who opened his big mouth, but their very own overly-nosy, ridiculously outspoken Magnus Fossbakken.

“Well I guess that answers the question of who tops--”

“Shut up,” Isak said, pointing an accusing finger at him, instantaneous and vicious; tongue wetting his lips as he opened his mouth prepared to verbally kick Magnus’s ass, but it was too late.

Every single one of them burst into instantaneous laughter and yeah, it was official, he was bright fucking red and his friends were laughing their asses off, fucking cackling because they all just got it confirmed that he took cock up the ass on a regular basis.

Isak took his pointing finger back, rolling his lips in and swaying his head back and forth for a moment as he decided. Yeah, okay.

“I need to be significantly more wasted for this.”

The laughter doubled. Isak held out his hand and Mahdi passed over a bottle of whiskey, still laughing as Isak popped the top and took a swig straight out of the bottle.

“Ahh. Fuck. I can't believe I told you guys that,” Isak mourned pitifully, and Jonas was laughing so hard he had to lean against the wall, arm over his stomach.

He took another swig.

“What about the other ones? And the handprint,” Magnus pushed and Isak leaned back in his chair with a loud groan, shivering a little at how much closer to the window that put him.

“Ugg. Nei. I'm not gonna let myself get wasted enough to tell you one more single goddamn detail.”

“Well. It’s pretty visible, gotta say. All the marks are right there,” Mahdi pointed out very helpfully and Isak shot him a glare he didn’t mean, which was just returned by three expectant, amused-ass faces.

They were all looking at him like that.

Isak put his face in his hands.

And lifted it up one second later to grab another swig of whiskey. A round of giggles went round the table and Isak rolled his eyes, hard, rolling his head on a propped hand over to Jonas, his best puppy dog eyes on, the please save me look that Jonas was so great at ignoring, apparently.

No, Jonas sat there all curious and cocky, one eyebrow up as he leaned back in his chair, looked at Isak with that same confidence and security he had that day ages ago they’d been helping him figure out what to text Even instead of what kind of sex he was having with Even.

“So. It sounds like you guys get pretty kinky then,” Jonas pried and Isak would flick him off if he thought it’d do any good.

Instead he scrunched up his nose, feeling strangely exposed without a snapback or a shirt or basically anything to protect him from all his friends’ scrutiny. Although not all their observations were that keen or anything, he wasn't actually that worried.

“Not that kinky,” he squinted at the bottle, debating pouring it properly into a glass, which thank god he was not in the middle of doing when Mahdi asked his next question.

“So that's not a whip mark on your back?”

Isak’s mouth popped open, bottle clattering back to the table as his eyes bulged out of his head and he barely managed to stutter,

“Huh??? A-- a what??”

They were all laughing again as he scrambled up and stumbled his way - much quicker this time - to the mirror again, one hand on the wall as he twisted and squinted hard at his reflection. What the actual fuck could be mistaken for a whip mark--

“Oh! Fuck. The red stripe. Nei, nei, nei, I hit a doorframe. We don't use whips, Je-sus.” Isak shook his head once, making a tsk tsk sound as he sauntered his way back this time, give Magnus a very pointed look.

“...not like you and Vilde.”

“Huh!?” Magnus squawked and just like he’d hoped, all of the laughter turned on the other blonde instead of him, both Mahdi and Jonas shouting out things about dominatrix dreams while Isak slid back into his seat, waving his hand to a whip cracking sound, pulling the laughter up to bubble another round.

“Actually, how come you don't have any hickies, Magnus?” The expectant look Mahdi gave him was enough to turn Magnus into his try-hard, desperate self like the flip of a switch.

“Who said I don't??”

“We can see you! You’re literally only in boxers,” Jonas pointed out and Magnus looked down. Yeah, one more plus, at least Isak wasn’t the worst one at this game.

“Maybe they're beneath,” he argued back and Mahdi covered his mouth with a hand,

“Ooooo!”

“Nah nah, I don't believe it,” Jonas waved it off and Isak tipped his head, scanning Magnus over and debating whether or not he and Vilde had hooked up or actually had sex. He’d probably bet on just the former, actually.

“And as a matter of fact, there's one right here on my neck,” Magnus pointed out, to which all of them were squinting.

“What?”

“What?”

“Let me see.”

