Isak is idly scrolling through his phone while he waits for the metro to arrive when he hears someone call his name. He frowns, glancing to the side, but the only people standing around him are an elderly couple reading a travel guide and group of fourteen-year-old girls huddled around a phone. He shakes his head and returns his attention to his own phone.
He’s definitely hearing things.
There’s no reason for anyone to be calling his name. For one, he’s in Spain. And he’s not sure his name is all that common here. For another, he’s travelling alone. He’s only been in Barcelona for two days so far and there’s no one he knows here to be calling his name in the first place.
He huffs, raising his head once more and catching a glimpse of a waving hand at the corner of his vision. His eyes land on the platform on the other side of the tracks and, after a moment of squinting, his gaze focuses on a blond head significantly taller than everyone around him.
Isak’s eyes widen as the person finally seems to realise they’ve caught his attention, grinning widely and waving.
Even, who Isak and Jonas had made friends with during their first year of Nissen. Even, who Isak had had a hopeless crush on. Even, who’d moved away out of the blue at the beginning of second year.
“Even?!” Isak calls incredulously, feeling slightly self-conscious about the people around him who startle and stare at the sound of his voice. But then Even’s laugh echoes over to him and Isak feels a thrumming in his chest. A distinct Even-specific feeling he hasn’t experienced in nearly two years.
Even cups his hands around his mouth and yells, “Don’t move! I’m coming over to you!”
With that, Even spins on his heel and disappears back up the stairs behind him while Isak stares after him dumbfounded. Isak can feel the people around him watching him curiously but he doesn’t meet any of their stares. He’s too- shocked. He can’t really believe this just happened?
He hasn’t seen or heard from Even in almost two years; what are the chances he’d find him in Barcelona?
The metro arrives and Isak feels disorientated by all the people around him suddenly flocking to the train and the dozens of new people that pour out of the train doors once they open. He whips his head around, wondering how he’s supposed to find Even amidst all the people but he stands still because Even told him to wait and it’s been two years since he’s seen him but Isak is still helpless to do whatever Even asks.
The platform empties out after a minute or two, leaving Isak and a few stragglers behind. That’s the only reason he hears the slapping of shoes on the steps and he spins around just in time to see Even hopping down the last couple of steps and hurtling towards him. He doesn’t know what he expects Even to do but throwing his arms around him is the last thing he thinks of.
But one minute Even is closing the distance between them with quick strides and the next he’s got his arms flung around Isak’s shoulders and is pulling him into an almighty bear hug. Isak freezes for a moment before he brings his own hands up around Even’s waist and hugs him back. He hears Even’s delighted laugh right by his ear and the sound still sends shivers down his spine. He finds himself breathing Even in – that same familiar scent from before but overlaid with the stronger smell of sun cream and the beach – as Even squeezes him tight.
Even steps back after a moment, hands clutching Isak’s shoulders as his gaze travels all over Isak’s body, almost like he’s drinking him in. It makes Isak blush but he thinks he can probably blame it on the heat. Even meets his gaze finally with a beaming grin. “I fucking missed you,” he declares, shaking Isak’s shoulders slightly with his conviction.
Isak swallows down the million questions he has – Why did you leave in the first place? Why didn’t you call? Why did you never answer any of my messages? Where were you?
Instead, he smiles and lets himself revel in the fact that Even is actually here. “I missed you too,” he replies, still slightly incredulous. This is real. Even is standing in front of him right now and looking just as devastatingly handsome as he had two years go. Still taller than Isak even after his growth spurt, still sporting the same cinnamon swirl hairstyle albeit a little deflated due to the heat, still wearing the most beautiful crinkly-eyed smile. In fewer layers than Isak is used to and skin lightly tanned from the sun.
God, he’s fucking gorgeous.
“Do you have to be somewhere? What are you doing right now?” Even asks in quick succession. “We have to catch up! It’s been way too fucking long.”
“I’m not doing anything,” Isak shakes his head, butterflies erupting in his stomach at the sight of Even’s smile growing. “I was just gonna head back to my hostel but we could do something.” He says it shyly, feeling like his sixteen-year-old self again with Even standing so close.
Even lets go of him but only to fish his phone out of his pocket to check the time. “Still a little too early for dinner,” he mutters before raising his head along with an eyebrow at Isak. “Wanna grab a drink and then we can get food later?”
