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There is Beauty in Being Soft

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Isak didn’t expect it to happen. The whole thing had come out of nowhere.


He’d met up with Chris to organize things for a fight that Isak thought was kind of ridiculous. But when Chris had approached him with the idea that they should sort of buddy up, he had shrugged his shoulders and agreed. Maybe he’d make another friend out of this. Maybe somehow he’d make a reputation for himself besides being the pathetic friend of Jonas who followed the bushy-haired boy around like a lost puppy.


He got into Chris’s car for the first time and nearly forgot how to speak. Chris was different when you spent time with him one-on-one. He wasn’t as cocky as he seemed in a group, not so quick to try and show off. He was just a guy with a nice smile and a somewhat all right taste in music. He made Isak laugh.


“You’re funny, blondie.” Chris had said as he dropped Isak off a few hours later, reaching across the car seats and brushing Isak’s hair off his forehead.


Isak rolled his eyes but his cheeks were burning. “Don’t make that my nickname, please.”


“Aww, why not?” Chris pouted, his fingers lingering on Isak’s outrageous curls.


Isak had a sudden thought that Chris wouldn’t have done this with other guys – people like William or the other penetrators. Isak doubted Chris would have been touching them, leaning over in a very seemingly flirtatious way. Maybe he was doing it because Isak didn’t seem like a normal guy. He didn’t seem standoffish and bro-like.


To Chris, Isak seemed like a guy who wanted other guys to touch him, and it made Isak squirm.


Then again, what did Isak know about being a straight guy? Maybe guys did touch each other like this a lot. Isak had spent a lot of his life wondering how he should act around other boys, especially when he realized it wasn’t girls he was thinking about when he got himself off. He didn’t know if he was standing too close, looking at them weird, talking too much about things they would consider ‘girly.’ So acting straight was something Isak tried desperately to pull off, but actually being straight wasn’t Isak’s forte.


Even though he hadn’t said that out loud yet. To anyone.


I don’t know.” Isak said, suddenly breathless. He couldn’t bring himself to look at Chris so he looked out the windshield instead – down the dark street that was damp from the earlier rain.


I’ll think of something else, then.” Chris whispered, his voice lowering even though he didn’t have to do that. It was just them in the car. Nobody else could hear them.


Okay.”


Are you dating someone?” Chris asked, sounding more casual but he was still slightly whispering.


Isak shook his head. “I was. But that’s over now.” He lied. He’d never dated anyone.


She not good in bed?” Chris joked, and now he sounded like a straight guy.


A stereotypical, probably-thinks-gay-guys-will-hit-on-him bro, and Isak knew then that he wouldn’t be friends with Chris. They couldn’t really be.


I’ll see you later.” Isak nodded, trying to smile and seem cool – trying to seem like someone Chris would want to hang out with later. But Isak knew he wasn’t fooling anyone.


He was the opposite of Chris in pretty much every way.


Hold on.” Chris frowned, reaching over and touching Isak’s forearm; effectively preventing him from opening the car door. “What’s wrong?”


Nothing, Chris. I just need to get inside.” Isak snapped, feeling claustrophobic.


You’re pissed at me. I’m sorry if I crossed a line asking about your ex or whatever.” Chris rushed to explain, sounding genuinely pained. Isak still couldn’t look at him, though. All he could do was stare down at the huge scarf he was wearing around his neck. He wondered if Chris would ever wear such thing and then he giggled because of course not.


“What’s funny?”


Isak thumped his head on the back of the car seat. “Nothing. Everything. I don’t know.”


“You’re stuck in here too much, I think.” Chris touched Isak’s forehead lightly and the softness of the gesture made Isak finally turn his head – stare right into Chris’s big, round eyes.


“You think?” Isak whispered.


“Yeah, I do. Why don’t I call you...brood boy.”


Isak chuckled. “Absolutely not.” Then tension broke a little bit and Isak’s shoulders relaxed.


“Too late. I decided. Brood boy. BB for short.”


Isak stopped laughing almost instantly. “That sounds like you’re calling me...”


“Baby?” Chris offered, a giant smirk on his face.


“...well, yeah.”


“You are a baby. You’re a first year after all.”


“Chris...”


“Yes, bb?”


Isak blushed all the way down his neck, making him sweat a little.


“I have to go now.”


Isak got out of the car without anymore nicknames or protests.


**


Chris had given Isak his number so they could talk about the fight, but Isak didn’t expect Chris to message him about anything else.


How very wrong he was.


Chris: morning BB


Isak: seriously stop. you’re fucking weird

Chris: you like it

Isak: not at all. What do you want anyway. I have class

Chris: let’s go somewhere after school

Isak: we just talked about shit last night though?

Chris: i know

Isak: ??

Chris: yes or no bb?

Isak: well now that you’ve called me that again no fucking way

Chris: :(

Isak: fine. Same spot as yesterday?

Chris: you’re a smart one, bb

Isak: fuck off


“Who are you messaging?” Jonas asked, eyes focusing on Isak from across the table. Isak shut his phone off and slid it into his pocket.


“Um, my dad.” Isak lied.


“Everything cool?”


Jonas’s face was full of concern and Isak wished he’d stop because it was already hard enough to stop loving Jonas. The sincerity and care Jonas always showed him really wasn’t helping anything.


“Yep. All good.”


**


Chris seemed to like driving. He took the extra long way to the ice cream shop he’d offered to take Isak to, and then he sat with the car still on for about two minutes in the parking lot. He claimed he wanted to finish his song, smirking over at Isak who was frowning in the heated leather seat.


“You don’t like my music?” Chris asked.


“It’s top 40. Some of it’s all right but mostly not.”


“Music snob.”


“No. I just have taste.” Isak quipped, rolling his eyes. “Are we going in sometime this year or what? You promised me ice cream.”


“You’re a whiny little thing, huh?” Chris chuckled, finally turning off the engine. “Let’s go, bb.”


“Cut it the fuck out, will you?” Isak said, slamming his door a little too hard as he got out. He started to quickly walk towards the store, hearing Chris scrambling behind him to keep up.


He hadn’t told Chris that it actually was bothering him. The nickname scratched at his heart in an uncomfortable, stinging way and he didn’t quite know why. He knew it was a joke. He knew what both the ‘b’s’ stood for, but the context in which Chris was using it just broke something in Isak.


It was making him wish someone would actually call him baby. That someone who wasn’t a girl with flower-scent shampoo would want to take him for ice cream just because he wanted to. Isak let out a long sigh.


“I’ll stop if you want, Isak.” Chris said softly, and then he put himself in Isak’s path. Isak stopped abruptly and nearly walked right into Chris.


“Okay. Thanks? What are you...”


“But if I’m being honest...” Chris interrupted, licking his lips and smiling down at Isak. “I like calling you that. I don’t know why I do, but I do.”


Isak looked down at his feet again, blushing almost painfully. “You’re so weird.” He said, because I want to kiss you didn’t seem appropriate.


**


Isak knew all about Chris from Eva. He knew what she had told him, and he wasn’t proud of certain things he’d done so that Jonas would break up with Eva. But he was moving on from that. He’d started to let it go. The thing he was hung up on though, as he stared at Chris eating his chocolate ice cream cone, was just how much he’d never thought of Chris before.


Isak had never really given him a second glance. Sure, he was attractive. But a lot of boys were. Isak had spent considerable time looking at boys at his school. But Chris just hadn’t stood out to him.


Perhaps being in love with your best friend took up too much of Isak’s thoughts.


Isak was noticing Chris now though. He couldn’t stop noticing him, and it was really, really inconvenient. Because now that he was looking, he found himself wanting Chris to look back. He wanted Chris to notice him, and definitely not as a friend.


It was becoming a Jonas-situation all over again, and Isak hated himself. Why could he never develop crushes on someone who would like him back?


Chris talked for all of five minutes about the fight, and it was everything they’d discussed the previous day. Isak frowned in confusion, his own ice cream beginning to melt.


“Chris, do you have anything new we should talk about? Because everything you just said is shit we agreed on yesterday.”


Chris nodded and laughed a little. Isak thought his cheeks turned a darker shade of pink, but he wasn’t going to fool himself.


Chris is straight.


“Yeah. Maybe I just like your company.”


“Sure.” Isak said doubtfully, finally beginning to lick his ice cream cone. He licked around the cone first because his ice cream had melted all the way down there.


“You missed some.” Chris suddenly said, touching Isak’s cone on the side facing away from him. “Better get it all before you make a mess of your hands.”


Isak wanted to die a little because this whole trip to the ice cream shop was becoming a poorly set-up porno film.


“Do you play games?”


Isak frowned. “Like board games?”


“No. Video games. Fifa and shit.”


“Yeah.” Isak frowned.


“Let’s go back to my place then. I’ll make us some dinner too.” Chris suggested, polishing off his ice cream with a loud belch.


“I kinda have homework to finish tonight.” Isak said slowly, horribly confused. Why was Chris wanting to spend so much time with Isak all of a sudden? He hadn’t actually expected them to become friends.


“Come on Isak.” Chris whined, pouting. “Live a little.”


To the horror of his better judgment, Isak agreed.


**


“So, you have a brother?” Isak asked, staring at Chris’s family photo on the mantelpiece. Chris stood in the middle of his mom and dad, next to a taller boy with big, blue eyes and messy blonde hair.


“Yeah. That’s Even. He’s at university.”


“You don’t look anything alike.”


“He’s my step-brother. His mom married my Dad last year.”


“Oh.”


“Come on. My room is this way.”


Isak followed Chris down the bright blue hallway, impressed by the size of the house. Chris’s family obviously had money. Isak had assumed that already based on the sleek car Chris was driving. Isak wasn’t shocked when Chris’s room was ginormous – and had it’s own en suite bathroom.


“Sit on the bed. Want a snack?” Chris asked, shrugging off his jacket and throwing it over the desk chair.


“We just had ice cream.” Isak stated, sitting down gingerly on the pristinely made bed. Chris’s family obviously had a maid because what teenage boy could be bothered to make their own bed?


Chris chuckled. “I don’t know about you, but I’m always hungry. I’ll make something. Want to find a game for us?”

 

“Sure.”


Isak felt so off when he was left alone. It all felt like a prank, as if any second now some of Chris’s friends were going to jump out from somewhere and start calling Isak a loser, a fag – something.


Why was Chris doing this?


“You all right over there?” Chris asked when he walked back in, holding a bag of popcorn and two cokes. Isak hadn’t realized he had zoned out with a pained look on his face.


“You’re popular.” Isak said, turning and looking at the older boy. Chris stopped in his tracks and raised his eyebrows.


“Uh...”


“And I’m really not. I get that I’m kind of nobody. I’m a first year. Like, we’re not meant to be well known yet.” Isak rambled, because he had a habit of doing that sometimes.


“Okay?”


“So. Why me? Why am I here right now, in your very nice house, sharing popcorn like we’re friends? I just feel like you’re making fun of me or something. Or you pity me..and Chris I don’t want your pity.”


“Isak, shut up.” Chris suddenly snapped, placing the food down on his desk and stomping over to Isak. “Don’t be stupid, okay?”


“I’m not stupid. Anyone would think this is weird!” Isak said, holding his ground as Chris stopped really, unnecessarily close to his face.


“Why do you care so much what other people think?” Chris asked, tilting his head to the side as he gazed at Isak’s face.


“Don’t you? Isn’t that what your whole life is about?”


“You don’t know me, Isak. Why are you making all these assumptions?”


“So you’re actually really deep, then? You actually want to have a conversation with me and not just sit around at stupid parties talking about which girls ass looks best?” Isak said, anger surging through him. He felt sick with it.


Chris had the audacity to look hurt.


“Where is this coming from, Isak?”


“Because I know what boys like you are like! I know that you like to tease people like me. Make fun of people for the pleasure of it. I...”


“I’m not like that.” Chris interrupted, looking angry now. “I don’t know why you’d think that, but I’m not an asshole. I’m not some dumb ass who only thinks about sex.”


“Oh really?”


“Yes, really!”


Isak looked away, stupidly feeling tears forming. What the hell was wrong with him? Chris was being nice to him. He’d bought Isak ice cream, taken him to his house, offered to just hang out like normal people do. And what was Isak doing?


Screaming at him like he’d already made fun of Isak – like he’d cornered him with his friends and taunted him for everything Isak was terrified of people knowing.


Isak was projecting his fears onto someone who didn’t deserve it, and he suddenly felt overwhelmingly guilty.


“What’s going on, Isak?” Chris asked, his voice softer now. He put a finger under Isak’s chin and made the younger boy look up, forcing eye contact.


Isak was surprised to see concern in Chris’s eyes, not judgment or snickering.


“I spend too much time in my head, remember?” Isak tried to joke, trying so hard not to cry.


“You do. But why?”


Because I’m not ready to tell people.


Because I’m afraid.


Because nobody will understand.


“I don’t know.”


**


They played video games for half an hour, sitting close together on Chris’s bed. Isak kept waiting for Chris to kick him out, or call him out on his bullshit. But he never did. He just offered Isak some popcorn and kept playing.


The sun was setting when Chris shut the game off, shutting down his game system and leaving the room dim. They hadn’t turned on any lights yet.