Isak scrambled around the table as Mahdi leaned over, both of them peering close while Jonas leaned forward in his seat, all of them scanning the spot Magnus was pointing to on his neck, which was yeah, a little discolored. Maybe.

“Huh, if you don't say. It's pretty faint,” Mahdi pointed out, inspecting a little closer and Magnus huffed, waving them both off with rolling eyes.

“Not all of us are dating a fucking vacuum cleaner.”

There were a lot of things in life dating Even had made him prepared for, but that comment was not one of them.

Isak ended up on the floor, which was probably mostly the whiskey’s fault, and the fact that his sides hurt from laughing so fucking much, but there were tears in his eyes as he rolled, both arms over his stomach, but the more he laughed the funnier it was and he couldn’t fucking stop laughing, which meant the boys couldn’t stop laughing at him, and soon all of them were tearing up from the fact that nobody could stop laughing but jesus fuck, that was the single funniest fucking thing he’d ever heard.

By the time they wound down enough that it was mostly just random painful giggles and snorting that turned into chuckling and brief scattered bouts of laughter mixed between wiping tears, Isak had stopped noticing the cold from the window and Magnus had joined him on the floor.

Jonas caught his breath first, shaking his head at them as Isak stared up at the ceiling and mouthed the words vacuum cleaner to himself for the fourth time only to burst into a round of giggles again.

“Oy, drinking game idea.” Jonas patted a hand on the table, waving at the two of them on the floor to get up, waving Mahdi to hand the unopened bottle of tequila over.

It took a few more seconds to even look at the boys without giggling, but he somehow managed to reign it back in with a few residual shaky breaths.

God. Vacuum cleaner.

“How about, everyone takes a shot for every hickie - even faded - they have. I’m sporting a few too, somewhere between vacuum cleaner and kitten licks.”

Isak ducked his head, giggling off again as Magnus rolled his eyes and Mahdi barked another laugh, laying out the first round of shot glasses for Jonas to fill.

“Wait, wait. No way, this isn’t gonna be fair at all.” Isak sat up abruptly, noting distantly that his chair was a lot further away than he remembered, but he also had a lot more hickies on him than he remembered, enough that even he knew that was a dumbass fucking idea.

“We can each take shots for a different body part number of Isak’s hickies?” Mahdi suggested, which sent everyone of into another round of snorts and huffs before Jonas waved a sloppy hand at them, trying to get everyone to cut it out before they all ended up laughing on the ground next time.

“Or how about this, Isak takes shots for all his hickies, and we take shots for all the other marks that aren't like. Officially hickies.”

Isak squinted, thinking back to what he could remember of the map Even had left on his back, shoulders, spine, but. Well, if they counted all his visible marks, at least they’d be decently wasted with him.

“Whatever,” he conceded, pushing up to plop back down in his seat beside Jonas, reaching for the first shot glass. “Fine. But I’m still not gonna let myself get wasted enough to tell you guys one. damn. thing about my sex life.”

 

Which was how twenty minutes later there were four boys howling and choking on laughter in the middle of the living room floor.

“God, it was so fucking deep I swear he bruised my diaphragm. Fuck.”

Poker game entirely forgotten, tequila and whiskey bottles empty, and Isak trying to find enough air to inhale between bursts of laughter to speak, breathless, too giggly and short to be slurred as much as it should be.

“I couldn't walk this morning, h-honestly. He had to bring me breakfast in bed.”

Jonas doubled over, again, knocking Isak’s shoulder as he rolled and Isak laughed, wide mouthed and open, hand waving up in the air to get them all to quiet for just a moment.

“Wait, wait, that’s not even the best part!”

Magnus was crying, laughing so hard he’d gone near silent and Isak could barely stop giggling enough to even tell it.

“Eskild--”

“Eksild, Eksild?” They all parroted like birds, the mispronunciation of his name they fucked up when they all were sober and there everyone went off again, round seven fucking thousand of endless giggling.

“Now, Eskild--”

“Eksild!” Jonas shouted and Isak shoved him, licking his lips and trying not to burst into more laughter again as Jonas’s curls got squished by Mahdi trying to shove him too.

“Hey. Listen to me. So Eskild saw him bring me breakfast right, and stops at our bedroom door - mind you, I’m still naked, with just a blanket over my lap and I'm like wincing as I'm sitting up--”

“Holy fuck.”

