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i will love you until the very, very end (and you were my best friend)

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Even is eighteen. He lays beside his best friend, his confidant, his soulmate. There are girls around them, just two, bathed in glowing sunlight as they lay on the dew-dampened grass and sigh gently. Their dresses, billowy and well hemmed, are stretched out so far that, even as far away as Even lays, he still touches the hem with his muddy shoes. Sonja doesn't seem to mind, thankfully. 

He turns his head, watches the long line of Isak’s neck against a backdrop of gold, and swallows harshly. 

There's been this feeling inside of him lately, something unfathomable and innourishable, that has built up into long glances, gentle touches, soft smiles. He can't help but be enamored with Isak and his pale blond hair, his bright eyes, his impish grin. 

It's something Even has long since given up oppressing. So what if he likes the way the shadows of Isak's eyelashes settle over his cheeks? Who would dare question him about it? Besides, he is lined up to marry Sonja and unite two countries in preparation for a war long overdue. Even if Isak felt the same way, he would surely rather die than leave Emma, his future wife. Those two have been in love for as long as Even has known them. 

Isak turns his head and blinks at Even gently, long eyelashes shining gold with sunlight. He's magnificent, Even realizes. So damn alluring. 

“What are you thinking?” Isak asks, whispering. 

There's feet between them, but it feels like inches. Centimeters. He smiles. 

“Of how unfortunate I seem to be,” Even whispers back. 

His marriage to Sonja is to be the first in the family line to be for love, which had been true. It used to be, at least, but n ot anymore. 

“What do you mean?” Isak asks, hand underneath his cheek as a blade of grass rips from the earth and gets stuck in his fist. “What could be more fortunate than this moment right here?” 

Even almost says that a more fortunate moment would not involve the two women they had proposed to, but refrains. He dare not scare Isak away. 

A man needs his best friend more than anything in times like these. 

Sonja, several feet from Even’s voice, snores. She's an easy sleeper, always has been, but suffers from an annoying symptom of laying on the flat ground.

“What if,” Even whispers, moving closer so he can talk quieter, “Sonja were not my truest, purest love?” 

If the idea shocks Isak, his face doesn't show it. He swallows harshly. 

“What if?” He whispers back, looking a little hopeful. 

His mouth is open slightly and his breathing is so heavy that Even can feel the barest brush of it on his skin. 

Even rolls over onto his side, hand in the center of the distance between them. It is only inches now, probably less than 8. His eyes are so beautiful this close up, blue and just a little green, and Even has no trouble thinking about dumping Sonja and running away with Isak if he asked. If only he would!

“Shall we go to the spring?” Isak whispers finally, his hand now within centimeters of Even’s. “I dare say it's no longer cool enough to sit here.” 

“Should we wake them?”

“No, no,” Isak’s mischievous grin is back, “let them sleep. They have a lifetime of us as husbands; they’ll need it.” 

The thought sort of depresses Even, but he's excited at the prospect of the cool spring water, so he gets up and lets Isak chase him toward the water. 

The sun is starting to set, just barely touching the horizon, when Even kicks off his shoes at the edge of the small body of water. 

It's more of a pond than a spring, but that's a secret joke between the two of them and a cool April day spent floating on the water as the sun hid behind clouds and their elbows bumped lily pads. 

“Looks great today!” Isak says joyfully as he strips off his button down shirt. 

Underneath he wears a tight fitting long sleeved undershirt, as Even does, though his is spotted with something pink on the collar. Even stares at the stain, wondering what it is until he realizes it must be Emma's lipstick, and then Isak distracts him by removing it entirely. 

It's not that Even hasn't seen Isak nude before or anything, but the last time had been before his epiphany, before he had become okay with his feelings, so when Isak’s undershirt and pants are tossed onto the ground, Even continues to stare. 

Isak’s body is perfect in every way Even can fathom. Angled and beautiful and soft. He has only seen one other boy nude, though not nearly as much as Isak, and it had been a confusing experience. Mikael had been too conservative and pure minded to know where Even’s thoughts had been. 