Isak nods too quickly, trying to keep the excitement off his own face. “Sure.”
Even’s smile still rivals the sun when he says, “Come on, I know a place.”
They end up in a bar along the strip that Even seems to know fairly well, considering he greets the bartender by name when they arrive. “Still drinking shitty beer now that you’re legal?” Even asks Isak with a wry smile as he leans on the counter.
Isak scoffs and rolls his eyes. “My tastes have improved since I was sixteen.”
“Hmm so Sex on the Beach it is then,” Even teases with a laugh before turning to the bartender and missing the flush that rushes to Isak’s cheeks. He orders them two beers and hands over the money before Isak can even think to get his wallet out.
“Grab that table over there,” Even says, nodding at a table just outside the door, under the canopy while he takes both their glasses from the bar top.
Isak leads the way, sliding into one of the wicker chairs as Even sets their glasses on the table and settles into the other.
There’s a moment of silence when they first sit down where it seems to sink in for both of them that this is real. They’re here, sitting in a bar in Barcelona, after going two years without having spoken a word to one another.
“So how have you been?” Even asks and Isak almost wants to laugh because how can he even answer that question? How much of the past two years is he supposed to fill Even in on?
In the end, he settles for the simple truth.
“Good,” he tells him with a small smile, taking a sip of his beer and setting it back down on the table. “I’ve been good. I mean, things were pretty bad for a while, you know, but- I’m happy now.”
Even had been there when Isak’s dad walked out and subsequently when Isak had ran away from home and ended up living in Eskild’s basement until Noora moved to London. He’d left before Isak had come out though, still in the dark about the other secret that had made Isak’s life a living hell back then.
Even nods and sounds genuine when he says, “That’s good,” and then, carefully, he asks, “How’s your mom?”
“She’s doing well,” Isak answers, blowing out a breath. He didn’t think they’d be getting into the heavy stuff so quickly. “After I kind of got my head out of my ass and started talking to her again I managed to convince her to get help. She still has bad days but she’s doing better than before. She has a support system, y’know?”
“That’s really great, Isak,” Even says softly. “I’m glad you’re speaking to her again.”
“You always were her biggest cheerleader,” Isak remembers. “You kept telling me to stop ignoring her.”
Even hums in acknowledgment. “Glad you finally listened,” he teases with a wink, before lifting his glass to his mouth.
“What about you?” he asks, fiddling with a beer mat and glancing at Even from under his eyelashes. “How have you been?”
For the first time since they saw each other on the platform Even’s gaze flits away from his, focusing instead on the condensation on his glass. “I’m doing good,” he admits quietly. “I-“ he pauses, eyes darting to Isak’s and Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat. “I’m sorry I never answered any of your calls.”
“Oh.” Isak’s mouth drops open in surprise as he considers what to say. He hadn’t expected Even to actually acknowledge it.
“I should’ve explained to you what was going on; that was the least I owed you,” Even says solemnly. “But I was in a really bad place back when I left and-“ He cuts himself off, offering Isak a sheepish smile. “I’ll explain it to you later, okay? I don’t want to bring down the mood. Tell me about your life. How’s Jonas?”
Isak accepts the rebuff for what it is, starting to think there might be a lot more to Even leaving than he’d originally thought. Either way it sounds like way too deep of a conversation to be having when they’ve been talking for less than half an hour. He thinks keeping it light-hearted might be the best way to go for now.
So instead he regales Even with stories of some of the more ridiculous things he, Jonas, Mahdi and Magnus have gotten up to over the last couple of years and hoards every single smile and laugh he manages to draw out of Even.
“How come they aren’t here with you?” Even asks somewhere in the middle of a story about Magnus’ lack of prowess in the relationship department.
Isak shrugs. “We took a holiday around my birthday once school ended but we stayed in Norway and I guess I just wanted a change of scenery for a couple of weeks before we started college. Noora suggested Spain; she used to live in Madrid, y’know? So I found some cheap flights, googled a few hostels and decided to just go.”
Even raises his eyebrows, looking vaguely impressed. “The Isak I knew would never venture out on his own like that.”
Isak scoffs. “The Isak you knew moved out of home at sixteen in case you’re forgetting?”