“Yeah, holy fuck, and Eskild’s just--”

“Eksild Eksild,” Magnus murmured, so Isak jammed his toes into Magnus’s ribs to hopefully get him to shut up long enough to finish his fucking story.

“And he's just standing there in the doorway and he's like,

‘You two are so sweet, it's just so precious and endearing and shit, how your boyfriend brings you breakfast in bed?’”

Isak laughed, making his voice a tad higher, flicking a wrist up at the sky for comedic effect, which worked way too damn well when it was two in the morning and they were all wasted off their asses from giggling and hard liquor.

“‘I've never seen anyone so soft and sweet!’”

“And I'm sitting there staring blankly at him because ??? Last night was fucking anything but motherfucking soft.”

This couldn’t even be considered laughing anymore, this was some awful combination between chortling and the highest pitched giggling he had no idea any of them was capable of, the ricochet of sounds making it that much funnier until they were laughing so hard it physically hurt, again.

Isak wiped a tear from his eye, shoving at the various pile of body parts close enough to bother to make sure they were listening.

“Listen, have you ever been so hard you thought you were going to actually die? Yeah try that, while being fucked within an inch of your life by your…gorgeous boyfriend who's pinning your shoulders to the bed with one hand and is bruising your hips from how high he's holding them in the other.”

“Oh my god.”

“Holy fuck.”

Magnus was like. Choking and Mahdi was tearing up with silent laughter now, and Jonas’s face was twisted up so fucking scandalized Isak was crying with tears now too.

“Oh my god?!?”

“Oh my god isn't the beginning of it, fuck.” The laughter dragged Jonas back in as Isak reached over and prodded his ribs, smiling so wide his face hurt as Magnus mumbled something about maybe taking back his comment about being able to handle watching them bang on TV after all.

“Right? It's fucking crazy.” Isak stared up at the ceiling in awe, some distant part of his mind registering that wow, this was real, he was talking about his sex life with his friends, and for some reason that made it feel about 6000 times more real. Here was Isak Valtersen, getting fucked hard enough to bruise on Thursday night then giggling about it with his friends all night Friday.

“Fuck.” Isak lifted his head just a tad, wincing and squinting to try and make the floor somewhat horizontal again. Sitting up, he was going to sit up because fuck, his stomach hurt from all of the laughing mixed with all of the alcohol and sitting up sounded like the cheat version of curling up in a ball without cutting out for the night.

“Uggh, fuck, I swear, he’s all I can ever fuckin’ think about. The room was spinning more than it is right now which is. Oy yoy, saying a lot.”

He patted out a hand for the closest solid surface, found Jonas, then Mahdi, then finally the couch, which he managed to scoot back against without any casualties except maybe kicking Magnus. Whoops.

“So that's the handprint then?” Mahdi was also sitting up against the couch, would you look at that. Great minds think alike.

Speaking of which. He’d just said something. Isak rolled in his lips, registering the words and looking down at his chest, which wasn’t nearly so marked up as his back. It was usually the opposite, but.

Right, handprint. On the back of his neck.

“Mmhm. And most of the other bruises on my shoulders. And this hip.” He flipped the band of his pants down, revealing just an inch more of the purple peeking out from the sharp bone. These pants rode low enough to see a bit of the bruising anyways. Now those, he was pretty used to, marked up hips were pretty damn frequent nowadays and Isak was definitely not fucking complaining.

He peered over at his other hip, prodding at the bone once or twice. Yeah, definitely bruised. Like usual.

“But the thumb marks on this one are probably from blowjobs.”

“Jesus fuck.”

“Yeah man, if you think getting head from a girl is fun?” Isak lifted his head, tipping it knowingly at the faces all turned up his way again. “That's nothing on somebody who knows his way around a dick ‘cause he's got one.”

“That's a really good point,” Magnus pondered all curious and confused again and Isak just nodded, heartily.

“Goddamn.” Jonas was staring up at the ceiling contemplating existence, from the look of it.

“What about giving head? Is it weird?”

Isak blinked once or twice, looking down at Jonas again. He wasn’t actually asking many of the questions tonight, but he’d asked that one and Isak furrowed his eyebrows, really thinking it over. No automatic answers for Jonas.

“Mmm. Nah, not anymore. At first it was…” Sucked in a breath over a weirded out eee sound. Universal for yeah, freaky, not good. “But like once you get over the whole not being able to breathe thing it's like...empowering?”

