Actions

Work Header

If It Makes You Happy (Modern Boys part two)

Chapter Text

Isak was nervous and fidgety during breakfast. He was happy that mom and dad were having one of their not-a-fights again, because that meant he could fly under the radar. He just sat there eating his cereal and yogurt and berries, barely tasting anything. He had no palate for anything but lips anymore.

Dad left for work without finishing his breakfast. Mom didn’t return to the table either. She was wiping the counter that had obviously been already wiped minutes ago, and her lips were moving in a silent chant. A prayer, or bible verses, most likely. Isak looked at her. She looked so fragile. Isak had seen the same kind of fragility in Even, and now he couldn’t look at his mother like he used to.

“Mom?” Isak asked quietly. His mother stopped wiping the counter.

“Yes, dear?” She pushed her hair behind her ear. She didn’t look at Isak, and that’s how Isak knew she was almost crying.

“I love you. And I’m not mad at you or anything.”

Mom didn’t move for a moment. Then she kept wiping the counter.

“I love you too, son. I love you so much.”

Isak swallowed a lump from his throat. It felt so bad to keep secrets from his parents, but he knew they couldn’t take them. Sometimes Isak just wanted to cuddle up with mom and let her stroke his hair and make everything okay again.

It was so hard to not be a kid anymore.

“I think that counter is clean, mom. Won’t you sit with me and finish breakfast?”

Mom looked over her shoulder at the table. She smiled at Isak, and Isak recognised the sadness in her smile. She knew she wasn’t alright, and that broke her heart.

“That sounds really nice.”

They finished breakfast in silence. Isak tried to come up with a conversation, but all his efforts withered away quickly. But it was nice. To sit with mom for a breakfast, in the sunny kitchen, just like normal people. For a moment they were just a normal family, with a normal mother and a normal son.

“Can I have dinner at Jonas today? They’re having a barbecue.”

“Of course. Your father is working late anyway, and I have a meeting with the committee.”

Isak wasn’t sure which committee mom was talking about. A church thing, that was almost certain. Isak decided that was enough, and he didn’t need to ask for details. He didn’t really care, either. He had the whole day to spend with Even.

It hadn’t been officially established that Isak’s privileges and curfew were back to normal again, but Isak was going to take his chance. He packed his backpack and walked to the front door. He put his shoes on.

“I’m going out, mom!”

“Have fun, sweetie. Back by ten!”

“Okay. Love you!”

“Love you too!”

As soon as Isak had closed the door and walked to the street the comfort of playing normal was taken from him. He knew how empty mom’s words would feel later, when she was raising the cane above him. That day would come. He would slip up, or mom would have a fit, and she would get upset. But it wasn’t today.

Today Isak was going to see Even. And tonight he was going to see Jonas. He really was insatiable, wasn’t he? Isak blushed at himself and hurried his steps. He had to see Even. He needed to be light. He needed to see light.

Isak stopped behind Even’s door. He remembered it closing yesterday, and how much it had hurt to see. He remembered what he had said. Even had to close the door so Isak could knock on it today. He smiled a bit and skipped the doorbell. He knocked.

Even opened the door. He looked happy to see Isak. His whole being lit up, and Isak knew now that it was obvious Jonas had known about his feelings. He must have lit up just like Even did whenever he saw Jonas. He probably still did. Isak smiled at Even, a bit shy. He shouldn’t have been thinking about Jonas right now, should he?

“Hi.”

“Hey. Come in.” Even took Isak’s hand and pulled him inside. The door closed and they were alone in the world again. Just him and Even, and their love for each other. Isak followed Even and both blushed and frowned at the pile of laundry on the floor.

“They smell like you. I slept there last night. My back is killing me.”

Isak looked at Even, grinning.

“May I suggest we make the bed smell like me, then?”

Even raised his eyebrows and hummed approvingly.

“That’s a genious plan. You’re pretty and smart!”

“And you’re fucking gorgeous.”

Even laughed.

“But dumb?”

“You slept in a pile of clothes instead of taking them to bed with you.”

“Wellllll. The bed is still full of stuff.”

Isak peeked in over Even’s shoulder. Yes. All the stuff was still there. Well, then.

“Better get to work, huh? I want us naked on that bed as soon as possible.” Isak couldn’t help blushing at his boldness. But he was being honest. He really, really wanted to get naked with Even. He wanted to get closer to Even, to infuse with his skin.

That suggestion got Even moving. Isak had to explain to him two times that no, he couldn’t just take the biggest box and shove everything in there, because they worked pretty hard yesterday to organize all this stuff.

Finally the bed was cleared. And Isak was hungry. Yet another delay for the naked time, but it would be more fun with a full belly.

“I already told you, cheese toasties is fine.”

“Are you sure? I can run to the shop real quick.”

“For the last time, make me cheese toasties! Now!”

Even chuckled, but he obeyed. He made both of them three sandwiches each, and served them with water. They ate sitting on the floor, in a spot of sunlight, and it was the best lunch Isak remembered ever having.

It could have been like this, always. Isak could have just moved in here. But he remembered his mother wiping the counter, and tucked away his thoughts of leaving. He had this. He had the whole summer. There was no hurry to decide on anything.

Isak wolfed down his toasties and licked his fingers clean. Even was done shortly after him, and suddenly the air was filled with electricity. It felt thick and tingly, and it was making Isak a bit nervous. It was stupid, really. All he wanted was to get naked with Even, but now that the time was at hand he was nervous about it.

“What?” Even asked softly. Isak blushed and pressed his chin.

“Nothing. It’s stupid.”

“No, no. Remember, I’m the stupid one.”

Even’s joke made Isak smile. And look up at him.

“I’m nervous.”

Even was smiling at him. His smile made him squint a bit, and it was adorable.

“Me too.” Even’s fingers creeped up to Isak’s hand and took it. “But it’s okay. We don’t have to do anything. Naked or otherwise. I just want to be with you.”

“Maybe.” Isak licked his lips slowly. “Maybe we could just take our shirts off?”

Even agreed. They got up, put their plates into the sink and then Isak grabbed the hem of Even’s shirt. He peeled it off Even slowly, appreciating the skin as it was revealed to him, bit by bit. Even did the same with Isak’s shirt, and then he took Isak’s hand.

They walked to the bed without a word. Even lied down on his back, and Isak crawled up against him. He rested his body, skin on skin, against Even and kissed him. Finally he kissed Even, and with that kiss all his nervousness was melting away. He was safe.

He was home.

Chapter Text

Isak kissed Even over and over again. Soon enough the kisses got quite heated. Little sighs were passed between them, from mouth to mouth, soul to soul, and their hands got wanderlust like no other. Isak’s fingers trekked along Even’s spine, and Even’s palms cupped Isak’s buttocks, and all Isak could really think about was the throbbing need between his legs and how scared of it he was.

“Stop”, Isak mumbled, unable to stop tasting Even’s lips with his. “Stop.”

“Mmhmmh?” Even hummed, his tongue flicking at the inside of Isak’s bottom lip. The touch made Isak shudder and moan softly. His nipples were so tight, his skin in goosebumps.

“Stop.” Kiss. “Kissing.” Kiss. “Me.” Kiss.

“I can’t”, Even replied, giving Isak another little lick. Isak could totally see where he was coming from. But he needed Even to stop. It was stupid, because he could have stopped himself, just turned his head away, but he wanted Even to do it.

“Please.” Kiss. “Stop.” Kiss, kiss, kiss.

“Ohhhhh fine”, Even groaned and pushed Isak gently off his chest. Isak rolled on his back, panting, desperately aware of how crowded his pants were right now. “Happy now?”

“Fuck no”, Isak panted. “But thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Even was gathering his breath for a bit, wiping his forehead. Then he turned to look at Isak. “Is something wrong?”

Isak shook his head.

“No. It was really nice and all, but. I need to cool down a bit. You know.” Isak grimaced a bit, making Even chuckle.

“Oh, I know. Trust me.”

Isak had to take a little peek. The sight made him blush intensely. Even was apparently rock hard, just like Isak himself, and looking at Even’s dick really didn’t help Isak at all with his own situation. To be honest, it made it worse. Isak’s mouth was watering at the sight, and he had to pull his eyes away by force.

“You’re so fucking hot”, Isak whined. “It’s not fair.”

Even grinned. He ruffled Isak’s hair. His touch felt like fire, it made Isak light up.

“Back at you, hot stuff. You’re insane.”

Isak almost let it slip. No, you’re insane. He didn’t say it, thank god, and even if he had it was supposed to be just meaningless banter, but still. God. So close.

At least that scared his boner away. His head was cleared, too, cleared enough so he dared to put it on Even’s shoulder.

“It feels so good to be here. Why does it feel so good?”

Even stroked at the back of Isak’s neck. And the side, too. His fingers were filled with electricity, a silent command, and Isak was feeling a bit squirmy again. Fuck.

“Because love feels good. It’s the best thing there is.”

Isak closed his eyes. Love. Even said he loved him, and Isak believed him, but at the same time he knew Even was wrong. He didn’t know Isak. He didn’t know about an essential part of him, and he had no way of explaining it so Even would understand.

Even didn’t know about Jonas.

Isak just wanted it so much. He needed it. He knew it was wrong, but he would live with it, because there wasn’t any options. He would let Even love him.

“I still don’t understand how you can love me.”

“Love isn’t meant to be understood. Only followed. Obeyed. Shared.”

With that, Even tilted Isak’s face upward and kissed him. It was perfect. Everything was perfect, and Isak really, really wanted to just throw himself into the current of Even’s love. To drown in there. Never come up. Isak kissed Even hungrily, letting his desire awaken again.

Even pushed Isak on his back and draped his body over him. Isak hid under there, safe and sound, kissing Even without any interruption. Even’s body moved against his in a soft, wavy motion. The buttons of their jeans got caught together, creating tugging that made them both moan.

“Even, please”, Isak whimpered. “I can’t. I want to but I can’t.”

Even stopped kissing Isak, pressing his forehead on his shoulder. He took a deep breath. Then he sighed.

“It’s okay. Really.”

Isak wasn’t so sure. He tried to relax, knowing Even must have felt how tense he was now.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Please, don’t be sorry.” Even raised his head and looked at Isak. He looked worried. “There’s nothing to be sorry about. I’m happy here. With you.”

Isak bit on his bottom lip. He wanted to believe Even. He really wanted to.

“I’m happy too.”

Even smiled. He looked incredible when he smiled. Isak wanted him to smile forever.

He remembered his mother, wiping the counter, and he knew Even wouldn’t smile for long. It was a matter of time. Isak’s eyes were watering.

“Hey. Hey.” Even touched Isak’s face, gently, softly. He was almost whispering. “It’s okay.”

“It’s not okay”, Isak sniffled. He rubbed his eyes with the ball of his palm. “I’m a fucking idiot. I don’t even know why I’m crying.”

Even wiped Isak’s cheek. He rolled off Isak and wrapped his arms around him, pulling him close.

“You’re not an idiot, Issy. Tell me, what is it?”

Isak curled up against Even. He tried to become as small as possible, but he was so tall and limby and his shoulders had broadened up, he hadn’t been small in years anymore. Just felt like it.

“I hate my life”, Isak whispered. Saying it out loud made something break inside him. The dam was breached, and Isak wasn’t jus crying anymore. He was sobbing, and shaking, and wetting Even’s chest with his tears and probably some drool too. He was just so tired. He had been given everything he had ever wanted, but it was too much for him to handle. All at once.

Even let him be. Even let him cry, cry, cry, until he ran out of tears. He was still shaking, and trying to press himself tighter into Even. To become one with him. Even waited unitl Isak stopped shaking, too.

“Do you want to tell me about it?” Even asked quietly. Isak shook his head. He didn’t. He was feeling better now, after crying his heart and eyes out.

“Maybe later. Can I just be here for now?”

“Of course.”

They laid still for a long time. Long enough to make Isak’s shoulder fall asleep. He could only imagine how numb Even’s arm must have been. Isak shifted a bit, and Even pulled his arm away with a grateful sigh.

“I’m sorry, I can’t feel my fingers anymore.”

“It’s okay.” Isak nuzzled his face against Even’s chest. Even was so good to him. Even just catered to him, without question. He knew it wouldn’t last. “I’m sorry for ruining the mood.”

“No, no. I don’t give a fuck about keeping up a mood.” Even turned on his side and looked at Isak. His eyes were so blue from this close. “You’re real. I love realness. I don’t want you to hide your emotions from me, ever.”

It would have been so easy. To just tell Even now. Isak had the perfect opportunity, but he was too tired, too drained, he simply didn’t have it in him anymore. He was a coward. He was going to see Jonas tonight, and he needed all the strength he had left for that conversation.

“I love you”, Isak whispered. It was scary, how easy it was to say I love you to hide whatever you didn’t want to say. It was scary how effortlessly Isak let it drop off his lips. It was true, he did love Even. It made it almost okay.

“Love you too.” Even kissed Isak’s forehead slowly. Then he kissed each of Isak’s eyelids. His salty cheeks. The corner of his mouth. Then his lips. Isak kissed him back. He drank life from Even’s lips. He felt it flow into his body, fill him up, all the way to the brim.

Chapter Text

Isak’s cup had runneth over more than once. He and Even had been kissing all day and all night, with just little breaks to cool down in between or have a snack, only to be followed by more kissing. Isak’s lips were numb when he left, and he was walking a bit funny. He was so wound up. All those touches, those kisses, that desire that was filling them up and not allowed to be released. He would need a long shower as soon as he got home.

Isak heard the raised voices through the front door. His chest sank. All the tingly happiness was wiped away, replaced by getting prepared for pain. Mom and dad were fighting. That might make mom upset. Isak opened the door and slinked inside, hoping to be able to sneak upstairs without being noticed.

No such luck. Dad saw him and came to him, huffing and puffing. He grabbed Isak’s arm hard enough to make it hurt.

“Where the fuck have you been?”

Isak turned his eyes to the floor. He was well withing his curfew, this was unreasonable.

“At Jonas. Mom said I could.”

Dad leaned closer, hissing through his gritted teeth.

“Mom said you could. You know we had a fight this morning! You know how it affects her, and still you left her alone, you little cunt!”

Isak looked into the living room. Mom was there, watching television, pretending they weren’t here. She looked fine.

“Dad, please. You’re hurting me.”

Dad looked at his hand, then at Isak, and gave his arm a good twist before releasing it.

“Go to your fucking room and stay there until breakfast. If I hear a peep from there you will be sorry.”

Isak didn’t say anything. He rushed to the stairs and up them, all the way into his room, and closed the door careful not to bang it. No matter how upset he was, he was not going to rock the boat now. He had gotten away easy.

He had to kiss the shower goodbye, though. And any dreams of relieving himself in his room, too. He would not want to have dad walk in on him, especially not tonight. Isak curled up in his bed with a book and just waited for time to pass. He listened to the sounds from downstairs. At least they weren’t fighting anymore. That was good.

Isak was done with his book when the house finally fell silent. He lied in his bed, not moving, waiting. He was feeling a bit uncomfortable, with his bladder getting full, but he could handle it. He was used to it. He just waited,his eyes fixed on Garfield, focusing on time passing until it was late enough. Isak tiptoed to his door and opened it as quietly as he could. The house was dark and quiet.

He couldn’t risk going to the bathroom and waking mom or dad up. He’d have to wait until he was outside. He took his backpack and crawled out through his window. His heart was beating so fast and loud. If he got caught he’d be beaten so bad he’d forget his own name.

Isak turned to look at Edward through the glass. He gave Isak courage. Isak nodded at him and climbed down to the yard. He waited until he was at the end of the street before he dove into some bushes to take a really long, manly piss. After relieving himself he was already feeling much better. He really hoped it would last.

Jonas let Isak in through his window. He looked worried.

“It’s late”, Jonas said quietly. “Trouble at home?”

Isak shrugged.

“The usual.”

Isak sat down on Jonas’ bed. It was a mistake. He could smell the scent of Jonas’ skin rise from the sheets. It mixed with the Axe Africa, and made his head swim. He was still so wound up from earlier today. He shouldn’t have come.

Jonas looked at him, expectantly.

“Show me.”

“What?” Isak licked his lips quickly. He didn’t understand what Jonas wanted to see.

“Show me your skin. I want to see if it’s bruised.”

Isak shook his head. No. He was not going to get undressed now. It would have been a terrible idea.

“Just some on my arm. Here.” Isak rolled his sleeve up and showed the fingermarks dad had given him tonight. Other than that, he was fine. “I spent all day kissing Even, I can’t undress in front of you.”

Isak mentioning Even made Jonas frown a bit.

“Your boyfriend?” Jonas sounded mocking. Isak wrapped his arms around himself.

“Yes. My boyfriend.” Isak sighed. He looked up at Jonas from under his brow. “Are you jealous?”

Jonas scoffed. He rolled his eyes and turned half way away from Isak.

“Why the fuck would I be jealous?”

Isak bit his lip. He felt it. He was shining, just from being close to Jonas. Now that he paid attention to it, it was painfully obvious.

“Because I love you and I have someone else as a boyfriend.”

“Like you said.” Jonas shrugged, doing his best impression of indifference. “If I don’t want you, I can’t claim you.”

Isak nodded slowly. He was leaning on his palms now, pushing them against the bed. Grounding himself.

“But”, Isak said quietly, almost whispering. “Don’t you want me?”

That was a dangerous and stupid question. Lust clawed at the bottom of his belly. He was feeling so miserable and alone after dad’s fit, and he could almost taste Jonas’ mouth. Apparently he couldn’t get enough attention.

Jonas wiped his mouth with the side of his hand. He didn’t look at Isak.

“I’m not gay.”

Isak nodded. He knew that. He had known Jonas long enough to know that much.

“That’s not what I asked.”

“I know.”

Jonas walked to the window and looked outside. Isak was free to look at him now, and he looked. Like had done a million times before. He knew every inch of Jonas. Almost. He blushed intensely at his own thoughts.

“Have you done it?” Jonas asked.

Isak blushed. He was both ashamed that he hadn’t done it and that he wanted to.

“No. Not really.”

Jonas pressed his fingertips on the glass.

“What’s ‘not really’, then?”

Isak was squirming. This felt weird. Wrong. But not only in a bad way.

“A hand job.”

The back of Jonas’ neck got a bit red. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other one.

“Oh.”

That was it. Just “oh” and nothing more. Isak was squirming again. He needed Jonas’ approval, desperately.

“Today we just kissed. I don’t -- I didn’t want to do anything more. Not yet.”

Jonas remained silent. He crossed his hands behind his back, grabbing his wrist. He straightened his back.

“Not ready? Scared you’ll fuck up somehow?”

Isak hadn’t thought about fucking up at all. He had been too busy with being overwhelmed and such, but now that Jonas mentioned it.

“Yes.”

“He must have been with someone before. He’s older. And mega hot.”

Isak agreed. There was no way Even wasn’t experienced.

“Yes.”

Jonas turned around and looked at Isak. Really, really looked at him. His eyes made Isak feel so self conscious, and so exposed. Jonas knew him through and through. And Isak knew Jonas. He could tell Jonas wanted something. He opened his chest up a bit, surrendering to be looked at.

His heart was beating so loud it ached.

He trusted Jonas. He trusted Jonas would never abandon him, not after everything they’ve been through. He didn’t need to impress Jonas, especially not anymore. So it only made sense. At least as much as anything could make sense in this situation.

So, when Jonas walked to the bed, Isak stood up to meet him.

Chapter Text

It really was intoxicating to feel this needed. Not just wanted and lusted after, but desperately needed. Isak could feel it in Jonas’ body as Jonas wrapped his arms around him and pulled him close. The silent shaking deep in the muscles, carefully hidden from plain sight. The desire that Jonas was trying to ignore so hard, but he couldn’t, not now when Isak was this close to him, this willing. Isak closed his eyes and focused on feeling that secret shaking, in the hands that traveled along his spine.

Jonas wanted him so bad. Isak couldn’t fully understand it. Jonas wasn’t like him. He didn’t want boys, and Isak was definitely, undeniably a boy. A boy who wanted other boys. A boy Jonas could trust forever.

Maybe that was it, Isak thought, sighing softly as Jonas slipped his fingers under the hem of his shirt. They could trust each other. Isak loved Even, but he didn’t know if he could be trusted. Isak did trust him anyway, because he was an idiot and in love, but with Jonas he knew. Jonas was trustworthy. He would always have Isak’s back. No matter what.

“God, you smell good”, Jonas whispered under Isak’s ear. His breath made Isak’s skin tingle. “What is it?”

Isak blushed intensely. He smelled like Even. Like Even’s skin, like his kisses, like his touches. Like heat.

“I don’t know”, Isak said. Jonas pressed his nose tighter against his skin and took a long sniff.

“So fucking good. Fuck.”

Isak tilted his head to the side to give Jonas more room to sniff at him. And taste. Jonas’ tongue flicking on his skin made Isak shiver and sigh. It felt so good. He could never have Jonas, but he could have this, and he wanted this so much. He wanted to be needed by Jonas. To give Jonas what he needed.

So, he let Jonas push him down on the bed. He lied there, on his back, looking up at Jonas who was looking at him with dark, hungry eyes. Isak tried to smile a bit. Just for encouragement. For both of them.

“Come here”, Isak whispered. Jonas looked relieved. Isak had asked, so he didn’t have to. Isak made room for Jonas, but that wasn’t needed, since Jonas lied down pretty much on top of him. Isak gave him a little shy smile, twirling Jonas’ hair around his finger.

“Hi.”

“Hi.” Jonas touched Isak’s nose with his. Isak cracked his lips and closed his eyes, and Jonas kissed him.

This was cheating. Jonas had a girlfriend.

Isak had a boyfriend. He had had a boyfriend for two days and he was now cheating on him, with his best friend. His first love. He was a horrible, horrible human being, but right now he didn’t care. Jonas’ kisses made everything melt away. Dad, the fingermarks on his arm, the way mom had looked this morning. All gone. Everything that was left was Jonas, and their shared guilt, and their dirty little secret.

Jonas shoved his hand under Isak’s shirt, to touch skin that had been touched all day and was still screaming for more. His movements were rushed. Like he wanted to do as much as he could before he would realize what he was doing and he would have to stop. Isak knew that feeling. He was feeling it right now. The desperate need to touch and be touched like this.

They had to break the kiss for a moment to peel off Isak’s shirt. Jonas looked at his bare chest, and his expression was something Isak had never seen before on that face, and still painfully familiar. It was like a mirror of his own face whenever Jonas had taken off his shirt on a hot summer day. Isak remember the shame, and the sting of longing, and he would not let Jonas feel like that if he could help it.

“It’s okay”, Isak whispered, raising his hand on Jonas’ cheek. “I love you.”

Jonas turned his face to kiss the inside of Isak’s wrist. He followed Isak’s pulse up his arm and to his chest, to his heart. His lips were warm, and a bit dry, and every kiss sent a pulse of pleasure through Isak’s body. Those pulses turned into ripples that turned into waves, and they were pulling Isak out to the sea.

Jonas kissed Isak’s skin everywhere he could reach. He was especially interested in Isak’s chest, the flatness, the tightening nipples. Isak could feel his hands wandering around as well, migrating lower, towards his crotch, but turning back at the last moment over and over again.

“Please”, Isak whispered, short of breath. “Touch me. I want you so bad.”

Jonas blushed. Isak had asked too soon. Jonas even stopped kissing his chest, and got up to his lips instead. Isak kissed him harder than this far. He needed to either push Jonas away or pull him in, but he needed for Jonas to make up his mind. Isak touched his best friend’s lips with his tongue, just a flick at first, then slower, and as Jonas cracked his lips Isak slipped his tongue in.

Jonas tasted wonderful. And he was great at french kissing. If Isak was a girl his panties would have dropped right about now. But he wasn’t, so there was something very prominent holding them up. Something he really wanted Jonas to touch. He had been hard or semi all day, he needed release desperately.

Maybe if he touched Jonas first. Isak moved his thigh a bit, like last time, and pressed it between Jonas’ legs. Jonas moaned into his mouth, making Isak shake again. It was so good. Jonas was hard, Isak could feel it. He moved his thigh again.

“Fuck, Issy!” Jonas hissed, trying to keep quiet.

“Can I touch it? Please?”

Jonas looked at Isak. He was beautiful, his eyes were glistening, his lips were puffy from all the kissing. Isak touched his face lightly. It was okay. It was him. Jonas could trust him.

“Please?”

Jonas didn’t say anything. He kept looking at Isak, and Isak decided to try. Jonas hadn’t said no. Isak slipped his hand between their bodies and slid it down, slowly. He kept watching Jonas. Was this okay? Was he allowed to?

“This is wrong”, Jonas whispered. Isak nodded. He knew.

“Yes. Do you want me to stop?”

Jonas squeezed his eyes shut.

“Fuck, Issy..”

Isak stopped at the waistband of Jonas’ boxer shorts. He really, really wanted to slip his fingers under it. His lips nibbled at the side of Jonas’ neck.

“I need you, Jonas.”