Even laughs, holding his hands up in surrender. “Fine. But Eskild basically adopted you so I don’t think that counts.”
Isak rolls his eyes even though it’s kind of true. “Whatever.”
“And your girlfriend didn’t want to come with you?” Even asks casually but there’s a glint in his eyes that seems anything but and Isak has to shove down the heavy beating of his heart as he replies.
“Boyfriend actually,” he says, corners of his mouth curving up in a smirk when Even’s face goes blank with surprise. “Well, if I had one. So, nope. I’m here on my own.”
Even’s smile is back, looking promising, and Isak feels anticipation fizz in his veins.
“Good to know,” Even replies nonchalantly.
Yeah. Good to know.
They lose track of time as they talk, too busy trying to catch up on every detail of one another’s lives. Isak tells him about everyone Even used to be friends with and lets him know who’s dating who and what everyone’s plans are for after school. Even informs him that he hasn’t started college yet and instead has spent the past year travelling. Apparently he’s been in Barcelona for two weeks so far and has a string of other countries in central Europe under his belt before this one.
“I want to start in September though,” Even tells him at one point. “I’ve applied for Film and Media Studies so I’ll probably be going home at the end of August. Travelling was never meant to be permanent, y’know? It was a chance to get inspiration for my films by visiting all these incredible places. And now I’ve got so much great footage from the past year, I swear, I’m gonna ace every fucking video project I’m assigned with this stuff.”
Isak doesn’t realise he’s smiling until Even suddenly stops speaking and looks at him with a confused little tilt to his expression. “What?”
“Nothing,” Isak says, shaking his head. “I’m just glad you’re still into that stuff.”
Even’s expression softens before he rolls his eyes exaggeratedly. “I haven’t changed that much.”
“I know!” Isak laughs. “But still, you wouldn’t be you if you weren’t a movie nerd so I’m glad you still like all that.”
Even’s smile reaches his eyes when Isak casts a glance at him and it immediately has him looking away again, ducking his head to hide his own upturned lips.
“What time is it?” Even asks suddenly and Isak snaps his gaze up again, meeting Even’s expectant expression before reaching into his pocket to check his phone.
“21:21,” he replies.
Even arches an eyebrow in surprise. “Seriously?”
Isak checks his phone again to confirm and nods. “Yeah.”
“We’ve been here awhile-“ And they have; when they’d first arrived it’d been just before 18:00, “Want to grab something to eat?”
The words date flashes in Isak’s mind like a neon signs but he shoves the thought away and instead, downs the end of his third beer before nodding decisively. “Let’s go.”
Dinner is just an excuse for more conversations and it feels exactly like it did before, when they were still in school, but also different.
In school, Isak had been a nervous wreck around Even seventy percent of the time, blinded by his crush and barely able to brush against Even’s shoulder without breaking out in a full body blush. Now, he’s still nervous, but it’s an anticipatory kind of nervousness. He feels a little braver, here on his own with Even and no one else around them. Older and more confident in himself and he can’t help but lean a little closer across the table or flirt back a bit.
Even had always been flirty before and it would always turn Isak into a stammering mess. Isak could flirt with girls because he never really cared but trying to flirt with Even had never gone to plan. Now, Isak manages to pull out some of that old charm and he uses it to his advantage, delighting in every surprised smile he can coax out of Even.
But the truth is, Even still makes him feel giddy inside. Still makes his knees turn wobbly when he smiles at him for too long.
The place they’re eating at doubles as a bar, complete with a dancefloor that’s already clustered with older couples and groups of little kids dancing to the live band. It’s a nice atmosphere, very Even in a way. Bright and colourful and happy.
Fuck, Isak’s missed him.
Once they’ve let their food digest a bit Isak catches the way Even’s eyes keep straying to the dancefloor and he knows what’s coming before Even even opens his mouth.
“Dance with me,” Even requests with a sparkle in his eye that makes Isak’s heart skip a beat.
He splutters, trying to come up with an excuse but Even stands and rounds the table to hold out a hand to him and the word “no” is suddenly a lot harder to say when presented with the idea of holding Even’s hand.
“Please, Isak,” Even whines, grabbing onto Isak’s hands without preamble and attempting to pull him out of his seat. “Please. I haven’t danced with someone in so long.”