Isak chewed on his lip a moment, debating the word choice before he decided he like it, nodding and waving a hand in the air to emphasize.

“Ja. Empowering.”

“Huh,” Jonas said and Isak lifted a shoulder. What you didn’t know, y’know.

“Do you guys switch off giving head then?” Mahdi asked and Isak rolled his head back, couch cushions all soft, too soft, his head was heavy but not that heavy, might as well lift it back up.

“Yeah, cause like. Everyone likes getting it, and we both like giving it so.” He lifted both hands, flat palms in the sky as he weighed them back and forth like scales with a little shrug, y’know y’know.

“But you don't switch when you have sex?” That was Mahdi again, who could sometimes ask questions almost borderline Magnus nosy but somehow they didn’t feel so curious, more like he was opening doors for Isak to share which was a weird feeling but whatever, everything felt weird right now and that was a weird question, actually.

Isak paused, brushing a stray golden curl out of his eyes. His hair had to be fucked to hell if curls were in his line of sight, fuckin’ yikes.

Did they switch when they had sex? He lifted one shoulder, squinting into the distance as he thought about it. He’d actually never thought about it. Like, once.

Was that weird? He used to like. Worry, back when he wasn’t sure if he was gay, or if he’d ever be expected to have gay sex, he even kinda worried when he first got with Even, he was afraid he’d freak out or not be able to handle it or anything but like.

It just came so natural, there was something he trusted so much in Even’s core, something in the way he kissed Isak hard up against a wall that made it real damn easy to spread his legs right open--

“Woah,” Jonas interrupted and Isak froze, mouth snapping back closed. What.

“...was that out loud?”

“...yes?”

“How much of it??”

“How are we supposed to know?!” Magnus demanded and Isak put up his hands in defense, eyes widening, chill the fuck out dude.

“What I was gonna say, anyways, was that for switching, we haven’t yet. I don't know if we will? I haven't really thought about it actually, like. At all, until right now. Not since we’ve had sex anyways.”

“So you like how it is, then?” See, there was something about the way Mahdi asked questions that just came across as so much more polite than it did nosy. “Being, uh.”

“A bottom,” Magnus filled in.

Great. Great, yeah, sure, he’d figured they’d guessed as much from Even’s and his dynamic, or at least their heights or something, but. Magnus could also just blurt it out loud for God and the world to hear.

“I learned my gay sex terms,” he was defending, cause Jonas had kicked him or something. Go Jonas. “And just, so you know--”

Magnus struggled to sit up, clearly, obviously drunk. Join the club.

Did he like being a bottom. Jesus fuck, yeah.

Isak blinked patiently at him as Mr. Desperate took a very sincere moment to pause, looking Isak straight in the eyes as he deadpanned, pure as hell,

“I don't think of you as a woman at all.”

“Takk,” Isak replied, overly sincere in return, with a dramatic hand over his heart as he swayed forward a tad, pausing at the front of his balance with one hand in the air, palm graciously out towards Magnus Who Tried.

“Although I suppose that’s really too bad because. I still think of you as one.”

He barely got out the drag before he was giggling like the little bitch he was, one hand over his stomach and water in his eyes.

Mahdi and Jonas were both stuck between barking out shocked cackling laughter and pointing with their loud, kickass backup drags.

“Ahhh cold, cold, fucking vicious, cold--”

“I was already freezing man, what the fuck?” Magnus pouted, looking very pitiful there in just his boxers with the window open - they should close that window, asap - but when you had a shitty poker face, life really just took you for a ride sometimes.

Isak was laughing at the stars and the folds of the couch as he snickered his way through yet another one of his burns and by fucking god, he should write these down, he’d be fucking famous for how fucking funny he was.

“It's too bad you suck at poker and everything having to do with sex. Vegas, you, never.” The couch stopped holding him upright when he was tipped sideways, but Mahdi seemed pretty amiable to catching him before the floor did so Isak didn’t bother to stop laughing.

“You have no idea how I am in bed!” The defense was fair, but the doors it opened, he couldn’t not.

“And I'd like to keep it that way,” Isak shot back, triple burn to sink Magnus’s eyebrows back into that confused, vaguely kicked puppy look that he fucking had coming every time, which didn’t stop it from being so fucking funny every time.