Jonas grabbed Isak. He pressed his hand on Isak’s chest and grabbed him, not with his fingers but with intensity. His lust and need was flowing into Isak through that touch. Jonas needed him too. He needed this, he needed Isak’s boy body.

Isak pushed his fingers forward. His hand was in Jonas’ underwear now, and when the back of his fingers brushed at the hard dick inside them Isak grabbed it. They both moaned at the same time. Isak was holding Jonas’ dick in his hand, and it felt incredible.

Jonas kissed him. The kiss was shaky, and needy, and Jonas pushed his hand in Isak’s hair. He rolled off Isak next to him, to make room for him to move his hand. Isak did. He moved his hand slowly, back and forth. He was touching Jonas like that.

He didn’t get to do that for long. After what could have been a couple of minutes at most, Jonas grabbed his shoulder, hard, and he came. Isak had made Jonas come. He was so hard himself, he was aching, and getting desperate. He was squirming on the bed, and Jonas had mercy on him.

Jonas turned over again, and slid his leg between Isak’s legs. He pressed his thigh against Isak’s dick and kissed him. Isak raised his hips, hungry for that sweet, sweet friction and pressure. He kept moving against Jonas, still kissing him, stumbling in the kiss whenever he hit something that felt particularly good. Then it started to feel particularly good all the time, and Isak couldn’t kiss Jonas anymore, he just whimpered and panted and muttered Jonas’ name when he came into his pants.

They laid together on the bed, side by side, in silence. Isak couldn’t help it. He was thinking about Even, and how different this very same situation had felt with him. With Even, this had felt right. Now, with Jonas, this felt wrong. Like it was supposed to.

Chapter Text

Isak pulled his legs up against his chest and leaned his chin on his knees. It felt wrong to be here. He had basically two boyfriends now, and he had limited time out of the house, and here he was wasting it with Magnus. He just needed a break. A break from his rose coloured bliss with Even and from his clouds of black and red lust with Jonas. Magnus made that all fade away, and the air was breathable again.

Magnus was plucking at his guitar. He hadn’t really made any advancement with his skills, but he looked more natural holding the instrument. That might have been enough to impress at least one girl, and one would be enough.

Isak sighed. He buried his face into his knees and took a deep breath.

“Mags I need to tell you something you can’t tell anyone ever in your life.”

Magnus stopped playing with the guitar. Isak could imagine his face now, curious and confused and friendly, and it squeezed on his heart. He wasn’t being fair. He had a secret he couldn’t tell anyone and he knew how much that weighed, and now he just wanted to move that weight on Magnus’ shoulders.

Magnus put the guitar away.

“Why don’t you tell Jonas? You tell him everything.” Magnus wasn’t sounding mad, or cross, he was simply confused. And he was right. Isak told Jonas everything, like Jonas told him, and this was super weird.

Isak curled up his toes and hugged his legs tighter.

“Promise me you won’t tell anyone. Ever.”

Isak felt the bed give in a bit next to him. Magnus was sitting beside him.

“Of course I promise. What is it, Issy?”

Isak was blinking to keep himself from crying. The lump in his throat grew bigger and harder to swallow. He forced it down, so he could force the words out of his mouth.

“I’m cheating on Even.”

There was no other way to put it, really. He was cheating on Even. With Jonas. The fact that he was doing it with his best friend and first love only made it worse.

“What?”

Isak nodded. Magnus had heard right. He was cheating on Even.

“Are you having sex with boys?” Magnus sounded impressed, and intrigued, and Isak shook his head.

“Not really. Not sex-sex. You know. I’m not doing it. Yet.” He really, really wanted to, and he was thinking about it more and more, but he was scared, and he couldn’t decide who he wanted to do it with more. He couldn’t tell if Jonas wanted to do it, and he was scared to bring it up with him. They didn’t talk about this, they never talked about it. Isak just came into Jonas’ room in the middle of the night, they did whatever and he went back home to stare at the ceiling until mom called him to get downstairs for breakfast.

“But you’re doing something. You know. Sex stuff. Since you’re cheating.”

Isak nodded. He was doing sex stuff.

“Why? You’ve just met Even, isn’t he good to you?”

Isak shook his head. He still coudn’t look up. He couldn’t look at Magnus.

“It’s not that. Even is perfect. But I love someone else too, and I can’t -- I’m horrible.”

Isak could almost hear the cogs turn in Magnus’ head, when he was trying to wrap his mind around all this.

“Why aren’t you with the boy you love, then? Why are you with Even at all?”

This was getting harder and harder. But Isak had started this, and he would finish this, because he had to get this off his shoulders even in part. He was too tired to keep carrying it around.

“He has a girlfriend.”

Magnus was quiet. He was quiet for a long time. Then he suddenly jumped up on his feet.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Magnus was yelling, and he was pacing back and forth, and Isak curled up a bit tighter. His body was reacting without his permission, and he was immediately ashamed of it. He could only hope Magnus didn’t think Isak thought Mags might hit him.

“It’s Jonas, isn’t it? You’re cheating with Jonas.”

Magnus was so upset. Isak didn’t have the guts or the heart to confess, but he didn’t deny it, either. He just sat there, in a tight little ball, trying to not crumble into pieces.

“Fuck, Issy! That’s why you didn’t tell him! You’re cheating on Even with him, and -- fuck, what about Eva?!”

Isak didn’t say anything. He didn’t have anything to say in his defense. He could just wait for Mags to either calm down or kick him out, and he didn’t know which option he was hoping for.

“Shit! How the fuck am I supposed to act normal around Jonas and you now? You are doing sex stuff together! You have the prettiest boyfriend alive, and Jonas has a girlfriend, and still you do stuff together and I don’t have anyone and it’s not fair! If I had a girlfriend I would never cheat on her, not ever!”

In a way it felt good. To be finally yelled at for this. A part of Isak wished Mags would hit him. A good, proper smack or two right in the face. Maybe that would slap some sense into him.

“I’m sorry”, Isak squeaked. “I love him. I’ve loved him for so long and I can’t have him because he’s not a fag like me.”

Isak’s voice gave in. His shoulders shuddered with his sobs, and he was so ashamed he wanted to die. Or disappear. Everyone would be so much better off without him around making a mess of things.

Magnus stopped his pacing. And he stopped yelling, too. Isak heard him slump down on the floor and hit the back of his head on the wall, or the door.

“Fuck, Issy. This is just so fucked up.”

Isak had to agree. This was. This was fucked up and wrong and this was his life. He didn’t know how to escape it. He didn’t know what to do.

“I love him”, Isak whispered. “I love Even too, but I don’t -- he scares me. Jonas doesn’t.”

“Is Even hurting you? I’m going to kill him!”

That forced Isak to look up. His cheeks were striped with tears and his eyes were dark and pained. Magnus was looking grim, his hands clenched into fists.

“No! He would never! He loves me and he would never hurt me in any way. None of this is his fault.”

Magnus looked so hurt. He was so upset.

“Are you seriously telling me you’re in love with two boys at the same time, and having an affair with both of them?”

Isak didn’t know what to tell him. But he nodded. That was pretty much it. Magnus huffed and puffed a bit, brushing his fingers through his hair.

“That’s just fucked up. You have to stop.”

Isak bit his lip. He wanted to protest. But he knew Mags was right.

“You can’t cheat. It’s not right. You have to stop, and you have to choose.”

“I can’t”, Isak whispered. It was a confession. He was broken and fucked up in so many ways. “I love them both. I have tried to stop but it just doesn’t go away.”

“Do they love you back? I mean, I know Jonas loves you every bit as much as I do, but does he like. Gay love you?”

Isak shook his head and closed his eyes. It hurt. But he had to be honest with himself. Jonas didn’t gay love him back.

“Jonas isn’t gay. Even is. I am.”

Magnus sighed. Isak could hear he wasn’t happy, and that he was about to say something he didn’t want to be saying.

“If Jonas isn’t gay, why the fuck is he having sex with you?”

Isak shrugged, barely. He had been asking the same question himself, but he didn’t know. Magnus would have to ask Jonas, except he couldn’t.

“I think I’ve done something. I’m not -- I’m not right. I’m bad news. Wicked. And I have made Jonas do things he wouldn’t normally do.”

Magnus was quiet for so long and so hard, that Isak had to open his eyes and look up at him. He looked so. Sad. He was devastated. His heart was broken, or breaking right now in front of Isak’s eyes.

“Is that what he told you? That you make him do things?”

Isak shook his head quickly.

“He hasn’t told me anything. We don’t talk about it. Like, at all.”

“Are you sure?” Magnus was sounding grim again. Isak was getting confused.

“Yes? How come?”

“I mean.” Magnus looked at the wall for a moment, then he sighed and his shoulders slumped. He was defeated. “Jonas isn’t the nicest of guys. I mean, I love the dude, and I would go through Hell itself for him because he’s my bro, but. He’s not as great as you seem to think he is.”

Isak shook his head. No. Magnus was wrong. He didn’t understand. He didn’t know Jonas like Isak did, and he didn’t know what Isak had with Jonas. And, most importantly, he didn’t know how fucked up Isak was.

“Please. Don’t.”

Magnus looked at him. Isak was so scared he would keep talking, because then he would have to have a fight with Mags and that was something that would kill them both.

Then Magnus sighed, and shrugged.

“I think you should leave now. I’m not mad at you, I just. I need to think about things for a bit, okay?”

Isak nodded. He would not humiliate himself by begging Magnus to let him stay.

“I mean it, Issy. I just need a bit of time.”

“I know.” Isak got up. He wiped his cheeks and hoped his shaky legs would carry him out the door. “I’m so sorry to have brought all this shit upon you.”

“Oh, no! No!” Magnus hurried up on his feet and rushed to hug Isak. Tightly. “I’m glad you did. I hate all of this but I’m happy you trusted me and I promise you we will make things okay. Okay?”

Isak didn’t hug Magnus back. But he did press his body against him, and buried his face on his shoulder. He was on the brink of tears again.

“Issy”, Magnus said softly, patting his back. “I need you to tell me it will be okay.”

Isak nodded. He was happy he had so much experience in lying to people he loved.

“It will be okay.”

“That’s my boy.” Magnus gave Isak one last squeeze and then let go of him. “Come by in a couple of days. Don’t do anything stupid. Okay?”

“Okay”, Isak lied. He couldn’t tell Magnus that everything he did these days was stupid. So he didn’t. He just took his backpack and left, and when he got out in the street he had no idea which direction he should go.

Chapter Text

Even sat on the window, smoking. The sunshine was playing on his skin, hungrily undressed by Isak the moment he had arrived here. Isak was in his underwear himself, lounging on his belly on the bed, watching Even. He was so beautiful. He looked so mysterious, his eyes narrowing when he drew the smoke in his mouth and from there into his lungs, when he blew out a little cloud that shrouded his face for a moment. Isak could have watched him forever.

He remembered watching Jonas like this last night. He remembered the shame that burnt on his skin then. Now it was gone. All Isak felt was warmth, and a slowly flowing desire. Not the compelling, consuming fire he felt with Jonas. This was softer. It carried him, instead of burning him alive. The only thing eating him up now was the black spot in his own heart, growing bigger night by night.

“What are you thinking about?” Even asked. Isak blinked, focusing his eyes on Even again.

“Happiness”, Isak said quietly. “How fragile it is.”

Even smiled at him. There was a sad hue in his smile.

“Are you happy now?”

Isak nodded. He was. He was as happy as he could ever hope being.

“Are you?”

Even threw the cigarette down to the street and closed the window. He stepped to the bed and slid down next to Isak. His skin smelled like sunshine. It was so warm. Even slipped his fingers into Isak’s hair, playing with it gently.

“Times like these I can believe I could.”

Isak looked into Even’s eyes. They were so deep. There was a layer of darkness in the very bottom, like the cold water resting in the bed of the ocean. Where the monsters lived. Isak wasn’t scared of monsters. He met them regularly.

Even ran his fingers along Isak’s back. He circled the bruises with little heart shapes, careful to not press too hard and hurt Isak.

“These are new.”

Isak nodded into the pillow. They were.

“Why this time?”

Isak shrugged.

“I missed my curfew. I had to learn about respect. It doesn’t matter, I’m fine.”

“Well I’m not. I hate this. I hate every single bruise and cut on your body.”

Isak laughed a little. It was a dark chuckle.

“So, you hate about forty percent of my body?”

Even raised his hand on Isak’s cheek, smiling.

“I love hundred percent of your body.”

“Oh yeah?” Isak grinned. His spirit had been lifted again. “Prove it.”

They kissed. For a long time. He couldn’t help himself, he compared it to kissing Jonas. When he kissed with Jonas it was constantly heated, fanning the fire with every touch. But with Even it was just -- he was happy. He was content. He wasn’t needing anything more, but still he was happy to receive.

Even kissed the side of his neck, making him gasp quietly.

“Roll over”, Even mumbled. Isak giggled, nervous.

“What?”

“Roll over. I have a point to prove.”

Isak rolled over on his belly like Even asked him to. Even kissed his shoulder blade. His lips barely touched Isak’s skin. Isak understood why by the third kiss.

Even was kissing his bruises.

Isak squeezed his eyes shut. He grabbed the pillow and hugged it tightly. Even was kissing his bruises, and each kiss wiped one away. Isak was breathing faster, more shallow, and he was almost shaking. He had never felt this bare. But he trusted Even. He could reveal all of himself to Even, and Even wouldn’t break him.

Jonas would never kiss his bruises like his. Jonas pretended he didn’t see them. They had made a pact years ago, a dont’ ask, don’t tell policy, and they had stuck to it. Isak felt Even’s lips travel along his back, stopping here and there, at every shadow and every teeny tiny scar. His eyes were watering, and he didn’t know why. He was feeling so safe. So loved.

Even reached the waistband of Isak’s underwear. He slipped his fingertips under it and eased it lower. Isak was barely breathing now. He was intensely focused and nervous and happy. It was time, wasn’t it? It was perfect. Even guided the underwear all the way down over Isak’s buttocks, and he kept kissing the revealing skin slowly and focused. When Even’s lips brushed at the very top of the back of Isak’s thigh Isak sighed softly.

It took Isak a  moment to notice Even had stopped kissing him. Isak squirmed a little bit, trying to encourage Even to go on. But he didn’t. Had Even changed his mind? Isak looked over his shoulder and saw Even, between his legs, frowning at something.

“What is it?” Isak asked. Even didn’t look up at him.

“This is not a bruise”, Even said, touching at something on Isak’s inner thigh with his fingertip.

“What?” Isak didn’t understand. He flipped his leg over Even and rolled on his back. He took a look, and his blood froze. Even was right. That wasn’t a bruise. That was a hickey. The image pierced Isak’s brain like a dagger. Jonas between his legs. Jonas’ mouth on his skin.

“I can explain”, Isak whispered. Except he couldn’t. He couldn’t think of a single explanation for the hickey. He had nothing. Even got up and out of the bed, wiping his mouth like trying to get rid of the taste of Isak’s treacherous skin.

“It’s fine”, Even said. His voice was so thin. “We never agreed on not seeing other people.”

Isak stared at Even’s back. This was wrong. Magnus had been right, and Isak had to pay for his sins now.

“No”, Isak said, quietly. “I cheated on you. I have been cheating on you all this time.”

Even walked to the window and lit up a cigarette. He wasn’t looking at Isak. Isak couldn’t blame him.

“Who is it?” Even asked. He sucked on the cigarette hard enough to dent his cheeks, then blew the smoke out without really breathing it in.

“It’s Jonas. But it’s not. It’s complicated.”

Even laughed. He shook his head and kept smoking. He probably didn’t have anything to say to Isak.

“He is my best friend since we were little kids. Then I ruined everything by falling in love with him. Almost a year before I even met you.” Isak’s voice cracked. He wiped his cheeks and bit on the side of his hand for a bit. “I’ve loved him so much I don’t know how to stop.”

Even laughed again. Isak wouldn’t have ever believed that hearing Even laugh would hurt him. But it did. It hurt so fucking much.

“That sounds like quite a bit of love. I’m glad you could spare me a drop or two.”

Isak sniffled. His shoulders were shaking, and his nose was running, and he didn’t care. He probably looked hideous. It didn’t matter.

“I love you more than a drop! I love you all the way! I just -- I can’t --” Isak had to stop speaking because he had to cry out loud for a bit. He collapsed on the bed, buried his face in the pillow and screamed. He was so fucking mad at himself he wanted to throw himself down the stairs or through the window.

Isak heard a strike of a match. Even lit up another cigarette. He was silent again, and Isak just tried to keep breathing. He needed to tell Even so many things. He couldn’t breathe with his face in the pillow, he had to turn his head and gasp for a bit. He kept his eyes closed, he couldn’t look at Even now.

“Jonas isn’t gay.”

Isak imagined Even raising his eyebrow, in the cocky, mocking way he did when he was ranting about phonies or people who weren’t real. But Isak was being real. He was serious. Jonas wasn’t gay.

“He doesn’t want to be my boyfriend, ever. I can never have him, and he can’t claim me because he doesn’t want me. And. He has a girlfriend.”

Even laughed. Or more like scoffed. His laughter was pitch black, sticky like tar.

“Are you even listening to yourself right now?” Even asked. Isak sniffled. He knew he wasn’t making any sense, and he knew he wasn’t being even remotely fair.

“I’m so, so sorry. I know I’m broken. I need Jonas. I love you. I don’t know what to do.”

The bed creaked. Even was here. Isak felt Even grab him and flip him over on his back. All of a sudden Isak was very, very aware of the fact that his ass was bare, that his underwear was barely on him anymore. He opened his eyes as Even took him by the wrists.

“Want to know what I think you need?” Even was pouring the tar over Isak now. Black bile. Poison. He leaned lower, and Isak just stared at him, eyes wide and mouth a bit open. “You need a fucking pair of balls.”

Even shoved himself away from Isak and out of the bed. Isak rubbed his wrists, sniffling. Even was right. He was a fucking pussy. He couldn’t tell Jonas no, no matter how well he knew he should. A big part of him didn’t want to tell him no, either.

“I’m sorry”, Isak whispered. “I really do love you. I love you so much it scares me to death. You make me want to live, and that’s fucking scary.”

“Get dressed”, Even said. He threw Isak’s shorts on the bed, and went to look for his shirt. Isak pulled his underwear properly on, tears running down his face again. Even looked fuzzy. He threw Isak’s shirt on his face.

By the time Isak had his clothes on and sight back Even was dressed, too. He wiped his mouth again, and he looked disgusted.

“Has he fucked you?”

Isak pulled his legs up against his chest. He was feeling sick to his stomach.

“I told you. He’s not gay.”

“Neither am I, and I want to fuck you.”

That was two huge things in one sentence. Isak looked up at Even, in shock. Even wasn’t gay? He still wanted to fuck Isak? That was the best and the most terrible thing ever, and Isak couldn’t take it. He got up.

“I have to go. I’ll be late for dinner.”

“Sure you will.”

Isak stopped, with one shoe on and the other one in his hand, and closed his eyes. Even thought he was faking it. He thought Isak wasn’t real. It was the worst possible thing Isak could ever be. It was the hardest way to hurt Even. Isak took a deep breath and put the other shoe on.

“I love you”, Isak said, through the crack of the door, then pressed it closed.

Chapter Text

That night when Isak climbed in through Jonas’ window he didn’t get kissed the second he was inside. Instead Jonas looked at him, for quite a long time, frowning. Isak was squirming a bit, wetting his lips repeatedly. He had been waiting to be drowned into Jonas all night, but now he was made to wait some more.

“What is it?” Jonas asked, in a tone Isak knew well. It was the tone Jonas used when “nothing” wasn’t an acceptable answer. Isak almost flinched, closing his eyes. Why now, Jonas? Isak had waited all night to get it on with Jonas, to sink into the red mist. He wanted to pull Jonas into it with him, to make his edges soft and fuzzy, so he could ask Jonas. He wasn’t ready to ask now, when everything was still sharp and ragged.

“Nothing”, Isak tried anyway, slipping his hand under Jonas’ shirt. Jonas stepped back, shaking his head.

“Don’t lie to me, Issy. I can tell when you’re lying.”

Fuck. Jonas was right. He could totally see through Isak, because he knew him so well. Inside and out. Isak shrugged with one shoulder, grabbing his elbow.

“I don’t want to talk about it”, he tried. Jonas rolled his eyes.

“Tough. Spill it.”

Isak plucked at the dry skin on his elbow. He had practised this a hundred times with Edward tonight, whispering the words to him. But that had been different. Edward didn’t answer him.

“Even isn’t gay”, Isak sighed. It was so. Weird. Isak didn’t understand it at all. He had been so certain Even was like him, he had felt such a deep connection with him. A bond of souls. And then Even was so different to him. It hurt in a way nothing had ever hurt before.

Jonas was frowning.

“He looks gay.”

“I know.”

“He’s your boyfriend.”

Isak nodded, barely. He really just moved his chin a bit.

“Yeah. But he told me himself. He’s not gay, and he is my boyfriend, and he wants to fuck me and I thought --” Isak licked his lips quickly. He was getting excited, and he needed to cool off a bit. But it sounded so simple. “I mean. If you don’t need to be gay to be a boyfriend, then maybe. Maybe?”

Isak didn’t dare look at Jonas. He had said it, at least almost, and he was sure Jonas would catch on. He was a smart guy. He knew Isak, and how his brain worked.

“What the fuck, Issy?”

Isak closed his eyes. He had expected this. He had hoped for something else, but deep down, he had known. But he needed to try.

“I’m not a fucking fag.”

Every word Jonas said hit Isak like a stone. They left invisible bruises on his chest.

“I know. But neither is Even.”

“Oh please. That guy is the biggest fairy ever. A fucking sissy.”

It was starting to get painfully obvious. Jonas didn’t want to be Isak’s boyfriend, no matter what. Still, because Isak was an idiot, he kept trying.

“We had a fight. I don’t think he wants to be my boyfriend anymore.” So, Isak was single, and. If Jonas just wanted to?

Jonas fell on his back on his bed, with a groan. He wasn’t comfortable talking about all this gay stuff, Isak knew it. But he needed to talk about it with his best friend. His heart was breaking. He needed Jonas.

“He saw the hickey you made last night. I had to confess.”

Jonas sat up slowly. He looked so mad. And scared. And disgusted.

“You told him about us?”

Isak nodded. Barely, again. He was starting to regret everything he had said tonight. But it was too late.

“So now he thinks I’m a fucking fag? How dare you! I trusted you, Issy!”

Isak winced. Jonas was right. He had told Even Jonas’ secret, and that wasn’t his to share.

“I told him you’re not gay. That’s when he told me he isn’t either, and that he wants to fuck me, and I don’t think I’m ready for that. Jonas, please. I need you.”

Jonas was clenching the sheets. Isak could see his shoulders almost shake with anger. He knew Jonas would never raise his hand at him, and he wasn’t scared of that. But he was worried about his heart.

“So he broke up with you because you didn’t put out?”

Isak sniffled. He didn’t know. It was the worst. Not knowing.

“I don’t know if he broke up with me or not. He was so mad at me. A bit like you are now.” Isak turned to the window. “I should just leave, shouldn’t I?”

“Issy.” Jonas didn’t say anything else, but that was enough to keep Isak from climbing out the window. For now. Isak turned around, slowly, and forced himself to look at Jonas.

“I don’t know what to do, Jonas. I love you so much. I’ve been trying to stop, but I can’t.”

“Then don’t”, Jonas said. Isak sniffled a bit.

“What?”

“If you can’t, then don’t. It’s that simple.”

When Jonas said it, it really sounded simple. It felt like anything but. Isak’s heart was so sore.

“It’s so hard. You don’t love me back.”

“Don’t be silly, Issy. Of course I love you.” Jonas stood up. Isak’s knees were feeling weak. His sore, exhausted heart was racing. Still, he knew. He knew.

“Not like I love you.”

Jonas reached Isak. He raised his hand on Isak’s cheek. Isak closed his eyes. He was so hungry for this. Gentle touches. And more. Oh, so much more.

“What if I do?” Jonas said, so quietly Isak could barely hear him. Isak made a litlte sound. It resembled a sob.

“But you don’t.”

Jonas touched Isak’s lips with his. They were a bit dry, and warm, and they made Isak shake a bit. The second touch was slower, and the third one was a little kiss. Isak wanted to leave. He wanted to scream. He wanted to cry his eyes out. He wanted to dig out his battered heart and bury it into the ground, where it would be finally resting in peace.

He kissed Jonas back. He shouldn’t have. But he was powerless. Every time Jonas’ lips touched his he got more into the mood, more into this. He wrapped his arms around Jonas, clinging to him.

“Say it”, Isak mumbled. “Please.”

“I love you”, Jonas breathed on Isak’s mouth. He put his hands under Isak’s shirt, pushing it upward. “I fucking love you Issy.”

Isak tilted his head to the side, to make way for Jonas’ lips. Jonas kept whispering at him, over and over again, that he loved him. Isak really, really wanted to believe him.

“If you love me, and you can have me, why don’t you take me?” Isak whispered. He sank his fingers in Jonas’ hair to keep him kissing his neck. Jonas did. He kissed the sensitive skin over and over again, making Isak shiver and sigh.