“I like you, Isak.” Chris suddenly said, turning towards Isak. They were so close Isak could feel his breath on his face.


“I like you too.” Isak said, as close to an admission as he would probably get.


But I like you in a different way than you like me.


The thought was barely finished, hadn’t yet solidified in his mind before Chris was suddenly pulling Isak onto his lap, spreading his legs until they were on either side of Chris’s hips. Isak squeaked in surprise and wrapped his arms around Chris’s neck on instinct, trying to steady himself.


“What the hell are you...”


“Kiss me.” Chris demanded, not waiting for Isak to answer before he put his mouth on Isak’s, moaning softly.


Isak kissed back because he couldn’t believe this was happening, couldn’t even stop to comprehend it. But for some reason, Chris wanted him. He wanted to kiss Isak.


It took Isak almost a full minute to realize Chris was hard, practically leaking through his jeans as he bucked up into Isak, groaning as he pushed his tongue into Isak’s mouth.


“I’ve been thinking about you all day.” Chris admitted, opting to kiss Isak’s neck. “Wanted you on my bed since you got into my car today.”

What. The. Fuck.


Was Isak dreaming?


“Chris, I’ve never...” Isak began, suddenly worried about being disappointing.


“It’s fine, baby. I just want to kiss your mouth.” Chris said, putting his mouth back on Isak’s and doing just that. “You have nice lips. They’re so soft.”


Baby.


Baby.


Isak whimpered.


“Are they?” Isak asked hesitantly, being brave and running his hands through Chris’s hair as the older boy nodded.


“Yeah. Everything about you is soft. C’mere.”


Chris leaned down on the bed properly so that Isak was covering him with his body, beginning to lightly sweat beneath his clothes. He was hard now too, couldn’t help it because he was kissing a boy – one of the most popular boys in his school.


Chris was clearly holding back. He kept moving his hands down as if he wanted to explore Isak’s body but then he hesitated, ultimately bringing them back up to Isak’s face. Isak suddenly didn’t want him to be careful – he wanted him to do whatever he wanted.


“Touch me.” Isak whispered, pulling his face back so he could properly see the boy beneath him. He licked his lips nervously and Chris watched the movement. “I want you to.”


Fuck.” Chris groaned, reaching down so he could grope Isak’s ass. He lined their dicks up perfectly through their jeans and pulled Isak into him, causing them both to moan at the feeling.


The pleasure was beginning to peak in Isak’s groin and he knew he should stop. He should tell Chris to slow down, to let them take a small break; ask questions about what they were fucking doing. But he also really, really, didn’t want to stop.


“I’m...” Isak attempted, breaking their kisses and burying his face in Chris’s neck. He was too overwhelmed to speak.


“What?” Chris asked, putting his hands back to Isak’s face and carding his fingers through Isak’s hair. “Did I do something wrong?”


“No, I just...I need you to...” Isak could feel his cheeks burning and he stopped himself from saying the words.


“Isak, tell me baby.”

Isak thrust his hips down at the word, whimpering. “I’m going to come.”


Chris mimicked Isak’s whimper and put his hands back on Isak’s ass. “You’re so good for me. That’s so hot, Isak.”


Isak was sent right next to the edge a handful of seconds later, Chris relentlessly rutting against him; spreading Isak’s legs even more. Isak could feel it, the way his body was coiling; the inevitable peak about to rush over him.


What made it even better was knowing the person he was sharing this with was someone he was actually attracted to, someone who was turning Isak on so much he was breathless with it.


“It’s going to...make a...mess.” Isak gasped, stupidly still able to think about that kind of thing. Chris chuckled into his mouth.


“I don’t care. I really fucking don’t care, Isak. I’ll lend you some jeans.”


Fuck.” Isak practically shouted, thrusting himself down now; the instinct taking over.


“That’s it. C’mon.”


CHRIS!”


A thunderous voice came from just outside Chris’s door, a loud knocking a second later. Both boys froze where they were and Chris’s face went pale.


“Chris, open the door. What did I say about locked doors in my house?”


“Fuck. Fuck!” Chris whispered, throwing Isak off of him and launching himself up from the bed. Isak scrambled to sit up as well, fear being the cause of his flushed face now.


“One second, Dad!” Chris called, walking over to Isak and pulling him up on his feet. “Please, Isak. My dad doesn’t know I...”


Chris froze, suddenly looking horrendously sad and glanced back towards his door. He sighed deeply before looking back to Isak. “Can you please hide in my wardrobe? I’m so fucking sorry.”


Isak nodded immediately, wanting to wipe that look off Chris’s face by any means. He walked over and got inside, hiding himself behind the hanging clothes. Chris shut the door and left him in darkness.


“What’s up?” Chris asked a moment later, the sound of his door opening.


“Why is your door locked?” A man’s voice answered, heavy footsteps coming further into the room.


“Um.. I just locked it by accident. I was gaming with William earlier and when he left I must have just locked it when I came back upstairs. Sorry.” Chris’s voice sounded small and meek, completely unlike what Isak had become used to.


He put his fingers to his lips. They were still wet from Chris’s mouth.


“Well, whatever.” His father spat, sounding annoyed. “Even is here. It’s Ingrid’s birthday so she invited him. I expect you downstairs in ten minutes. Understood?”


“Yes, sir.”


The sound of the door closing again made Isak breath a sigh of relief. He listened and waited for Chris to open the wardrobe, but the sound never came. Had he gone downstairs already?


Isak took a risk and opened the door about three inches. He was too fucking tall for this tiny space and his legs were seriously starting to cramp. The room was still silent so he pushed the door open completely and tentatively stepped out.


Chris was nowhere to be seen.


How the fuck was Isak supposed to leave if nobody knew he was here? The odds were that Chris’s father would call the police if he just waltzed downstairs in the middle of their dinner.


Isak wandered slowly over to the window and peered outside.


Shit.


It was too high of a jump. He would just have to wait up here until Chris came back for him.


Isak’s chest was tightening. It was an awful feeling to be hiding upstairs, not able for Chris to be honest with his father about him. Couldn’t he have just said Isak was a friend? Couldn’t there have been some other way to deal with this without making Isak feel like a dirty secret? Like he had to be quarantined off from the rest of them because he was different.


This is why Isak had never told anyone. This is why he’d never trusted someone with his feelings before. This is why he suddenly knew for sure that he didn’t look like a straight boy; just another one of Chris’s friends. Chris knew that too. It’s why he asked Isak to hide, why he asked that Isak and him meet in his car without people knowing.


If people saw a boy alone with Isak, they would make assumptions about them both.


Isak was torn out of his thoughts by Chris’s bedroom door opening. Isak didn’t have time to hide or do anything except freeze where he was; a flash of fright make him squeak.


“Oh, hi there.”


It wasn’t Chris’s father. It was a tall boy with blonde, shaggy hair and a wide smile. He looked at Isak like he couldn’t have found something more exciting – as if Isak had been up here all along just for him to come and see.

“Who are you?” The boy asked, and Isak remembered suddenly that this was Chris’s step-brother. Edwin? Everett?


“I’m Even. Chris’s step-brother. I didn’t know he had a friend over. I just came to get my book I left in here.” The boy continued, walking over to Isak with his hand extended. This close up, Isak could see how miraculously blue Even’s eyes were.


“I’m not...we’re not...” Isak stammered, shaking Even’s hand. It was smooth and warm.


Even raised his eyebrows, waiting for Isak to actually finish his sentence. But all Isak could do was let his hand drop and look at the floor.


“Did Chris tell James that you’re here?” Even asked, looking back at the door. “Come and join us for dinner.”


“I can’t.” Isak blurted out, hating that he was a second away from crying.


I can’t because Chris doesn’t want me.


“Sure you can. Come with me and I’ll...”


“No!” Isak interrupted, putting a hand to his lips and pointing at the door. “Chris asked me to hide. I...I can’t go downstairs.”


Even frowned, his eyes darkening. “Why would he tell you to...”


“I’m just going to wait here until he’s done. Then he can sneak me out or whatever.” Isak whispered, wiping an escaping tear off his face. He hoped desperately that Even hadn’t seen it.


“Oh, shit.” Even snapped, shaking his head. “I’m going to kill him.”


“What? No. Why?”


“Because he’s a goddamn coward.” Even said.


Isak didn’t know what to say. He thought he understood why Even was upset – he knew Chris’s secret.


My dad doesn’t know.


But Isak didn’t care enough anymore to think it through. He just wanted to go home.


“What’s your name?” Even asked, reaching for Isak’s hand again and cradling it between his own. Isak met his eyes and realized that Even was looking at him so kindly it made him start crying for real this time. He couldn’t take this.


“Isak.” He hiccuped, trying to keep his tears quiet.


“Isak. Okay, come on. I’ll show you a way out.” Even turned around and continued to hold Isak’s hand in his right hand as he dashed down the hallway and into another bedroom. He closed the door softly behind him.


“This was my room. I was mastered sneaking out of here before I went off to uni.” Even smiled, bringing Isak over to his window and then letting go of his hand. He opened the window and pointed to a landing. It would be two jumps getting down this time.


“Oh.” Isak whispered.


“If you hang onto the window sill while you place your feet down, it won’t be as loud. There’s also some moss on the ground for the next jump near the driveway. If you land there, you’ll be set.” Even explained, placing a hand on Isak’s back now.


Isak nodded, wiping his face again and preparing to jump out the window.


God, he hated his life.


“Just so you know,” Even began, leaning in and whispering to Isak. “There are a lot of people in the world – in this city - who wouldn’t make you jump out a window. I really, really want you to remember that Isak.”


Isak stared at Even, the lump in his throat tightening.


He knows.


He knows and he isn’t looking at Isak like he’s someone who should be hidden.


“Thanks, Even.”


Even smiled at him again, softer now, and leaned in to press and light kiss to Isak’s cheek. “Get home safe.”

Chapter Text

Chris: Isak I’m so sorry, can we talk?

 

Isak had been staring at that same message for two days now. He hadn’t gone back to school. He told his dad he was sick – faked a cough and everything. He wasn’t one to normally do that but he was so embarrassed he couldn’t face Chris.

 

Not to mention that he’d seriously twisted his ankle when he’d fallen from the roof of Chris’s house, Even whisper-shouting down to him and asking him if he was all right.

 

He’d simply limped away as an answer.

 

Isak didn’t know how to reply to Chris. Or Jonas, who had sent him a number of worried texts. Isak wasn’t capable of much right now except being a miserable lump in his bedroom.

 

Isak was just settling into the couch, a bowl full of popcorn in front of him – happy to have the house to himself while his mom dragged his dad to some church meeting – when the front door rang. He rolled his eyes and considered not answering, but his curiosity got the better of him.

 

He opened the door, not caring that he was wearing the same pajamas as yesterday and nearly passed out from surprise.

 

“Chris, what the fuck?” Isak nearly shouted. “What are you doing here?”

 

Chris normally walked with an air of pride to his movements. He walked like anything could come at him and he wouldn’t care. But right now he looked small, huddled in on himself like he was expecting Isak to lunge at him. He cleared his throat.

 

“I...I wanted to see how you are. I heard you were sick?” Chris attempted, his eyebrows raising.

 

Isak rolled his eyes. “I’m not sick, asshole. So, you can go now. Your conscious is clear.” Isak attempted to close the door but Chris stopped him with his hand.

 

“I had totally forgotten about the dinner, Isak.” Chris pleaded. “I forgot it was my mom’s birthday and that Even was coming. I got my dates mixed up. I wouldn’t have...”

 

“I know. You wouldn’t have invited me over otherwise because I’m a secret, right? You wouldn’t want your dad to know you like boys.” Isak interrupted, swallowing thickly and shaking his head.

 

“No. No.” Chris suddenly snapped, pushing his way completely into Isak’s house now. Isak turned and followed him, finally getting the door closed.

 

“You can’t just walk in here like...”

 

You need to fucking stop assuming you know me, Isak!” Chris said, turning around on his heel and pushing his pointer finger into Isak’s chest. “You need to stop thinking that I’m some asshole. That I intentionally hurt your feelings. I just forgot about something! I was also fucking scared because we were pretty much having sex and my dad – who is a mean son of a bitch by the way – was right outside my door. He could have probably figured out what we were doing based on how we looked.”

 

Isak sucked in a breath, never taking his eyes away from Chris’s.

 

The older boy’s dark eyes were full of tears.

 

“If we hadn’t been doing that – if you hadn’t been on top of me telling me you were so close just from kissing me...” Chris said, moving a little closer to Isak now, backing him up slowly until his shoulders hit the living room wall. “I would have said we were just hanging out. I would have invited you downstairs. I fucking swear.”

 

Isak swallowed thickly, letting Chris come closer to him until their chests were touching. On one hand he believed Chris. He knew how hard it was to live in constant fear of someone finding out your secret. Isak knew what it was like to be afraid of your own family.

 

But he also hated the idea of getting involved with Chris and not being able to enjoy it properly. Everything would be stolen kisses and sneaking around, pretending to be friends or avoiding each other.

 

It all sounded like too much work.

 

“Maybe we should just end whatever this is before it starts, Chris.” Isak sighed, looking away. “It all sounds too complicated. I can’t think.”