“You are like. The fucking king of hickies. You have no room to speak,” he pouted and Isak rolled off of Mahdi’s thigh, landing on his stomach in front of Magnus to reach over and shove his knee, which refused to budge with all the weight Magnus had on it. Damn damn.

“What’re you talking about? Hickies are great.” Obviously, his skin was serenading to back him up and Isak rolled one more time, ending up somewhere between all three of them as he closed his eyes, squinched up his nose and sing-songed up at the ceiling in English, “Mark me up, baby.”

At least one of them thought that was funny, spiraling into laughter again, his brain was just way too distant right now to figure out who.

“Yeah, but twelve? Fucking hell, just one takes like fucking five minutes to make properly.”

Twelve, that’s right, that’s how many shots he had taken and fuck, that had been a lot hadn’t it. Apparently his rough count in his head before he agreed had been way off.

Excuse him for not remembering perfectly, he’d been a little preoccupied with the fucking sensation as Even was making them to count.

“I’m markable,” Isak parroted back, quoting what Even had told him last night and then they were all giggling. God, this was better than being high, even if his sides were aching again from how much they couldn’t fucking stop laughing. But this was so nice, laughing until he couldn't breathe and getting to talk to all his boys about sex and Even and all of the fantastic things in his life. Which was just so sad they didn’t have too.

“Hey, hey, but you know what, gay sex is great guys, honestly. If you ever get the chance, try it, you are missing out on so fucking much. I mean, do you have any fucking clue what the prostate--”

“Ahh! Stop, okay, stop there,” Mahdi interrupted and Isak’s triumphant smile deepened into dimples as Jonas knocked his shoulder, a hand shoving through his curls as he lifted them up to plop down on the nearest soft spot.

“I mean, I knew biology was your subject,” Jonas caroled, which was so nice, it was great that his friends knew him so well. If only Jonas could’ve fuckin’ let Sana know that yes, biology was his subject before it took her the entire class to figure it out but y’know what, that was fine, they were friends now and they probably wouldn’t’ve been otherwise and. Jonas was still talking, fuck.

“...didn’t know anatomy was too.”

Isak laughed, head kicking back into Jonas’s stomach as he laughed too, reverberating through Isak’s skull and down the rest of his bones. He’d ended up on his favorite soft spot, look at that. This was where he used to lay when they were younger, because he bitched about his hair being fucked up by the grass and Jonas would always sigh but volunteer as a pillow while they watched the clouds in the park or chatted on somebody’s roof or something.

Stomachs were the absolute best pillows.

Isak blinked up at the ceiling, laughter dying down enough to gasp in a breath as his leaking eyes stained little puddles on Jonas’s shirt. At least one of them was vaguely wearing clothes. Somewhat.

“Jesus fuck, I don’t think I’ve ever been this drunk in my life,” Isak confessed to the ceiling and Jonas carded a hand through his hair while Magnus poked his ankle, like that was gonna somehow measure how fucking drunk Isak was.

The answer was: fucking drunk. But there was nobody he’d rather be Fucking Drunk with, these were the only hoes he had any desire to get trashnasty with and the fact that they’d all agreed to, were all still camped out on his living room floor giggling just.

Made his chest so warm, how the fuck did he find such fucking amazing friends?

“I love you guys,” he cooed sincerely and Jonas’s hand paused in his hair, wild head of dark curls lifting up to catchy the dreamydistant look in his eyes.

“Fuck, yeah, you’ve gotta be drunk.”

Isak was back to giggling, rolling a bit, just enough that when Jonas put a hand in his hair this time it was a lot more about keeping him still than playing with his hair.

“You hate us, man.”

“No I don’t, I love you guys,” Isak insisted, looking up at the underside of Jonas’s chin before slipping free of the hand pinning him still and rolling over onto his stomach. Ear to Jonas’s sternum, hand curled up by his face as he smiled to himself, eyes slipping shut in the warmth.

“Oh Isak,” Mahdi sighed fondly and Isak shuffled, lifting his head just enough to make himself comfy again, content little smile on his face. He totally loved them, every one of them. His fucking amazing friends, he absolutely loved them.

“But not like I love Even,” Isak interrupted, fingers and shut eyes tightening with the pulse in his fucking fingertips. “Jesus fuck I am so, so in love with Even.”