“Issy”, Jonas mumbled, flicking his thumb over Isak’s nipple and making him moan. “Why are you still talking? Just listen, okay? I love you.”

Isak nodded. Okay. He would just listen. Jonas was right. He needed this. He needed to be loved. Jonas always knew what he needed.

“I love you”, Jonas whispered, peeling Isak’s shirt off. Isak hummed and nodded. He didn’t touch Jonas. It didn’t feel appropriate now. This was Jonas loving him, not him loving Jonas. For once.

Isak let Jonas guide him on the bed. He was helpless. He was Jonas’ prisoner. He had tried to break free, but Jonas didn’t let him go. Isak would stay here, with him, forever. He would sneak into Jonas’ room for the rest of their days, to steal these moments from whoever Jonas was with. Isak would never have a life that was fully his, because a part of him belonged to Jonas.

“I love you so much”, Jonas mumbled right before closing his lips around Isak’s nipple. Isak was whimpering. It felt so good. It sounded even better. Jonas telling him he loved him, and then touching him like this, it felt incredible.

Isak had no idea how far Jonas would go. He knew he had no say in it. Or he did, of course, Jonas would not rape him, but. He was so helpless. He couldn’t help it. He had been swept off his feet and lost the reigns. He couldn’t stop. All he could do was surrender. To this. To Jonas. To love.

Chapter Text

Isak, Magnus and Mahdi cheered when the wheels of the skateboard clacked back down against the concrete, whooshing Jonas down the wall with them. Jonas looked incredibly cool in his black shirt with Daffy Duck’s beak and eyes on it, standing on his skateboard and jumping in the air completely effortlessly. The summer breeze played in his dark hair, and his skin had tanned beautifully. Isak blushed, thinking about how that skin tasted like.

“Catch!” Mahdi threw a can of soda at Isak. Isak caught it as a reflex, to Magnus’ great delight. Mags slapped him on the back, and Isak did an excellent job at self control when he didn’t flinch. He was sore and bruised all the time these days. He got in trouble regularly and pretty much on purpose. He had deserved it.

Isak popped the can open and took a long swig. The sweet, fizzy and cold liquid poured down his throat and cooled him down a bit. It was a hot day, and there was no shade in the skate park. Isak had already lathered at least half a bottle of sun lotion on Magnus, and it was barely noon.

It felt nice. To hang out with his friends. Just be, and joke around, and laugh, and watch Jonas skate. Isak had watched Magnus closely at first, scared that Jonas could tell something was off, but Mags didn’t give out anything. Neither did Jonas. It was like their heated nights together had never happened. A part of Isak wished that was the case. That part was tiny but loud.

Isak knew Jonas wanted more than just hand jobs. Jonas didn’t ask for anything, but the unspoken desire was there. He kept kissing Isak’s thighs, his hip bones, his barely there abs, and he kept retreating at the last moment. Isak didn’t know what to make of that. When Jonas did that, he felt a bit like a device, or an object, and he didn’t really appreciate that feeling.

“Wow! Isak, did you see that!”

Isak blinked, and looked at Jonas, way, way too late. The awesome trick Mags was talking about was long over. But Isak grinned anyway, nodding.

“Fucking wicked.”

“I’ve seen better”, Mahdi shrugged. Isak sipped his soda again. The bubbles tickled his nose, and when he lowered the can he let out a huge burp. Mahdi gave him a high five and Mags patted him on the shoulder.

“Nice!”

“Very impressive!”

Even Jonas laughed as he rolled past them. He laughed and winked at Isak, and there was nothing dirty in that wink. It was all friendship, and that made Isak feel so warm. He had missed this. They should have done this sooner.

“Hey, isn’t that the dude who kissed Isak?” Mahdi asked, nodding to the edge of the park. Isak’s blood froze. He looked around to see if someone heard, and only after that he looked in the direction Mahdi had nodded at. It was Even. He was looking incredible. His stone washed denim jacket was way too hot for this weather but it matched his jeans perfectly. He was wearing a black mesh shirt under it, his eyeliner was messy in just the right way and his hair was ridiculously perfect. Isak’s mouth watered just looking at him.

“Yeah..” Magnus didn’t sound impressed. He shifted restlessly, glancing at Jonas and at Isak. Jonas kept skating, just like nothing. Just like Isak’s world wasn’t on the brink of imploding.

Even walked to them. He was smiling, and he was stunning. Isak stared at him, probably with his mouth open.

“Hey guys”, Even said, sitting down next to Isak. Very, very close to him. Their bodies were touching, and Even swung his arm over Isak’s shoulders. He took the soda can from Isak’s shaky hand and sipped it. Everyone was staring at them, and Isak was blushing profusely. Even raised his brows at them. “What’s up?”

Isak’s skin was burning through his clothes. It was Even’s body, obscenely close to his. Out in the open, in broad daylight. Isak knew, deep down inside, that to anyone else they looked like just guys hanging out. But he also knew how this looked like to Mags, Mahdi and Jonas.

Jonas rolled to them and hopped off his board. He kicked it up in his hand and nodded at Even.

“Yo.”

Even laughed. And gave the soda back to Isak.

“Yo, indeed.”

Jonas took the can from Isak’s hand and drank. He wasn’t breaking eye contact with Even for a second. Jonas emptied the soda, dropped the can and crushed it under his foot. Isak, Magnus and Mahdi looked at the can. Even was looking at Jonas. His arm still wrapped around Isak.

Isak was being claimed. It felt. It felt scary. And exciting. Isak was too terrified about what Even and Jonas would do to really take it in. His heart was in his throat, and beating so fast and so hard. Would he have to choose? Right here? Now?

“Hi”, Magnus said, holding out his hand between Jonas and Even, to shake Even’s hand. “I’m Magnus. People call me Mags.”

As Even shook Magnus’ hand Isak mouthed I love you at him. Mags blushed.

“Ginger Spice, right? I’m Even. Nice to meet you.”

Even shook hands with Mahdi as well. Then Isak, Magnus and Even looked at Jonas. Please, Jonas. Please, please, please, Isak wished under his breath. Don’t make a scene.

Jonas slapped Even’s hand with a sort of improvised high five. Isak could breathe again.

“Jonas. Do you skate?”

Even laughed. He had a wonderful laugh. It was bubbly and loud and light. He squeezed Isak a bit closer.

“I think I might die if I tried. But you seem quite good at it. Care to show some of your tricks?”

Jonas looked at Isak from under his brow. Isak bit his lip. He couldn’t move. He didn’t know what to do, so he didn’t do anything. Jonas dropped the board on the concrete and hopped on it with the same smooth motion, and dove into the bowl again. Isak followed him with his eyes. He was so sorry, and he hadn’t even done anything.

Even was chatting with Magnus and Mahdi. He was really charming. He made funny jokes, and laughed at their jokes, and was great company in general. All the while holding Isak under his arm, close to his body, forcing Isak to focus on acting normally. Isak could hear the wheels under Jonas, how they rolled faster and faster, how Jonas pushed himself further and further, and he kept looking at Jonas past Even’s smiling lips.

Jonas was going too fast. Isak didn’t know much about skating but he had been watching Jonas closely enough to be able to tell. It was dangerous. It was risky. It was to impress him. Isak had to do something before Jonas hurt himself.

Isak peeled himself off Even and stood up.

“It’s too hot. I need ice cream. Anyone with me?”

“Ooh! I want a strawberry popsicle!” Magnus hopped up, excited. Isak really, really wished Even wouldn’t come with them, but in vain.

“I love ice cream”, Even said, with a stunning smile. He stepped up to Isak but Magnus beat him to it, wrapping his arm around Isak’s shoulders and ruffling Isak’s hair.

“I’m buying, Issy. No buts.”

Isak threw his arm around Magnus as well, grateful. They started walking, poking each other in the ribs, messing each other’s hair and in general acting like idiots. Even walked with them, half a step behind, his hands in his denim jacket’s pockets. Jonas stayed in the park with Mahdi to keep skating and watch their stuff.

While Magnus was digging into the freezer to find a strawberry popsicle Even pulled Isak aside. He went for a little kiss but Isak turned his head the last moment. He looked around again. Nobody there. But still, too risky.

“What are you doing?” Isak whispered.

“Meeting your friends. They seem really cool. Then again, they have to be, to dress up as Spice Girls.”

“I mean, what are you doing. Are you trying to get into a fight with Jonas?”

Even looked amused.

“No. But I could totally take him.”

Isak bit his lip. He was so mad. But he didn’t know was he mad with Even, Jonas or himself. Probably all three of them.

“Please, Even. Can’t you just go? I’ll come over later. I’m with my friends now, and I can’t -- I can’t.”

Even looked hurt. For a split second. Then he got a glint in his eye.

“Fine. I’ll go. If you kiss me goodbye.”

All color flushed away from Isak’s face. He was about to faint at the mere thought of doing something that. Wicked. In public.

Even touched Isak’s pale cheek, chuckling a little.

“I’m not that bad at kissing, babe.”

Babe. Someone might hear. Isak had to get rid of Even, and he had to get rid of him now. So he reached a quick little peck on Even’s lips, his paleness turned into intense blushing in an instant.

“There. Now go.”

Even grinned at him. Then he winked at Magnus, and he left. Magnus hurried to Isak, holding five red popsicles in his hand.

“I thought we’d bring some to the guys too -- Issy, are you alright?”

The bell above the door dinged and Even was gone. Isak sighed.

“Yeah. I’m alright.”

Chapter Text

Jonas walked Isak to Even’s place. Isak hadn’t asked him to, but he couldn’t tell him not to, either. He was too embarrassed to. He was ashamed of Even’s behaviour earlier. How he had just marched in and claimed Isak as his, right in front of Jonas, even though Isak hadn’t decided on anything himself. Isak had tried to apologise to Jonas, but Jonas hadn’t been too keen on that. He upright refused to talk about it.

Still he walked by Isak’s side, carrying his skateboard under his arm. Isak could smell him. All he could smell was him. All he could taste was him. He was going to Even’s place and this was just so much, so overwhelming, but he was trapped. Stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Isak was walking slower. They were getting close. They were on Even’s street now, and Isak came to a full stop. He looked at Jonas.

“Are you going to walk me all the way to his door? Pass me over like potatoes?”

Jonas laughed.

“Potatoes? Really?”

Isak glared at him. That made Jonas stop laughing. He shrugged.

“Is that what you think is going on? That we are just taking turns with you?”

Isak picked on his elbow again. It was chronically dry.

“That’s how it feels like.”

Jonas rubbed the back of his neck and looked down the street, into the distance.

“Fuck, Issy. You are the one who is altering here.”

Jonas was right. Isak was the one who kept coming here and going to Jonas, in turns. Even by day, Jonas by night. Light, and dark. Love, and lust. Now when he was with Jonas in daylight it was different. They were just friends outside Jonas’ dark room.

Isak couldn’t wait for the sun to go down.

“I’m going to talk to him today. I promise.”

“Talk about what?” Jonas turned to look at him again. Isak averted his eyes.

“You know. Stuff. About what he did today. He doesn’t belong with us.”

“That’s just it, isn’t it?” Jonas was quiet for a long time after saying that. Isak waited for him to continue, patiently. What else could he have done? “He doesn’t belong with us. But you want to be with him. That means we will lose you, Issy.”

“What?” Isak was horrified. How could Jonas think like that? “You’re never going to lose me. I love you guys. I love you.”

“It has already begun. When was the last time we all got together like today? It’s been forever since I’ve seen Mags, and Mahdi won’t come if Mags doesn’t.”

Isak swallowed, hard. He didn’t know. He had no idea.

“I’m sorry. I promise to make more time.”

Jonas shrugged. He pretended to be too cool to care. Maybe he was.

“Nah. I remember how it was when me and Eva got together.”

Isak remembered it too. That had been the time when he had seen the first signs of the direction his heart wanted to go. He had been so jealous. Too jealous, way, way too jealous, and. Oh god. Isak looked up from his shoes, at Jonas, his eyes wide.

“Jonas --”

“It’s cool. See you around, Is.” Jonas dropped his board, hopped on it and kicked it rolling. Isak stayed standing there, frozen, until he couldn’t see Jonas anymore.

A couple of minutes later he knocked on Even’s door. It had become their thing. Isak never rang the bell, he knocked. Every day, he came knocking. Every day Even opened the door. He did so today, as well, and he looked every bit as good as he had looked in the park.

Isak was feeling a bit weak at the knees. Even leaned on the door frame, popping his hip, and the strip of skin between his shirt and jeans caught Isak’s eye like glue.

“Aren’t you going to let me in?”

“Depends.” Even looked at Isak, his blue eyes sharp and pretty. Isak saw something dark hidden under that gleam, because he knew to look for it. It made his lips sting. “Do you want to come in?”

Isak nodded.

“Uh-huh.”

Even looked at him for a moment. Then he turned around and walked inside, leaving the door open. Isak followed him, and closed the door behind him.

“Are you. Mad at me?” Isak asked quietly. He didn’t take his shoes off yet.

“I don’t know. Am I?” Even collapsed on the bed, on his side, folding his arm to support his head and hit the remote. Isak heard the movie start playing on the TV.

Isak didn’t know how much more he could take today. He had just sort of fought with Jonas, and Jonas leaving like he did would have felt like dumping Isak if it could have been possible. It couldn’t have been possible, because Isak’s heart couldn’t take it, and life - even Isak’s - wouldn’t be that cruel. And now this. He had angered Even.

If he thought about it, Even wasn’t unreasonable.

He really, really didn’t want to think about it. His upper lip curled a bit.

“I’m not able to read your mind, Even. Are you mad at me or are you not?”

Even just shrugged. Isak kicked his shoes off. Apparently he wasn’t leaving just yet.

“You have to talk to me.”

“I don’t have to do shit.”

Isak walked in front of the television and stopped there. He looked at Even, his hands on his hips.

“Even, please. What’s the matter?”

Even waved the remote control past Isak to pause the movie. Then he rolled on his back with a groan.

“I am trying to watch a movie?”

Isak almost turned around and left. But he saw Even’s face. It looked so familiar. Even was trying to be brave.

Isak sighed. He crawled on the bed behind Even and shoved a pillow under himself. He reached over Even and took the remote control from the bed.

“What are we watching?” Isak asked, pushing play.

“Sleepless in Seattle.” Even was still on his back, staring at the ceiling, but at least he was talking to Isak. Isak scooted down a bit and rested his head on Even’s chest.

“I’ve never seen it. Can we rewind?”

“Sure.”

Isak stopped the tape to rewind it. He looked at the black mirror of the TV screen, and their image on it. They looked small. They looked sad. Isak wrapped his arm a bit tighter around Even. He was breathing in Even’s scent, letting it soothe him.

He would have to choose some day. Today wasn’t that day.

“I’m sorry”, Isak whispered. “You just caught me so off guard. When I’m with the guys I’m not -- I’m different.”

Even didn’t say anything. The VCR made a loud clack, making Isak jump a bit. Isak waited for Even to say something a bit more, then he started the movie just to stop the silence before it suffocated them.

Isak closed his eyes for a bit and just listened. He could hear Even’s heart beat. If he really, really tried, he could imagine being happy like this.

Chapter Text

When the movie ended Even still hadn’t said anything. Neither had Isak. He had waited for Even to speak up, or make any sound, but it hadn’t happened.

“I liked this movie”, Isak said quietly. Even made a little sound. Isak realised he had been breathing very evenly for quite a while now. He lifted his head carefully and looked up at Even’s face. He was asleep.

He looked so tired.

Isak had to bite his lip to keep quiet. He pulled a bit back, slowly, careful to not wake Even up. He looked like he really could use this sleep. And he looked beautiful. Isak saw it now, the darkness, the fragility under the smiling surface. Now that Even’s face was completely relaxed he couldn’t hide anything with the light he was usually shining.

Isak let his eyes wander around Even’s sleeping face. At the arch of his brow. The black smudged line along his lashes. The bridge of his nose. His cheekbones. His almost translucent skin. The cupid’s bow on his full lips. The tiny, barely there creases at the corners of his mouth. He watched, and he took it in, he drank Even with his eyes and let himself be filled up.

He couldn’t help but feel this overwhelming tenderness. He wanted to wrap his arms around Even and pull him in, to protect him, to be a human shield against whatever it was that had beaten Even into this condition. But he knew. He knew he had cast at least half the stones that had hit Even.

His throwing arm was getting tired.

Isak also knew what he should do. He didn’t want to do it. He didn’t want to think about it. Even was on the brink of breaking. Isak felt a bit the same. He was scared. Jonas could hold him together. He knew where each piece of him fit, and could put them in their place effortlessly. Even didn’t know. He had no idea how Isak would break, because he had never witnessed it.

Could Isak break in front of Even? Would that just make Even fall apart and sink into madness? He didn’t know, and he couldn’t ask, because how the fuck do you ask something like that? Excuse me, boyfriend, is it okay for me to shatter into pieces, or will it make you insane?

He couldn’t give up Jonas. He just wasn’t ready. And if Even couldn’t understand that, then Isak would have to let him go, and hope with all his black heart that Even would still be around when Isak was ready for him.

Isak rested his head against Even’s chest again. He closed his eyes, and waited for Even to wake up.

Isak opened his eyes. He was feeling disoriented. Where was he? This wasn’t his bed. Had he fallen asleep? The scent of the sheets calmed him down, he maybe didn’t know where he was, but he knew he was safe here. He just needed to wake up. To connect the dots. He was alone, but the bed was still warm next to him.

“Even?” Isak raised himself, leaning on his hands, and looked around. This place was tiny, there was no place to hide. Isak heard the toilet be flushed and laid back down, relieved. Even was still here.

Isak made a little yawn. Had he really fallen asleep? Properly? He didn’t remember the last time he had done that, really slept instead of spending all night in a semi-awake state. He rubbed his eyes and yawned again.

Even walked back to the bed and lied down on it. Isak snuggled up against him.

“Hi”, Isak whispered. “You fell asleep.”

“So did you. I waited as long as I could, but I really had to pee.”

“It’s okay.” Isak wrapped his arm around Even, grateful that he was allowed to.

“You’re pretty cute when you sleep.”

Isak blushed. He buried his face in Even’s shirt.

“You’re stunning when you sleep. And when you’re awake, too.” Isak didn’t mention the fragility he had witnessed. It wasn’t his place. It was too intimate. “Are you still mad at me?”

Even sighed.

“I don’t know if I ever was. At you, at least.”

Isak nodded. His cheek rubbed against Even. It felt good, to move against Even. To be this close to him.

“I am sorry I was an asshole earlier today. And. Well. All the time.”

Even pushed his fingers into Isak’s hair. His fingers were so long. Isak had imagined them doing things to him, nasty, dirty things, and he blushed at his own thoughts. Seriously, didn’t he have any sense of time or place?

“Have you slept with him?” Even asked. Isak squeezed his eyes shut. Why was that the most important thing to both Jonas and Even? Were they competing or something? Was Isak’s virginity a prize?

“I haven’t. I’ve done the stuff we do. Nothing more.”

“Would you like to?”

Isak wasn’t comfortable at all. He didn’t want to discuss the sex life of him and Jonas with Even. He wasn’t talking about just his own business, but Jonas’ as well, and he knew how hard it all was for Jonas.

“I don’t know.”

Even’s fingers stroked at the back of Isak’s neck. They were still so long.

“If you don’t know, then who does?”

“I don’t know”, Isak whispered. He was such a fucking mess. He couldn’t be one. He had to pull himself together. He placed his hand flat on Even’s chest, stroking at it. “I want to do it when it feels right.”

“With whoever?”

Isak squeezed his eyes shut. Even was speaking so softly, but saying so hard things.

“Yes.”

“I see.” Even didn’t sound like he really saw Isak eye to eye. Isak didn’t expect him to, either.

“We need to talk about Jonas”, Isak said quietly. He didn’t want to. Even didn’t want to. But they had to. Even sighed under Isak, but at least he didn’t push Isak away.

“Is there something to talk about? I’ve come to understand I have no say on that.”

Even was right. It hurt so much.

“You do have a say on you and me.”

“Is there a you and me? Are you keeping me around just because you can’t have Jonas?”

Isak didn’t really have an answer for that. Except he did.

“To your first question, yes. At least I’d like there to be. And the second question -- no. It’s not just that. I love you, really.”

Even didn’t say anything. Isak assumed it was because Even didn’t want to say it to his face, that he didn’t believe him.

“If you love someone you have to let them go”, Isak said. His voice was cracking a bit. “The thought of you with anyone else is killing me, just like the thought of me not being with you anymore, but. I can’t claim you.”

“Bullshit”, Even scoffed. Isak flinched, involuntarily. “If you love someone you never let go. I’m not letting you go, Isak.”

Wait. What? Even thought Isak wanted to be let go?

“I don’t want you to! I want you to love me through this fucking shitstorm. I don’t want you to ever stop.”

Even’s fingers stopped moving.

“You don’t?”

“No. Not ever. I have no right to want that, but I still do. I want you to be mine.”

“Without you being mine.”

“Yet.” Isak sighed. He knew he was asking for a lot. “I need Jonas. For now. And I understand if you don’t want to wait around until I’m done with him.”

Even sighed so deep it felt like his chest was giving in. Isak held his breath. He didn’t dare wish for anything. He just waited.

“I need you.”

“I’m here.”

“For now?” Even asked. Isak shook his head.

“Forever.”

They were quiet for a long time. Isak was listening to Even’s breathing, and his heart. His own heart was mumbling too much, there was no bother listening to it. Isak just lied there, watching the room get slowly darker.

Darker. It was summer.

“Fuck!” Isak jumped up. “How long did I sleep? What time is it?”

Even fished his alarm clock from under the bed.

“Half past eleven.”

“Shit! I’m way past my curfew!” Isak practically ran to the door. “Fuck, mom and dad are going to kill me!”

Even got out of the bed and walked to Isak, who was frantically pulling his sneakers on. He looked super worried.

“Will you be okay?”

“Of course not! I’m going to get it, I’m so going to get it.” Isak’s hands were shaking and he kept missing with his foot. “I’m going to get grounded, too. Don’t be worried if you don’t hear from me, and please, please, don’t come over. I’ll call you the moment I can. Okay?”

Isak finally got his shoes on and pulled himself upright. He kissed Even, quickly.

“At least I won’t be seeing Jonas, either. Or talking to him. If I give you his number, can you please call him and tell him what happened? Please?”

Even didn’t seem happy about it. But he agreed to. He wrote down Jonas’ number and when Isak kissed him one last time he kissed back.

“I love you. I’m sorry.”

“Me too.”

Chapter Text

When Isak got home the house was dark and quiet. Dad’s car was on the driveway, so they were home. They hadn’t waited up for him. Or, it was possible that when Isak stepped inside the lights would turn on and give him a heart attack. Isak’s heart was pounding in his ears as he turned the handle. He was more scared of the heart attack he would get than of the actual scary thing.

Nothing happened. The house was still dark, and still quiet, as Isak closed the door with as little sound as possible. He held his breath for a moment. Nothing. Mom and dad were sleeping. He knew better than wake them up. He knew this was part of his punishment. Staying up all night, imagining all the terrible things that would happen to him tomorrow.

Maybe he should just go. He could take Even’s offer and move in with him. But that would mean giving up Jonas, and abandoning mom, and angering dad in a way he would never be forgiven for. Isak wasn’t ready to lose his whole family at one go, especially not because of him screwing up himself. He had done wrong, and he needed to pay for his sins. A part of him really, really wanted that to happen.

Isak stayed. He walked up the stairs, careful to not make then creak, and sneaked into his room. He hid the walkman inside his old winter shoes, shoved them into a plastic bag and stuffed the bag as far inside his closet as he could. Dad might break it in front of him or something if he could find it. If Isak was lucky, dad wouldn’t remember it at all, and not try to beat its location out of him.

“Hi, John”, Isak whispered after closing the door to his room. “I’m in real trouble now. How do you handle that?”

John didn’t say anything. Isak looked behind him, and knew the answer. John wasn’t alone. Isak wasn’t alone, either, he just felt like it for now. He had too many people close to him, and still not enough. He wasn’t getting what he needed from the people he had. But he would. He just needed to wait.

Isak collapsed on his bed and did just that. He waited.

The next morning Isak woke up to the sound of drilling. He had fallen asleep, again? Maybe his insomnia was finally giving him a break -- but, drilling? What? Isak opened his eyes and turned to look at his door, where the sound was coming from, and saw Lars from church on his knees on the floor, drilling a hole above the door handle. Mom was standing next to him, looking at Isak, her arms folded across her chest.

“Mom?” Isak asked. She pretended she didn’t hear him. Isak knew it was best to stay in bed and wait. Lars stopped drilling and stood up, turning to mom.

“Are you sure about this? What if there’s a fire and he can’t get out?”

“There is fire in Hell, too, Lars. Do you need more money for your services? I can pay you more.”

“Oh no, no, it’s not necessary. My regular rate is enough.” Lars took something from the phone table and fit it in the door. Now Isak could see what the hole was for. It was a lock. And it opened from outside.