Isak snorts but allows himself to be dragged to his feet. “Somehow I find that very hard to believe.”
Even pauses in trying to tow him towards the dancefloor and raises an eyebrow. “Why’s that?”
Isak opens his mouth to reply but nothing comes out. In the end he ducks his head to steel himself before meeting Even’s gaze and saying, “I can’t see someone saying no if you asked them to dance.”
Even’s eyes are positively glittering now as they reach the edge of the dance floor, thumbs slowly brushing over the backs of Isak’s hands and making his breath catch. “Because I’m so charming?” he asks teasingly.
Isak rolls his eyes in an attempt to regain his composure. “Because you’re so persistent.”
Even throws his head back and laughs and Isak feels the sound all the way down in his toes. Even pulls him into the thick of the crowd then, making Isak stumble and bump into him but Even’s hands catch on his waist to steady him. He only has a moment to get used to the contact before Even is grasping his hands again and shimmying his hips along to the music.
Isak wants to cover his face with his hands in embarrassment but he also doesn’t really want to let go of Even’s hands so he settles for shaking his head and laughing at Even’s offbeat dancing.
“Are you actually going to dance?” Even asks with a laugh and Isak realises he’s mostly just been standing here holding Even’s hands for the last minute or so. He starts bobbing his head automatically to the music and tries not flush at the little chuckle Even lets out while he watches him.
“This music deserves more than your head-bopping, Isak,” Even insists playfully, attempting to get Isak moving by tugging on his hands before seemingly deciding that’s not working. His hands drop to Isak’s waist without warning and he’s suddenly standing so much closer, hands guiding Isak’s hips to move in time with the beat.
He follows along helplessly as his own hands settle on Even’s shoulders. Even’s smiling face is so close to his own that Isak doesn’t really know what to do.
And then just as abruptly Even’s latching onto one of his hands again to twirl him and it’s ridiculous and it’s embarrassing but Isak can’t remember the last time he’s laughed this much. His hands fall on Even’s shoulders once again to keep himself upright and he thinks he’s no longer dancing to the beat of the song, but to Even’s laugh.
“I really did miss you, you know,” Even tells him when they’ve both sobered up again, voice too quiet and close for the noise of the room.
Isak breath hitches in his throat as he meets Even’s eyes, heart thundering between his ribs as he murmurs, “I missed you too.”
He’s not even sure if Even can hear him over the music but the look on his face says he knows what Isak said anyway. They’re still dancing half-heartedly and Isak watches Even open his mouth and then close it again with a fluttery feeling in his chest that makes it hard to breathe.
Even wets his lips and for a millisecond his eyes drop to Isak’s mouth before he’s leaning closer and his lips are grazing Isak’s ear.
It’s six words but they send Isak’s heart into overdrive.
“Want to get out of here?”
They end up at a club which hadn’t really been what Isak had in mind but Even holds his hand the entire way there so he can’t really complain.
It’s entirely different to the place where they had dinner.
It’s full to the brim with people – low lit with neon beams acting as the only source of colour, music so loud Isak can feel the floor vibrating beneath his feet. The dancefloor is full just like before but people are dancing a lot closer than they had been back at the restaurant.
Isak can feel his pulse thrumming in his ears at the thought of dancing with Even like that.
Even’s hand is still held tightly in his, leading him through the crowds of people and closer to the dancefloor. He pauses and turns back to Isak when they near the bar, gesturing with his free hand and asking, “Want a drink?” over the noise.
Isak considers it for a moment. He could probably use a bit of Dutch courage right now. But he also doesn’t want to waste any more time waiting around with Even. Something happened when they were dancing earlier, he knows it did. And all he wants to do is make his way onto the dancefloor to see if it’ll happen again.
So he shakes his head, bravely taking a step closer and leaning in to speak directly into Even’s ear. “Let’s dance!” he calls over the music, tugging on Even’s hand slightly to prove his point.
Even’s gaze catches on his and there’s a considering glint in his eyes that has Isak lifting his chin a little in defiance. He’s not a shy sixteen-year-old anymore; he’s not missing out on what might be his one chance to see if this thing between him and Even means something.
Even bites his lip but it doesn’t seem nervous when he does – it’s coy and flirtatious and effortless, just like everything else he does. He offers Isak a nod in acquiescence and turns back around to continue pulling them through the crowd.