It took him a second to place the shift, because he was still kinda just basking in the warmth and the glow of how much he loved the boy that marked him up enough for his friends to question it and not enough for Isak not to miss him fucking desperately.

But there was a shift, because all the latent giggling and chatter had fallen again, all of the boys kinda quiet as Isak rolled back over onto his back, right over the softest part of Jonas’s stomach as he stared at the ceiling, hands resting still and quiet over his stomach.

Maybe they were all watching him, or maybe they were all just kinda shocked with how honest and sincere Isak’s voice had been, or maybe they just didn’t see it written all over Isak’s fucking face every time Even Bech Næsheim so much as walked into the fucking room.

Where was he right now? It was too late - or early, in the morning, depending on who you were - for him to still be hanging with his parents, nobody hung with their parents at 03:30.

So he was probably sleeping, then. Hopefully tucked in warm and cozy in a bed he hadn’t slept in alone for like. A fucking month, not that Isak had any slightest regrets about that.

If anybody else his age practically lived with their significant other, he’d probably think they were crazy but it was different, with Even, they were different.

Jesus Christ, he was so fucking in love with that boy.

“I think you need some water.” Jonas’s mom voice interrupted and Isak groaned loudly, rolling back over to bury his face in a nice and cozy warm shirt.

“Leave me alone, dad. Actually, wait.” Isak lifted his head, blinking disoriented against the spinning room. Fuck that. Fuck this, too. “I wouldn’t insult you like that, fuck my dad.”

“Okay, yeah, things are getting too real. It’s time for you to go to sleep now,” Jonas told him, two hands shoving Isak gracelessly to the floor as he sat up, arms instantly flailing out for balance. “Oh fuck.”

“Mmm, yeah, it’s better down here on the floor,” Isak informed him blurrily. He would no more get up right now than he would tapdance naked out there in the cold. Unlike some people, he made a point to wear clothes when he went outside. Although huh, actually, he was gonna like. Not think about that when he was this fucked up, that probably was not the best idea.

God knows what’d he do, if someone brought that up right now. Maybe break down crying, maybe lay there numb and dead as he’d felt when Sonja had swept his feet out underneath him like that--

“Couch,” Jonas declared. A hand wiped over his cheek and Isak swatted it away pissily. Whatever made Jonas think he could put water on Isak’s face, salty water on top of it, how fucking dare-- “Magnus, Mahdi, help me get him on the couch.”

“Get yourself on the couch,” Isak mumbled, sniffling. Wow, there were suddenly a fucking lot of hands here right now. He was hands down the most drunk, but nobody was sober enough to pick each other up, either.

Bridal style, that’s the only way Even hadn’t carried him yet. Last time he’d talked about their wedding he’d been in a different universe than Isak, and it wasn’t one that was parallel at all.

It wasn't parallel at all.

God, he'd been so scared.

“Leave me alone.” The weak protests weren’t saying much when he curled into familiar hands the second Jonas tried picking him up. There was plenty of cursing, but next thing he knew he was landing sideways on something a lot softer than the floor, elbow jabbing something that made a very uncomfortable sound when it got squished.

Isak dragged his eyes back open, blinking wide eyed at Jonas, whose face was way too close to his right now the way they’d landed on the couch.

He was a hassle drunk. Huh, who knew. Just kidding, he totally knew that. So did Jonas, actually. Jonas knew everything. Well. Actually not everything.

“Mahdi, can you get a glass of water?”

“Did you know,” Isak started slowly, narrow vision filled with just the face of his best friend, the one who’d been literally the best person in the world to come out to, which Isak never really would’ve expected considering how much it used to fucking tear him up. “...I used to have this...massive crush on you.”

Jonas lifted one eyebrow, clearly unimpressed.

“And bring duct tape, while you’re at it!” He shouted for the kitchen. Uh, rude.

“I’m serious,” Isak whined, shoving at his chest. “Jonas, you’re like super great, I was so into you.”

Another voice piped up, from the ground, which Isak’s brain took a few seconds to register as Magnus.

“Knew there had to be a reason he chose having sex with you over sex with me, it’s just the only thing that makes sense.”

There were a lot of reasons that made sense, but Isak just twitched an eye and looked back up at Jonas, who was still half pinned beneath him here on the couch. Good, Jonas was supposed to know everything, it fucking killed him that he didn’t know everything.