Isak hurried to sit up. He had things to do before getting locked in here for who knew how long. Lars being here would work in his advantage, as well. Isak got up and walked to the door, where mom stopped him.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“I need to use the bathroom. And I’d love to take a shower. Can I, please?”

Lars pretended he wasn’t listening, but he was. Mom knew that, too. Isak didn’t have to wait long for her to reply.

“Fine. But don’t waste water. Ten minutes is more than plenty.”

“Yes, mom. Thank you.” Isak stepped past Lars and mom and hurried to the bathroom. When mom said ten minutes, she meant ten minutes. Isak washed himself as quickly and as carefully as he could, and while he was in there he also drank a few mouthfuls of water. He had no idea if mom was going to make him fast as well.

Ten minutes later Isak was out of the bathroom. Lars had installed the lock, and as Isak returned in his room he saw the window was now bolted shut. He was trapped. He tried to look at Lars, who was gathering his tools, but the man turned his eyes away. Isak wasn’t his son, so he wasn’t his business, either.

While Lars went downstairs where dad could handle the payment, mom lingered at Isak’s door. Her hand was on the door handle, her grip was tight. She was pulling strength from it.

“This is for your own good, son. We can’t have you wandering around who knows where, getting in trouble.”

Isak turned his eyes to the floor. He nodded.

“I understand, mother.”

“If you need to use the bathroom, yell through the door. Do not overuse that privilege.”

“I won’t, mother.”

“God loves you, Isak. Let him in your heart.”

Isak nodded. He just wanted mom to leave already so he could cry.

“I will, mother.”

“That’s my good boy.” Mom pulled the door almost closed. Then she hesitated, speaking through the cracked door. “I was young once, too. I know it’s a difficult time. A time of temptation and deviance. It is your parents’ job to guide you to the right path, and we have been failing it. That will end today.”

“Yes, mother.”

“Pray, Isak. Take the Lord into your heart.”

Mom closed the door. When the lock clicked, the sound seemed to echo in the room like the bells of judgement day.

The day dragged on so slowly. Isak kept checking with Garfield, but only a couple of hours had passed. He was getting really hungry, but he knew by now that he wouldn’t be getting any breakfast. Probably not lunch, either. He did have some raisins in stock, but they would make him thirsty. It was better to wait until it would be reasonable to ask for another bathroom break.

Isak had three of those during the day. Every time he drank from the tap while pretending to scrub his hands. Every time he hurried back into his room, keeping his eyes on the floor. He hadn’t been beaten yet. He was starting to hope he wouldn’t be, either, and he didn’t want to get into any more trouble. When Isak returned from his last bathroom break mom told him to go to bed. She locked the door for the night, as well.

Isak pressed his palm on his growling stomach. Mom had said he could eat something  tomorrow, it was okay. He wasn’t in any danger. He was just being punished. He had been punished before. He undressed and crawled into bed, waiting for sleep that might actually come this time.

It was dark when Isak opened his eyes for the next time. He didn’t know what had woken him up, but something had. Then it happened again. A teeny tiny little knock on his window. Isak’s heart was racing as he hurried out of bed, in only his underwear, and to the window he couldn’t open.

Even was there. Fucking Even was there. Isak was just understanding the gravity of the situation, when he saw movement next to Even, as someone climbed up to join him.

It was Jonas.

Chapter Text

Isak stared at Even and Jonas in turn, equally horrified to see them both. Jonas gestured at Isak to open the window, but Isak shook his head.

“I can’t”, he whispered, mouthing it as clear as he could. He showed them, he pulled and pushed but the window didn’t budge. It was bolted shut. Isak saw the shock crawl across Jonas’ face. Even hadn’t caught on yet. He didn’t know mom like Jonas did.

Fuck! Isak didn’t hear it, but it was clear what Jonas said. Isak saw him explain something to Even, who raised his brows and tried to open the window from the outside. That didn’t work, of course.

“Fuck off!” Isak said without any sound. He would be dead if Jonas and Even got caught. He didn’t understand why Jonas and Even were here in the first place. What the fuck was going on?

Isak hurried to his desk to get a pencil and a notebook. He wrote what he had to say on the page and pressed it on the window.

You need to leave. Now.

Even and Jonas shook their head. Isak rolled his eyes and tapped the notebook on the window again, to emphasise his point. They really, really had to leave.

Jonas said something. Isak shook his head. He wasn’t interested. He wanted them to just go, to fuck off and leave him be, so he could get out of this room before school started. But thinking about Jonas and Even together, talking about him, made him feel a bit queasy.

“GO.”

NO.

Isak made a desperate little groan. He took the notebook again and wrote, furiously. He had to really focus to keep his handwriting readable. He had to focus to keep himself from crying. Jonas and Even were both here, just behind the glass, and Isak had no way to reach them. Except this fucking piece of paper.

I am locked in. The window is bolted. Fuck off and leave me alone.

Isak pushed the notebook against the window and let Jonas and Even read it. It was so hard to see their faces. They were shocked. They were angry. They were appalled. Isak saw them talking to each other again, frantically, and based on Even’s body language he wanted to smash the window. Jonas didn’t agree with that, thank God.

Jonas and Even started climbing down. Isak was happy to see them go, and at the same time he hated it. They didn’t even say goodbye or anything. They really, really had to leave before someone saw them, but they were in no hurry just seconds ago and now they didn’t have time for even a wave. Isak didn’t know when he would see either of them again, and he was feeling so lonely right now. He curled up on his bed, hugging his pillow tightly.

When Isak’s door opened it gave him a heart attack. He jumped up, staring in disbelief at Jonas and Even who snuck into his room. They were really there. In the house. With mom and dad sleeping downstairs.

“Get the fuck out of here!” Isak hissed, as quietly as he could in his anger. Jonas just glared at him and grabbed his backpack from the floor. Jonas opened Isak’s closet and started packing.

“What are you doing?”

Even walked to Isak and put his hand on Isak’s shoulder.

“We are taking you away from here. This stops tonight.”

“What? What stops?” Isak didn’t understand. He was so scared, his heart was trying to escape his body, up his throat and out his mouth.

Jonas had filled the backpack up and turned to look at Isak. His face was dark and angry.

“This. The beatings. Locking you up here. Have they even fed you, Issy?”

Isak’s stomach growled loud enough for all three of them to hear. Isak had nothing. He had nothing to say in his parents’ defence, nothing that would convince Jonas or Even. Still he had to try.

“I’m just fasting. It’s a religion thing, okay?”

“It’s not okay!” Even whispered. “None of this is okay and we are taking you out of here, now.”

“Where’s your Walkman?” Jonas asked. Isak shook his head. He wasn’t leaving.

“No. I’m not coming. You can’t make me.”

“Issy. Either you’re coming now or we’ll call the social services tomorrow and tell them your parents have locked you in your room. They can’t do that. It’s not right.”

Isak’s eyes were filling up with tears. He knew that Jonas was right. He knew Even was right. He was just so, so scared.

“I have nothing. If I leave now I can’t come back. What will I eat?”

“You’re not eating now, either.”

Isak closed his eyes and felt a tear roll down his cheek. Then he felt Even wipe it away, so, so gently.

“Tell Jonas where your Walkman is and get dressed. We’re taking you to my place. No buts. You can leave a note for your parents and maybe call them tomorrow, but now you are leaving.”

Isak looked at Edward for support. Then he saw the cross on the inside of his door. The door that had a lock on the outside. He knew this wasn’t going to get better in time. He was one slip away from being home schooled and staying in this room until graduation.

He was just so scared. He felt so selfish. Was he really going to run away from home? That would destroy his mother. Could he live with that? Could he live like this?

“Let me get it”, Isak whispered, defeated. He got up and went to dig out his Walkman from its hiding place. He gave it to Jonas, who put it in the backpack and closed the zipper. Isak got dressed without really noticing what he was doing. His body was on autopilot and his mind had shut down. He was leaving home. He was running away. He was not going to leave a note. They were in a hurry.

Isak’s heart was beating so loud he was sure it would wake mom and dad up while they were walking down the stairs. Jonas was carrying the backpack and Even was practically carrying Isak. Isak was leaning on him, squeezing his hand, barely breathing. When they got outside the gentle summer night hit Isak right in the guts, slamming the air out of him. He stopped moving, half way out the door.

“I can’t.”

Even grabbed Isak under the arms. Jonas took his legs from behind the knees. Just like that Isak was up in the air, and Even pushed the door closed with his foot. Isak was too shocked to struggle. This was really happening. It was out of his hands.

After being carried to the end of his street Isak started wiggling. Jonas and Even put him down, letting him stand up properly. Both of them held their hand out for Isak to take.

“Come on, Issy.”

“Let us save you.”

Isak bit his lip. He had thought that choosing between Even and Jonas would be the hardest choice he would ever have to make. But now he was choosing between his home and his heart.

Home was where the heart was. Right?

“You are not saving me”, Isak said quietly. He took both their hands. “I’m choosing you.”

Chapter Text

Isak didn’t remember how he got to Even’s apartment. He was still holding both Jonas’ and Even’s hand, and he let go only when Even needed to find his keys. He kept clinging to Jonas’ hand, squeezing it tightly in his own. He had run away from home. So he could keep kissing boys and not die.

Even took his hand again after opening the door, and guided him inside with Jonas. They helped Isak get his sneakers off, and took him to bed. Jonas lied down with him while Even went to the bathroom searching something. He returned with a small bottle of pills.

“You need to sleep. Take one of these.”

Isak looked at the bottle, frowning.

“What are they?” Jonas asked from behind Isak’s back. He wrapped his arm around Isak’s waist, protectively.

“Just some mild sedatives. Isak needs to sleep. One of these will help him relax.”

“Can I have two?” Isak whispered. Sleep sounded really really good right now and he wanted to just not be here and awake for a while.

“You can have one and a half. Okay?”

Isak nodded. Jonas felt a bit tense behind him. He wasn’t agreeing with this. But Isak knew he could trust Even wouldn’t harm him. When Even returned from the kitchen with a glass of water and a small white pill and a half on his palm, Isak took the medicine and lied back down. He closed his eyes and waited.

The next time he opened his eyes there was light outside. It was a cloudy day, so the room wasn’t filled with sunshine, and Isak was grateful for that. The softer light made everything look almost dreamlike. Including Even right in front of him, on his side, facing him and smiling the slightest bit.

“Hey”, Even whispered.

Isak yawned.

“Hey.”

Even leaned in and gave Isak a little kiss. Isak was happy to kiss him back. He had missed kisses, and while this raw and lonely it felt really nice to share tenderness.

Isak felt someone move against his back. Jonas brushed his hair aside and kissed the back of his neck. It made Isak shiver a bit. He was kissing Even, and Jonas was kissing his skin, and that felt. It felt so much. Jonas touched Isak from under the chin. Isak stopped kissing Even to consider, just for a second, then he let Jonas turn his head and kiss him.

Jonas scooted back and made room for Isak to turn on his back. They were all breathing heavier now, deeper, more focused. Isak felt the world around them disappear, and that was exactly what he wanted. He was too exhausted to think about anything, and two warm bodies against his were feeling really good. The best part was that he didn’t have to make up his mind, either.

He should have felt greedy. But he wasn’t. He was giving back what he had been given. When Jonas kissed him he kissed Jonas back, and when Even turned his head again he kissed Even in his turn, while feeling Jonas’ hot breath against the side of his neck.

Jonas slipped his hand under Isak’s shirt. His fingers made Isak stumble in the kiss, making a little gasp on Even’s mouth. Even’s hand joined Jonas’ fingers promptly, stroking Isak’s chest. Isak’s shirt was pushed up under his armpits by now. His head was spinning. It was hard to believe this was really happening.

It was such a weird mixture. The tenderness he had with Even, and the raw, commanding lust he had with Jonas. When he kissed Even his heart was being pulled towards Even, and his body thirsted after Jonas. When he kissed Jonas his heart was singing, and Even’s touches made him shake.

After kissing each other out of breath all three of them peeled off their shirts. Even sat up on the bed, leaning his back against the wall, and took Isak in his embrace. Isak sat between Even’s spread legs, his back leaning on Even’s chest, while Jonas got on his knees between Isak’s legs. As Jonas pushed his body tightly against him, Isak was completely enveloped in warmth. When Jonas flicked his tongue on his lips Isak cracked his mouth and let him in.

Even ran his hands up and down along Isak’s sides and hips along his shoulder. Isak leaned on him harder, and Jonas followed him with his body, unwilling to let their contact break one bit. Isak could feel how hard Even was against his ass, and he could tell from the thirst in Jonas’ kiss that Jonas was hard as well. They were all hard, aching, throbbing and needy.

Jonas made a small groan as Even turned Isak’s head again and kissed him. His lips didn’t stay idle for long, though, they dove down and cradled Isak’s nipple. Isak whimpered into Even’s mouth. Jonas flicked his tongue over the hard nub over and over again, in a teasing, torturing rhythm that send pulses of passion through Isak’s whole body.

Even noticed that. He kept kissing Isak, but his fingers searched Isak’s other nipple and pinched at it lightly, making him whimper again. Evens tongue was slick and nimble in Isak’s mouth, Jonas’ mouth was hot and demanding on Isak’s nipple. Isak was completely drowning in this, just like he wanted to be.

He just hoped Jonas and Even would have been sharing him instead of fighting over him. It was so obvious. Whatever one did, the other one was quick to follow. Isak’s skin was completely covered by mirrored touches, kisses, nibbles, and when Jonas unbuttoned his jeans Even pushed his hand into them, making Jonas grunt so low it sounded like a growl. They were turning into animals in their heat and desire to escape, and Isak could feel his need to surrender get more and more demanding. If these boys wanted to fuck him now, he would let them, not because he wanted to, but because he needed to.

Even’s fingers wrapped around his dick, making Isak break the kiss with a hungry moan. Jonas kept struggling with his pants, pulling them off, and when he finally got Isak out of them he threw them on the floor. Isak was naked now, between Even and Jonas, naked and hard and helpless. Jonas kissed his ankle, then up his leg, all the way to his inner thigh. He glanced up. First Isak thought Jonas was looking for encouragement from him, or permission, but then he understood Jonas wasn’t looking at him. He was looking at Even, and he didn’t break that eye contact even when he took Isak’s tip in his mouth.

“Oh God!” Isak moaned, pushing his head back on Even’s shoulder. His toes spread, his ankles twisted, his legs shook. Even kept his grip on his dick, working his hand up and down the shaft while Jonas focused on the tip with his lips and tongue. Jonas closed his eyes and focused on his work, and he looked so filthy and so beautiful Isak almost wanted to cry.

Even pushed his mouth on the side of Isak’s neck. He sucked and nibbled at the skin, making it tingle and hurt in the best possible way. He was making a hickey. A big one. On Isak’s neck, where everyone could see it. Everyone would be able to tell Isak had been bad. They could tell Isak had let boys do things to him, that he had let Even pump his dick faster and faster, and Jonas suck on the tip harder and wetter, until he came with a hoarse scream.

Isak heard Jonas gag and spit. He blushed bright red. He had squirted in Jonas’ mouth. That was so dirty and rude. He was so dirty. He was filthy and naked and with two boys who had made him come and who were expecting him to return the favor. Isak’s head was spinning. He could barely breathe.

Jonas kissed him. He could taste a bit of himself in Jonas’ mouth, and as Jonas took his hand and guided it inside his pants Isak let him.

Chapter Text

Even grabbed Isak’s wrist and pulled his hand out of Jonas’ pants. Isak and Jonas both turned to look at him, Isak confused and Jonas frowning.

“He’s my boyfriend”, Even said, calmly. “He’s not touching your dick.”

Isak blushed, deep crimson. He had just squirted in Jonas’ mouth. That had passed with Even. But he was now drawing a line, and Isak kind of liked it. He maybe didn’t really agree with it, but he liked it.

“What?” Jonas asked. “You just watched me make him come, and now he’s your property?”

Even laughed briefly. He still hadn’t let go of Isak’s hand.

“He’s nobody’s property. And you did not make him come.”

Fire flashed in Jonas’ eyes.

“He just came in my mouth!”

“Thanks to me”, Even said calmly. He raised his hand and wiggled his fingers in front of Jonas’ face. “Magic touch.”

Jonas laughed, mockingly.

“You wish! I bet you haven’t made him come as hard as I have, not even once.”

Isak pulled his hand away and wrapped his arms around himself. Even didn’t really notice. Neither did Jonas. Because Even shoved his hand inside Jonas’ pants, making Jonas jump and gasp.

“I bet I can make you come”, Even muttered under his breath. Jonas hissed at him, surprised, but it didn’t take him long to gather himself. He yanked the buttons of Even’s jeans open and pushed his hand into Even’s underwear.

“I bet I can make you come first”, Jonas spat, moving his hand back and forth in the same pace as Even moved his. Isak could only stare at them in shock. He heard the sounds of two dicks being touched, the boys’ short breaths, the silent curses muttered, the stifled moans. It was like his wettest dream, but worse.

Even pulled Jonas’ waistband back and took him out. Isak watched the dick he had touched a hundred times near disappear inside Even’s big hand. Even looked Jonas deep in the eyes, his full lips parted, his cheeks flushed. Isak saw Jonas’ face and knew that Jonas would lose. He would come first. He would come soon. Isak wouldn’t be the only boy who had made Jonas come anymore. He wouldn’t be special. Jonas wouldn’t be gay for just him, he would be just gay.

“Stop”, Isak said quietly. “Please, just stop. Both of you.”

Jonas stopped first. Even’s hand slowed down but didn’t stop moving until Even turned to look at Isak and saw his face. Even pulled his hand back, slowly. Isak licked his lips and crawled between the boys, on his knees.

“Let me. Please.”

Isak took Jonas in his left hand. This time Even didn’t stop him. He took Even in his right hand. He started moving his hands, first slowly, then faster. He closed his eyes and focused on how different and still similar the dicks in his hands felt. They were hard. Alive. He knew and loved them both. He knew how to make them both come.

Jonas was done first. He grabbed Isak’s shoulder, muttered oh shit, Issy a couple of times and came all over Isak’s fingers. Even placed his hand on Isak’s arm, whispering him to stop. He did. Even looked at Jonas.

“I think you’re done here for today.”

Jonas didn’t say anything. He just packed his now limp dick inside his pants and stood up. Isak put his underwear on and followed him. Even didn’t stop him, thank God. Isak raised his hand on Jonas’ cheek, his eyes glistening with tears he didn’t know how to cry.

“Thank you, Jonas.”

Jonas turned his face and touched the inside of Isak’s wrist with his lips.

“Goodbye, Issy. Don’t let him treat you badly.”

Something cracked inside Isak’s chest. But he knew Jonas was right. Isak couldn’t have him. He needed to have someone. It was time.

“I love you”, Isak whispered. “Tell the guys I’m sorry.”

“No.” Jonas shook his head. “You’re not leaving the squad. We just won’t be alone together anymore. Okay?”

Isak bit his lip. It would be so hard. But he had done so many hard things before. So he nodded.

“Okay. I’ll call Mags or something tomorrow.”

Jonas nodded. He raised his hand on Isak’s cheek and almost leaned in. Isak almost cracked his lips. It was the best kiss they ever almost had, and when Jonas closed the door Isak could still feel its ghost on his mouth.

“Isak.”

“Mm-hm?” Isak didn’t turn. He was staring at the door. He covered his mouth with his hand to wipe the phantom kiss off.

“I’m sorry.”

Isak shook his head and wrapped his arms around himself. He was half naked. He felt completely naked. He felt like his skin had been peeled off, or beaten away with a belt.

“It’s okay. When I saw you with him I realized something.” Isak turned around, finally, and now the tears finally escaped down his cheeks. “I would always have to share him. I don’t want to share.”

Even nodded slowly. He lowered his feet on the floor and reached out his arms. Isak walked to him. He stepped between Even’s legs and let Even wrap his arms around him. He sank his fingers in Even’s hair. He was shaking, but Even was holding him up.

“Do you have any food?” Isak asked. He was starving. He was tired, and broken, and he needed to eat something and curl up in the bed and cry.

“I should have at least toast and cheese.”

Isak chuckled.

“Do you eat anything but cheese toasties?”

Even didn’t respond. Isak played with his hair for a bit, then bent down to kiss it. He knew crazy.

“It’s okay. I’d love a couple of cheese toasties right now. Could you fix me some?”

Isak stepped back to give Even space to stand up. They spent a moment there, just standing close to each other, two broken boys who were trying to keep it together.

“It’s okay”, Isak said again. Firmer this time. He needed to believe in it himself, too. “Now feed me.”

Even laughed a little. It was a relieved laugh, and a sad one, and it made Isak fill up with a tenderness he hadn’t experienced before. He wanted to protect Even. From pain, from his madness, from anything. Isak took Even’s head between his hands and rubbed his nose lightly against Even’s. It was like a kiss, but more intimate. More special.

“It’s okay.”

This time Even was strong enough to step away and go to the kitchen. Isak took a blanket and wrapped it around himself.

“Do you have any music?” Isak asked. It was so quiet, but he didn’t want to turn the TV on. Even popped his head out of the kitchen.

“What kind of a question is that? Of course I have music!”

“A rhetorical one”, Isak said with a shrug. “I just wanted you to tell me where your stereo is.”

“Under the pile of sheets under the window.”

Isak pulled the sheets in his lap and carried them to the bathroom where he had seen a hamper earlier. It was stuffed to the brim, so he just put the load on top of it. The boombox had been revealed from under the pile, with a small stack of CD’s beside it. Isak took the top one and flipped it over to see the track list. He recognised one song. He put the CD in the player, skipped to the second song and sat down on the floor, leaning his back on the side of the bed as the soft but powerful melancholy filled the room.

When you were here before
couldn’t look you in the eye
You’re just like an angel
Your skin makes me cry

He heard Even stop making the sandwiches. He turned to look. He saw Even’s profile, his bare feet, his topless torso, his hunched shoulders and bent neck. His fingers clenched around the cheese slicer’s handle. His eyes squeezed shut. His mouth twisted.

But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here

Chapter Text

Isak crawled to Even on all fours. He wrapped his arms around Even’s legs and hugged them, tight. The cheese slicer fell to the floor next to him, and Even’s fingers sank into his hair.

“I do belong here”, Isak said. He did. He was home now, in his new home, with Even. He had chosen Even.

Even made a sobbing sound and squeezed Isak’s hair. His legs were shaking, too.

“No. You just think you do.”

Isak stared at the floor for a moment. He didn’t know what to say. How to make Even believe in him. In them.

“I chose you.”

Even made that sobbing sound again. He pulled his legs out of Isak’s embrace and walked away. He sat down to the edge of the bed, burying his face in his hands.

“That’s because you don’t know.”

Isak sat down on the kitchen floor. He was literally three steps away from Even, he was close enough. Especially since Even didn’t seem to want to be touched right now.

“What? I don’t know what?”

Even groaned and fell flat on his back. All Isak could now see were his knees, legs and feet. That was so little.

“The things I want to say to you.”

Okay. That was. That was something else than what Isak had expected. He had thought Even meant something about his condition. He took a deep, slow breath.

“Say them.”

“Fuck no!”

Isak swallowed, hard. He was still hungry, but he had completely lost his appetite.

“Even, please. It can’t be worse than the things I’ve already said to myself over and over again. Or what my mother has said to me.”

“You don’t understand. I don’t want to say those things to you! They’re not things you say to someone you love!”

Isak didn’t know how to respond to that. Even said he loved him, and it felt wonderful, but at the same time Even wasn’t believing in him. Trusting him. Without trust there could not be love, not really.

“Do you think I’m a slut?” Isak whispered. He saw Even’s elbow stick up in the air as he covered his eyes.

“I don’t. But.” Isak waited for Even to continue with the but. He knew it wouldn’t be good. No but ever was. “I want to tell you that you are. It doesn’t make sense.”

“Well.” Isak licked his lips slowly. He worked really hard to remain calm. He was glad he had so much experience. “You’re right. That’s not something you say to someone you love.”

Even’s elbow fell out of sight. Isak imagined his face, half covered by those long fingers of his. His sad, blue eyes.

“What else?”

Even scrunched up his toes. Isak remained sitting on the floor. He sensed that if Even saw him he wouldn’t get it out of himself.

“Does he make you come harder than me?”

Okay. That question hit the air out of Isak’s lungs. It made him hesitate, for too long to lie. It was too late.

“Yes.”

It was true. Jonas made him come harder than Even did. It was probably all that excitement of the forbidden, the dirtiness of it all, how much driven by desire they were. Being with Jonas was so sexy, because it was so wrong.

“Slut”, Even whispered. Isak could barely hear it. Still it hit him hard, forcing him to close his eyes for a bit. Deep breaths. He could do this.

“I always feel like shit after I come with him, though. With you it’s just. It’s wonderful. When Jonas makes me come it means I have to leave soon, but when you do -- I’m where I belong.”

“I’m sure you can wear him out soon enough. A couple of blowjobs and you’ve got him wrapped around your finger.”

Isak shook his head, though Even couldn’t see it. Even was wrong. He was so wrong. Isak would never get Jonas, blowjobs or not. Though he had to admit that Jonas’ mouth had felt incredible, and thinking about it made him almost get hard again.