Even finds himself wishing Isak isn't as Michael was. Wishing Isak feels the same as Even does. 

Even catches sight of his awestruck face in the glassy top of the water and promptly stops gaping and gets undressed. When he looks up, Isak is butt naked and diving in the water, arms raised above his head. 

Now Even openly gapes, tries not to become alert , and shimmies out of his undergarments as well. Might as well do as the Romans did. 

He hurries awkwardly into the water and sighs as he cools down. He’d almost forgotten what it felt like to be cool and comfortable beneath that blazing sun. 

“What if they wake up?” Even asks. “And they come looking for us?” 

“Then we ask them to join!” 

They would never! Even is confused at how Isak could even think so! 

“But they won't wake for a while,” Isak adds, leaning back to float motionlessly on the top of the pond. “So don't worry about it.”

Even decides to not care. He decides to throw caution to the wind and joins Isak on his skyward float, letting his body relax as the water pushes them downstream. 

The view of the sunset is brilliant from here, leaving the sky flushed grey and orange. Isak’s foot bumps into his and neither of them moves away.  Even starts to think maybe it's not Isak’s foot. Maybe it's a lilypad or a stick or something, but then Even feels his toes press into his ankle.

Feels them slowly move up his leg. 

He wants to curve into his touch, wants to sit up and do terrible, unspeakable things to his best friend, but doesn't. Lets Isak make every move. 

He gasps silently into the air, biting down onto his lip to stop himself. He wants to see Isak, wants to look into his eyes and touch him, but cannot will himself to move. 

Isak’s hand reaches out, touches Even’s hand, his wrist, his forearm, his elbow. 

“Even,” he whispers, “look at me.” 

Finally Even moves his head to look at this pale boy surrounded by golden and fading sunlight. Even hadn't even noticed the sounds of him standing up in the chest deep water. 

He turns his palm upward, splashing gently, and presses it against Isak’s chest. Reaches up and touches him with the other as his feet hit the slippery ground beneath the water. He stands, too. 

Isak's skin feels soft and warm underneath Even’s cold hands. He looks almost as good as he feels. His hair is a wreck, pointing upwards and downwards and forwards and back, like he'd been running his fingers through it before deciding something. Deciding to touch Even.

Isak’s hands are on Even’s arms still, but he slides them up over his shoulders and holds his face, smiling at him shocked and dazed. 

They're within centimeters of each other now, breathing in the other's breath, and then Isak is whispering rapidly into the bright air.

“I couldn't be sure...I wanted to be right, of course, but I didn't want to ruin everything we had. I knew you loved Sonja and I was supposed to love Emma and it was just terrible timing and I--" 

“It's okay,” Even whispers. “I...I do feel the same way. I don’t love Sonja. Not anymore.”

Isak's voice is small and fragile when he takes the last step forward and asks, “Do you love someone else?” 

Even is afraid to answer, afraid to do anything to shatter this moment, these ten centimeters of space. 

“Yes,” he whispers, his hands sliding down Isak’s chest to settle on his hips. “Isak, I love you.” 

And then they're kissing. 

It's not like any kiss Even has ever had with anyone. He's only ever kissed Sonja, though, but he has the sneaking suspicion that the difference has to do with Isak and the feeling he inspires in Even's chest. 

Even’s head spins and he holds onto Isak for support, lets Isak kiss into his mouth, feels like he's being reborn. 

“Oh,” Isak whispers as he kisses Even’s neck and then his collarbone. “Even.” 

Even groans under his touch, arches into his reach, and grips him tightly in his hands. Their private parts run together accidentally when their feet slip on the stones beneath them and it sends a jolt through Even that is unlike anything he's ever felt before. 

“Dear God,” he curses, his skin hot and cold all at once, and does it again. 

Isak’s resounding cry of pleasure only spurs him on, on encourages him to separate his right hand from Isak's waist and slide it downward between their lower bodies. 