 

Chris stayed silent, his body heat sinking into Isak’s skin and making him too hot. He felt crowded and trapped. He suppressed the urge to squirm away.

 

“Okay. Whatever you want, Isak.” Chris finally said, at last taking a step away and heading back towards the door.

 

Isak watched him and hesitated. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want Chris to think he was still mad at him, but he also didn’t want him to...

 

Oh, just fuck it.

 

Time to get out of his goddamn head.

 

“Chris, do you actually like me?” Isak practically shouted, coming over and reaching for Chris before he could re-open the door. The older boy turned around and rolled his eyes.

 

“Fucking hell, Isak. Of course I do. Why did I come here to see you? Why did I invite you to my house, or take you out for ice cream? Why did I first ask you to meet up about the fight?”

 

Isak frowned. “I thought you genuinely needed my help for the fight?”

 

Chris waved a hand in front of his face. “I couldn’t care less about it. It’s all William’s shit anyway. I used it as an excuse to get to talk to you. There. Is that being honest enough for you?”

 

Isak smiled a little at the blush that had appeared on Chris’s cheek.

 

“Don’t you have a girlfriend?”

 

The one you cheated on with Eva.

 

Chris shook his head. “We ended it. Are you done interrogating me now?”

 

“I’m not trying to interrogate you. I just...I didn’t know you liked boys. Clearly you do but you’re not out. I’m not out either. I’ve never dated or anything.” Isak rambled, suddenly feeling dumb because why was he assuming Chris would want to date him?

 

Maybe Chris just wanted to get laid, or see what it was like to fuck a boy.

 

“Okay? So what?” Chris looked confused.

 

Isak opened his mouth to speak, but couldn’t think of what to say next. He clamped his lips together, feeling annoyed.

 

“Look,” Chris sighed, coming closer to Isak and running a hand through his hair. The gesture made Isak feel safer, less worried about sounding like a loser. “I like you. I was trying to get to know you. I don’t have any intentions, or a plan. I just wanted to see how things went – if you even liked me too. I had no clue if you liked boys.”

 

“Really?” Isak blurted out.

 

“What?”

 

“You didn’t just assume I liked boys?”

 

“No? Why would I?” Chris frowned, again looking so sincere that Isak felt like a giant asshole for being so presumptuous.

 

“Can I kiss you?” Isak said as a reply, standing up on his tip toes and doing it anyway. He figured Chris wouldn’t mind, wouldn’t say no.

 

Chris wrapped his arms around Isak's middle, pulling him into his chest and opening his mouth willingly. Isak felt the desperation in Chris's body only seconds later, as if Chris had never kissed someone before and would die if he didn't get to continue.

 

Isak's back hit the wall near the door, the air whooshing out of his lungs. But he didn't have time to take in a proper breath before Chris was attacking his mouth again, groaning against the softness of Isak's lips.

 

“Where's your room?” Chris pulled away to ask, fiddling with the end of Isak's shirt.

 

“Upstairs.”

 

**

 

Isak had never done anything before. He didn't feel embarrassed about that. He was only sixteen. He didn't think most sixteen year old teenagers were sexually confident.

 

But as he looked down at Chris's naked body – his defined thighs, sculpted chest, hard and leaking cock – he really, really, wished he knew what the hell he was doing.

 

“Isak, just come here.” Chris urged, running a hand down Isak's naked chest.

Isak had been hovering above Chris, also naked - also turned on - but he hadn't gotten past that yet. He'd actually felt a little frozen, just staring down at an expectant Chris and not having any clue about what to do next.

 

“It's okay.” Chris whispered, maneuvering Isak until he was lying properly on top of Chris – his legs spread again. He realized Chris must have liked this position. They ended up here quite a lot it seemed.

 

When Isak let himself lie down, the movement caused their dicks to brush together which made them both moan. Isak started to grind, reaching for Chris's mouth with his own and licking into it – no longer caring if he was experienced. He just chased the feeling pulsing through him because it was suddenly all there was.

 

This immense pleasure that he never wanted to stop.

 

Chris was so loud. Isak couldn't get over it; how Chris squirmed and writhed, pushing up into Isak and barely letting either of them breathe. Isak could hardly keep up.

 

“You feel so good. Your legs, Jesus Christ.”

 

Isak felt Chris's big hands wrap around his thighs, squeezing as he brought Isak down against him harder, fucking up into him. Their skin was slightly sweaty, and Isak's chin was rubbed red from the scruff of Chris's beard, but Isak didn't care. Couldn't stop to worry about these things even if he tried.

 

Chris reached up and wrapped his fingers around the back of Isak's neck, yanking his head back and exposing his throat. Isak squeaked out a groan as Chris licked near his adam's apple, a shiver running down his back.

 

“I'm gonna come, baby. You're gonna make me come.” Chris said, moaning as he let go of Isak's hair and threw his head back against the pillow.

 

“Me too.” Isak managed to say, the closeness of his orgasm making him breathless with want – the need to slip over the edge all-consuming.

 

Chris's hands found Isak's ass, and with all the strength his arms had, pulled Isak against him over and over – moving Isak just as he wanted him. Isak went along with it, everything feeling too good. He figured Chris would know what to do – considering he was the one with sexual experience.

 

Isak decided all on his own, however, to sit up properly – as if he was riding Chris – and put his hands on the older boy's chest. Chris practically shouted and he stared up at Isak in a kind of wonder; mesmerized. Isak didn't look away, despite the fact that he was blushing.

 

“God, you're so good for me, Isak. So good.”

 

It seemed to happen together – both their bodies tightening, their moans quieting down for a second only to be shouting again the next. Isak clenched his eyes shut, coming hard all over Chris's chest, and feeling Chris losing it underneath him. They both grunted and panted through it, shaking and whimpering.

 

Isak felt dizzy when it was over, his chest heaving as he finally opened his eyes.

 

“Isak, I...” Chris smiled, about to reach up and touch Isak's face.

 

But of course, the universe seemed to hate Isak and that's when he heard the front door slam downstairs, his mother shouting out to him. For the second time from this angle, Isak had to watch Chris's eyes go wide and then a second later have Chris throw him off and stumble up.

 

This time, Chris was naked and trying to put on his clothes. Isak was apparently still sex-stupid, and simply sat on his bed – naked and exposed.

 

“Get dressed! What the fuck are you doing?” Chris whispered, trying not to be heard. He wiped the come off his chest before putting his t-shirt back on, jumping into his boxers and reaching for his jeans.

 

“Isak? Are you already asleep?” Marianne called from behind Isak's door, sounding cheerful. She always sounded cheerful after church.

 

Isak had never stood up so quickly in his life.

 

“No, Mom. Just give me a second!”

 

“Okay. I'll be downstairs.” Marianne said, and Isak was grateful that she hadn't tried to come in. Usually she was quite nosy, always needing to know what Isak was doing.

 

She'd nearly caught him watching gay porn last week – marching straight into his room without knocking.

 

“Does your window open?” Chris asked, looking around frantically for his other shoe.

 

“Uh, yeah.” Isak replied, frowning as he pulled a sweater over his head. “But you're not jumping out of it.”

 

“What?”

 

“You're leaving out the front door, like a normal person.” Isak replied simply.

 

Nobody else was jumping out of windows, thanks very much. Isak was going to enforce this rule from now on. Plus, there was a rose bush under Isak's window and he didn't want to turn Chris into a human pin-cushion.

 

“But we just...we look like...” Chris stammered, shaking his head; clearly torn about what to do.

 

“We look like we just had sex?” Isak offered, sitting back down on his bed once he was dressed.

 

“Yes!”

 

“Or we could have been doing something else. Playing video games. Working on a project together. They won't assume we were fucking.”

 

“This isn't how I want to meet your parents. Fuck.” Chris ran his hands through his hair, messing it up even more.

 

“You don't have to stay. But I'm walking you out the door. Jumping out of windows isn't how I want to do this.” Isak said, regaining some of his confidence.

 

Hadn't Chris come over to apologize for making Isak jump out of a window? Why did he suddenly want to go right back to sneaking around like they were committing some kind of crime? It was irritating.

 

“Okay. Okay.” Chris nodded, walking over to Isak and smiling hesitantly. “I wish we wouldn't keep getting interrupted.”

 

Isak returned the smile, suddenly shy.

 

He'd just had sex.

 

With a boy.

 

And it had been amazing. Isak didn't have words.

 

“Me too.”

 

Chris leaned in for a kiss, gentle and quick, their soft lips parting with quiet sound. Chris brushed Isak's hair out of his face, smoothing it down.

 

“Let's say I was helping you with a project. Since I'm older and wiser.” Chris winked.

 

“Oh, sure. Older and should therefore not be taking advantage of me.” Isak smirked, licking his lips flirtatiously.

 

“Is that what you call it? I forced you to get on top of me naked?” Chris wrapped his arms around Isak's waist and pulled him in tightly. Isak laughed.

 

“Yeah. Or else you wouldn't help me finish my project. How scandalous of you.”

 

“Completely. What a scoundrel I am, huh?”

 

“Just awful.” Isak said, placing another quick kiss on Chris's lips. He unwillingly let go a moment later, knowing his mother would be coming upstairs to check on him soon if he didn't go down and see her.

 

“Are your parents...okay?” Chris whispered, looking worried again just as Isak was about to open his door.

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Are they okay with people who...” Chris shook his head, cheeks turning red. “Would they be mad if you liked boys?” Chris whispered the last words right into Isak's ear.

 

Isak looked at the carpet and shrugged.

 

“I don't know. My dad might be all right with it, but my mom...”

 

“Isak?” Marianne's voice was suddenly right outside the door, which a second later swung open. Chris flinched and took a step back while Isak turned to see the wide-eyed look his mother was currently sporting as she glanced at Chris.

 

“Oh! I didn't know you had someone over.” Marianne said slowly, her eyes finding Isak's again. “Considering how ill you've apparently been the past few days.”

 

Isak refrained from rolling his eyes, but only just.

 

“Chris came to help me with a project, Mom. He knew I'd been gone so he wanted to help me get it in on time.”

 

“Sorry to be over so late.” Chris added sheepishly, extending his hand. “I'm Chris. Nice to meet you.”

 

Marianne shook his hand, smiling genuinely this time and Isak knew she'd bought the lie. “That's very nice of you to come over and help Isak, Chris. Do you want some dessert? I stole a few pieces of cake from church. It's chocolate strawberry, Isak. Your favourite.”

 

Isak sighed because it hadn't been a favourite of his for a few years now, which he'd mentioned several times. But Marianne liked to think she always knew what was best for him.

 

“Thanks, but I better get home.”

 

“I'll walk you out.” Isak said, walking past his mother and down the stairs.

 

“Come back soon, Chris! You're welcome to come for dinner.” Marianne said, clearly right behind them and Isak did roll his eyes now. Why couldn't she ever leave him alone?

 

“Isak, you should clean your room next time you have friends over. It smells horrible in there.” Marianne commented, patting Chris on the back as she made her way into the kitchen and out of sight.

 

Chris smirked at Isak as he put his shoes on, both of them knowing what Isak's room actually smelled of, and it certainly wasn't dirty socks.

 

“I'll see you tomorrow, baby.” Chris whispered in Isak's ear, placing a quick kiss on his cheek before leaving.

 

Isak walked into the kitchen, hearing the muffled conversation between his mother and father. They turned and looked at him as he poured himself a glass of juice, the taste of Chris lingering on his tongue.

 

“He's really nice, Isak. I'm glad you've made a new friend.” Marianne said, walking over and kissing the same cheek that Chris had a moment ago.

 

**

You have a friend request from Even Bech Naesheim.

 

Isak hadn't expected Chris's step-brother to send him a friend request over Facebook – especially before he became friends with Chris on Facebook - but he didn't hesitate when he accepted.

 

Isak busied himself with some actual homework after that, leaving a few tabs open. He jumped when he heard a ding sound from one of them twenty minutes later and struggled to find the right page.

 

Isak frowned as he realized it was Even who had sent him a message.

 

Hey Isak. Sorry if this is weird, but I just wanted to say that I thought about what happened the other night and everything I said to you. I hope you didn't think I meant Chris was a coward. I was talking about his father.

 

Isak waited, seeing that Even was typing more.

 

Despite the fact that my mother is a kind and caring person, she somehow decided marrying Chris's father was a good decision. He's the exact opposite of her in pretty much every way. He's homophobic and racist and just not a nice guy to be around.

 

Isak waited again, wishing Even would just send a damn message in one go.

 

Chris is a really nice guy. We became close when I first moved in, before I left for university. I know he's been struggling with his sexuality because of how much his father thinks it's wrong to be gay, or bi, or whatever. I won't put a label on him. But Chris is a really nice person, so I hope what I said didn't make you think otherwise. Just wanted to find you and tell you that since it's been on my mind a lot.

 

I often tell Chris that there are people in this world who will accept him no matter what, despite what his father thinks. But it's been really hard for him to move past the fact that his father wouldn't accept him dating anyone who isn't a girl. I've been there, struggling to figure out who I am in a world that's full of hate. And it isn't easy. I don't know your situation, if you have supportive people in your life or not, but either way...I'm here if you wanted to talk about anything. Please know that.