“I can’t have him. He’s not gay.”

“So?”

Even’s voice was oozing contempt. It also made Isak remember something. Even wasn’t gay either.

And he wanted to fuck him. Maybe.

“So, he won’t be mine. Because I’m a boy. He has a girlfriend. He’s into girls. And me.”

“You’re so fucking special, eh?”

Now that Even said it, in that tone, it made Isak feel ridiculous. He had thought he was special. He wanted to think he was, that he was the exception to the rules Jonas played by. But he really wasn’t, was he? He was just a slut. Easy meat.

“You seem to think so”, Isak said quietly. Even had always looked at him like he was special. He had made Isak feel special, but because Isak was a slut that wasn’t enough for him.

“You know what I think?” Even pulled his legs up on the bed and turned on his side. “I think you should leave.”

Isak couldn’t believe his ears. Leave? Like. Where?

“I have nowhere to go. I can’t go home anymore. Ever again. Thanks to you.”

“Don’t put that on me! I didn’t make you do anything.”

Isak stared at Even’s feet. Was he being serious?

“You literally picked me up and carried me.”

“Yeah but. Well. Fuck.”

They were quiet for a long time. Isak couldn’t leave even if he wanted to, because he couldn’t feel his legs.

“Why do you want me to leave?”

“Who said anything about wanting?”

Even was right. He hadn’t said that he wanted Isak to leave. Just that he should.

“Even, please.”

This time Even’s whole feet scrunched up.

“You should leave before I hurt you more.”

“That’s ridiculous”, Isak said, before he could stop himself. “Isn’t not hurting me an option?”

“Not really.” Even sounded smaller now. His anger had been diminished, or smothered, or turned inward. “I have this. Blackness inside me. And you have been the light that breaks it up, but now it’s getting too strong. It’s going to eat up all your light and take it away, and that’s --”

Even stopped talking and sniffled. It was a tiny, suffocated sound, that was still loud enough to make Isak’s heart ache. He forced his body to move and crawl to the bed. He pulled himself up, behind Even, and just lied there. He didn’t touch Even, because he didn’t dare. He didn’t know if he was allowed to.

“A light can never turn into a shadow”, Isak whispered. “If I am light, it means you can’t harm me with darkness.”

“But I can surround you with it. And I will. Your friends are right, I’m nothing but trouble.”

“Well. Tough.”

That made Even turn his head and almost look at Isak. He was raising his brow, in a wordless question.

“If you save someone you are responsible for them. You saved me. I’m yours now.”

Even rolled his eyes.

“Jonas was there too.”

“Fuck Jonas. I chose you. Don’t you want me?”

“You chose wrong.”

Isak sighed. He decided to try his luck, and pushed his fingers in Even’s hair. Even allowed that.

“Let me be the judge of that, okay?”

Even didn’t say anything. At least he didn’t say no. Isak played with his hair for a bit.

“So, about those cheese toasties?”

Even shook his head. His shoulders shuddered.

“I can’t. I’m sorry. I can’t take care of you.”

Isak pressed his forehead on Even’s shoulder blade. He just lied there for a bit, breathing in Even. He hadn’t chosen wrong.

“In that case I must take care of you.” Isak got out of the bed and went to the kitchen. He wasn’t much of a cook, but he could make cheese toasties. He wasn’t much of a carer, but he could be there and shine his light. He would be there, and take every blow Even’s blackness threw at him, and he would not leave. He belonged here.

Chapter Text

Isak was so happy that Magnus picked up instead of his mother.

“Is! Oh my god, where are you?! Your mom called my mom looking for you!”

Isak grimaced. Shit. Mothers calling mothers was always bad.

“I’ll call her later today. I’m sorry.” Isak glanced at Even, who was pretending to not listen. Isak had to get out of here, just for a bit. “Can I come over? Just me?”

“Of course! Now?”

“Yeah. I’ll call mom on my way there if my card has credit.”

“See you in an hour?”

“Give or take, yeah.”

“Can’t wait.”

“Yeah.” Isak looked at Even again. He really hoped Even didn’t mind that Isak wanted to call mom from a payphone instead of here. “Bye.”

Isak hung up. He looked at Even through the mirror. Even was on his back on the bed, his arm resting over his eyes. The tattooed phone number on his arm looked really cool from a distance, it was like a serial number or something. Even’s look was already a bit not-human, and the tattoo complemented it perfectly.

“You look incredible”, Isak said. “I can’t really understand you’re real.”

Even lowered his hand and turned to look at Isak.

“I’m real. That’s the one thing I really have going for me.”

Isak kept looking at Even in the mirror. It felt more appropriate. It made Isak not as present. He was somewhere else, watching. An outsider.

“Oh, believe me. You have so much going for you.” It was almost too much to take in. Isak needed a break. He had spent two nights in here already, first one unconscious and the second one awake in silence, just watching Even’s restless sleep. Even hadn’t touched him once.

“Speaking of going, weren’t you going to meet your friend?”

For some reason, Isak blushed. He was feeling like a traitor. He was abandoning Even, who was clearly having a hard time. But Isak was having a hard time too, and there didn’t seem to be space for that in here right now. He took his backpack and dug out a fresh shirt.

“Do you have a backpack I can borrow?”

Even waved his hand vaguely in the direction of the closet. Isak stifled a sigh and went to look. Nothing was in order in there. Everything was a big mess. Isak decided to give it a couple of blind pokes and then just empty his own backpack if he didn’t find anything. He shoved his hand in a shelf and felt around for a bit. His fingers met something that felt silky and -- was that lace?

Isak grabbed the thing and pulled it out. It was black. It was skimpy, and it was so clearly for girls, and supposed to be sexy. It was lingerie, and it was way too small for Even. Isak noticed the crotch piece had a slit in it and blushed intensely.

“What’s this?” Isak turned, holding the thing in front of himself. Even gave it an uninterested look.

“That’s Sonja’s. I keep finding her shit in here.”

Isak looked at the lace. He imagined it on a girl. A girl called Sonja. She looked a bit like Cindy Crawford in his head. A sexy bombshell. A polar opposite to Isak.

“Sonja?”

“A controlling, manipulative bitch I’d like to stop talking about right now, thank you.”

Isak bit his lip. He really, really wanted to talk about Sonja. But he couldn’t talk about her on his own. He needed Even in that conversation, but now was clearly not the time.

“Okay.”

Isak put the skimpy thing away. He didn’t dig into the closet again. He didn’t want to find anything more. Instead, he just took his backpack, took his Walkman out and then turned the bag upside down and shook it empty on the floor. It wasn’t like it made any difference to the overall look of the place, anyway.

Isak repacked the Walkman and his wallet in the backpack, swung it in his back and put his shoes on.

“I’ll be back by tonight. Do you have a spare key for me?”

Even groaned. And waved in the general direction of the dressing table. Isak looked at the mess on it and sighed. Fine.

“I’ll call you before I leave to make sure you’re home. Okay?”

Even grunted. Isak was actually happy Even was being this difficult. It made it easier for Isak to walk out. He was going to walk back in, and not just because he lived here now, but because he wanted to. He loved Even. He just needed a break from him.

Isak put his headphones on. He wasn’t really ready for Prodigy, either, but he needed something. He tried to focus on the beat, to walk in it, but he kept hearing the songs he had connected to Jonas. Isak tried to think about Jonas in the skating park, in the corner shop, in class, but he kept getting images of Jonas naked in his bed, his lips parted, or on Isak’s lips, and he walked faster to get away from them. He had chosen Even.

As he got closer to the payphone he slowed down. He didn’t want to call mom. But he had to. He had forgotten to leave a note. He had talked about this with Even last night, about what he could and should say. All he had to do was remember the script and hope mom would stick to it as well.

Isak stepped into the booth and pushed his card in. He had credit on it, good. And when it ran out, he would be off the hook. A blessing in disguise. Isak took a deep breath, pushed his shoulders back and dialed the number. Mom picked up at the first ring.

“Isak?”

Isak swallowed. She sounded so small. Fragile.

“Hi mom.”

“Isak!” Mom screamed, relieved, and angry. “Where on Earth are you? We have been worried sick!”

“I’m okay. I’m not coming home anymore.” Saying those things together felt so weird. And at least one of them was a lie. “It’s not a good place for me right now.”

“What? Your home is not a good place for you? Isak, you’re seventeen! You belong home with your parents!”

Isak was shaking. He was so scared. He was doing the undoable, the unthinkable. He was turning his back on his parents. The wayward son. He knew he had to burn this brigde, so he wouldn’t be tempted to cross it ever again.

“Mom, I’m gay.”

“No you’re not.”

Isak bit on the side of his fist. He took a deep breath through his nose.

“I have a boyfriend. I’m living with him now.”

“Liar! You don’t have a boyfriend, because you’re my son and my son is not gay. I know my baby boy.”

“Mom.”

Mom was quiet. Isak could imagine her sitting down in the kitchen, pressing her fingertips on the dining table.

“I’m so sorry mom.”

“It’s okay”, mom said softly. “Just come home. We can fix this.”

Isak swallowed.

“Like, fix me?”

“You’re a good boy. My baby boy. Come home.”

“No.”

“You’re seventeen! The cops will bring you home if you don’t come voluntarily.”

Isak bit his lip tightly. Even had been so right about mom. It hurt. Isak had tried to tell him that mom wouldn’t do that, but Even had known better. Thank God he had written Isak a line to use.

“I’m sure the cops would be interested in the lock on my door.”

“It is for your protection!”

“And in my scars. Did you know beating up your kid is illegal?”

Mom gasped. She was getting really upset. She was home alone, since dad hadn’t taken the phone from her yet. She could get hurt.

“You are not being beaten up. We are disciplining you.”

“The police would disagree with that.” Isak looked at the screen on the phone. “My credit’s running out. Don’t call the cops on me, mom, please. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“We are bringing you home where you belong.” Mom was using her stern voice now. Isak was so scared. He didn’t want to get the cops involved, he really didn’t, the thought of telling a roomful of grown men that he couldn’t go home because he was gay -- no. Just no.

“I love you mom. Tell dad I love him too.”

The credit dropped to zero and the call was terminated. Isak had to try three times before he managed to hang up, because his hands were shaking so much. His legs were shaking too. He had to sit down. Isak leaned on the glass wall and just slithered down. The floor was filthy, littered with cigarette butts and beer stains, but it didn’t matter. Isak couldn’t hold himself up right now.

It was good he had run out of credit on his phone card. Otherwise he would have called Jonas.

Chapter Text

Magnus grabbed Isak’s hand and dragged him into his room before Isak had time to take his shoes off. He hollared at his mom that Isak was there, then he closed the door. Magnus was lucky enough to have a mother who didn’t enter his room without knocking, or permission.

Isak had a mother who locked him in his room.

Except he didn’t anymore.

Isak collapsed on Magnus’ bed, still wearing his shoes, and curled up. Mags sat down on the floor so he could face him. He looked worried. He looked scared. But he was also calm.

“It’s okay, Is. I’ve got you.”

That was enough to make Isak crumble. That was all he had been longing to hear. That someone’s got him. He had lost Jonas, he had lost Even and he had lost his parents. He was all alone, and now Magnus came and told him he’s got him. Isak’s mouth twisted in a silent, breathless cry.

It took Mags a good fifteen minutes to get Isak to calm down enough to be able to speak. His eyes were puffed up so badly he could barely see anything, and he had wet the pillowcase with tears, snot and probably spit too. His head was hurting from all the crying. He had expected to feel empty, or cleansed, but all he felt was heavy.

“Is. Talk to me.”

“I’m trying”, Isak whispered. He was really trying, but every time he even thought about everything that had gone to Hell in his life he wanted to start crying again. His head was throbbing with pain. His throat was raw. He couldn’t cry anymore. Magnus handed him a paper tissue from a stack on his night stand. Isak destroyed two more, wiping his face and blowing his nose.

“Why did your mom call here?”

Okay. Good. Direct questions were easier to answer than just a general “talk to me”. Isak took a deep, shaky breath.

“I ran away.”

Magnus gasped. He was staring at Isak, eyes wide, mouth open. Isak had to blow his nose again.

“Whaaaat?”

“Or more like. Even and Jonas broke me out.”

It was good that Magnus was already sitting down. His shock turned him pale, and his lips tried to form words he couldn’t finish making.

“I know”, Isak whispered. “They just appeared behind my window in the middle of the night.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. We need to slow down a bit. They as in Jonas and Even? Like, together?”

Isak nodded. He was scrunching up the half soaked tissue in his fist. It was disgusting, but it didn’t matter.

“I don’t know why they were together. But they saved me.”

“What do you mean with saving?”

Isak bit his lip. He didn’t want to tell. Mags knew that he had strict parents and he got in trouble at home sometimes, but he didn’t know how to tell sweet, innocent Mags that some people could do that to their children.

“Mom put a lock on my door and bolted the window.”

The lock in itself didn’t sound bad, but with a bolted window it was obvious. Isak hadn’t been given privacy, he had been locked in. Magnus got, if possible, even paler. Isak kept talking. He told Magnus about mom, how she got upset sometimes and what that meant. He told Mags about kneeling in the closet, fasting, not leaving his room for days. He told him about the phone call he had with mom today, and that finally covered issue number one. Of three.

“Holy fucking shit”, Magnus whispered. There were tears in his eyes, and he slammed his fist on his own thigh. “Fuck! How could I let that happen to you! All this time!”

Isak didn’t know what to say. He really didn’t have any strength left to comfort Magnus. Mags took his hand and squeezed it.

“I’m so, so sorry, Is. I mean, I haven’t the easiest family, but yours -- you must be hurting so much. But you did the right thing. You had to leave, and you are so brave, and I’m proud of you.”

Isak looked at Magnus, almost confused. Brave? Proud?

“I wouldn’t have left if they didn’t literally carry me away”, Isak said. He was not brave, he was weak and stupid.

“You called your mom and told her you’re not coming back, Is. All alone.”

Isak shook his head. No. That wasn’t on him, either.

“Even told me what to say. We practised together.”

“Yeah, but --” Magnus sighed. “Alright, Is. Alright. But I am happy you’re out of that house now.”

Isak nodded, just a tiny bit. He was still feeling like shit, and his life was still ruined, but maybe it was a good thing he had left home. Maybe.

“I’m so scared for mom”, Isak whispered. “If something happens to her when I’m gone.”

Magnus took a moment to think.

“Well. Anything that possibly happens is not your fault. Your mom is a grown up, she’s a mother, she has the obligation to take care of herself. To get help. I can ask my mom to talk to her, if you want to?”

Isak shook his head. And sniffled. Fuck, he wasn’t going to stop crying any time soon, was he?

“I don’t know.”

“It’s cool. There’s time.” Magnus grabbed his own knees and took a deep breath, to compose himself. “Where are you living now?”

“At Even’s place. For now.” Okay, Isak started crying again. He was so pathetic. He missed Jonas, and he wasn’t sure he had made the right choice after all.

Magnus handed him another tissue.

“For now? Has something happened?”

“I don’t think he really wants me there”, Isak sniffled. “He keeps telling me he does but there’s like this shell around him and he’s not letting me in, and he’s not reaching out for me, and I can’t carry him around all the time.”

“It can be like that with addicts. They don’t care about anything else, not really.”

“He’s not an addict! God! He’s just crazy!”

Magnus frowned. Apparently Jonas hadn’t told him that Even wasn’t an actual junkie.

“What do you mean crazy?”

“Like actual, legit crazy. He’s manic-depressive.”

That didn’t seem to please Magnus at all. His upper lip curled up and he got up on his feet, pacing back and forth and wiping his mouth.

“He’s not dangerous. I’m safe.”

“Fuck you!”

Isak stared at Mags, too confused to cry right now. Magnus was mad at him? Why?

“Your mother might be crazy but mine’s not!”

Uh. What? Isak’s head was hurting too much for this sophisticated thinking. He didn’t understand, he just kept staring at Magnus, who slumped down in his chair and buried his face in his hands.

“Look”, Magnus finally sighed, “my mom’s manic-depressive. And she’s not crazy. She’s awesome.”

“She’s great”, Isak agreed. She was really great, unlike his mother, who, now that Mags said it out loud, did seem a bit crazy. “Is she really manic-depressive?”

Magnus nodded. Hope fluttered in Isak’s heart. Magnus could help him understand Even. He could help. Finally Isak had someone to help him.

“Mags. I need you. Please?”

Magnus let his hands fall in his lap. He looked kind of deflated for a moment. Then he pulled himself together.

“Of course. But I can’t help you if I don’t know everything.”

A cold rock sank in Isak’s belly. He knew what everything meant, and he also knew Magnus had no idea what he was talking about. But he nodded. Everything.

“Are you and Jonas still doing stuff?” Magnus blushed from just saying that much. Poor, poor boy.

“No. Never again.” Saying that made Isak’s heart ache. He had to hold his breath for a bit just to keep himself from collapsing again. “I’m pathetic. It’s been two days, and I’m a wreck.”

“It’s been two big days, Is.”

Isak rolled over on his back and covered his red, puffy eyes with his arm. He was so tired.

“What, being locked in, broken out, having a threesome, a break up and a huge fight, and coming out to your mom? That’s a Tuesday.”

Magnus laughed at first. Then he really heard what Isak had said.

“A threesome?”

Isak peeked at him from under his arm. Mags’ eyes were wide again.

“Yeah.”

“With Even and Jonas?”

Isak rolled his eyes.

“No, with my other two boyfriends. Of course with them!”

“What? I mean. What?”

“I don’t know. It just happened. Even gave me a pill to make me sleep and when I woke up we kissed, and then Jonas kissed me too and. It just happened.”

Magnus groaned and wailed at the same time.

“Why can’t something like that ever happen to me?”

“What, you want a threesome with two guys too?”

“No! Well. Maybe a girl and Even? He’s so pretty.”

Isak had to agree. Even was so, so pretty. But Magnus mentioning Even and a girl made Isak remember what had happened earlier today, and his mood dropped again.

“He’s had a girl. Sonja. I found her lingerie in Even’s closet.”

“Are you trying to kill me with jealousy? Lingerie?”

“Yeah, this black thing.” Isak ran his hands over his body to demonstrate the piece of clothing he had discovered. “Barely covers anything, I bet.”

“Fuck!”

Isak closed his eyes. He didn’t have any tears left in him, he had run dry.

“Even’s not gay.”

“Uh. Duh?”

Isak shrugged. He didn’t think it was that obvious. At least before Even had told him, and before he had found out about Sonja.

“I’m just not sure I chose right after all.”

“What, between him and Jonas?”

Isak nodded. He really wasn’t sure anymore.

“I chose Even because I could have him. But he likes girls, not boys.”

“Uhhh. He does?”

“He told me he’s not gay.”

“Hasn’t he also told you he likes you?”

Isak bit his lip. Even had. Many times.

“Yes.”

Magnus shrugged.

“So, he’s bi. Does that matter?”

Isak blinked. It hadn’t even occurred to him. Bisexual? That wasn’t something regular people were, just something some glam rockers did with each other to shock the press.

“Uh. I don’t think it does?” It was pretty much the opposite. A huge burden had been released off Isak’s shoulders. Even was into him after all. Like, really into him.

Maybe Jonas was bi too?

Why was he thinking about Jonas?

“I’m a fucking mess”, Isak sighed. “I have all I wanted. I live with my boyfriend. Why am I not happier?”

“I don’t think happiness works like that.”

Isak curled up with a pillow.

“I don’t know shit about happiness.”

Chapter Text

Isak stood by the phone, listening to the dial tone. Even’s phone was ringing. And ringing. And ringing. Then it stopped. Even hadn’t picked up. Isak bit his lip, painfully aware of Magnus watching from his room, and dialed again. Even still didn’t pick up.

“Maybe he’s taking a shower”, Magnus said when Isak put the phone away and returned to Magnus’ room. Isak nodded, blinking away his tears. Mags was right. Even might have been in the shower, or the bathroom, and if Isak just called again in ten minutes he would pick up.

Isak just had a feeling he wouldn’t. He didn’t know where that feeling stemmed from, but it was strong. He knew Even wasn’t home. Even was out, probably with Sonja. Isak had pissed Even off, and he had left his apartment, knowing Isak didn’t have the key. It was the clearest possible message. Isak wasn’t welcome in Even’s life anymore.

“Hey, Is. It’s okay. Just call him in a little bit, I’m sure he will pick up.”

Isak nodded, barely. He pulled his legs up against his chest and leaned his forehead on his knees. He was exhausted. He just wanted to go home, but he didn’t have one anymore. He didn’t have anything.

Isak called Even again, and just like he had predicted, Even didn’t pick up. Isak’s chest and shoulders sank. It was over. He had chosen wrong.

“You can stay here for the night. We can figure out tomorrow what to do.” Magnus sounded so sad. He was devastated for Isak, and right now Isak couldn’t take it. If someone felt bad for him he would remember he was feeling bad.

“I’m good. Really.” Isak hugged Magnus as reassuringly as he could. Then he picked up his backpack. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Wait.” Magnus opened his drawer and shuffled around for a bit. Then he took out a fresh pack of batteries. “Here. Take these.”

Isak took them in his hand. He almost started crying again. Magnus tried to make him happy, the best he could, and that was, to be honest, more than either Even or Jonas had done lately.

“Thank you.” Isak put the batteries in his backpack. “Really. For everything you’ve done today. You’re a good friend.”

Magnus blushed and shrugged.

“I don’t know about that. I do try.”

Magnus followed Isak all the way to the door. Isak almost kissed him as he left, just out of habit. He was happy he hadn’t gone in for a kiss, Mags would have had a heart attack. Now he just looked super sad as he pulled the door closed after Isak.

Outside Isak looked around. He really had nowhere to go. He needed someplace to stay. He kept thinking about Jonas. He pushed that thought away once again, and decided to go try Even’s place. Even was his boyfriend. At least he hadn’t dumped Isak yet. Maybe he had just overreacted, and when he got to Even’s he would find Even there. It was possible he had remembered Even’s number wrong.

Isak kept telling himself all those little encouraging things all the way to Even’s house. There wasn’t a light on, but the sun had barely set. Isak took a deep breath and entered the building. He walked up the stairs to Even’s door. He pressed his ear against the wood. He didn’t hear anything.

Okay. He could do this. He pushed himself upright, raised his hand and knocked.

He knocked again, louder this time.

He waited for a couple of minutes and knocked one more time. Then he rang the doorbell, even though by now he knew. Even wasn’t home. He had gone out. He was old enough to drink, and to have a good time dancing somewhere, and he was pretty enough to be scoring left and right all night.

Well, then.

Isak needed a place to spend the night. And since he and Even obviously weren’t boyfriends anymore, it didn’t matter where he spent it.

Jonas opened his window and let Isak climb into his room. Isak looked at him with hungry eyes. Jonas was only in his underwear, and looked incredible. He had missed Jonas so fucking much. Even didn’t want him anymore. He was just about to burst into tears again, so he crashed into Jonas like a wave and kissed him. Jonas wrapped his arms around him and pulled him closer. Feeling Jonas get hard against him made Isak breathless.

“I love you”, Isak mumbled. “I missed you.”

Jonas grabbed Isak’s ass with both hands and pulled him even closer. As tight as he possibly could.

“I missed you too.”

They kissed so hard Isak was worried their lips might bruise. He was gasping between the thirsty bites. Jonas pulled Isak with him to the bed and Isak pushed him down on it.

“You were right”, Isak murmured, kissing the side of Jonas’ neck, making Jonas let out a series of very silent fucks. “You make me come harder.”

Jonas moaned softly. He was pushing his hips up against Isak. It was Isak’s turn to mutter fuck all over again, with every grinding thrust. They felt so good. They made Isak feel good instead of heartbroken, and they were exactly what he needed now.

“I chose wrong. Can you forgive me?”

Jonas stopped moving under him. Isak made a little frustrated groan and picked up the slack, pushing his groin against Jonas. Until Jonas took him from the hips and held him still. Isak pulled a bit back, looking at Jonas, short of breath.

“What is it?”

Jonas pushed Isak gently but firmly to his side. He turned too, to face him, up close. His eyes were so kind.

“You tell me, Issy.”

Isak tried to smile to hide his confusion. He slipped his hand between their bodies, to feel Jonas’ hardness.

“I want you.”

Jonas took Isak’s wrist and pulled his hand away.

“No. Spill it.”

Isak could barely look Jonas in the eye. He was so ashamed all of a sudden. He felt like a proper slut. From one bed to the next, just like that.

“Even dumped me.”

“What?”

Isak nodded. He suffocated a sniffle.

“Yeah. After you left we had a huge fight, and then he didn’t talk to me about it and today he dumped me.”

Jonas was absolutely fuming. He restrained himself admirably.

“Did he kick you out?”

Now Isak couldn’t suffocate the sniffle anymore. He nodded. Even had kicked him out. He had nowhere to go.

“Fucking asshole! Tell me, what did he do?”

“Can’t we just fool around?”

“To be honest I’m not too happy about being the rebound guy. Also, you need a shoulder, not a dick. Come on, tell me everything.”