He's never done anything like this before, having only kissed, so he's unsure, hesitant. He's never even done it to himself before as his mother had told him he'd grow hair on his palms if he so much as tried, so it's an awkward motion at first. An awkward touch. 

Isak moan anyway, head tossed back in ecstasy, so Even keeps going. He strokes Isak gently, hesitantly, and then gets braver when Isak’s legs start to shake and his abdomen contracts. 

“Even, oh my gosh. Even. Even.” Isak's voice is a constant reminder that he must be doing something right. 

So he decides why the hell not. When in Rome… 

He grips his friend’s lower body in his hand and strokes in earnest, allows himself only one second to get used to the new motion, and slides his hand up and down steadily. 

The looking on Isak’s face is priceless and beautiful and undeniably the most gorgeous and stimulating thing that Even has ever seen. Isak's moans grow more insistent as he grips Even’s body for support, crying out Even’s name as he quickens and Isak finishes, splattering the water and Even with his mess. 

Even can only stare at Isak’s face as he slips back into the water, exhausted and in complete bliss. He takes a while to recover, takes a while to stop breathing heavily, and it's during that time that Even realizes how much his private part aches. How much he craves Isak’s touch. 

He almost does it himself, but can hear the story of the hairy palms, so he refrains and settles down into the water beside Isak. 

“Come here,” Isak says gently. “Let me.” 

Even lets Isak lead him toward the shallower parts so they can kneel and kisses him again, tangles his long fingers in Even’s hair. 

He is the most sensational person Even knows without trying. Isak is as perfect as anything or anyone has ever been. He is a work of art unrivaled by Blake or Michelangelo.

Even can hardly stand on his knees when Isak's fingers trail gently down his leg, press firmly against his body, grip around him with absolute ease like he's done it a thousand times. 

The feeling of bliss is another thing unrivaled by anything in life. It's the most enticing thing on earth besides Isak's plush lips. 

He cries out Isak's name over and over and over, finding himself moving with Isak's strokes because it feels so impossibly good and then it's all coming to its peak. He looks at Isak now, stares at his face, and loses himself. He loses everything he was as a person as the biggest wave of pleasure overcomes him and he spasms helplessly, feeling exhausted and so damn good that he wonders how anyone could refrain from an activity so gratifying? So incomprehensibly amazing?

How could any God forbid them from something so undeniably wholesome and human? 

Isak kisses him at the last second, still sort of stroking him, bringing on an additional last wave of pleasure. Even’s sure he's left marks on Isak’s skin somewhere, but he can't be bothered to care. He falls back into the water, overwhelmed and fulfilled, and breathes heavily into the dark air. 

He hadn't realized it was so late. His mother must be worried sick...and Sonja...she was supposed to be home before dusk. 

Even finds that he doesn't really care. Hopefully she and Emma found their own ways home. 

“We should probably go home,” Isak whispers as he reaches out for Even’s hand. 

They float together on the water top, best friends and now something more, and stare up at the starry sky. 

“Yeah,” Even says, making no effort to stand, “we most definitely should.” 

“So what now?” Isak asks, his hand cold and soggy in Even’s. “Shall we run away together?” 

“And leave our thrones? Absolutely. Where will we go, Prince Isak?” 

They're both in line for royalty, though Isak is the only one that will really end up a king. As the only child to the king of some stupid little country country surrounded almost entirely by water, his only future is with the crown. 

Isak doesn't hesitate when he says, “The United States. There's a little town in Vermont that has our names written all over it.” 

“Why there?” 

“Nice winters,” he muses softly. “Less people who will know us. We could...we could live quiet lives. You could teach and I would perhaps be a lumberjack or something of the sort, and we'd live in a cottage surrounded by woods and be happy. Happy and free from responsibility.” 

Even smiles a thoughtful smile, squeezes Isak's hand, and laughs at the thought of being happy. He wants to say yes for real, so he does. 

Running from the throne is possible. It can be done. They can do it together.  And, honestly, Even doesn't a single fuck about leaving behind his crown. Neither, apparently, does Isak. 

“Then let's do it, Isak.”