 

Or just ignore this entirely if you think I'm lame. :P Have a good night.

Isak took a moment to process everything before he sent a reply, a smile across his face as he wrote.

 

Hi Even. I don't think you're lame. Thanks a lot for your message. I came to the conclusion that Chris is a nice guy tonight actually, when he came to visit. Before that I wondered, and misjudged him. I'm glad he has you to talk to. I don't really have anyone I feel okay talking to about all this, but I'm hoping someday I will. Thanks for saying you're here if I need that. That's really nice of you.

 

No problem! Glad you realized his awesomeness :) I'm glad to know he has you now, too.

 

Isak blushed at the phrasing, but it definitely felt like he and Chris were together now. Maybe they wouldn't label it, but labels were dumb. Something didn't have to have a label to exist.

 

Goodnight, Even.

 

Sweet dreams, Isak.

 

Chapter Text

Isak was tagging along with Jonas once again because that's what he was good at. They were currently walking to a party that Eva had invited them too, and the cool night air was doing nothing to clear his head. He was buzzed from the beer.

 

Isak was avoiding staring too long at the way Jonas's strong jaw clenched, or how the skin looked really smooth near his chest as it dipped down before being hidden by his t-shirt. Isak was avoiding getting hard but his dick seemed to have other plans.

 

He knew what it felt like to make a boy come now. He knew how good it was. And despite the fact that he presumably had Chris to text if he felt the urge, Isak was still stupidly looking at his best friend and wishing he could touch him in a way that wasn't exactly 'friendly.'

He shook his head, focusing on the road in front of them and praying they were going to be at the party soon.

 

“You all right?” Jonas asked, bumping shoulders with Isak and making his stomach flutter.

 

“Um. Yeah. I'm good. Why?”

 

“You seem out of it.” Jonas shrugged.

 

“I think I'm kind of drunk. That's all.”

 

“Nah, I don't think that's the only thing.” Jonas teased, ruffling up Isak's hair which brought their bodies closer together again and Isak nearly whimpered. “You want to get laid tonight, don't you?”

 

What?”

 

Jonas smirked. “You look turned on. I probably look turned on too.”

 

Isak had probably hit his head somewhere because Jonas couldn't actually be saying this right now, right?

 

“How the fuck do you know...” Isak began, but Jonas put a hand over Isak's lips to silence him.

 

“Getting drunk makes me horny. And I know what that looks like. You look like that right now. Therefore, I think you're turned on. Who are you thinking about?”

 

Isak wished in that moment that he could have said a girl's name, or that he had enough self-control to censor himself. But being drunk apparently stopped the brain to mouth communication because he ended up blurting out, “You.”

 

Jonas stopped walking and looked seriously for all of a second before he threw his head back and laughed like there was nothing funnier. Isak felt like he was going to be sick.

 

“You're funny, Issy. If your rap career is a dud, become a comedian okay?” And just like that, Jonas dismissed Isak's admittance like it was nothing and began walking again; assuming Isak would follow.

 

And of course, Isak did.

 

**

 

As Isak sat on a couch in the middle of the crowded living room, people from his school dancing and grinding all around him, he suddenly realized that Chris hadn't spoken to him in an entire week.

 

No texts. Not meeting up. Certainly no hook ups.

 

Chris also full-on ignored Isak at school, walking right past him without acknowledgment or a simple wave – making Isak look like a fool when he had smiled and waved at Chris. William shot Isak a confused glance before moving on, Isak apparently as forgettable as a piece of garbage on the floor.

 

And Isak should have expected it. They weren't in a relationship. They'd had sex once, and it had been awesome. Definitely fantastic. But they hadn't defined it. Labels were dumb. Isak had thought that the night Chris had come over, full of apologies and 'oh look what not an asshole I am, Isak.' 'Look how deep and wonderful I am.'

 

Isak rolled his eyes because clearly that was a lie. Chris didn't want to be seen with some first year nobody, especially one who looked like Isak. Clearly the whole 'you need to stop thinking you know me' thing was a ploy to get into Isak's pants.

 

Isak had sort of accepted it.

 

But as he sat on the couch, really, really drunk, he spotted Chris making out with Eva against the wall. He was tongue-fucking her like he was trying to eat her, and it was making Isak a little queasy.

 

Isak couldn't tell Jonas why he was angry. He couldn't tell any other friends, because that would mean coming out to them.

 

The only person he could really tell was Even.

 

Drunk messaging was a bad idea, he knew. It was just a fact. But he was too far gone to remember, so he pulled out his phone and opened the conversation he'd had with Even a week before.

 

Yr step-bro is afuckin ass.changed my mind bout him

 

Isak, are you drunk?

Howddiya guess

 

What did Chris do?

Hes alltalk & noaction

 

I think you should get some water, okay?

Nah imgood even

 

Don't give up on him yet, please. Things have been hard for him at home.

 

I hav it hard toobut imnot a fucking dick bout it

 

Where are you? Should I come and get you?

Nope. thnks tho

 

Get home safe please

 

nobdoy is gunawant me, even, chris doesnt

 

Yes someone will, Isak. Someone will love you so much

 

u dont know that.imbad in bed.chris wud talk to meif i was btter

 

I'm sure that's not the reason, Isak.

 

“Issy, you came!” A shrill voice screamed in Isak's ear, making him nearly drop his phone. The next thing he knew someone very heavy and very female plunked into his lap.

 

“Hi, Eva.” Isak smiled tensely, tilting his head to see Chris hovering behind her, looking all kinds of awkward and every shade of pink there was.

 

“Are you having fun?” She asked, placing a kiss on his cheek. He nodded.

 

“Oh yeah.”

 

“You're not dancing, though. Or hooking up with anyone. We should find you someone!” She squealed drunkenly, swatting Chris. “Let's help him find a girl, Chris!”

 

“Yeah, Chris!” Isak shouted, blearily looking up at the older boy and winking. “Find me someone to fuck.”

 

**

 

Isak had no fucking clue how he ended up in the bathroom, Chris pinning him to the door and attacking his mouth. But he wasn't really complaining.

 

“You want to fuck someone, huh?” Chris asked, panting as he opened Isak's jeans and reached in to palm his dick without hesitation. Isak moaned, glad the music was loud enough that nobody would hear them.

 

“Yeah. Like you want to fuck Eva.” Isak managed to quip back, proud that he was able to think past the pleasure to give Chris a taste of his own medicine.

 

Chris sounded jealous and Isak wanted to laugh in his face.

 

“I don't want to fuck her. I want to fuck you.” Chris practically snarled, going back in for a kiss with the same amount of ferocity.

 

Isak kissed back for a few seconds before pulling his mouth away. “What if I don't want to fuck you?”

 

“Your dick is saying otherwise.”

 

“I wasn't thinking about you when I first got hard tonight.” Isak continued, hating how angry he sounded – like he was invested in this. He wasn't.

 

Those words seemed to hit a nerve in Chris and he pulled his hand away, moving back to look properly at Isak's face.

 

“I was thinking of someone else's dick. Someone else's mouth. Not yours.” Isak said, whispering the words like they were full of acid. He breathed heavily, a little dizzy from the lack of oxygen.

 

“Fuck. Isak. Look, I'm really sorry.” Chris said, crumbling a little. He moved his body away, stumbling until he was leaning against the vanity.

 

“Yeah, you're always sorry.”

 

“I've wanted to talk to you all week, but I...”

 

“You were busy?” Isak offered, raising his eyebrows.

 

“Yeah! I was.”

 

“You were seeing other friends?”

 

Chris nodded, smiling a little as if Isak was giving him a way out. “And I had to help my dad. He's working on this huge order at his shop and I've been swamped helping him.”

 

“And you've been swamped making out with Eva, too. Probably brought her back to your house sometime this week and fucked her right? I'm sure your dad would love to meet her. She'd go straight downstairs to the dinner table and be welcomed like royalty.” Isak said the words before they were gone, before he forgave Chris without ever speaking his mind.

 

Chris's face fell and he turned more pale, the pink cheeked blush from the alcohol almost gone.

 

“Isak, I'm not dating her. We've never actually hooked up.”

 

“I don't care where your dick has been anyways. Whatever. This is dumb.” Isak suddenly said, turning around and trying to open the door. Chris was behind him in a second, closing it with the weight of his body as he pushed into Isak.

 

“We're not done talking.” Chris said, the words a plea.

 

“Oh, I'm done. Fuck who you want. We're not together. We're not even friends, so don't waste more time worrying about my fucking feelings!”

 

“But I do care about your feelings, Isak. And I care about you.” Chris whined, his body heat suffocating and too much. Isak felt trapped.

 

“Would you get off me?”

 

“Not until you promise me that you won't leave.”

 

“Fine.”

 

Fine.” Chris repeated, moving away slowly so Isak could turn back around.

 

Isak rolled his eyes at how dramatic this all was. They were too drunk. If they had been sober, they wouldn't be talking right now at all. It would have been a one-time thing, and with time Isak probably would have forgotten all about it.

 

Why was Chris doing this? It was so fucking mean.

 

“Okay, you want the truth?” Chris asked.

 

“You're going to tell me anyway, so go ahead.”

 

“I wanted to text you, and I almost did about fifteen different times this week. But I'm really fucked scared, Isak.”

 

Isak rolled his eyes. “You're so scared that you ignore me all week and then make out with Eva to make yourself feel less gay?”

 

“I guess. That's how fucking pathetic I am.” Chris agreed, looking away.

 

“Okay. Cool. What am I supposed to do with this information?”

 

“I don't know. Maybe try and give me another chance?”

 

“Another chance at what?” Isak practically yelled. “What exactly am I supposed to be doing here? We're not in a relationship. You never texted me back. Now you're making out with my friend. If you're asking for another chance to do this to me again next week, then my answer is fucking no.”

 

“No, that's not what I meant. Let's start over. Lay down some rules or something, so we both know what to do.” Chris offered, looking back at Isak eagerly.

 

“Rules?”

 

“Yeah. Maybe we can spend certain nights together during the week. Or we'll talk outside of school but not during school hours.”

 

Isak barked out a bitter laugh. “Right. So you can fuck me all you like without anyone knowing? You'll pretend I don't exist while we're at Nissen but beyond those walls we're friends and fuck buddies?”

 

Chris considered Isak's words, looking pensive, before he gave a small nod. “Yeah. Basically. But it's not because you're an embarrassment. It's because we're both not out and we don't want to be. This way nobody will suspect.”

 

“You mean this way nobody will suspect that you like touching other guy's dicks.”

 

“Isak, come on. I'm trying here!” Chris whined.

 

“Why though? Why are you trying? What can you possibly get out of this stupid arrangement?”

 

Chris moved in, almost falling due to the alcohol still swirling in his system, and wrapped an arm around Isak's back. “You.” He whispered, pulling Isak close. “I get you. And you get to have me.”

 

“Because that's so fucking special.” Isak muttered, but it was meant playfully. Chris seemed to catch on and he leaned down for a quick kiss.

 

“I promise you, it is special. I want to prove to you how awesome I can be.” Chris continued, placing small and inviting kisses on Isak's jaw and neck. “Will you let me show you, Isak?”

 

Isak was really wanting this conversation to be over, so he ended up nodding. Chris could continue the kissing, but talking should stop right about now.

 

Isak closed his eyes, lost in the sensation. He was hard again, achingly so, and he groaned when Chris got his hand on his cock.

 

But his hand felt wetter than normal. And tighter. And holy fucking hell, Chris was on his knees and sucking Isak – staring up at him with big, wide eyes. How had Isak missed that?

 

“Chris, oh my god.”

 

Isak grabbed a handful of Chris's hair and held on for the ride, Chris taking him deeper and deeper down his throat. He licked the slit as he came forward, repeating and repeating until Isak shouted out his release, no time to warn Chris at all.

 

Isak nearly lost his balance as Chris came back up, kissing Isak before the younger boy could protest.

 

“Did I blow your mind?” Chris smirked, pushing his own hardness into Isak's thigh.

 

“You definitely blew something.” Isak laughed, pulling Chris into another kiss and getting ready to drop to his knees too. He didn't have the faintest idea what he was doing, but he was going to damn well try.

 

“I have to get back, baby.” Chris said, holding Isak's chin and stopping him from going down. “But let's meet after school on Monday, okay? Same spot as before. I'll pick you up.”

 

“But you're still...hard.” Isak said, confused and suddenly really sleepy.

 

“I know. But we've been in here a long time and I don't want someone to notice. Bye.” Chris whispered, kissing Isak's mouth one more time before sneaking out of the bathroom and into the noisy hallway.

 

Isak waited a few minutes before walking back to the living room, noticing that Jonas was kissing some random girl he didn't recognize. Jonas was squeezing her tits right in front of everyone, looking really pleased with himself.

 

Isak rolled his eyes and headed for the door, determined to not think about Jonas or Chris. Or the way Chris had just given him his first blow job. Or how hot Jonas looked when he was making out with someone, hair tussled and frizzy. Free.

 

Shit.

 

Isak walked home and collapsed into his bed, drifting off into a dreamless sleep.