Isak squirmed a bit. He wanted to tell Jonas he wasn’t a rebound, but in a way he was. He was Isak’s second choice. Isak had chosen wrong, but he had chosen Even first, and there was no way around that fact.

He also knew there was no way to convince Jonas to drop it.

Once he got started it was easy to tell Jonas everything. He told about the fight, and how Even had shut him out ever since then, about the lingerie, and how he had gone to Mags today, and finally how Even had left the house. When he was done he drew little circles on Jonas’ chest with his fingertips. Jonas let him. He was thinking.

“So”, Jonas said after a long silence. “He never said the actual words? Like, this is over, or I’m dumping you, or something like that?”

Isak shook his head. Even hadn’t said them. He didn’t need to. To his great confusion Jonas laughed quietly.

“It’s not funny.”

“Oh, Issy. You’re a fucking idiot.”

Isak stared at Jonas. He sure was feeling like an idiot right now.

“What the fuck?”

Jonas sank his fingers into Isak’s hair. At least he had stopped laughing.

“You really are dramatic, aren’t you. You feel so. Big. Much. It’s really attractive, but you need to chill.”

Isak blinked. He had been dumped by both his lovers, and he had run away from home, and come out to his mother, and he needed to chill? Really?

“Even hasn’t dumped you. I’m one hundred percent sure he hasn’t. I have talked with him about you, for hours, and there’s no way he has dumped you after one fight.”

“But..the lingerie?”

“He specifically told you he hates his ex.”

Isak bit his lip. Jonas was right. Even had called her a bitch.

“But why is he so distant?”

Jonas shrugged.

“I have no idea. You will have to ask him.”

“I can’t if he doesn’t let me in.”

“I’m sure there is an explanation for that, too. Believe me, he has not dumped you.”

Isak wanted to believe him. Jonas looked so kind, and Isak loved him so much, in so many ways, and he wanted to trust Jonas. Maybe he could.

“Now. You take your clothes off and come to bed. We can cuddle, but that’s it. Got it?”

Isak blushed. It sounded like he was some sex crazed maniac.

“Yeah. I got it.”

Jonas kissed his forehead.

“Good boy.”

Isak crawled out of bed and undressed. He was embarrassed. He was still semi hard, and that felt rude. Inappropriate. Jonas scooted back and made him room under his blanket. Isak snuggled up against him.

“Can I have a kiss goodnight?”

The corner of Jonas’ lips rode up a bit. His eyes were warm. He leaned in and pecked a kiss on Isak’s lips, wrapping his arm around him.

“Good night, Issy.”

Isak closed his eyes with a little sigh.

“Good night, Jonas.”

Chapter Text

Isak jumped to answer the phone on the first ring. He had done so three times today, confusing the hell out of Jonas’ grandmother, a phone salesman and Jonas’ dad’s colleague. He didn’t care. He had to be the first one to know.

“Hello?” Isak gasped, short of breath from running to the phone so fast and so suddenly.

“The eagle has landed”, Mahdi’s voice said. Isak’s heart jumped into his throat. Even had been spotted. It had been two days. They had taken turns outside the apartment, waiting for Even, who still didn’t answer his phone, to appear. Now he finally had.

“He’s there? He’s home?”

“Yeah. But Is, listen to me for a bit.” Mahdi sounded weird. Like he had difficulties telling Isak something. Isak braced himself.

“Yes?”

“I saw a girl go in there. I got tired hanging out in the street so I went inside to sit in the stairs for a bit, and I saw this chick come in with two plastic bags full of stuff, and Even opened the door to her. She’s in there right now.”

Isak was feeling dizzy. They had watched Even’s apartment vigilantly, and Even had not come back in there. That mean that Even had been home while Isak had been trying to call him like an idiot. And now he had a girl in there.

Isak was a fucking idiot. He couldn’t even speak. Mahdi tried to get something out of him, but nothing happened until Jonas took the phone from him. He talked with Mahdi for a moment, told him to keep watching and call when the girl left, and hung up.

“My room. Go.”

Isak walked to Jonas’ room like a robot. He had been right. That girl must have been Sonja. Even had taken her back after all. Maybe she hadn’t really ever left. And Isak had no place to judge him, because of what he had done with Jonas. In the very bed he now sat down on.

“Issy. Chill.”

“I can’t!”

Jonas squatted down in front of Isak, resting his hands on Isak’s knees.

“You can, and you will. You are forbidden to jump into any conclusions before actually talking to the guy. If he dumps you, then that’s it, but at least then you will know. For sure.”

Isak knew Jonas was right. But he couldn’t handle the thought of hearing the words from Even’s mouth. That they were officially over. They had barely even started, and their start had been so shitty, and all because of him.

“So, as soon as she leaves there, I’m taking you to him and you two will talk. He owes you that much.”

Isak sighed. Even didn’t owe him anything.

“I cheated on him the whole time we were together. With you.”

Jonas pulled away and stepped back. He looked offended, for some reason.

“I didn’t ask for you to fall in love with me.”

“I know!” Isak buried his face in his hands. “I have wished for a million times that I didn’t love you. But I do. And if Even rejects me --”

“He won’t.”

“But if he does.” It dawned on Isak now. Why Jonas was so adamant on Even not wanting to break up with him. Then he would have nobody to push Isak over to. “You still won’t take me. Right?”

“Look, Issy, I’m really sorry.”

“But you won’t.”

Jonas shook his head. He looked shattered. It broke his heart to break Isak’s.

“It’s over. I don’t regret it, but it’s over now.”

Isak felt like crying again. He had felt like that a lot these last few days.

“But. Why?”

Jonas looked at him from the corner of his eye. He sighed.

“I tried to fall in love with you. I really tried. But it didn’t happen, and it’s not going to happen ever, and no matter how much I love you I’ll never be in love with you.”

Isak stared at Jonas. He had tried to fall in love with him? It hadn’t been just them doing stuff together? Or, it had. That was the issue here, but. He had no idea Jonas had been trying.

“Have you considered you might be bisexual?” Isak heard himself ask. He wanted to kick himself for that. How pathetic was he, really?

Jonas rolled his eyes at him.

“I think that’s part of the problem. I’m straight.”

Isak nodded. It really sounded like a problem. Jonas couldn’t fall for him. He just couldn’t. Because he wasn’t built like that.

“Okay.”

“Is it, Issy? Is it really? I think I’m starting to get tired of this conversation with you. Can we have it for the last time now? What should I say to make you really understand?”

Isak sniffled a bit. He hated himself for that, too. He was like a fucking girl, trying to get his way with tears.

“I know this is a bad timing, but it’s what we have now. I just don’t understand why with Even you believe you’re over without even talking with him, and no matter how many times I tell you in your face that it’s not going to happen you still don’t believe me.”

Jonas was right. He was so right. Isak had to take a moment before answering him, just to breathe for a bit.

“You haven’t broken my heart.”

“I have broken it a hundred times over!”

“No. Not for real. Because you still love me.”

Jonas looked at him. He looked so hurt. He looked lost. He looked like Isak was feeling, and that was so fucking appealing.

“I can’t stop loving you, Is. You’re my best friend.”

“I know.” Isak tore his eyes away from Jonas. He had to. “I just. I’m weak. Can you be strong, for me?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean rejecting me. Over and over again, no matter how many times you have to do it. I will try. I will try my very best to not push it, because you’re my best friend too. But if Even dumps me I will be so fucking needy.”

“Yeah. I know.” Jonas ran his hand through his hair. “That’s just so much to ask for. You’re asking me to hurt my best friend.”

“I’m hurting anyway. It will be for the best in the long run.”

“Mm.”

They were quiet for a bit. Not looking at each other, either.

“This sucks”, Jonas sighed. Isak laughed a bit.

“Welcome to my life.”

Jonas turned to look at him.

“I need to know we’ll be alright.”

Isak really wasn’t sure about that. But he knew what he had to say now. What he had to do. He had pushed his feelings for Jonas away before, and this time he would do it better.

“We will. Promise.”

“Can I hug you?”

Isak nodded. Jonas walked to him and he stood up, and Jonas wrapped his arms around him. Tightly. He was hugging Isak so hard, and Isak clung to him for one last time.

“I love you, dude.”

“Love you too.”

The phone rang. Isak peeled himself off Jonas and rushed to answer it. By now nobody else even tried to pick up before him.

“Is she gone?”

“Just left”, Mahdi said. “Get your ass over here.”

“We’ll be right there.”

Isak hung up and hurried to tell Jonas. They had to go, now. Jonas agreed, and soon enough they were outside. Jonas had two skateboards with him.

“I’m going to die”, Isak whined.

“You’re not. Just stand on the thing and hold my hand.”

Isak got on the board. He had tried this before, many times, but only for a little bit. Not across the city. But Jonas was right, this was the quickest way. Isak stood on the board and took Jonas’ hand, and Jonas kicked his own board going and pulled Isak with him.

This method of transport had also the advantage of keeping Isak busy. He was too preoccupied with keeping his balance, so he couldn’t worry about facing Even. If he let him in at all. But he would wait. He would sit outside Even’s door and wait until that door would open.

Chapter Text

When Isak and Jonas got to Even’s house, they met Mahdi and Magnus. Mags hadn’t been informed about the situation, and he had come as agreed to release Mahdi from his watch duty. Jonas stopped their boards and Isak hopped off his.

“Is he still in there?”

“Yeah, he hasn’t come out and nobody else has gone in.”

Isak’s heart was thumping. He was happy he had his friends with him, but it also made this harder. He would crash and burn in front of them if Even didn’t let him inside. Then again, they would pick him up and carry him if that happened.

“I’m so fucking scared”, Isak said quietly. Mags hugged him and Mahdi grabbed his shoulder.

“He’s just a guy.”

Isak looked at Jonas. Jonas was looking away.

“It’s never just a guy.”

“Just go”, Magnus said. “I bet he is alone and miserable and missing you terribly.”

“Could you come with me?” Isak pleaded Magnus. “Please?”

Magnus was squirming a bit. He was looking rather uncomfortable. But Isak really needed him, and it didn’t take much convincing to get Magnus to agree and come with him. They entered Even’s house, while Jonas and Mahdi stayed outside to wait and see what would happen.

“I don’t understand why I’m the third wheel of your great reunion”, Magnus whispered to Isak behind Even’s door. Isak blushed. He wasn’t proud of this, but he needed Mags here.

“You know how he works.”

Magnus glared at him. Isak didn’t know Mags had a glare in his repertoire.

“Excuse me?”

“You know. With your mom and all.”

“I’m going to pretend you didn’t just say that.” Magnus turned to leave. Isak grabbed his arm.

“I need help with him. Please. Just have a look around and then you can go. I need to know how he is doing, and he refuses to tell me.”

Magnus was squirming again, and that was when Isak knew he would give in. Magnus hated saying no to his friends. It was simply against his character.

“Five minutes.”

“That’s all I’m asking for.”

Magnus nodded. Isak nodded too and let go of his friend’s arm. He turned to face Even’s door and knocked on it.

“Shit”, Isak hissed. Magnus looked at him, a huge question mark floating over his head. “I should have rang the bell. Now he knows it’s me.”

“That’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

Isak sighed. He waited. And Even didn’t come to open the door. He knocked again, louder, then leaned against the door to speak through it.

“I know you’re in there. I’m not leaving until I have talked with you.”

No answer. Isak knocked again, looking at Magnus.

“This might take a while.”

“I have time. It’s summer.” Magnus sat down on the stairs to wait. Isak kept knocking. He knocked, knocked and knocked until his knuckles were raw. Then he started knocking with his other hand. He was not going anywhere. Not this time. He would not give up, and this time he wasn’t alone in this.

When Isak couldn’t knock anymore he rang the doorbell. He had no idea how long he had been standing behind Even’s door. It didn’t matter. He would continue standing here until this door opened.

Suddenly he heard something. He jumped, and pressed his ear on the door and listened. Yes. Someone was coming. Even was coming to the door. Isak’s heart was in his throat, trashing around. Please, Even. Please, please, just open the door.

Even did. The lock clicked and the door cracked. Isak grabbed it and yanked it open. He saw Even’s back as he was going back to bed. There was two plastic bags by door. They looked untouched. Isak looked at Magnus, who stood up and stepped inside with him.

The air was so stuffy it was almost hard to breathe. The room was filled with smoke, too, and the ashtray on the bed was so full it had spilled over. Isak’s clothes and things were still in the pile he had emptied his backpack in. Everything was just like it had been when Isak left, but only worse.

Magnus put the bags on the floor. He had carried them from the door. Even curled up on the bed and lit another cigarette. He wasn’t looking at either of them. He looked terrible, and beautiful at the same time. His decay was so sexy. Isak wasn’t proud of that thought. Even was clearly in pain, and he just ogled at him.

“This is Magnus”, Isak said quietly. “You have met before, remember?”

Magnus scoffed.

“Seriously, Is. He’s not brain dead. And I shouldn’t be here.”

Isak turned to look at Magnus, his mouth open. Magnus glared at him again.

“Talk to him. I’ll go tell the guys you’re in. Call me tonight, we’ll be waiting to hear from you.”

With that, Magnus walked out. Isak was alone with Even.

Finally.

Isak had to go open the window. He just cracked it, taking a deep breath through the crack, then he turned to Even. His cigarette was burning into ash between his middle and ring finger, untouched. Isak went to take it from him, and Even let him.

“You’re going to burn the house down”, Isak said quietly. Even didn’t respond. It was like he wasn’t really there. Isak shoved the cigarette in the ashtray and took the thing to the kitchen so he could empty it in the trash. He opened the cupboard under the sink and a swarm of tiny flies flew up in his face.

In the corner of his eye Isak saw Even curl up a bit tighter.

It was really starting to hit home now. How alone Even had been. How alone Isak had left him when he had left here. The thought squeezed on his heart until it ran dry, leaving an aching, dull hole in his chest.

He claimed to have chosen Even, but had he really?

“Can we talk?” Isak asked. He left the ashtray in the sink and stepped out of the kitchen. Even still didn’t look at him. He wasn’t looking at anything, really, just staring into the void.

Okay.

“I tried to call you when I said I would. Were you home when I called?”

No response. Isak closed his eyes for a moment. This was so hard. It felt like he was still in the stairs, knocking on Even’s door in vain.

“We don’t have to talk if you don’t want to. But you need to tell me that.”

Even pulled a pillow over his head. Isak was an idiot, but even he could take a hint like that. He gave up. For now. Instead he went to check the plastic bags, because he was dying to know what some girl would bring Even.

Tomatoes. Bread. Cheese. Some cans of tuna. In the other bag Isak found box after box of meds. He didn’t recognise the names on the packages, but they had been prescribed to Even. Isak unpacked the bags on the kitchen counter. It felt like intruding.

“Can I still live here? I told mom I’m gay, I can’t go home anymore.”

Even peeked from under the pillow. It was the first time he actually looked at Isak in -- Isak didn’t know how long.

“What did she say?”

Isak couldn’t stop himself. The crying just shoved itself out of him, making his shoulders shake with sobs and his cheeks get wet with tears. He had missed Even’s voice so much. He stood there, ankles deep in Even’s dirty laundry and trash, shaking and heaving, unable to speak or stop.

The bed creaked. Even touched his shoulder. Isak practically fell in Even’s arms, clinging to him with everything he had. That was so little. He was so empty, and now the drops he had left were spilling everywhere around him. It wasn’t fair. Even needed him. He was supposed to comfort Even, not the other way round.

But he was weak. He was weak.

Chapter Text

Isak cried until he couldn’t cry anymore. He could barely stand, and the smoke filled air burned in his raw throat. Even smelled like he hadn’t showered in days, but it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that Even was still holding him close. Letting him be here.

“She said that I’m lying. That her son isn’t gay.” Isak’s voice wasn’t much more than a whisper, but Even was so close to him he must have heard him clearly. Isak pressed his fingertips harder into Even’s shoulder blades. “I’m not her son anymore.”

Even tightened his grip on Isak. It felt so good. It gave him hope that Even might forgive him.

“I told her everything you told me to. You were right, she did bring up the cops. But I don’t think she’s going to send anyone after me.” Talking about this made it easier to be here. At least this time Even was listening. He still wasn’t really taking part in the conversation, but at least he was listening.

“I tried to come back here. I really tried.”

Even let go of him. Slowly. His arms just gave in, as did his legs, and he ended up on the floor at Isak’s feet. At least his fall was softened by all the clothes piled up.

“Even, you’re scaring me.” It was like there was a wall between them. No matter how hard Isak kept beating and kicking it, he couldn’t make a single dent on it. The scariest part was how the wall seemed to stand between Even and the world, not just them two.

Isak didn’t know what to do.

He went to open the window properly. He pulled his lungs full of clean air and let it out in a long sigh. He could do this. He could handle crazy. He had done that before. At least Even wouldn’t hurt him. Maybe. It wouldn’t have mattered if he did.

“Okay. We’re taking a shower now.”

Even shook his head.

“I don’t want to”, he mumbled, curling his legs and arms around himself. Isak wanted to shake him, and to kiss him, and to wrap himself around him to protect him. He did none of those things.

“What do you want to do, then?”

Even didn’t say anything. Then he nudged his shoulder a bit. If Isak had blinked at the same time he would have missed it.

“Nothing.”

Nothing. Right. Great. Isak really tried to stay calm. Even looked so fragile, he wanted to handle him delicately, but it was so frustrating. It felt like he was dragging water from a mile away and pouring it into a bucket full of holes, trying to fill it up.

“Can I do something?”

Even moved his shoulder again. Isak looked around and decided to take that as a yes. There was so much to be done in here. He decided to start with the piles of laundry. Because of the cigarette smoke everything had to be washed anyway, so at least he didn’t have to spend time sorting anything.

“Do you have a washing machine in the basement or something?”

Even sniffled and wiped his eyes. Isak could just stare at him. Was Even really crying because Isak asked about the washing machine?

How crazy was he?

“Even?”

Even shook his head and buried his face in his knees and arms. Isak heard him sniffle again, but it was obvious Even didn’t want him to do anything about it. Isak hesitated. A part of him was warning him to not approach Even, that he might lash out and hurt him. He knew better.

“I’m going to hug you now”, Isak said, kneeling down next to Even. Since Even didn’t protest, Isak wrapped his arms around him and pulled him against his chest. Even’s sniffles turned into bawls, and Isak could feel his shirt start to get wet. It didn’t matter.

He felt so lost. Even was hurting so much, and he had no idea what to do to help him. If he could help. Isak closed his eyes, trying to focus on how good Even felt against him. Trying to find hope.

“I can’t sing”, Isak said quietly. “Please don’t be offended.”

Isak started humming. He rocked Even gently with the music he was playing in his head, doing his best to bring it to life. He couldn’t remember the lyrics until he got to the chorus.

Runaway train never going back. Wrong way on a one-way track. Seems like I should be getting somewhere. Somehow I’m neither here or there.

Even wasn’t sobbing anymore. He was listening. Isak kept humming, trying to remember the words. To bring back the feeling he and Even had had when they had listened to this song on the radio, making it Their Song. Isak really wished he could have just played it on his Walkman or something, but he didn’t have the song on a tape.

Isak had no idea how many times over he hummed the song to Even, singing the choruses very badly. But it worked. Even stopped crying and he calmed down. He was still just a ball of sadness in Isak’s arms, but at least he calmed down.

“Mom used to sing to me when I was little”, Isak said, his voice a bit dry by now. “Of course not this song. Usually a gospel song or something. Did your mom sing to you?”

Even nodded. It was a tiny nod, but it was still one, and that made Isak’s heart beat so fast. He had made contact.

“What did she sing?” Isak asked. He was so scared that the thin thread he had between him and Even would snap again. “Did you have a favourite?”

Even did the thing with his shoulder again. Isak’s heart got stuck in his throat, but then Even spoke.

“It’s stupid.”

Isak almost laughed. He was so happy to hear Even speak.

“It’s okay. I love stupid.” He rocked Even gently, letting the motion soothe himself too. Please, God, let Even keep talking.

Even mumbled something Isak couldn’t make out. He tried stroking at the back of Even’s neck with his fingertips.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Could you please say that again? Please?”

Even mumbled again. But this time Isak caught something in there. Just one word, but it was enough. Imagine.

“You mean the John Lennon song?”

Even nodded. Isak saw red blotches appear on the back of Even’s neck. He was blushing.

“You were a deep kid.”

The redness spread. Isak brushed his lips into Even’s hair.

“I need a little help here. I can’t remember the lyrics. How does it start? Imagine -- something?”

“Imagine there’s no heaven”, Even muttered. Isak nodded. He was pretty sure there wasn’t one. At least he wasn’t going there anymore.

Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try.

Isak grimaced. He really wished he knew how this song went.

“And then?”

“No Hell below us, above us only sky.”

Isak sang the lines the best he could. He could manage the next bit by himself, imagine all the people, but then he was lost again.

“Fuck”, Isak mumbled, pressing his forehead against Even’s head. “I’m so sorry I’m fucking this up.”

“Living life at peace.”

They kept going through the entire song. Even told Isak how the lyrics went, and Isak tried to sing them. By the end of the song Even had unfolded, leaning against Isak’s chest, resting his head on Isak’s shoulder.

Chapter Text

Isak was so scared. He was worried sick that Even would shut down again, snapping closed like a clam at the slightest disturbance. Even had opened up a bit, but he still hadn’t relaxed. Isak could feel how tense he was, his whole body pulled tight like a string about to snap. His tension was spreading into Isak. Isak’s body was preparing for battle. For a beating. He didn’t want it to. There was no need.

He would fuck up. He would do or say something wrong and make Even disappear. The sooner he came to terms with it, the better. He always fucked up, that was what he did.

“You’re shaking”, Even whispered, making Isak jump a bit.

“I am?” Isak screeched. His voice was all over the place. It sounded strange to himself too.

“Yes.” Even moved his hand to Isak’s chest, to his heart. “Right here.”

The weight of Even’s hand made Isak’s chest pull in. He could feel his own heart beating against Even’s palm. It was beating so hard.

“I’m scared”, Isak confessed.

Even’s hand dropped on Isak’s lap.It left Isak’s chest feeling hollow. He took the hand carefully, certain that it would be taken away from him any second. But it wasn’t. Even let Isak take it. He let Isak fold out his arm, guiding his body with it. Isak opened Even up like an envelope. First his arms. Then he laid Even down on the floor. It was soft enough with all the clothes. Isak remembered, in a flash he didn’t ask for, what had happened on such a pile earlier, when Even still let Isak close to him. He pushed that thought away.

Even looked at him with his blue, blue eyes. They were so. Empty. Vacant. They were observing the surroundings, but they didn’t take any interest in them. It hurt the most. To see Even look at him like that. Like he didn’t matter at all. Like he wasn’t there.

Isak moved Even’s legs slowly. When he was done Even was lying on the floor like a starfish, his chest, arms and legs open. There was so much of him. Even’s body spread out far and wide. Isak shifted his position so he stood on his knees. He reached down, by Even’s hip, and brushed at it with the side of his index finger. He ran that finger along Even’s body, drawing his outer lines slowly.

You are here, Even.

Please stay here.

Isak kept drawing all the way around. Down Even’s leg, then up along it again, down the other one. Up, up, past the ribs, under the armpit and the long draw of the arm. Between each finger. Isak drew every inch of Even. He was careful to not miss a bit. He needed a whole picture, a seamless vessel, to keep Even from leaking away.

“This is you”, Isak whispered when he made it the whole way around. “And I love it.”

Even closed his eyes. There was a tiny wrinkle between his eyebrows. His lips quivered, then he wiped them with an angry swipe.

“I can’t”, Even said. Isak pulled his hand back. He was almost too scared to ask.

“You can’t what?” Please don’t say live. Please God, let him say something else. Anything else.

“I can’t be your boyfriend. I can’t be anyone’s boyfriend.”

God works in mysterious ways.

Isak swallowed, hard.

“I really can’t blame you for not wanting to be my boyfriend. I’m a cheater.”

“No”, Even said, turning his face to the side. “I don’t care about that.”

It was hard to believe. No, it was impossible to believe. Of course Even cared about that. He had lost the last of his spark when he had lost the battle to Jonas.

“You should. It’s not right. I shouldn’t have treated you like that.”

Even sighed. It was the saddest sound in the world.

“You don’t understand. This isn’t about you, at all.”

That was a novel idea, really. Everything had been about Isak for so long.

“You’re right. I don’t understand. Could you please help me to?”

Even opened his eyes and looked at the ceiling.

“I don’t know how to make it more clear. I can’t be a boyfriend. I can’t love. I don’t have anything inside me to give to anyone, except black pus.”

Isak nodded. Okay. It was the crazy talking now. It wasn’t Even. Even was somewhere in there, held prisoner by his illness, and Isak would help him break free.

“Can I. Is it okay if I. I want to love you.”

“You’re wasting your time.” Even’s eyes were filling with tears. Isak could see how painful this conversation was to Even. He was facing his shortcomings. Admitting he wasn’t enough. That was the worst feeling Isak knew.

After this one.