Literally, there was like an actual hole in him from not saying anything, although at least there wasn't a hole in his chest from an unrequited one way crush anymore. That sucked, but thank fuck it didn't suck anymore.

“Don’t worry, I’m so fucking into Even now, there’s no way I’d get in between you and Eva again.”

“Here’s the water,” Mahdi said but Jonas didn’t reach up to take it, too busy looking at Isak with a furrow between his dark, bushy eyebrows.

“Again?”

“Jonas,” Mahdi repeated, something underneath in his voice that Isak was not picking up, but apparently everybody else could hear it just fine, cause next thing he knew Jonas was holding a glass of water to his lips, switched right back into Worry Mode.

“Here, Isak, drink.”

“I thought you cut me off,” he argued light-heartedly, but he opened his mouth when the glass pressed to his lips anyways. No point being cheeky when he was that wasted and Jonas was being that nice.

Why was Jonas being so nice to him? It wasn’t like he fucking deserved it.

“Don’t be mad,” Isak tried, trying not to sound terrified, and Jonas put a hand in his hair.

“I’m not mad.”

“Promise,” he insisted, and this time when Jonas wiped a hand over his cheek, the salt water he was brushing away kind of registered in the same bubble as the foggy water haze in the bottom edge of his vision. Oh.

“Promise,” Jonas told him, shifting both of their bodies as he reached up to hand Mahdi the empty glass. When his arm came back down, it came down around Isak’s shoulders.

Ribs were also surprisingly comfy and Isak settled in, both of them sideways on the couch with Jonas’s hand in his hair, stroking over it the same way he did when Isak’s dad left his mom and Isak didn’t know how to deal with a single fucking thing.

“Are you really in love with Even?” Jonas asked him softly, private, just between the two of them. It was quiet and close and caring, more felt than heard with his eyes slipping closed against a sideways heartbeat. This was his best friend, who cared more about him than anyone else in the entire fucking world, and Isak could fucking hear it in every note of his voice.

That, he could be drunk, high, dead, he didn’t miss.

“Yeah,” Isak replied sleepily. “You like him, right?”

“Yeah, I like him.” Jonas told him. “I like you being happy more.”

Seeing Isak smile, the day he came out over kebabs? That was the most heartbreaking moment of Jonas’s entire life. His best friend, laying bare the soul he’d hid for years. To Jonas, before anyone else, watching him with the most terrified look in his eyes as he held Jonas’s gaze - this was fucking important - and said it once, ”Try.”

Try to guess. A hint. It’s not a girl.

The look on Isak’s face, as he said that, physically holding his breath to see what Jonas would respond with. To see if Jonas would be disgusted, kick him to the curb, look at him different, tell him it was wrong, he was sick, anything that could’ve possibly been running through that kid’s head at the moment.

“Hmm,” Jonas had said, looking down at his kebab as he thought it over. Isak liked somebody, that wasn’t a girl. So yeah, when he’d looked up he’d replied with a curious, honest, guess.

“Is it me?”

“Nei!” Isak had defended, so quickly, a brilliant, shaky smile on his face. “Nei, nei nei! You?!”

And it wasn’t, it wasn’t anymore, but. It had been, at one point, he had that confirmed now.

But that wasn’t why that day was the most heartwrenching memory he owned. No, it was the end of that conversation that killed him.

“Like, he has got to break up with his girlfriend,” Jonas had said and Isak had looked down, thumb rubbing over the edge of the drawing Even had given him. And then he did the simplest fucking thing.

He just smiled. Small, and shy, as he looked down at this note a boy had given him and.

It was the kind of smile he’d never seen on Isak’s mouth before. Quiet, sincere. None of the bullshit or pain or underlying something. Just. a smile. An honest, little. hopeful smile.

That, that was why.

So Jonas meant it. Meant every word of it when he ran his hand through Isak’s hair and told him yes, he liked Even, he really did, but.

“I like you being happy more.”

It was too bad Isak was already asleep against him by the time he said it, but. Passed out or not, hopefully there was some part of that stubborn head that knew it, deep down. That heard it as he drifted into sleep, and let it fill his dreams with something quiet and peaceful.

Jonas smiled to himself, resituated the pillow under his side, and let himself drift off into sleep too. Let them leave this entire fucking year behind.

Let next year be nothing but the hope there'd been in that honest little smile.