 

Chapter Text

Isak groaned as he woke up, immediately feeling the presence of a hangover. His head throbbed, his mouth tasted foul and he knew he was going to puke. He dashed to the bathroom and made it just in time.

 

Fifteen minutes later, without either of his parents realizing their son had been drinking the previous night, Isak was dressed and ready for church.

 

A Sunday requirement in his house.

 

“Isak, you're so sweaty.” Marianne tutted, reaching into Terje's suit pocket and retrieving a hankerchief as they sat in the pew together. She leaned over and dabbed his forehead as if he were still a small child.

 

He was too nauseous to stop her.

 

“I'm not feeling the greatest.” He admitted, wishing he could lean his head back and sleep right through the sermon.

 

“You can go home if you need to.” Terje intervened, looking at Isak sympathetically.

 

Marianne didn't seem pleased by this suggestion and she lightly smacked her husband on the arm. “He'll be fine. Right, Isak?”

 

“Right.” Isak automatically responded, knowing he wouldn't actually be allowed to leave.

 

Church was too important to miss, even when gays were mentioned as if they were a virus that needed to be wiped out because they were such a threat to society.

 

Isak studiously tried not to think of Chris's lips wrapped around him, how amazing it had felt; how he craved more. The mixed feelings of guilt within him just pushed him even closer to puking all over the bibles in front of him.

 

**

 

When Isak got back home, his suit back in his closet, he realized his phone was dead and he hadn't been able to check to see if he'd gotten any messages from Jonas. They usually texted about parties the following day, leaving Isak struggling to describe who he made out with because he knew Jonas wanted and expected to know about it.

 

Lying was really exhausting.

 

When he could turn his phone on, he found no messages from Jonas, but a few from Even. His face paled as he realized he'd drunkenly messaged Even last night and had sounded like a complete tool.

 

Hi Isak, hope you got home all right last night.

You're probably feeling embarrassed about what you wrote but don't worry, okay?

 

The fact that Even brought up that Isak would be embarrassed just made him even more embarrassed and he sighed. How did he reply to that? Even was beyond nice. He didn't even know Isak. If Chris had told his step-brother anything about what was between them, Even must know that Isak wasn't dating Chris. They were hardly friends. Why was Even going through all the effort of consoling Isak?

 

Hey. Yeah, definitely cringing at myself right now. Thanks for being understanding. You don't have to be.

 

Even's reply came instantly, like it always seemed to.

 

Would you rather I be an asshole? :P

 

I just don't get why you care, I guess.

 

Let's just say I've been where you and Chris have been, and I also have a soft spot for my step-bro. I don't want to speak for him, but i know that he sucks at communicating and it makes him seem like a dick.

 

What do you mean you've been where we have been?

 

 

Isak's heart hammered against his ribs and he frowned down at his phone.

 

I've struggled with my sexuality too. I was afraid of people knowing i liked boys in the same way I liked girls. I know a lot of my family wouldn't be understanding, just like Chris's dad isn't understanding.

 

Oh.

 

Yeah. I get that it's tough.

 

I'm not dating Chris.

 

Okay. That doesn't mean you can't talk to me if you need to. I'm no expert, but I can be someone you talk to if you're feeling scared.

 

Isak didn't know what else to say, but he found himself smiling down at his phone now. There was something about Even that made Isak feel really safe. Isak didn't think Even was trying to make fun of him. He didn't think there was an ulterior motive.

 

Even just seemed like a really decent guy.

 

Thanks Even. I can listen too, if you also need it. But you're in uni and probably have friends and don't need my help, but you know.

 

Lol, thanks Isak. I'm sure you're good at listening. People at university can be dicks too. My roommates for example don't really care about anything except getting drunk. Not really my scene, so we haven't talk about much recently.

 

You don't drink?

 

I'm not supposed to.

 

Why?

 

It doesn't mix well with my meds.

 

What kind of meds? If that's okay to ask.

 

Yeah, it's fine. I need them to stabilize my mood. I can get overexcited sometimes.

 

Like ADHD?

 

Sort of. It's a long story. With how you're talking it sounds like you don't have many friends. Is that actually true?

 

I do have friends, but nobody i've told about liking boys.

 

Oh. do you think they'll react badly?

 

I just don't want to be looked at differently.

 

How would you be looked at differently?

 

I don't want my friends to think i'm going to hit on them or something. That's what tends to happen, isn't it?

 

Sometimes. But you can always tell them to fuck off and that you don't want to jump on their dicks just because they have one. :D

 

Isak threw his head back and laughed out loud. He found himself wishing he could meet up with Even in person, share a coffee together.

 

Being honest felt really fucking good.

 

Lmao. Has that been your strategy?

 

Yeah. Usually. I know it sounds like it would be easy, but i know what it's like to be afraid of standing up for yourself. You can work up to it.

 

Do you have a boyfriend?

 

Isak sent the message before he could second guess himself. They were already being really honest with each other, right? That question couldn't be stepping over the line.

 

No, I don't.

 

Have you had a boyfriend before?

 

Yeah. We broke up a few months ago.

 

I'm sorry.

 

It's fine. Sometimes people aren't meant to be together. Have you ever dated anyone?

 

No. I guess that's embarrassing to admit.

 

You don't have to feel embarrassed with me, Isak. I'm not going to judge. Judgment free zone right here.

 

I've told my friends I've hooked up with girls. But i never have. I haven't really done anything.

 

Except with Chris, Isak thought. And it had been pretty great, even though he still didn't know what the hell he was doing. And what Chris would want when they met up tomorrow. Would he be expecting something from Isak?

 

 

That isn't a bad thing. You shouldn't do anything before you're ready.

 

I want to ask something but i think it's weird since Chris is like your brother.

 

Honestly, Isak, you can ask me anything. I won't tell Chris about it. I promise.

 

Isak felt the anxiety in the pit of his stomach, but he made himself type out what he wanted to know. Even had a way of making Isak calm, even if the questions he wanted to ask were hard.

 

Chris and I hooked up twice. He...ugh, I hate that I'm so nervous saying this.

 

Take your time.

 

He went down on me, but rushed out before I could do it back to him. We're supposed to meet up tomorrow and I don't know if he'll want me to do it then.

 

Do you want to do it? I think that's the most important thing.

 

I think about it a lot. It's kinda my go-to fantasy, to be honest. I think it's how i realized that I like boys.

 

Isak's face was crimson now.

 

It's a favourite of mine too :P so you'd be willing to try it with him?

 

Yeah. I just don't want to be bad at it.

 

Do you feel like you could be honest with him, and ask to go slow?

 

I think so. But he seems to want to only hook up and have nobody know about it, so our time together is supposed to be just sex, I think.

 

Again, are you okay with that, Isak? Is that the type of relationship you want with him?

 

I don't think it's a bad thing, being each other's hook up.

 

Okay. Having sex with someone is about both of you, not just one person. So if you need to go slow, then explain that to him.

 

It sounds dumb but..I want to surprise him, I guess. I want to have the confidence and ability and be able to just get right to it. Does that sound bad?

 

No. wanting to be skilled isn't wrong. It's just kind of impossible without going through things the first time. You can't be an expert without any practice, right?

 

Right. I guess I just wish I could already be past the awkward first times.

 

 

Even didn't reply for five minutes, then ten minutes. And then thirty minutes went by. Isak was still looking down at their conversation like a reply would magically appear, or he thought perhaps he just missed Even's response so he kept checking.

 

But Even didn't reply, and Isak felt disappointed in a way he never had before. It was almost worse than every time Jonas and Eva would make out in front him, reminding him again and again how much Jonas only saw Isak as a friend.

 

Isak heard his mother calling him down for dinner, and he was about to get up and go, when he heard his phone go off again. He'd never typed in his pass code faster, utter relief flooding through him as he saw Even's name.

 

Sorry for the late reply. I just wanted to figure out how to phrase this without sounding like a complete asshole.

 

What is it? Did I say something wrong?

 

No, of course not Isak. You're lovely.

 

Isak melted a little at the words, waiting for what Even would say next.

 

If you wanted, I can be someone you practice with. Since it seems like you really like Chris and you want your arrangement to work out, but you're nervous about the other stuff... I don't mind helping you get past the awkward first times.

 

Isak must have read that wrong.

 

Even couldn't really be offering to have sex with Isak, right?

 

Even was in university. He was a lot older. And from what Isak could remember, he was really good looking. He could probably have any guy he wanted.

 

That means it can be whatever you need. Whatever you want help with, okay? It can be on your terms entirely, if you want anything at all.

 

Are you talking about sex? Like you're offering that?

 

Yeah. Turn me down if you want, seriously. Or be honest if you think i'm stepping too far.

 

No, you're amazing, Even. But have you seen me?? I'm nothing special. I don't know why you'd want to fuck me. I don't know why Chris does either.

 

Isak, it's about more than that. I want to help you. I want you to feel comfortable, okay?

 

Oh.

 

Isak swallowed thickly.

 

So Even didn't actually want to fuck Isak. He wanted to be helpful. He'd probably have to take pills to even get hard to fuck Isak, but he was just so damn helpful that he'd do it without a thought?

 

Now Isak felt suspicious, because what the hell did Even get out of this?

 

But for the record, you are something special. And I'm being a little selfish here too.

 

What do you mean?

 

I mean that I think you're really attractive, and I really really don't mind being the person you learn from. In fact, I'd be more than willing to experience that with you.

 

Seriously??

 

Don't sell yourself short, Isak. I'm sure it isn't just me and Chris who have noticed you.

 

I can't believe you think that about me, considering how you look.

 

How do I look?

 

Hot. You must know you're hot.

 

Was Isak actually doing this? Was he really admitting to Even that he thought he was hot?

 

I'm glad you think so. :P is that a yes, then? Do you want to get together?

 

“Isak, your dinner is getting cold!” Marianne called from the kitchen, and Isak knew he had to reply now. His mom didn't allow phones at the table.

 

Yes. I'm in. When?

 

Is tonight too early? Idk if you'd be able to sneak out?

 

I can. I know how. Where should we go?

 

Come to my apartment? I have my own room. We won't be bothered.

 

Okay. Send me your address.

 

Isak, just remember we don't have to do anything you don't want, okay? I won't pressure you.

 

I know. I have to go for dinner now. See you in about an hour?

 

See you then. ;)

 

 

Chapter Text

As Isak was getting ready to go to Even's place, his phone buzzed in his pocket. He took it out quickly, wondering if Even had decided to cancel, and instead nearly lost his breath when he saw Chris's name.

 

Hey Isak. Just wanted to make sure you're still okay with meeting up tomorrow. I'm excited to see you. :)

 

Isak smiled back briefly, the sweetness of Chris's words comforting, but then Isak felt immediate guilt rush through him. So much so that he had to sit down on his bed and catch his bearings.

 

What the hell?

 

Why was he feeling like this?

 

Chris didn't want to date Isak. Isak wanted to be good in bed for Chris. Even had offered to help Isak with this. It was all so simple.

 

Okay, it was slightly strange because Even was Chris's step-brother but again, Chris and Isak weren't dating. It's not like Isak would be sitting at a family dinner across from Even, remembering how they used to fuck as Chris held his hand under the table.

 

Everything was casual. No strings attached. Technically, Isak could end things between Chris and Even whenever he wanted.

 

With that thought in mind, Isak shook off the last of the guilt and texted Chris back, saying they would still meet up and that he was looking forward to it as well, before grabbing his stuff and heading out of his room.

 

"Don't stay too late at Jonas's house, Isak." Terje said, right before Isak could head out the front door. "Be home by eleven latest, all right?"

 

"Okay. Bye." Isak said, not making eye contact as he left and accidentally slammed the door behind him out of nerves.

 

He could feel himself shaking as he walked towards the tram. He couldn't help thinking that once again the person who said he wanted him actually wouldn't. Maybe Isak would show up and Even would laugh at him. Maybe he'd show up and it would be the wrong address. Maybe all of Even's roommates would be gathered around ready to laugh at Isak for being so desperate. A freak. Pathetic.

 

By the time Isak actually got to Even's front porch, he was close to tears.

 

He took a deep breath, trying to shake off all the fear still gripping his muscles. He tried to remind himself that Even was a nice guy. He wouldn't intentionally make Isak feel uncomfortable. Isak was just nervous.

 

Before he had a chance to ring the doorbell, the door swung open and an unfamiliar boy emerged - equally as startled by the appearance of Isak. The boy with longer black hair and an unsure smile on his face looked like he was on his way out.

 

"Oh, hey. You at the right place?" The boy asked, raising his eyebrows.

 

"I'm here to see Even." Isak managed to say, biting his bottom lip.

 

The boy's face fell as he continued to stare at Isak, a sadness appearing over his features. Isak didn't know what was wrong, why the stranger looked like Isak had just told him the worst news possible.

 

"Are you sure you want to be here?" The boy asked, his voice a whisper now so that nobody else inside the house could hear him.

 

"Um." Isak stuttered, not sure he understood the question. "Does Even live here? Sorry if I got the wrong address..."

 

"You didn't get the wrong address." Another voice said, the door swinging wide open a second later and Even poked his head out. The other boy moved aside so Isak could walk in, throwing Even another one of his sad glances.