His hand tightens in Isak’s hold and Isak’s stomach tightens with it.
They weave through the grinding bodies until they’re somewhere in the thick of the crowd and Even spins on his heel to put them toe to toe, looming over Isak with a challenging grin.
Isak ignores the ever-quickening patter of his heart and raises his eyebrows, purposefully putting his hands back on Even’s shoulders where they’d been earlier. They still feel warm from his touch.
Even’s hands make contact with his waist and Isak feels the distance between them disappear in an instant. He doesn’t need any help from Even to move his hips this time but that doesn’t stop him anyway. They move in sync and it shouldn’t be this easy after two years apart, they shouldn’t be able to fall into this so quickly.
Isak could barely look at Even when he was younger, too awestruck at managing to catch his eye. And it still feels like that but it’s- it’s different. It feels like they’re on an even footing now, like he has just as much of a chance at leaving Even speechless as Even does of him.
Even moves closer, temple bumping against Isak’s as his lips brush over the shell of his ear. “You’re a lot braver than I remember.”
The words ghost over his ear and make Isak’s eyes flutter closed, grip tightening on Even’s shoulders. He turns his head before he can lose his nerve and brings his mouth to Even’s ear. “Intimidated?”
Even leans back to raise an eyebrow at him and his lips are sinking into his bottom lip again, looking so, so inviting and god, Isak wants to kiss him.
“Something like that,” Even replies. He says it too quietly for Isak to hear but he can still make out the words.
He offers Even a crooked smile and a nod in acknowledgement, eliminating the minuscule space between them by hooking an arm around Even’s neck. He watches Even’s Adam’s apple bob in his throat and has to bite the inside of his cheek to stop himself from leaning in.
“You intimidated me back then too,” Even tells him, face hidden so he can speak into Isak’s ear, and the words make Isak freeze.
It’s. It’s as close to a confirmation that Even had felt the same thing he had back then as he’s ever gotten.
He looks into Even’s eyes, sees pupil swallowing iris, and something tells him it’s not because of the lack of light in the club. His heart is hammering in his chest and there’s a tingle at the base of his neck, sending shockwaves down his spine. Even’s eyes drop to his mouth and Isak stops breathing.
The hand that had remained on Even’s shoulder is now twisted in the hem of his collar and he’s not sure when he did that but he can’t relax his fingers enough to let go. Even’s left arm wraps around his back, drawing him closer and pressing them flush together. Chest, stomach, hips.
The tip of Even’s nose brushes his – a feather-light, barely there touch that still makes Isak feel like he’s been electrocuted.
His mouth drops open at the same time his eyes drift closed and the last thing he sees before they do is Even closing the distance.
It happens unbearably slowly at first. The wait is agonising. And when their lips barely catch before separating Isak almost screams in frustration.
But then it shifts into overdrive.
Even’s hands squeeze his waist and he releases one quick, harsh breath against Isak’s mouth before crushing their lips together.
Isak’s own breath rushes out of him in a gasp and he stumbles back a step with the force of the kiss.
It’s heated from the start. Even’s lips move against his, taking and taking and taking, as his tongue slips inside Isak’s mouth and Isak’s eyes almost roll back in his head at the rush of adrenaline that floods through his veins.
His fingers thread through Even’s hair to give himself something to hold onto, tilting his head to deepen the kiss as Even’s hands slip under his t-shirt to press the pads of his fingers against the hot skin at the small of his back.
And this. Isak doesn’t think he could’ve ever imagined this.
Even in his wildest fantasies, kissing Even had never felt like this.
His chest is expanding and his knees are quivering and his lungs are constricting and he doesn’t think a kiss has ever set his nerve-endings on fire quite like this one has.
Their mouths detach when the air building in their throats becomes too much and Isak pants out a shaky breath as Even’s forehead rolls against his.
“I’ve been waiting two fucking years to do that,” Even huffs and Isak feels himself still.
He’d always wondered – hoped – that Even might have felt the same back then but he never actually expected him to admit it. He wets his lips, opening his eyes to meet Even’s penetrating stare and says, “Then why are we still talking?”
Even’s eyes widen slightly, zeroing in on Isak’s mouth once again and Isak decides to take charge.