“It’s summer”, Isak said quietly. “I have time. And I’m going to be here anyway. I live here.”

Even’s fingers curled up. He was starting to pull himself in again. Imploding. Isak took his hand just to stop that motion, but it was like trying to catch light in your hands. Even’s body remained open but his expression was shutting down. His energy was fading.

“You can stay. I know you don’t have anywhere to go, and it’s my fault.”

“No!” Isak wanted to slap Even. He wanted to grab his hand tighter and bend it, twist it back so hard that his joints were begging for mercy. Just to get some life in him. “You have done nothing wrong! I have wronged you!”

Isak heard how hard and loud his voice was getting. He heard the sharp edge, and he recognised it. Like mother, like son. He let go of Even’s hand, frightened at how hard he was squeezing it.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened.”

“I got what was coming.” Even turned his eyes to Isak. The hollow blue was like the sky above a hot summer day. Endless. “Do you want to hurt me?”

“No! Of course not!” Isak tasted salt on his lips. He was crying, but too busy to have noticed it. Too worried and scared. He wanted to say he would never hurt Even, but his hand was still sore from squeezing so hard.

Even nodded, slowly. Isak kept staring into the blue abyss.

“I believe you. And I don’t blame you.”

Isak shouldn’t have been here. Not now. Not like this, when they both were this raw and rugged. Their edges kept catching.

“I don’t know what to do”, Isak whispered. “I want to help you but I don’t know how.”

Now Even turned his eyes away. His face followed. He turned away from Isak, and seeing that happen made Isak want to smash his fist through glass.

“I can’t be helped. But it’s okay.”

“It’s not okay! How could it be okay?”

“I’m tired”, Even sighed. “Can we talk about this later?”

Isak sniffled. But he nodded. He rubbed his nose with his wrist and nodded again. Okay. They could talk about this later. He had time. It was summer.

“Should I help you get in the bed?”

“I’m not brain dead”, Even said and pushed himself up. He took a couple of steps, but not towards the bed.

“Where are you going?” Isak squeaked. Even waved his arm in the air.

“Bathroom.”

Isak watched Even drag himself into the bathroom. He forced himself up on his feet and looked around. This apartment was so tiny. They had no way to get away from each other. Except by putting a door between them.

Even closed the bathroom door.

Chapter Text

The water was running. It took Isak a moment to understand what that meant. Even was taking a shower. Thank God. He was smelling quite bad. It was summer, and not showering was a bad move.

Isak sniffed his own armpits. He could use a shower as well. But that could wait. While Even was in there Isak peeked in the closet to see if there were any fresh sheets. There were. Isak pulled the old ones out of the bed and started to gather the clothes from the floor on it. He would make a bundle with it all and haul it wherever he could find a washing machine.

As Isak pulled a pair of jeans from under the bed something else came with them. An empty bottle rolled on the floor to his feet. It was a wine bottle. It was open, and there were still a few drops inside. Isak stared at it, frozen. He hadn’t been scared to look under the bed since he was six years old, but he was now.

There were five more bottles under there. There wasn’t really any dust on any of them. Isak didn’t know what to do with them, so he just arranged them in a row on the kitchen counter next to the boxes of medicine. That looked like an accusation. An exclamation mark. Isak shoved the bottles into the sink instead.

He remembered something. Even had said he isn’t a junkie, but when you were feeling this bad? Wouldn’t you seek out any relief? Isak crawled over the bed to the night stand and opened the drawer. Condoms. Lotion. And a little plastic bag filled with white powder.

“Thank you Jesus”, Isak whispered. He took the bag and shoved it in his back pocket. He had to get it away from Even, lest he be tempted.

Isak managed to clear the floor from clothes. It was so much easier to move around now. The floor was dirty and in desperate need of a sweeping, but at least it was there now. Isak had been avoiding looking at the dressing table, because his name and number were still drawn on the mirror, but now he turned to it. Even had said the spare key was somewhere in there. Isak was pretty confident that Even hadn’t bothered finding and hiding it.

The table was littered with things. Half empty, dried up bottles of black and red nail polish. Eyeliner pencils. Bracelets, sunglasses, a pearl necklace. One fishnet glove. Two corks, their tips stained with red. A ring, a pack of cigarettes, four lighters. And a key. Isak took it and slipped it in his pocket. It felt hot against his thigh. Now Even couldn’t keep him out anymore.

Isak took the pack of cigarettes and shook out one. He put it between his lips. He didn’t really smoke, but right now what was left of his nerves really needed a fix of something. Nicotine would do. Isak took a lighter from the dressing table. The third one actually worked.

The smoke made Isak cough and his eyes water. But it also warmed him up from the inside. It calmed him. He walked to the window and looked out at the summer. The people on the streets looked so happy. Not a care in the world. Isak was careful to not look at the sky. It reminded him of Even’s eyes.

Speaking of Even, how long had he been in that shower? 

Isak threw the cigarette out on the street and walked to the bathroom door. He hesitated to knock on it. But he did.

“Even? Are you okay in there?”

Isak really tried to remember had he seen a razor blade in the bathroom when he had been in there. He couldn’t. He shook his head to remove the images of blood all over the bathroom walls. He knocked again.

“It’s been over half an hour.”

The water stopped running. Isak’s heart was pounding in his ears. He both did and didn’t want to see Even now. His heart longed for him, but his soul feared the blue abyss. If he tripped and fell into that he would keep falling forever.

The door opened. Even stood there, right in front of Isak. He was wet. His hair was clinging to his face and dripping water. He was beautiful.

“I like long showers.”

Isak swallowed. He licked his lips.

“I could use one too”, he said quietly. He looked at Even from under his brow, a bit shy all of a sudden. He was asking for something he had no right to. Something he didn’t know if he really wanted.

Even looked at him. He raised his hand on Isak’s cheek. It was warm, and wet. It felt alive. Isak closed his eyes and rubbed his face against it. He turned his head so Even’s thumb brushed over his lips.

“Please?”

Even pulled his hand away.

“It’s vacant now. You can use the bathrobe as a towel.” Even grabbed the towel from a hook on the inside of the door and wrapped it around his waist. Isak stepped aside so Even could walk past him.

“I’m sorry”, Isak whispered, grabbing his elbow. He was feeling so stupid.

“Don’t be”, Even said. Isak heard him fall on the bed. He had forgotten to put the new sheets in place. “It’s not you. It’s me.”

Isak opened his eyes. He really wanted to believe Even, but it was hard.

It must have been harder for Even.

“I found your wine bottles”, Isak said into the bathroom. It was easier to talk at an empty room than at Even. It felt less like blaming Even of something. “Do you have any full ones?”

Even didn’t say anything. Isak had no choice but to come and take a look at him. He was on the bed, the towel still around his hips, on the bare mattress, his eyes closed.

“Even?”

“Mmh.” Even shifted a bit. “I’m sorry, I’m too tired to think.”

Isak looked into the kitchen. The boxes were staring at him from the counter.

“Do those boxes have anything that could help you with that?”

“I just need to rest.”

Isak nodded. If Even didn’t want to talk, there wasn’t much he could do. He couldn’t just grab some random pills and shove them down Even’s throat.

“I’ll go take that shower now. I’ll try to be quiet in case you fall asleep.”

“Mmh.” Even was half asleep already. Maybe he had taken something in the bathroom?

Isak checked the mirror cabinet. No pills. No baggies of powder. No syringes. Just a toothbrush and some toothpaste, half a bottle of mouth water, a packet of dental floss. The other side had a box of q-tips and a bag of cotton balls. Everything looked so ordinary. Just like normal life. Isak had these same things in the bathroom at home.

Except it wasn’t home anymore. And it hadn’t been normal life. Now that he wasn’t living it anymore, he could think that thought through. His life wasn’t normal. His parents weren’t normal.

Isak closed the cabinet doors and undressed quickly. He stepped into the shower and let the warm water wash over his body. Isak tried let the water clear his mind, too, but Even kept pushing his way into his thoughts. Isak was so ashamed to notice he was wishing Even would fall asleep while he was in there, just so he could get a break from all this. He claimed to love Even, but couldn’t stand his company.

At least crying in the shower meant nobody could see your tears.

Chapter Text

Even had fallen asleep. Isak moved as quietly as he could. He picked up his jeans and pressed them against his face. They smelled like cigarettes, but not too bad. He decided to wear them, and a T-shirt he found in Even’s closet. It was just a plain black one, and it fit Isak alright. They were both tall guys.

After getting dressed Isak paused to look at Even. Usually people looked peaceful when they were asleep. Even didn’t. He looked upset. It wasn’t a look of a nightmare, but a baseline. Even was in a constant state of distress. Isak recognised his restless sleep, and knew Even wouldn’t wake up refreshed.

Isak took the phone and carried it with him to the bathroom. The cord didn’t quite reach, but Isak laid the phone down as close to the door as he could and dialled Magnus’ number. When he sat back with the phone on his ear he could close the door almost all the way through. That would have to do.

“Hello?”

Isak blinked. Had he dialled the wrong number?

“It’s me.”

“I hoped it would”, Jonas said. His voice had a softness Isak didn’t want to hear right now. He couldn’t handle it. “How are you doing?”

“I’m okay. Are you at Mags? Is he there?”

“Yeah.”

“I want to speak to him. Please. It’s important.”

“You don’t sound okay to me.”

Isak leaned his head to the door frame.

“Jonas. Please.” They had not talked about so many of his issues, for so many times. Couldn’t they do it again? Just this once?

Jonas was quiet, thinking. Isak heard a voice from the background.

“Is it Isak? Give that to me.”

Someone took the phone from Jonas. By force, maybe.

“Is? It’s me.”

“Hi Mags.” Isak’s shoulders relaxed. “Can you go somewhere private?”

“Sure, sure, hang on. Just a moment.”

Isak listened to the rustle and shuffling until it became quiet.

“Okay, I’m alone now. What is it?”

Isak didn’t know where to start. He had so much to tell. He decided to begin with the worst part, to get it over with.

“Even can’t be my boyfriend. He told me he can’t be anyone’s boyfriend and I -- I think I believe him.”

“What? Is, tell me what happened. Please.”

Isak did. He told about his conversation with Even, and what he had found from under the bed, and how endless and bottomless the blue had become. How catatonic Even had become. His bubbly, lovely Even, reduced into a pale shadow.

“I don’t know what I can do”, Isak whispered. His fingertip was white and numb. He had wrapped the cord around his finger so tightly.

“Let him rest”, Magnus said. He sounded calm and reassuring. “He needs it now. His brain has been on hyperdrive for a long time, and now it’s exhausted.”

“There must be something”, Isak pleaded. “Something I can do for him. Please, tell me.”

“You can’t make this happen any faster, Is. I know it’s hard, I know it sucks, but that’s the way it is. He needs time. He needs rest. All you can do is carry your own pain so he doesn’t have to.” Magnus paused. Then he chuckled a bit. “Fuck, I’m sorry. You don’t need to carry it alone. You have us. You have me.”

Isak nodded. It was pointless in the phone.

“I want to help him.”

“I mean it, Is. The best way to help him is to let him rest. Make sure he eats something every day, too. Try to get him to sleep at night, as much as possible. A normal rhythm helps.”

Isak remembered the bag of food. That made him remember the meds.

“He has pills. I don’t know which he should take and he won’t tell me.”

Magnus was quiet for a moment.

“You need to let him choose. It’s not your body, it’s his. I know it’s hard. It’s so hard to watch someone you love be in so much pain. You said you wanted to do something for him. Do that. Watch him be in pain. See his pain. See him, and let him be, and be there when he chooses to approach you.”

Isak sniffled. Magnus was asking for so much. He really wished Jonas hadn’t picked up the phone and woken up his longing. He missed Jonas. He missed his best friend, and he missed their affair, and the way Jonas wanted him, and that made him a terrible person. He needed to be a good person now. For Even.

“Okay.”

“You can do this, Is. You’re the strongest person I’ve ever met.”

“What if I can’t?” Isak was barely making any sound. It got caught in his throat. “What if I run back to Jonas?”

Magnus sighed.

“Fuck, that thought is so weird. I had no idea -- well. If you can’t, then you won’t. It’s as simple as that.”

“I can’t abandon Even.”

“Like I said.” Mags was almost smiling now. “If you can’t, then you won’t. And Is? When he tells you it’s him, not you. Believe him. I know it’s hard, but you must believe him.”

Magnus made Isak swear he would at least try to believe Even before they ended the call. Isak was feeling marginally better now. But only marginally. He was also feeling quite hungry, and he assumed it had been a while since Even had eaten, too. So he promised Mags he would fix them something to eat as soon as he got off the phone.

“Hey, what are you --”

“Issy.”

Isak hung up the moment he heard Jonas’ voice. He couldn’t. Not now. So he didn’t. Instead he got up on his feet and took the phone back to its place. He glanced at Even. He hadn’t moved at all. He was still asleep.

Isak let him rest.

In the kitchen Isak first packed the meds into a bag. Even had seen them, he was certain of it. There was no need to keep them on display anymore. Even would take them if he wanted to, and that was all Isak could wish for. He took the other bag and pulled out the bread, cheese and tomatoes. Some variation to cheese toasties.

“I hope you like tomatoes”, Isak said, placing the plate on the bed. Even shifted, with a sigh.

“I fucking love tomatoes.”

Of course. She must have known Even well.

“Eat up while they’re hot. Cold cheese toasties are shit.”

Isak sat down next to Even. Even didn’t move. He did sniff at his meal, though. And lick his lips.

“What is it?” Isak asked, his mouth full of toast, cheese and tomato. It tasted wonderful. “I bet you’re really hungry.”

“Not really”, Even mumbled. Isak really wanted to devour his food, but he put his toastie down.

“Please, Even. You love cheese toasties, and you love tomatoes. You need to eat.”

Even looked at his plate. He didn’t seem enthusiastic.

“Three bites, okay? Take three bites and then you can stop eating if you want to. Can you do that for me?”

Even sighed. But he was still looking at the food. He was interested in it. Praised be.

“Two bites?” Isak suggested. Even looked absolutely devastated. Isak grabbed the corner of his sandwich and broke a little piece off. He brought it to Even’s lips. “One bite.”

Even closed his eyes. But he opened his mouth. Isak pushed the piece of toast into his mouth and Even chewed it. He swallowed.

“Mm. Yum.”

Isak almost laughed. This felt like taming a wild animal. Whatever was inside Even now, keeping him hostage, it was indeed a beast. Isak broke another piece.

“Want more?”

Even opened his mouth again.

Chapter Text

Today marked the day when Isak had visited a library for the most times during one summer in his entire life. Twice. But Even needed to be fed, and Isak had grown tired of cheese toasties, with or without tomatoes. He couldn’t cook to save his life. But to save Even’s, he would have to learn.

He had checked the cooking books at the adults section at first, but he had barely recognised half the words. After a short brainstorming it had occurred to him that children were shit at everything, including cooking, and maybe someone had written them books on how to make food. He had raided the children’s section and here he now was, hiding in the most secluded table in the whole library, copying directions to make pasta bolognese into a notebook.

The kids in the pictures looked so fucking happy. Isak hated the little bastards for that. But he had to admit this cooking thing seemed doable with these instructions. Isak copied everything carefully. He didn’t want to screw up dinner that he would have to fight to make Even eat to begin with.

Magnus had been right. It had been hard. So fucking hard. But Isak had prevailed. He had watched Even suffer, and he had let him rest. He had kept him fed, and washed so much laundry he never wanted to see a washing machine in his life again, and he had watched Even sleep night after night. He wasn’t getting much sleep himself, but it wasn’t too bad yet.

Isak leaned his head in his hand. His pencil was getting blunt, and he had to make his handwriting bigger to keep it legible. He wrote down every step, all the way to the Serve with a smile. Isak closed the book, glaring at the happy kids on the cover. Lucky little shits.

He shoved the notebook in his backpack and wandered back to the adults section. There was a book he wanted to take a look at, in the psychiatry department. He had seen it before, but he needed to see it again now that he knew more about all this. Maybe the book would tell him what pills Even should be taking now. Maybe it would tell him what he could do.

Isak couldn’t find the book. It wasn’t where he had last seen it. There was a gap in the line of books, and Isak hissed a curse under his breath. It felt weird to say fuck in a library. Someone had checked the book out. It didn’t matter. Isak could come back later. If this cooking thing worked out he would need more recipes soon enough.

It smelled like rain outside. The sky was cloudy but the streets were still dry. That was about to change soon. Isak readjusted the straps of his backpack and hurried his steps. He had to go to the store before going home, and he didn’t want to get wet.

Isak heard the wheels behind him, but when he recognised them it was too late. Jonas appeared in front of him and kicked his board up.

“Issy.”

Oh fuck, no. Isak had been avoiding Jonas for a reason. The same reason that made his heart beat faster at the sight of him. Jonas looked so. Alive. Compared to Even, the pale ghost in the bed, Jonas was so vibrant and full of colour. And when he looked at Isak, Isak didn’t see an empty abyss but someone who really saw him.

“No, Jonas.”

Isak tried to step past him, but Jonas grabbed his arm.

“You look like shit.”

Isak stopped, closing his eyes.

“Jonas, please. I’m busy.”

“With what? Can I help?”

The smell of rain got stronger. Isak could smell it over the Axe Africa. Isak opened his eyes.

“Can you cook?”

Jonas laughed, surprised.

“Not really. I’ve helped mom out a couple of times.”

That was a couple of times more than Isak had.

God, he missed Jonas so much. His voice. His laughter. His company.

“I need to go to the store. You can come too if you want to.”

“Fuck yes”, Jonas stated. “Take me to the supermarket.”

I want to sleep with common people like you

By the time they entered the store Isak was laughing. It felt so good to be with Jonas. He was still Isak’s best friend. He still understood Isak from half a word, or without any words. Isak didn’t have to struggle one bit, and he liked that feeling. It had been days since he had a moment with no struggle.

“What are we getting?” Jonas asked. Isak took his notebook from the backpack and flipped it open at the list of ingredients.

“All this stuff. Onions, carrots, tomatoes, bouillon cubes, ground beef and pasta.” Isak assumed Even had salt in the kitchen. If not, they’d do without.

“Sounds delicious. Let’s go.” Jonas grabbed a cart and headed for the fresh produce. They spent a good five minutes comparing onions to find one that could be called medium sized and then another five arguing over what one carrot actually meant. They were all different sized, and the difference was quite big. They finally decided that a medium sized would be fine here, as well. At least the tomatoes were all pretty much the same, so picking up five of them was easy.

Next they were in trouble at the meat isle. The recipe called for 300 grams of ground beef, but all they could find were 400 gram packets. Isak held one with both hands just to keep his hands from shaking. This was getting too much. All he wanted was to feed Even, and it was hard enough to begin with, and now he had to deal with Jonas and all this other bullshit as well.

Jonas touched his arm.

“Issy?”

“He won’t eat”, Isak said quietly. “All he wants to do is sleep. He’s like a zombie, almost all the time.”

Jonas pulled his hand back.

“That’s fucked up.”

Isak made a dark little chuckle.

“You could say that, yeah.” He stared at the packet in his hands. Would a hundred extra grams ruin his sauce? Could he just estimate how much 300 grams was, taking out about a quarter, and still make it work? “I just don’t want to fuck this meal up, too.”

Jonas checked the notebook.

“It seems simple enough. I’m sure you will ace it.”

“But what if I won’t?” Isak looked up at Jonas. Big mistake. His eyes were caught by Jonas’ lips. Their smile was wavering, but it was a smile. “Jonas..”

Jonas turned away, quickly, with a huge grin.

“Ha! I know!” Jonas dashed off, and Isak followed him. When he caught up Jonas threw two microwave pizzas in the basket. “Here. A plan B.”

Isak smiled a little. He hadn’t even thought about a plan B. Maybe he was a bit dramatic, like Jonas had said.

“Thank you. That’ll work. What’s left on the list?”

“Bouillon cubes and pasta. What the fuck are bouillon cubes?”

Isak had no idea. But he was confident they could find some together. He was right. They were lucky enough to find one small box that read bouillon instead of stock.

“Pretentious fucks!” Jonas laughed. “Okay, which kind? Not fish, I bet. Chicken?”

Isak checked. His notes didn’t say.

“Well. We have beef. Maybe some more beef would be in order?”

“Beef on beef. Sounds manly. I like it.”

Isak stopped in front of the pasta selection. Of course there was a variety of those, too. Jonas grabbed a packet and fiddled with it.

“Eva got a bag of dick shaped pasta for her birthday.”

Isak chortled.

“What the fuck? Happy birthday, eat a bag of dicks?”

Jonas doubled over, howling in laughter. He had to grab the edge of the shelf to keep himself upright.

“Ohhhh that’s fucking gold, dude! I can’t wait to see her face when I tell her that.”

Isak giggled. That would have been a sight indeed. Then he got serious again.

“By the way, how is Eva? Are you two still together?”

Jonas grimaced.

“Well. Depends on what you mean by being together.”

Isak’s heart was beating faster. Because it was an idiot.

“Oh? Did something happen?”

Jonas shrugged.

“Not really. We just don’t hang out all that much anymore. It’s not officially over, but I don’t know.”

Isak felt like a dick. Jonas was his best friend, and he was failing being the same for Jonas.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, it’s cool. We’ve just grown apart. It’s not a big deal. It happens.”

Something fluttered inside Isak. It was the pathetic part of him that was still holding on to a fragment of hope. It felt a lot like how he felt whenever he managed to make contact with Even through his smog of despair.

Jonas must have seen it on his face. Because he tossed a box of spaghetti in the basket and headed for the registers.

“Come along now. You have a man to feed, and you still need to cook all this.”

Isak’s legs were rooted to the floor. Leaving the store would mean leaving Jonas’ company, because he had a man to feed.

“I miss you”, Isak whispered. Jonas looked over his shoulder, still smiling his normal, friendly smile.

“Sorry, did you say something?”

Isak swallowed. He forced himself to start walking.

“No”, he said. “Nothing.”

Chapter Text

Isak sniffed at his shirt before he pushed the key to the lock. He had hugged Jonas before they had parted ways, way too long, and he was worried Even could smell the Axe Africa on him. That he would remember it was Jonas’ scent. But he didn’t smell anything out of the ordinary, and he had been standing here for ages already. Even was hungry.

“Hey”, Isak said, as he entered. “I hope you’re hungry.”

Even looked at him from the bed.

“Is that a joke?”

Isak tried to smile. He went to open the window. The rain was just about to start again. There had been a little shower while he and Jonas had been in the store, and everything smelled wonderful. Isak loved the smell of rain.

“It is if you think it’s funny.”

“Is it raining?”

“Not right now.” Isak stepped into the kitchen and unpacked the plastic bag he had with him. He had shoved his notebook in there as well. He flipped it open to the page he had written the recipe on. He tried to remember the pictures in the book. There was a trick to chopping an onion.

“Do you have a cutting board?”

“In the cupboard above the sink.”

Isak opened the door. There it was, good. And with it, a cooking knife. Isak took them both and split the onion in half. He almost cut his finger while he was at it, the onion was a slippery fucker.

“Careful”, Even said. Isak looked at him. Even was actually watching him, showing interest in something. And that something was Isak cooking.

“I’m trying. I’ve never done this before.”

Even raised his brow. He looked like himself, for a moment. He was so pretty.

“Really? You’ve never chopped an onion?”

“No. I’ve never cooked anything but the toasties. But we need to eat proper food. I’m starving, no matter how much toast I eat.”

Even blushed and lowered his eyes. Isak licked his lips quickly.

“It’s okay. I think I’ve got this. I have a recipe. And in case it fails, I have pizza.”

“I’m sure you won’t fail. You’re like that.”

“Like what?”

“Like you.”

It was Isak’s turn to blush. He brushed his hair behind his ear and started peeling the onion.

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“Not many things do.” Even rolled on his back and reached to the floor. He fished out a pack of cigarettes and shook it. It was empty. “Are we out of cigarettes?”

Isak shrugged.

“I don’t know.”

Even dragged himself out of bed. He looked around, but all he could find were empty packs. He crushed one of them into a ball in his fist.

“We’re out. Could you please go get some?”

Isak licked his lips slowly. Even hadn’t stepped outside in a week.

“I can’t. I’m seventeen.”

Isak had chopped the onion. Now he was peeling the carrot. He did it slowly and carefully, this knife was really sharp. He saw from the corner of his eye that Even walked to the window. He took a quick look. Even was clenching the window pane.

“The corner shop is still open”, Isak said quietly.

Even stepped back, away from the window.

“I can’t.”

The carrot was peeled. Isak cut it into thin slices. Slowly.

“I need you to try, too”, Isak said.

“What?”

“I need you to try. I need hope.”

It was because of Jonas. Isak had seen Jonas today and Jonas had been so alive, he had been so Jonas, and Isak missed him. He missed normal.

Even didn’t say anything. Isak put the knife down and turned to face him.

“I can come with you. There’s nothing on the stove yet.”

“No you can’t. You’re seventeen.”

Isak stepped closer to Even. He took Even’s hand in his, and lowered his head on Even’s shoulder.