 

"Don't mind Mikael. He was just leaving." Even said, not bothering to give the boy a returning look - his full attention on Isak.

 

Isak looked back at the boy - Mikael - who was now looking at Isak with such a serious expression it made the hairs on Isak's neck stand up. Isak looked back, unable not to, until Mikael silently left and closed the door gently behind him.

 

"That was weird." Isak admitted, shrugging off his coat so Even could take it.

 

"That's just my roommate. He can be strange sometimes." Even smiled, grabbing Isak's hand and leading him inside the apartment.

 

There was a small kitchen to the right, the smell of spices strong in the air and Isak wondered what had been made for dinner. To the left was quite a big living room with a bookshelf on the far wall full to the brim with books. Isak took a second to admire the collection before Even turned down the corner where all the bedrooms were and a smaller bathroom. He opened the last door to the left and allowed Isak to walk in first, seeing a bed, dresser and desk in the somewhat larger space - the colour scheme blue and green.

 

Even shut the door behind them and leaned against it, looking at Isak as if curious about what his next move would be. Isak felt the nerves in his stomach full force as he looked at the older boy, so unsure of himself he could have fainted.

 

"You look nervous." Even stated softly, staying where he was against the door.

 

Isak nodded, not sure he could speak right now. He wanted to ask Even lots of things, like what he was studying at university. How many people he lived with. How long had he known Mikael.

 

He wanted to glimpse further into Even's life, but he knew he'd come here for one thing and he figured that's all Even wanted to give anyway.

 

"You don't have to be, Isak." Even said, walking closer to Isak now, effectively backing him up until his knees hit the bed and he ended up sitting down; Even hovering above him.

 

"Can we go slow?" Isak whispered, gazing up at Even and admiring how attractive he was. Sharp jaw, bright blue eyes; muscular.

 

"Yes. I promise." Even said, leaning down and placing a kiss on Isak's lips. Isak opened for it immediately, feeling desperate. He pulled Even down, wanting him closer, at a better angle.

 

They ended up side by side on the bed, Even holding Isak's jaw as they kissed deeper now; tongues moving against each other. Even made a growling sound inside his throat when Isak threw a leg over Even's hips, grinding them together. Isak tried to show off some of the moves he'd learned so far from Chris - even if they were limited.

 

"Open your mouth wider." Even suddenly demanded, his grip on Isak's chin tightening. Isak obeyed, watching as Even dove back in and thrust his tongue inside, nearly choking Isak. He made a whine of protest and it made Even pull away.

 

"If you can't handle being tongue-fucked, how are you supposed to suck my dick?" Even said, the words having more bite to them than Isak liked. But Even smiled sweetly a moment later, apparently just teasing. "I'm just kidding, Isak. But you got me all riled up. Was that too fast?"

 

Isak hesitated, not knowing the right answer. He'd asked for slow, and Even hadn't tried to undress him yet or touch him. They were just making out.

 

"No." Isak said, the word barely audible. "I just don't like it when you tease me."

 

"Okay, baby. I won't tease." Even smirked, running a hand through Isak's messy hair.

 

Isak suddenly realized that he didn't like being called 'baby' by Even.

 

He liked it when Chris used it, but it sounded weird coming from someone else. It didn't make Isak melt. It made him squirm.

 

Before Isak could explain that he didn't want to be called 'baby', Even reached down to undo his own jeans, pulling his dick free a second later and bringing Isak's hand down to touch. Isak gasped as Even stopped kissing him.

 

"Grip me like you grip yourself, okay?" Even asked, panting as Isak started to move his hand. Isak felt the large amount of pre-cum leaking from Even's dick, a sign he must have been turned on for a while.

 

You got me all riled up, Even had said. Since when? Their conversation from over an hour ago?

 

Isak didn't know why this made him feel uneasy. It should have been a good thing, Even wanting him for such a long time. Even must have been anticipating Isak coming over and had been thinking about it ever since.

 

Why did that also make Isak squirm?

 

"That's it, baby. You're doing so well." Even cooed, kissing Isak again with equal amounts of tongue. Isak could hardly breathe, but he kept going.

 

He wanted to be good for Chris and that's what this was for. He wanted to be able to impress, to take whatever was given.

 

And he wanted to be good for Even too. He had been so nice offering to help. He'd been understanding and kind. Isak couldn't let him down, right?

 

"I want your soft mouth on me, baby. Do you want to learn how to do that now?" Even asked, his eyes glossed over in pleasure.

 

Isak once again found himself hesitating. Something felt so off, and he didn't know why. This was Even. This wasn't some...stranger. Isak knew him. Isak had talked to him before.

 

Why was his heart beating so damn quickly?

 

"Yeah." Isak managed to say, bringing his hand away from Even and sitting up properly. He was still wearing his own jeans and sweater and he felt too warm. Suffocated. He looked at Even questioningly and he motioned towards his shirt.

 

"You want to take that off?" Even asked, sitting up as well. "Do it. I want to see your body."

 

Isak felt Even's eyes on him as he undressed, sighing in relief as the air hit his flushed skin. Even shimmied out of his jeans and pulled his own t-shirt off as well, motioning for Isak to come back to him when they were both naked.

 

"You're so small." Even commented, maunevering Isak so he was straddling Even now, their dicks touching.

 

It reminded Isak so much of what he'd done with Chris that he felt himself blush with shame. Chris would hate him if he found out.

 

But he wouldn't find out, and that was the point, right? Even wasn't going to tell, and Isak wouldn't either.

 

"I'm...not." Isak said, moaning for the first time as Even reached between their bodies and tugged on Isak's dick. Even chuckled.

 

"I didn't mean your dick is small. I meant that you're small. I forgot how young you are." He groaned, and Isak felt Even's dick twitch.

 

Was Isak being so small and skinny a turn on?

 

Even continued touching Isak, kissing his neck as he did. Isak was trying to focus on the pleasure, trying to feel grateful that Even wanted him. Even was in university. He could be with anyone, and yet here he was, being with Isak.

 

But Isak was so distracted by what he knew Even wanted next. Isak didn't know if he was ready for it, if he would be good at it.

 

"We'll take the next part slow, okay?" Even suddenly said, letting go of his grip and pushing Isak down; spreading his legs a little more so Isak could fit properly.

 

Isak had a brief thought that none of this had been slow so far. Even kept saying it was supposed to be, but it really wasn't.

 

Next thing Isak knew, he was face to face with Even's cock that was red and still leaking. Even's hands were in his hair and he was being pulled towards it.

 

"Open your mouth and lick." Even commanded, giving Isak no chance to say anything else.

 

The next ten minutes for Isak were a little bit of a blur. Even was saying a lot of things, moaning and touching as much of Isak's face as he could - trying to feel where Isak's mouth was wrapped around him. Isak was licking the tip of his cock, like he'd seen in porn, and sucking too. He couldn't fit very much into his mouth so he used his hand for the rest - again like what he'd seen in porn.

 

Isak was so focused on being good, on making Even feel good, that he tried not to pay attention to how hard Even was tugging his hair. Or when Even would push him down further on his dick than he wanted to go.

 

Isak tried to learn from Even, but his ears were roaring to the beat of his heart - the rush of blood strong - and he couldn't tell what Even was saying at all. It was all muted.

The world was just the taste of Even, the feel of his dick, and the squeezing sensation Isak felt in his chest - like someone had their fist wrapped entirely around his heart and could crush it at any moment.

 

When Even came, Isak was too far down on his dick and he choked on the rush of come, trying to get up for air but being held down tightly by Even's big hands. Isak pushed up on his knees and was able to use his arms to break out of Even's hold, throwing his face back and taking in a deep breath.

 

One last bit of come shot up and hit Isak on his cheek as he coughed.

 

It felt like a brand.

 

"Jesus, Isak. You're a natural." Even laughed, panting heavily as he looked at Isak. "Are you sure you've never done that before?"

 

"I...I have to go." Isak said, scrambling up from the bed and reaching for his clothes. He had just gotten his underwear back on and was about to pull his shirt over his head when he felt Even's hands on his shoulders.

 

"Isak. Did I do something wrong?"

 

"No. I just...I need to get back." Isak felt frozen where he was, too aware of Even's clammy hands on his pale skin. He tried to shrink from the touch but Even pulled him into a hug that Isak couldn't return because of the angle.

 

"It's all right. I think you're just overwhelmed. Let's lie back down." Even whispered, and he pulled Isak back into the position they had started in; on their sides and facing each other.

 

Isak kept his eyes down.

 

"Isak, you have to talk to me." Even said, running a hand through Isak's hair.

 

Isak didn't know what the hell was the matter with him. This is what he'd wanted. He wanted to learn. He'd come here to do this. He hadn't expected anything else, and Even had been...gentle, right? He'd been...

 

Isak shuddered, his once boiling skin feeling deathly cold now.

 

"I just think I need to...to go back home. I'm sorry."

 

"Don't be sorry, baby." Even smiled, and Isak felt a little sick. "Just tell me you're all right."

 

Isak sat up again and stared down at Even, who looked beautiful and blissed out. Isak realized that he'd done that to Even. He had made him feel good, and that's all that mattered. Isak had come here to do just that - be good.

 

"I'm all right."

 

**

Even saw Isak out, putting his phone number in Isak's contacts and kissing him lightly on his mouth that was now sore. His lips were dry as he walked out into the cool night air.

Isak made it back home quickly, his mind blank, and barely said goodnight to his parents before bolting up to his room and closing the door.

 

He fell asleep almost instantly, and no dreams came to him that night.

 

**

In his third class, right before lunch the next day, Isak messaged Chris.

 

Can I see you?

We're meeting after school, aren't we?

Before that. In the math class on floor three. I know it'll be empty then.

Okay. Are you all right?

I'm all right.

 

**

 

Isak had planned to shove Chris against the door and pretty much drop to his knees. He'd planned to use the skills he'd put to the test last night. Skills that were apparently amazing.

 

Isak was even excited as he waited in the room, trying to imagine what Chris would look like when he realized what Isak wanted to do; how Chris would be amazed that Isak would risk this all because he just couldn't wait to be with him.

 

But when Chris walked through the door, a huge smile on his face as he saw Isak - looking wonderful and flushed and kind - Isak walked towards him and wrapped his arms around Chris, pushing his face into the older boy's neck and beginning to cry.

 

"I..." Isak tried to explain, but his throat closed up before he could get any words out.

 

"Isak. Baby. What's the matter?" Chris asked, clinging to Isak like he never wanted to let him go.

 

Isak just cried harder.

 

"I'm sorry."

Chapter Text

"Isak, why are you sorry?" Chris whispered, pulling Isak away from his neck in order to look at him properly. Isak knew he was a mess. His cheeks were tear-stained, he was probably all flushed, and he didn't know how he was going to explain this.

He didn't know why he felt like this - why the world felt like it had been flipped over and everything was so wrong.

"I...I don't know. I'm sorry for crying. I'm so pathetic." Isak huffed, annoyed at himself. He attempted to wipe his face, but Chris was suddenly doing it for him with his coat sleeve. The material was soft against Isak's face.

"You're not pathetic." Chris hushed him, shaking his head in concern. "Did someone do something to you? Are you...hurt?"

No, Isak immediately wanted to say. He wasn't physically hurt anywhere. Nobody had punched him or beat him up.

He just felt wounded on the inside.

"I'm not..." hurt, Isak was going to say. The word was right there. But when he looked at Chris, all he managed to say was "I'm not all right."

**

Chris decided to skip the rest of the day with Isak, not bothering to care that they might get in trouble for it and despite Isak's protests that he wasn't worth getting in shit for. Chris got Isak into his car without anyone they knew seeing them, and he drove off.

Isak had a feeling Chris wouldn't have cared if some of his friends had seen them because he was so focused on getting Isak away from the school; entirely invested in wanting to make whatever was wrong better.

"Do you want to go back to my house?" Chris asked, and Isak shuddered.

"No. If that's okay?"

"It's fine, Isak. We'll just drive. How does that sound?"

"Okay."

It was silent for a while between them, just the sound of the road outside and other cars around them. Chris wasn't speeding, and he didn't offer anything else besides his hand that rested on top of Isak's thigh. He occasionally squeezed, as if to let Isak know he was still there.

After about half an hour, Isak turned to face Chris and asked him to pull over so they could talk.

"I'll take this exit and we can pull in somewhere."

There was a large parking lot that wasn't very full just down the road from the high way exit, and they pulled into it; driving to the far end where there weren't any other cars. Chris shut the engine off and looked at Isak, his features kind and waiting.

Isak didn't feel pressured to talk; to get whatever he needed to say overwith. He was really grateful that Chris was doing this for him, but he didn't know how to say that.

"I...I guess I did something that I thought wasn't a big deal, but it's turning out to be a big deal. If that makes sense." Isak began, hating that he was crying already again.

He hated that all he could think about was Even pushing his face down. The smell of him, how Isak had choked when he finished.

How Even seemed entirely disinterested in him once it was overwith.

Isak felt...used, like the entire thing hadn't been about him at all.

"Are you talking about what we did at the party?" Chris asked, looking stricken. "If we went too fast, I'm so sorry Isak. I never would have..."