He moves to close the distance once again but Even evades him at the last second, lips barely touching before they part. Isak opens eyes to check if he’s somehow misread the situation but finds Even smirking at him with a teasing light in his eyes. Isak huffs and chases his mouth, using the hand on the back of his head to guide their lips back together.
Even bites down on his lip almost as soon as he does and Isak can’t stop the noise that escapes him. He doubts Even heard it but he must have felt it because the kiss suddenly becomes desperate and Isak is helpless to follow his lead.
It’s messy, hands tugging too hard from years of pent up need and lips tingling from the bruising pressure of Even’s mouth on his. He’s not sure how much longer they can stay like this; he can already feel himself straining in his shorts and the hard press of Even’s crotch against his hip says he’s in much the same situation.
Even’s lips move to his jaw, mouthing across his skin until he’s reached the hinge and then he’s speaking hurriedly into Isak’s ear. “My place is a ten minute walk away,” he breathes, leaning back for the first time in minutes to look at Isak’s face.
Isak swallows hard and finally dislodges his hand from Even’s hair to interlock their fingers.
“Lead the way.”
He has about thirty seconds to admire the apartment Even’s staying in before the door is slamming closed behind him and Even is crowding him against it. He presses a biting, searing kiss to Isak’s mouth before he starts moving lower, over his jaw and down Isak’s neck, hands shoving Isak’s t-shirt up his sides. He steps back and Isak obediently raises his arms to let Even drag the t-shirt over his head. Even’s own follows suit seconds later and then Even’s kissing down his chest and Isak’s head is thumping back against the door.
“Fuck, Isak, when I saw you on that platform today,” Even exhales, words muffled by Isak’s hip. “I thought I’d never fucking see you again. Never thought I’d get to touch you-“ He cuts himself off, biting down on the soft skin of Isak’s stomach and making him keen.
“I wanted you so much,” Isak replies on a sharp breath. “When you left- I-“ He swallows hard as Even’s hands move to the button on his shorts, hands sliding into Even’s hair to hold himself steady. “Fuck- Even. I wanted to kiss you. I was so angry I never got to kiss you.”
Even presses gentle kisses over his tummy in what Isak thinks is an apology before curling his fingers in the waistband of Isak’s shorts and peeling them down his thighs along with his underwear.
Isak doesn’t even get a moment to feel self-conscious before Even’s swallowing him down, mouth closing over his cock and making his vision white out.
It’s fucking exhilarating.
He can’t breathe and Even’s heat is surrounding him and he thinks he probably would’ve slid to the ground by now if Even’s hands weren’t gripping his waist so tightly.
Even is pulling soft, whiny noises out of him, humming in approval around his cock and sending vibrations down to the tips of Isak’s toes. It’s too much and it’s not enough and Isak knows it’s going to be over embarrassingly quickly.
Even is too much. He’s always been too much.
And the realisation that he’s here and this is happening is making Isak forget how to breathe.
In the end he doesn’t last more than a few minutes, too worked up from the tension that’s been building between them all day. He topples over the edge with Even swallowing around him, eyes slipping shut and mouth dropping open in a choked off moan.
He slides down the door and onto the floor with Even’s hands guiding him so he doesn’t hurt himself, hitting the ground with a heaving breath. Even is still between his legs and Isak curls a hand around his neck to pull him in for a bruising kiss, other hand slipping into Even’s shorts to wrap around his length.
Even comes a minute later with a hitching breath, foreheads rolling together and mouth going slack against Isak’s.
Later, after they’ve showered and they’ve migrated to Even’s bed, Even is trailing his index finger slowly up and down Isak’s spine when he asks, “When do you leave?”
Isak shifts his head so his mouth won’t be muffled by the pillow and mumbles, “I’m supposed to be checking out of my hostel in three days and moving onto Seville.”
Even nods slightly, eyes drifting back up to meet Isak’s gaze. “Stay,” he requests.
Isak knows he should think it through, know he shouldn’t just drop all of his plans for a boy, but it’s not just a boy. It’s Even.
And Isak has to see if they could be something.
He’s been waiting so long to see if they could be something.
He tilts his chin up on the pillow, slow smile spreading across his face as Even draws him into a lazy, languid kiss.
When they break apart Isak brushes his nose against Even’s in a playful nudge and whispers, “Okay.”