“I can walk you to the door. And when you come out I’ll be there waiting for you.”

Even pressed his cheek against Isak’s head.

“Promise?”

Isak nodded.

“Promise.”

While Isak was standing outside the shop waiting for Even, the sky was torn apart. The rain wasn’t really rain anymore, it was more like someone pouring water from a huge bucket. Isak was absolutely drenched within moments. He was wet, his clothes were wet, his underwear was wet. He didn’t mind. It felt so absurd and so cleansing at the same time. Isak closed his eyes and turned his face up to meet the rain.

“Hey!”

Even had returned. Isak opened his eyes. Even was dripping water as well. He must have stood there for a while. Isak just hadn’t heard him come from the violent hiss of the rain.

“Did you get them?”

“Yes!” Even was raising his voice, though he was standing close to Isak. Very close, now that Isak thought of it.

“Why are we still standing here then?”

Even grinned. He slipped his hand behind Isak’s neck and pulled him into a kiss.

His lips tasted like rain. Isak kissed him back, without even thinking about it, and when he finally thought about it he pulled himself away quickly.

“Stop! Someone might see us!”

Even looked around. The street was empty. Everyone had taken cover from the rain, except them.

“Like who?”

Isak blushed. He whacked Even in the chest with his fist. Not hard, not to hurt, but to make a point.

“From the windows, idiot!”

Even looked up. There was no way to see if anyone was at the windows, the rain was beating on the glass so hard.

“So?”

Isak shook his head. He wanted to go, now.

“I’m getting cold. Can we go home?”

They hurried inside. They were dripping water in the stairs. Isak took his shoes off, and it was almost like he could have poured a cup or two of water out of them. There was a small puddle at Even’s feet.

Isak stood up. Even was looking at him, his hair clinging to his face, his lips a bit apart. He looked surprised to see Isak standing there. Surprised and pleased. Something flickered inside Isak’s belly. It was hope.

“You know”, Isak whispered, “maybe we should get out of these wet clothes?”

Even closed his mouth. But he smiled a little bit, too.

“You think?”

Isak nodded. He slipped his fingertips under the hem of Even’s shirt. Even’s skin felt so warm. It felt so good.

“Yeah. I think.”

The flickering was slowly turning into warmth, kindled by Even’s closeness. When Even leaned in and kissed him, it turned into a raging fire. It was so hot Isak wouldn’t have been surprised if their clothes had dried up just like that. But they didn’t. They were dripping water as Isak pushed his body against Even’s.

Isak’s shirt made a wet smack when it hit the floor. Isak returned the favour and peeled Even’s shirt off. He pressed his lips on Even’s bare chest immediately after he got it out in the open. Even’s skin tasted wonderful. Isak had missed it so much.

He almost told Even he loved him. But he wasn’t allowed to. Even couldn’t handle it. He could handle this, thank God. He couldn’t take Isak’s love, but he could take his lust. Isak pushed Even inside, to the bed. Before they fell on it they took off their wet jeans. Isak took a peek, and Even’s wet underwear stuck on his skin and hid absolutely nothing. The sight made him shudder and sigh.

In the bed Isak pressed his body tightly against Even. He drank hope from Even’s lips, and for the first time in ages his thirst was quenched.

Chapter Text

The window was still open. It was raining on the floor, and the sound of the downpour filled the room. It was so loud it almost drowned out the sounds of their kisses, the soft sighs, the silent moans. It was the perfect background music for this scene, in its soft but relentless drumming. Just like their heartbeats.

Isak could almost feel Even’s heartbeat on the side of his neck, against his lips. His teeth grazed on the thin skin that tasted like rain. He was so hungry for this, ravenous, famished. He was feeling a bit guilty about it. How much he had missed this. Even was hanging on to dear life with barely anything, and all Isak could think about was his body.

But he loved Even. Love was about connection. What was this if not a connection, of a deep level? Isak’s lips left Even’s neck to find his mouth again. His lovely, full lips, the most kissable lips in the universe.

“I want you”, Isak whispered. “Please.”

Even wrapped his arms around him and flipped them over. Isak ended up under him, with a quiet oh. His heart was pounding. His dick was throbbing inside his wet underwear. He remembered the condoms in the drawer and his cheeks flushed red. Now wasn’t the time. Even wasn’t ready for it. Not yet.

Even was watching him keenly. Isak looked up at him. A drop of water fell from Even’s hair on his cheek. Isak’s lips formed the plead again. I want you. Please. Please, Even. My love.

Even kissed him. Isak made an excited little whimper on his lips and pushed his body upward to meet Even. He was so full of hope. Even was still in there.

Isak could taste him.

As Isak opened his mouth Even’s tongue slipped in. Isak was shaking against him, trying desperately to get closer. It was odd. He wasn’t searching for friction or pressure on his dick, nor release. He was searching for Even.

A light flashed. Soon after it came the rumble. There was a thunderstorm outside. Isak opened his eyes and looked at Even. The next lightning made his skin look like ivory. Even smiled at him and got up on his hand and knees.

“Come on”, Even said, taking Isak’s hand. He pulled Isak up with him, out of the bed, and to the open window. Their feet splashed in the shallow layer of water on the floor. A lightning struck again, making Isak jump, and the sky splitting rumble rolled over them immediately after. The storm had come from nowhere, right above them.

“I love thunder”, Even laughed. He pulled Isak’s back against his chest and stood with him by the window, watching the show nature was putting on for them. That’s what it felt like. It was all for them. They were alone in the world, the only people left, in the eye of the storm. Isak was shivering against Even. The raindrops reached his skin through the window. Their feathery touches felt electrifying. They were like sparks flying.

Even’s fingers slid between the sparkling, down Isak’s chest and stomach. His hard-on pressed against Isak’s ass, his lips on Isak’s shoulder. Isak was panting already. He was melting into a puddle, fast. The lightning kept flashing in bright white crackles across the black clouds. It had got almost dark all of a sudden.

Even timed his touches with the thunder. A flick over Isak’s nipple with the blinding light, Isak’s moan mixing into the rumble in the sky. A nibble on Isak’s pulse line, a light brush over his wet hardness. Isak was leaning his back on Even. He couldn’t trust his legs anymore.

“Turn around”, Even asked. Isak did. He turned to face Even. It was so dark Isak could barely see him. Then a lightning struck again, illuminating Even’s face. He looked like a dark angel. Isak looked upon him and trembled.

Even put his hands on Isak’s hips and pushed him backward. He pushed his thumbs under the rubber band of Isak’s underwear and eased it down past his buttocks. Even guided Isak to sit on the window sill. The rain hit his back. It felt warm. Not as warm as Even’s body as it pressed against him.

“Oh fuck --” Isak gasped. Even hummed softly against his hair. They were at the window. Anyone could have seen them. But nobody was there. Just them, and the storm. It was like a scene in a movie. Magical.

Even kissed him with his mouth open. Isak returned that kiss. He surrendered to it. To this, to the storm, to Even. Even wrapped his arm behind Isak’s back and bent him out the window. Isak’s blood was rushing in his veins. He was out in the storm. He grabbed the window frame and held on, as Even slid down his body with his mouth. The rain rushed down on his face. It was trying to drown him, and he was more than happy to be drowned.

He could have let go. He wasn’t going to, but the presence of the chance was intoxicating. His life was in his own hands. And Even’s. Even could have pushed him. He could have wrapped his arms around him and jumped out with him, forever locked in a lover’s embrace.

Even got down on his knees in front of him. He pulled Isak’s underwear down. Isak stepped out of it and raised his leg on Even’s shoulder. Then his other leg. This was incredibly reckless and really dangerous, and Isak was loving every second of it. He was naked, half outside a window, in the middle of a thunderstorm. Even locked his arms over his thighs, looking up at him. He nodded. Isak nodded, too, and let go.

As Even kissed the underside of Isak’s dick Isak pushed his fingers into Even’s hair. He didn’t grab it, because he didn’t want to hurt Even. He was simply looking for surrender. Even took Isak’s dick in his mouth, and Isak’s lips quivered. He was kissing the rain.

Even’s fingers pressed hard into Isak’s thighs. It hurt, but it was good pain. It was pain that kept Isak from falling. It mixed with the pleasure Even’s mouth was giving him. That created an addictive flavour.

Isak’s moans weren’t overpowered by the thunder anymore. The storm was still raging above them, but the storm inside Isak was stronger. Water was running down his body and his legs, from them further down on Even’s skin.

This was the most cleansing experience Isak had ever had. It was so backwards. His dick was inside a boy’s mouth, God’s wrath was storming over him, and yet Isak felt like he was being washed clean. Something black and sticky that had been locked inside him for years was finally being washed away in this rain. Even was his baptist, pressing his head under water.

Even retreated, pulling Isak inside. Isak laid down on his back in the puddle on the floor. Even was still on his knees, his back in a beautiful arch, his mouth taking Isak in deeper. He was incredibly good at this. Isak kept touching his hair, clawing at it softly, still moaning out loud. Inside the apartment his voice sounded louder. But he wasn’t ashamed of his pleasure. He was embracing it.

He was drowning in it.

“Oh God!” Isak spoke the Lord’s name in vain as he came. Even let him come in his mouth, and unlike Jonas had, he didn’t spit it out. He just pulled back, sitting on his heels, and looked at Isak. He was smiling the softest smile.

Chapter Text

Even helped Isak up from the floor. It was slippery from all the water. They should probably close the window and wipe the floor dry. Later. Later. They were busy now. Even pulled Isak up against his chest, and Isak wrapped his shaky arms around him.

“Oh fuck -- I came so hard my ears popped.”

Even laughed. He sounded happy. The happiest he had sounded in days.

“I didn’t know that’s a thing.”

Isak rubbed his wet cheek on Even’s chest.

“It is now. Fuck.”

Even hummed softly. The thunder was moving away from them. It took longer for the roar to come after the flash of light. It was like the whole thing had existed only for them. Isak felt like purring. He squirmed softly against Even.

“Do you want to try if it’s a thing?”

“I came already.”

Isak blushed, for some reason.

“Oh? I didn’t notice.”

Even chuckled.

“Want to inspect my underwear? I totally creamed it. I had my hands free when I was sucking you off.”

Every word Even said made Isak blush deeper. They were so dirty. Creamed underwear and sucking him off. Isak was almost turned on again. But he wanted something else more than he wanted sex. He wanted to keep cuddling with Even like this. Talking with him softly, still a bit short of breath.

“Take me to bed”, Isak whispered. Even didn’t object. He took Isak’s hand and they walked together to the bed. Isak stopped to take Even’s wet - creamed, oh God - underwear off before they lied down. Their naked bodies entwined together.

“I missed you”, Isak said timidly. He didn’t want to pressure Even into anything, or try to push him. He could only hope Even understood what he meant. Isak ran his hand along Even’s ribs. “Touching you like this.”

“I missed you too”, Even said. His voice was low and tender. He was speaking into Isak’s wet hair. “I’m so sorry I’m this broken.”

Isak didn’t know what to say. Every option felt so empty. Except one.

“I love you. I’m not going to leave you.”

Even hummed. He didn’t say anything for a moment.

“Are you sure?”

Isak bit his lip. Was he? Was he really? He slipped his leg between Even’s legs. He tangled into Even like a vine.

“No. But I really really want to be. Is that enough?”

Even kissed Isak’s forehead softly. It was wrong. Even was still hurting, and he was comforting Isak. Everything was backwards.

“It will have to do, won’t it?”

Isak sighed. And nodded.

“I guess. I just. We should talk, shouldn’t we?”

“We should.”

Neither of them said anything. Isak was resting against Even, and Even was. He was there. He was really there now, not just a shadow or a ghost, but him. The beautiful boy Isak had fallen in love with at the first kiss.

“How about we take turns? Like. Truth or dare. But only truths.”

Even nodded. Isak could feel his head move.

“We need some rules”, Isak continued. “No lies. If you don’t want to answer, you don’t have to. Just don’t answer. And -- if you want to stop, just say so, and we stop.”

“Same rules to you, too. Right?”

Isak settled a bit more comfortably against Even.

“Of course. Is there something you’d like to add to the rules?”

“No. I’m fine. I feel safe with you here. Does that make sense?”

“More than me feeling safe hanging out of the window.” Isak almost giggled. He was too soft to.

“I would never have let you fall.”

Isak raised his head to look Even in the eyes. They were only eyes now. No abyss.

“And I would never let you. Okay?”

“Okay.”

They kissed. Slow, tiny little kisses, one after another. Kisses of encouragement. They could do this. Together.

“Would you like to go first?” Even asked. Isak did have a question ready.

“I know I was supposed to ask you things but. I want to tell you something first. Is that okay?” Even nodded. Isak took his hand, fiddling with Even’s fingers. “I’m gay. And. I think I’m okay with it now. I mean really okay. I don’t know why, but God made me this way, and I am who I am. With you I can.”

Isak took a deep breath. Even smiled at him. There was pride in his smile.

“You told me you’re not gay. What does that mean?”

Even looked surprised now. He hadn’t expected this question. It was weird, because it had been in Isak’s mind so much. Consuming him. And to Even it was nothing.

“It means I’m not gay. I like girls. Too.”

Isak almost had a heart attack before that last word. Then Even confirmed what Magnus had suspected.

“So. You’re bisexual?”

Even nodded.

“It’s funny, really. I have only liked one boy before you, and with him -- I wasn’t sure if it was real. If it was me, or just my mania, you know?” Even turned on his back. Isak followed him, refusing to stop clinging to him. “Then I saw you and. I knew. I like boys, too.”

Isak ran his fingers along Even’s skin. It was so pale. Isak wasn’t all that tanned himself, but compared to his arm Even’s chest was white like a sheet.

“I like only boys. I have always liked only boys. But it has always felt wrong, until now. Loving you, being with you, it feels right.”

“My turn to ask.” That was the only warning Isak got before Even pushed him off the cliff. “What about Jonas?”

Isak closed his eyes. He prayed with all his heart that he wouldn’t start shaking now.

What about Jonas, indeed?

“He’s my first love. And my best friend. I’m never going to fall out of love with him, and I have to come to terms with that.”

“I fell in love with my best friend. It was awful.”

Isak opened his eyes. He didn’t know that Even knew how he felt. At least somewhat.

“I was with him today. Not with-with him, but. I ran into him on my way back from the library, and he helped me at the supermarket to buy the ingredients. I don’t think I could have done it without him.”

Even was breathing deeper. He was controlling himself, Isak could feel it.

“Is that okay?” Isak whispered.

“I’m sorry. I don’t. I don’t have an answer for you.”

Isak wanted to tell Even it was okay. But that would have been breaking the rules.

“If you had the choice, which one of us would you choose?”

“No”, Isak said. “I don’t have the choice. Jonas is not an option for me, and it was so hard for me to believe that. I’m not refusing to answer, I’m just telling you that I can’t.”

Even was stroking his hair. His fingers were catching into the wet strands a bit.

“I have to admit I’ve been feeling quite inferior lately.”

“Don’t. Please, don’t. You’re not inferior to anyone. Jonas is. With him it’s different. I want this. What I have with you.”

“What do you have with me?”

Isak got up to lean on his elbow, so he could look at Even properly. What did he have with him?

“A home. You’re my home.”

“A house without a light isn’t a home.”

Isak frowned. He didn’t understand what Even meant with that. He didn’t have to ask. Even raised his hand on Isak’s cheek, smiling that soft smile again.

“Your light makes my house the home you have in me.”

Isak leaned down. Their kiss was the softest kiss ever.

Chapter Text

Day by day it was easier to breathe. For both of them. Even had started to take his medication again. He had showed his pills to Isak and told him how much and when he was supposed to take each of them. Isak really appreciated that display of trust. Even trusted him enough to make him part of this. A part of his illness, and his healing.

Isak had written down some other recipes, too. The spaghetti bolognese had been a raving success, and that had encouraged him to try other things too. Nothing too complicated. Meatballs and mashed potatoes was the most complex thing he had prepared. Even had helped him with that one.

The thunderstorm had purified the air, too. It was fresher now. The whole city was washed clean. Or maybe Isak was just seeing it differently now. The colours were brighter. He was sleeping. Snuggled up next to Even. Listening to his heart, and his breathing, that was quick to got steady and deep thanks to his medication. Even’s calmness calmed Isak down as well, and he could sleep.

Isak yawned and stretched along Even’s body. Even’s fingers played with his hair.

“Morning”, Isak mumbled. Even hummed.

“Good morning.”

They kissed, drowsily. Isak laid his head back on Even’s chest.

“What are we going to do today?”

Even spent a moment thinking. Isak was more than happy to let him. That meant he could keep dozing off in his arms for a bit more.

“Do I have clean pants?”

“Mm-hm.” Isak yawned again. “Why?”

“There’s someplace I’d like to go with you.”

Wait a minute.

Isak was suddenly wide awake. Go? As in, leave the house and physically move somewhere? Isak raised his head and looked at Even. His heart was pounding, and he was doing his best to try and calm it down. Maybe Even had just a burst of energy after sleeping, and he’d change his mind soon enough.

“Oh? Where?”

“It’s a secret. But it’s a good place. I think you’ll like it.”

There was a spark in Even’s eyes. Almost mischievous. Isak was starting to hope, and he was starting to think it was safe to.

“Okay. I trust you.”

“That’s something that never stops astonishing me”, Even said, and kissed him. Isak kissed him right after that, and the kissed for a third time just for good measure. “Now, get up and makes us some sandwiches to take with us. We’re having a breakfast picnic.”

Isak was starting to get actually excited about this thing. He loved picnics. Food tasted better outdoors. But what he was especially in love with this time was how much effort Even was ready to put in. This was a multiple step thing, and though Even’s mood had been steadily improving, his energy levels had still been low. Isak put on a pair of underwear and went to check the fridge. Leftover meatballs seemed like an excellent choice to put in picnic sandwiches.

“Do we have a basket? I’d love a basket. And a blanket.”

“Uhhh. I’m sorry, we don’t have a basket. Let’s buy one today. A blanket, yes.” Even pulled a plaid blanket out of the closet with a pair of pants for himself. Isak had done his best to keep this place looking like actual people lived here. No more piles of clothes on the floor.

“A plastic bag it is. It’s okay, we can use that to gather the trash afterwards.” Isak cut the meatballs into slices. His knife skills were significantly improving. He wasn’t even close to cutting himself this time. He managed to stretch the meatballs into six sandwiches, with plenty of butter and some sliced pickles. Isak’s stomach was growling already, but it would have to wait for a bit more.

Isak packed the sandwiches, two yogurts and some milk in a bottle into the bag. While he went to the bathroom Even went to put some coffee on. Isak washed his face with cold water and brushed his teeth in record time. He was being a bit silly, but he really wanted to get going before Even had time to change his mind.

Even didn’t back out. Fifteen minutes later they were out on the street, in the sunlight. Isak was carrying the food while Even carried the blanket. Isak looked at Even.

“So, which way?”

“This way.” Isak was happy Even didn’t try to take his hand. It was a beautiful day, and people were out and about. It wasn’t that he was embarrassed or ashamed of Even, but he was worried for their safety. He followed Even by his side, his heart and his step light.

A short walk, a tram ride and a longer walk later Isak was starting to get really hungry. His mood was getting sour faster than the milk in the bag. He did his best to keep himself happy, and every time he looked at Even’s profile beside him made him smile again.

“Almost there”, Even said. He walked Isak into a park, and in there up a hill. It was a steep hill, and a high one, and Isak was breathing heavier before they’d reached the midway point.

“This better be worth it”, Isak grumbled. Even just laughed, looking at him over his shoulder.

“I promise you, it will. Come on, I’m hungry.” Even took longer steps. Isak hurried after him.

At the top of the hill Even left the path and walked across the grass. Isak followed him, until he stopped. Even looked at the view, smiling, and as Isak saw the scenery he gasped quietly. It was beautiful. He could see the horizon, and the glimmer of the sea. All this open air in front of them was so wonderful after being cooped up in Even’s small apartment for so long.

“Wow”, Isak said. Even spread the blanket out and sat down.

“I know. I used to come here every now and then, just to breathe. It’s easier in here.”

“I see what you mean.” Isak sat down next to Even and shoved his hand in the bag. “I’m sorry, but I’m starving.”

Even just laughed.

They had a lovely breakfast. The coffee in the thermos flask was still hot, the milk hadn’t turned sour and the sandwiches tasted amazing. Even let Isak have half of his yogurt as well, bless him. While Isak finished it Even lied down on the blanket, crossing his hands behind his neck.

“Mmh. Thank you.” Isak put the empty yogurt tub into the bag and wiped his mouth on the side of his palm. “This was a lovely idea.”

Even looked up at him, humming. He was really pleased with himself.

“I wanted to give you a special treat for dealing with me all this time.”

Isak smiled softly.

“I don’t nead a special treat. You’re my reward.”

“Really?”

Isak nodded.

“Yes. You make me happy.”

“You know what?” Even sat up, looking into the horizon. “I believe you. Ever since that storm you have been -- different. You’re at peace.”

Isak blushed thinking about that night. But Even was right. He was at peace. His sin had been washed away. He was God’s child, and he was fine the way he was. Isak looked at the blue sky, and he saw benevolence.

“Isak, I have something to tell you.”

Isak turned to look at Even. He was so serious. But he didn’t seem scared, or worried, or regretting.

“I understand if you’ve got tired of waiting. Or if you’re happy just the way things are right now. I just thought you might like to know.” Even paused. He had great sense of drama indeed. Isak was on pins and needles, waiting for him to finish. “I’d like to be your boyfriend now. If you’d still have me.”

Suddenly Even looked a bit blurry. Isak wiped his eyes quickly. This was just so perfect. His life wasn’t this perfect, not ever.

“Yes”, Isak said. “I will have you. I’d love to be your boyfriend. I love you.”

Even’s fingers crept closer to Isak’s hand. They brushed at his fingers. Isak looked around, and saw nobody. He turned his hand and let Even’s fingers slip between his.

They didn’t get home until late in the afternoon. They spent a couple of hours up on the hill, and then took the long route home, stopping for some burgers on the way. By the time they reached their house Isak was just dying to finally kiss Even. The second they were in the apartment Isak turned and pressed his lips on Even’s mouth.

Something cracked under Isak’s heel. It was sharp. Plastic. Isak pulled away from the kiss and looked at his feet. It was a cassette tape, slipped in through the mail slot. It was unlabelled. Isak knew who it was from. Even let go of him so he could bend over and pick it up.

“Do you want to listen to it?”

Isak shook his head and put the tape on the side table.

“No. I want to kiss my boyfriend.”

“Your boyfriend is more than happy to deliver.”

By the time they reached the bed, their lips locked in a passionate kiss, Isak had forgotten about the tape.

Chapter Text

Hi Issy. I don’t know if I’m going to actually keep this recording or just put some music over it. I have missed making your mixtapes. Actually, I’ve missed you altogether.

[silence]

[a rustling sound, someone shifting their pose, like leaning closer to the mic]

Fuck, I hope you’re alone when you listen to this. Please tell me you’re listening to this with your headphones, someplace where there’s just you, like you always listen to the tapes I make you.
You know, I’m sorry for all those times you were alone. I have no explanation for you. We were just kids. We still are, in a way. I’m sorry I couldn’t get you out of there on my own.

[silence]

[someone takes a sip from a can]

[silence]

I’m not drunk. This is just coke, I’m parched.

[a little chuckle]

Of course you have no reason to believe me. Please trust me, I’m sober right now. It’s the middle of the night, and my window is cracked, but you haven’t come. I knew you wouldn’t. We said goodbye.

[another sip]

[a little burp]

Fuck, sorry about that.
I broke up with Eva today. It was really. Uneventful. I’m not sure if she even noticed. It’s been happening for weeks now anyway, I guess she was just relieved if anything.
I saw something the other day, you see. A kiss. I came home and I listened to the tape I had made you, and I really listened to it this time. Sheryl Crow had a thing or to to tell me.

[singing, surprisingly good] Well, okay, we get along. So what, if right now everything’s wrong? If it makes you happy it can’t be that bad. If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?

It was raining cats and dogs. I had made a mixtape for you -- the one I’m now recording over, in fact -- and was on my way to bring it, when the sky split and I had to take cover. I had made it to the corner shop, but across the street was too far away, so I just ducked into a stairwell. When I looked out through the glass door I saw you. You were soaked, and just letting it happen, because you really are fucking dramatic.

[another little chuckle, lower and darker this time]

Look who’s speaking.

[silence]

I saw him come out and kiss you. And all I could hear in my head was “I want that” and “that’s mine” and “why isn’t that me”.
Why isn’t that me?
My own damn fault. I’m a coward, Issy. I have always been a coward around your bravery.
It’s time I grew a pair.
I love you, Issy. I mean, I *love* love you.

[laughing, soft and defeated]

That’s it, I guess. I love you.

[the tape clicks]

[Pulp starts playing from the middle of the song]

Do you believe that there's someone up above?
And does He have a timetable directing acts of love?
Why did I write this song on that one day?
Why did you touch my hand and softly say: 
"Stop asking questions that don't matter anyway
Just give us a kiss to celebrate here today"
Something changed