"No, it wasn't that." Isak interrupted, reaching for the other boy's hand and slotting his fingers through Chris's.

"Okay. I don't think I could handle it if I was the reason you're this upset." Chris admitted, looking down at their hands. "I know it might seem stupid but...you mean a lot to me, Isak."

"It's not stupid if you mean it."

"I do mean it. I just...I've never felt like this before and it's only been like a week that we've been together."

Isak's eyes went wide.

Together?

Did Chris think of them as being together? Like they were dating?

"Together?" Isak said dumbly.

Chris blushed furiously, rubbing the back of his neck. "Um, yeah? Like since we started seeing each other?" He said unsurely.

"Are...are we...dating then? Is that what you want?"

Chris flashed a look at Isak that was filled with so much vulnerability it nearly broke Isak's heart.

"I...I don't just want to be fuck buddies, Isak. I thought that was kind of clear, right? We've hung out and done other things besides hook up. I want that to keep happening too. I just...I don't want to be public about it since my dad isn't okay with it and you said you weren't out either."

Isak nodded, a smile creeping across his lips.

"And, uh... I thought if we could get together during the week after school since my dad works late a lot..then we'd be able to do more together. We would...actually feel like we're going on dates, and...would you stop laughing at me?!" Chris smiled, smacking Isak on the arm lightly.

"Sorry!" Isak chuckled. "But you could have explained that better at the party, you dingus. I thought you just wanted to get together to hook up."

"No, Isak. Fuck buddies might work for some people but...I don't want just that from you. I've told you before that I like you. All of you." Chris said, moving a little closer to Isak - clearly wanting a kiss.

Despite the change of mood and that Isak felt lighter than he had all day, he moved away from Chris so quickly that he smacked his shoulder on the door. He let out a small noise of pain before sighing and closing his eyes.

"Fuck. Chris, I'm sorry."

"It's okay. You're okay, Isak." Chris said soothingly, backing away and trying to give Isak as much space as he could within the car.

Isak felt stupid because he was overthinking this, right? He'd given Even a blow job. That's all. They hadn't fucked. Even hadn't been violent, or hurt him. Maybe he had been a little selfish when Isak had gone down on him, but that didn't mean he'd...taken advantage of Isak.

Right?

Isak dug his nails into his palm, feeling his stomach grumble. He hadn't been able to eat breakfast without feeling ill, so he'd skipped it this morning. He was hungry, but he also couldn't imagine eating anything right now.

He wanted to have something to get rid of the taste though. He felt like he could still taste...

"Isak?"

Isak flinched at the sound of Chris's voice, feeling like it was abnormally loud. He could feel his hands shaking - probably from low blood sugar - and he wanted to try and go back to their conversation from before. But he felt frozen.

"Please tell me what's wrong, baby. What happened?" Chris asked.

How was Isak supposed to tell him this now? It might not have mattered when Isak thought they were just supposed to be fuck buddies, because that meant they weren't serious. What Chris wanted from him - and what Isak wanted too - was much more than just fucking.

What they had meant something to Chris, and Isak had fucked that all up.

He'd gone and had sex with someone else. With Even.

Isak just burst into tears again. He was so fucking stupid.

"You're going to hate me if I tell you, and...and I can't..."

"I won't hate you, Isak. I could never hate you." Chris interrupted, and his hand was back on Isak's thigh.

Isak wiped away some of his tears and glanced at Chris. He'd never seen anyone look so scared before, but also so concerned. Isak wanted to put himself in Chris's lap and just hold onto him; never let go. Never leave this car again, or go back to school.

He just wanted Chris and this insanely good thing between them that Isak hadn't expected at all. But if he really was going to have this and keep it, he knew he had to be honest.

"I...I wanted to be good for you. I thought this was just sex, that you just wanted to hook up. And I didn't know how to do anything. I...asked someone if they would help me learn." Isak said, his voice trembling. He didn't take his eyes off of Chris.

"I went to his house and we..." Isak took a deep breath, Even's apartment so vivid in his mind; what they had done fresh enough that he felt that he could reach done and feel Even's bed sheets beneath him. "He asked me to go down on him so I could learn how to do it. But...he went too fast."

"Fuck." Chris spat, taking his hand away quickly enough to make Isak jump.

"I'm really sorry." Isak whispered, finally looking away; waiting for Chris to kick him out of the car and drive away.

"Don't apologize to me, Isak. Goddamnit, this isn't your fault." Chris said angrily, hands on the steering wheel. His knuckles were white from how hard he was clenching.

"It is my fault. I was the one who went there and..."

"This asshole took advantage of you! You didn't do anything wrong."

"But I...I wanted to learn. I put myself in the situation. He didn't hurt me or anything, he just..."

"He did hurt you, though. He didn't slow down, or...or ask what you wanted. It sounds like he just made you suck him off. He manipulated you for his own fucking pleasure." Chris continued, his words making panic rise in Isak's chest.

Was that was really happened?

But Even had said he wanted to be there for Isak, that he understood what Isak was going through. He had offered to help...

"He said he wanted to help me learn because he...knew what it was like to..."

"That's manipulation, Isak." Chris stated, his voice softer now. "He was sucking you into his web so you would think it was okay."

Isak's stomach twisted so violently that he knew he was going to be sick. He opened the door just in time to lean over and violently puke, his face sore from the strain. Chris was saying something to him and rubbing his back but he didn't hear. All sound around him was replaced by the roaring of blood in his ears.

When Isak was done, he closed the door and leaned back in the seat with his eyes closed, entirely self conscious of how he looked and smelled. Chris was still saying something, but it was humiliation now that made Isak unable to listen.

"I'm so stupid. Why did I fall for that?" Isak whispered, mostly to himself.

"Isak, focus." Chris said, louder now. His hand rested on Isak's cheek. "Please listen to me, baby."

"I'm so...embarrassed, Chris. You don't want an idiot like me."

"I do want you, Isak. Look at me."

"I can't."

"Come on, baby. Open your eyes."

After a minute Isak obeyed, looking over to Chris a second later.

"You're not stupid. You trusted someone because they made it seem like you could. You're not at fault for this - that asshole is, and I'm so fucking sorry he hurt you. I'm sorry I didn't tell you how I actually felt. Maybe if I had, you wouldn't have felt like you needed to go and do anything to please me. You being you pleases me more than you know, Isak. You don't need to...impress me." Chris explained, tears in his own eyes now and Isak shook his head.

He didn't want Chris to feel guilty about anything.

"We're going to take this as slow as you need. I'm never going to rush you. I'm never going to make you do anything you don't want to do. You say stop, and whatever we're doing stops. Please hear me when I tell you that I...will never fucking hurt you like this."

Chris was getting really upset and Isak sat up a little straighter. He put his hand over Chris's where it was still rested on his cheek and he moved closer. Isak frowned in concern.

"Chris, are you...okay?"

"I'm not okay because someone did this to you! You don't fucking deserve this. Someone hurt you like they hurt...me."

Isak's eyes went wide.

"What?"

Chris shook his head like he didn't want to remember - the memories too painful. Isak thought that Chris probably admitted more than he'd meant to.

"Who did this to you, Isak? Give me his name." Chris said, his voice low and filled with rage.

"Chris..." Isak shook his head, his heart sinking in his chest.

"Tell me his name, and I'll make sure he never lays a goddamn finger on you again."

Isak pictured the fight. He could see Chris punching Even until he was bloody, screams and grunts of pain echoing around them. He thought of Chris getting injured as well, Even's height making him able to give as good as he was getting.

Isak didn't want Chris to get hurt. He didn't want Chris to worry about this anymore. He just wanted to move on.

And if Chris had been through something similar, Isak wanted them to move on by being with each other - taking refuge in each other's hearts rather than dwelling on the pain inflicted by others.

How could that ever happen if Chris knew what his step-brother had done? How could he sit through a family meal with Even - however infrequent - without starting another fight?

Isak couldn't ruin Chris like that. He couldn't be that selfish.

"I don't know his full name. I went on Grindr and the guy was the first person I talked to. He might not even have used his real name." Isak lied.

"Where does he live then? What name did he give you?"

"Chris, I'm not going to tell you."

"Isak..."

"I don't want you to hurt anyone. I just...want to forget about it."

After a long pause, Chris nodded and started the car again. "I know you were just sick, but let's go somewhere and have lunch. Did you eat anything today?"

"No."

"I think I understand why, but you can't starve yourself. Let's start with something small like soup, okay?"

Isak nodded, leaning back in the chair as Chris began to drive, letting his eyes slip closed.

"If he messages you or asks you for anything else, Isak, can you please tell me?"

Isak snapped his eyes open, startled. "I...don't think he will."

"But if he does, will you let me know?"

No, Isak immediately thought. No way.

"I'll just tell him to fuck off."

"Okay, but could you also tell me?"

"Chris...I want to put this behind me."

"I get that, Isak, but if he contacts you again and tries anything else, it won't let you move on. It will just make it worse for you. Trust me."

Isak was again reminded that Chris seemed to be talking from his own experience, and Isak reached out to take Chris's hand.

Who had hurt him this much?

"I won't respond to him then. I won't...say anything back. I'll pretend he doesn't exist, because in my mind he really doesn't anymore."

"He'll always exist," Chris muttered under his breath, probably not meant to have Isak hear him. Isak didn't know how to respond, but the matter seemed somewhat settled.

Chris didn't say anything else until they pulled up in front of a restaurant, a sign in the window advertising their soup of the day special. Chris pointed to it.

"I hope you like vegetable broth with chicken." He winked, moving over slowly before placing a quick kiss on Isak's cheek.

"Let's find out."

**

Chris dropped Isak off around the normal time he'd get home from school, promising they would meet up tomorrow again and telling Isak he'd text him later on. Isak was blushing when he got out, waving to Chris as he began to leave.

They'd spent the entire afternoon together, feet tangled under the table at the restaurant, talking and laughing.

It had actually felt like a proper date, and Isak was over the moon.

His good mood lasted all through dinner, listening with more attention to his mom and dad than he had all month. By the time he went up to his room to get started on homework, he felt like he would confidently be able to put what happened behind him.

He didn't feel lost like he had this morning. He felt a lot better.

How's your night going?

Chris texted him just as Isak opened his books.

Fine. About to start homework

Nerd :P

A sexy nerd?

You bet ;)

Isak smiled to himself, about to reply when a Facebook message popped up over his normal texts and Isak nearly dropped his phone.

Even: Hey, Isak. Fancy a repeat of last night? :P

Chapter Text

Isak stared at his phone, at Even's message, and thought about what to do. He wanted to do what he told Chris he would do - pretend Even didn't exist and get on with his night.

 

With his life.

 

But the more Isak attempted to get back to his homework, the more difficult it was becoming to ignore. Isak felt so angry. He felt like screaming. His focus was gone now.

 

He opened the conversation.

 

Isak: No, I don't want a repeat of last night. I think it's best if we don't talk anymore.

 

Like always, Even's reply came immediately.

 

Even: :O Why, Isak? I thought we had a good time.

 

Isak: Don't pretend like you don't understand what happened.

 

Even: I honestly don't know what you mean. Can you explain?

 

Isak: No, I won't explain. I want you to leave me alone.

 

Even: Fine, if that's what you want. Should we tell Chris what happened?

 

Isak shook his head as he looked down at his phone, as if Even could see him. Isak felt a surge of anxiety through his veins as he typed back.

 

Isak: No, we shouldn't. There's no reason.

 

Even: I think Chris should know what kind of guy you are. I think he can do better.

 

Isak: Fuck off. Why are you doing this?

 

Even: I mean, you slept with your boyfriend's brother. That's pretty fucked up.

 

Isak: You're such an asshole. Is this what you get off on? Manipulating people into sleeping with you and then destroying their lives?

 

Even: If you aren't willing to talk to me, I have to resort to drastic measures.

 

Isak: What is there to talk about? I want to forget what happened and be done with it.

 

Isak was crying now, shaking as he sat at his desk. He waited for Even's reply, watching the three dots move around on the screen.

 

Even: I want to know what you're thinking about our night together. I want to know if you enjoyed it. I want to tell you that I really enjoyed it but I think you need more practice. If you want Chris, you need to be better for him. Right now, your skills are a five out of ten. You should be at least an eight.

 

An involuntary sob made it's way out of Isak's mouth before he put his hand across his lips, wishing he felt more capable to handle this. He wished he knew what to do or say so that this whole thing could disappear. He wished he hadn't backed himself into a corner.

 

Even: If you don't respond to me, I won't tell Chris.

 

Isak frowned, wondering if Even had made a typo. Didn't he just threaten to tell Chris?

 

Even: I'll tell his dad. ;)

 

Isak: No no no, you can't.

 

Even: I can and I will, unless you answer my questions.

 

Isak: How can you do this? You're a fucking monster

 

Even: I'm just curious. I can't stop thinking about you.

 

Isak: I haven't thought of you at all.

 

Isak wished that wasn't a lie. He wished he hadn't thought of Even, had been able to go on with his day as if nothing had happened rather than being consumed by thoughts of last night.

 

Even: Come on, Isak. Don't lie. Lying won't help you here.

 

Isak: What do you want to know? I'm answering the questions and then we're done. And you won't tell anybody.

 

Even: Sure, baby. Whatever you say. Firstly, did you like what happened?

 

Isak: No

 

Even: Why not?

 

Isak: You went too fast. You choked me

 

Even: Yeah, you looked nice when I held you down

 

Isak: Fuck you

 

Even: Have you done anything else with Chris?

 

Isak: No

 

Even: Why not?

 

Isak: Because we didn't. We went out for lunch instead

 

Even: Aw, how cute. Do you want him to fuck you?

 

Isak: How many fucking questions do you have?

 

Even: 2 more after the last one. Answer it.

 

Isak: I don't know. I haven't thought that far ahead.

 

Even: Are you going to tell Chris?

 

Isak: No

 

Even: Why not?

 

Isak: Because I don't want him to know. There, we're done. Goodbye.

 

Even: Sweet dreams, baby.

 

Isak deleted Even off his facebook, closed his laptop and got into bed. He let himself cry because he'd hated talking about it, once again manipulated into something else he didn't want to do. But he also cried from relief, knowing it was over now. Even wouldn't tell. Isak wouldn't tell. Chris's dad wouldn't know.

 

And Isak could be with Chris.

 

He fell asleep with his hands around his phone, too exhausted to notice that someone had messaged him.

 

**

 

Isak was woken by someone shaking him, too forcefully, and he grumbled into his pillow.

 

“Isak, get up. You’re late and you have a visitor.” Marianne sounded angry and her tone made Isak snap his head up. There was a frown across her face as she turned and gestured towards someone standing in the doorway.

 

Isak sat bolt right up as he looked at Chris.

 

“Hey, Issy.” Chris said, stumbling as he attempted to walk into the room. Marianne caught him before he would have smashed his head on the dresser.

 

Fuck.

 

Was Chris drunk?

 

Sit down right now, young man.” Marianne huffed, helping Chris to the bed. Isak stood up to help just as Chris plopped down unceremoniously against the covers. He could barely keep his eyes open and he reeked of alcohol.

 

Isak also noticed that the right side of his face was covered in blood.

 

I don’t know what’s going on, or why you came here, but… but...” Marianne’s face was bright red, clearly lost for words. She looked at Isak helplessly, and shrugged.

 

Can I talk to him?” Isak asked, reaching for his mother’s arm and steering her towards the door.

 

You have school.”

 

I know, I know.” Isak lowered his voice so Chris wouldn’t hear. “Chris has a rough family life. I don’t know what happened, but I just need some time with him. Please?”

 

Marianne hesitated, looking torn between forcing Isak to school and actually being understanding about the situation. Isak waited, feeling anxious again.

 

Fine. I’ll call you both in and say there was a family emergency. He can’t go into school in that state anyway.”

 

Isak let out a breath of relief. “Thanks, Mom.”

 

Get him some water and towels for a shower.”

 

I will.”

 

Marianne closed the door behind her and Isak made his way to Chris, who had started to fall asleep. Isak turned the other boy’s face so he could see the damage – see if there was any kind of wound. Chris had a small cut over his eyebrow but it wasn’t too bad. It had obviously bled, but it looked worse than it was.

 

Chris, what happened?” Isak asked, shaking Chris’s arm. “What...”

 

Isak.” Chris interrupted, turning and looking at Isak like he just realized he was here. He tried to sit up but swayed dramatically, nearly falling off and onto the floor. Isak grabbed him and pushed him more into the middle of the bed.

 

Yeah, it’s me. What the hell happened? Who hurt you?”

 

Chris snorted and then laughed, making Isak flinch. He hated this. He hated seeing Chris in so much pain. He kept wondering if it was his father. Had he found out Chris liked boys? Did they argue and then fight? Did Chris get mugged?

 

You hurt me, Isak.” Chris managed to say, making eye contact and seizing the laughter.

 

Isak frowned, lost for words. “I...what?”

 

You’re the one who hurt me.”

 

Chris looked serious about it and the words were said with more clarity than anything else he’d uttered. Isak stood up and shook his head, wondering what the hell Chris meant. They’d had a nice day yesterday. Chris had been understanding about this other “guy” Isak had slept with. He’d forgiven Isak. He told him it wasn’t his fault.

 

Had that been a lie? Did Chris actually find Isak disgusting?

 

Chris, if you’re talking about what I told you...I wish you had been honest about it yesterday. You made me think everything was...sorted out.” Isak said the words slowly, scared that each one brought him closer to losing Chris; brought them closer to being done with each other for good.

 

It was okay.” Chris said, closing his eyes and wincing as he touched the cut on his face. “But I didn’t have all the information.”

 

Isak was still so confused, his mind too clouded with anxiety. He couldn’t put together what Chris was talking about.

 

What...what didn’t you know?” Isak whispered, realization dawning on him as he said the question.

 

No, no, no, Isak thought. Please don’t let him say what I think he’s going to say.

 

Chris opened his eyes and pulled himself up until he was standing. Isak reached to help steady him, but Chris smacked his hand away. Isak sucked in a breath as the pain of it shot through his wrist and he backed away. Chris followed him.

 

“Well, to start with...” Chris began, backing Isak into his desk and then putting most of his weight against Isak’s front. He pointed a finger at Isak accusingly and Isak wanted to disappear.

 

“You never told me you fucked my brother.”

Chapter Text

Isak was frozen in place, Chris still pinning him to the desk and Isak felt a shuddering breath leave his mouth. Chris was staring at him, waiting for an answer – a confirmation of his accusation.

 

“Chris, you don’t understand.” Isak attempted, tears pooling in his eyes now.

 

“So, it’s not true then? You didn’t blow Even?” Chris asked, also breathing heavily and standing unsteadily. Isak tried to hold Chris upright but Chris immediately shrugged him off.

 

“Yes, I...I did, but remember everything else I said?” Isak whispered, his back hurting from where it was digging into the wood. “He...he wasn’t honest with me. He...”

 

“Yeah,” Chris said, letting go suddenly and Isak straightened himself up. The tears fell down his cheeks and he wiped them away.

 

“I didn’t want to tell you because...because I didn’t want this to happen. I didn’t want you to be in a fight with him. I can’t believe he fucking told you.” Isak sighed, watching as Chris sat down on the floor with a heavy plunk and put his head in his hands.

 

Chris barked out another laugh and shook his head.

 

“He didn’t tell me.”

 

Isak’s eyes widened. “What?”

 

“He didn’t say a thing. And it wasn’t him who hit me.”

 

Isak hesitantly sat down next to Chris and took a deep breath, trying to understand. How did Chris know then? Nobody else knew about it.

 

“Who hit you?”

 

Chris looked at Isak with a sad expression and winced when he touched the cut on his face. “My dad.”

 

“Jesus, Chris. Let me get a bandage for it and clean it out.” Isak said, attempting to get up but Chris held onto his wrist and kept him where he was.

 

“I’m sorry Even did this, Isak. I wish you had told me he’d messaged you.” Chris said, all trace of anger gone. It made Isak want to cry all over again. Chris looked like he had something to be sorry for.

 

“I didn’t know he was trying to...to do that to me.” Isak said softly, looking at the floor. Shame flooded his whole body. He’d been so stupid.

 

“He’s a bastard, Isak. I’ve never liked him. He’s manipulative and...just fucking twisted.” Chris explained, reaching up and touching Isak’s hands, intertwining their fingers.

 

“I can see that now.”

 

“Fuck, your mom probably won’t let me come over again. I’m so drunk.” Chris shook his head, as if trying to sober himself up. “God, sorry. I just wanted to be with you. I hate the thought of Even...touching you and...fuck.”

 

Chris pulled his hand away and rubbed his eyes, looking like he was frustrated by how intoxicated he was. Isak put a hand on Chris’s shoulder and motioned for him to let Isak get him to his feet.

 

“Let’s get you into the shower.”

 

“Isak, I...”

 

“You need to clean your cut anyways. I’m sure a shower will help you feel better, too.” Isak wrapped his arm around Chris’s back and headed to his bedroom door, opening it and walking down the hallway to the bathroom.

 

“Isak, I’m off to work. I’ll call in an hour, okay?” Marianne called from the bottom of the stairs, making Chris jump.

 

“Okay!” Isak called back, pulling Chris’s shirt off his head.

 

“Is she...okay with me being here?”

 

Isak chuckled. “You didn’t give her much choice, did you?”

 

“Fuck.” Chris sighed, attempting to undo his jeans and failing. His co-ordination was hardly there at all.

 

“I’ll do it.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“She called us both in sick to school. I think you’re safe.” Isak said as he stood back up, Chris now naked in front of him. He wasn’t thinking about that though. He was observing the other marks on Chris – his back and stomach. Deep, purple bruises that looked angry stared back at Isak and Chris looked down; shame evident on his face.

 

Isak didn’t want Chris to feel ashamed. Isak didn’t want to feel like that either. They hadn’t done anything to be ashamed of. Why were they feeling this way?

 

“Hey,” Isak whispered, coming close to Chris and kissing his cheek. “You’re beautiful, okay?”

 

Chris looked like he was going to protest, say something to make Isak change his mind, but there wasn’t anything that could change Isak’s mind about this. He kissed Chris again, right above his heart and then reached around to turn the water on.

 

“Get in. Come on.” Isak encouraged, helping Chris into the tub and under the hot water. Chris shuddered for a second but then melted under the warm spray, shoulders relaxing.

 

“Come in with me?” Chris asked, sounding small like a child.

 

“Yeah,” Isak replied, taking his clothes off and standing behind Chris. His back was cold from not being in the water but he didn’t care. He grabbed his body wash and lathered some up in his lufa, scrubbed Chris’s back gently a moment later.

 

Chris was still unsteady on his feet so Isak placed the other boys’ hands on the wall, not wanting either of them to fall over. Chris let Isak wash him, see all the bruises up close in the sunlight. Chris said nothing but didn’t pull away, didn’t say anything else.

 

“Tilt your head back.” Isak whispered, wanting to rinse the shampoo out of Chris’s hair now. Chris turned towards him, their chests brushing, and Isak reached up to wash out the suds.

 

It occurred to Isak as Chris looked at him right after that he’d never showered with anyone before. He’d always pictured it as leading to sex or at least something sexual. But he wasn’t thinking about sex right now. He was focused on how Chris’s eyes shone in the sun coming through the window, or how his cut wasn’t as bad as he’d originally thought. He was thinking how handsome Chris was, how much Isak cared about him and how much he wanted to keep Chris safe.

 

He was thinking, I could fall in love with this boy.

 

**

 

Isak lent some pajamas to Chris, dried his hair and got him into his bed. Chris was grumbling about not being tired, wanting to spend time with Isak, but Isak just shushed him and tucked him in. A moment later, he was lying next to Chris and wrapping his arms around him.

 

“Why am I the little spoon?” Chris asked, huffing out a breath.

 

“Just because. Deal with it.” Isak smiled, kissing the back of Chris’s hair. “Now go to sleep. You’re still drunk.”

 

“Fine.”

 

“I’ll be here when you wake up, okay?” Isak whispered, snuggling into Chris’s neck and placing another kiss there. He couldn’t help but want to kiss the other boy everywhere he could.

 

“I know.” Chris mumbled, falling asleep not one minute later. He was snoring softly when Isak also let sleep claim him.

 

**

 

“Isak?”

 

He knew it was his mother’s voice but he wasn’t coherent enough to understand why she sounded that way – angry and sad all at once.

 

Disappointed.

 

Isak didn’t want to wake up and find out but he knew he had to sometime. He tried to roll over and look at her. She was probably standing next to his bed like she did when she tried to wake up. But as he did this, he realized he couldn’t do it quite as easily as normal.

 

He froze as realization struck. Chris was still sleeping next him. Isak was still spooning Chris.

 

Isak opened his eyes and turned, pulling his arm out from under Chris. Marianne was gazing at him with tears in her eyes when he looked at her, and she shook her head.

 

“What’s going on?” She gasped, pointing between the two boys. “I don’t...”

 

“Mom, I can explain.” Isak rushed to say, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. That familiar feeling sunk into his limbs again, made him feel heavy and too full.

 

Shame, shame, shame.

 

“Are you...were you...” Marianne couldn’t seem to pick a sentence, tears running down her cheeks now. “Are you dating this boy?”

 

No, was right on the tip of Isak’s tongue. No, we’re just friends. Or, no we just fell asleep like this talking. Or, no I’m not attracted to guys. Not at all.

 

But when Isak opened his mouth, all that came out was, “Yes, mom.”

Chapter Text

Marianne asked Isak to come downstairs, leaving Chris still fast asleep in Isak’s bed. Isak grabbed some juice from the fridge and sat down at the kitchen table, across from his mother who wouldn’t meet his eyes.

 

“Mom? Are we going to talk or are you...”

 

“I’m thinking, Isak. Let me process.” Marianne interrupted, shaking her head. She rubbed her temple, breathing steadily.

 

Isak imagined what might come next. He might have to pack a bag and stay at Jonas’s. He might never be allowed to see Chris again. He might have to listen to someone at his church tell him he was going to Hell. He might…

 

“I didn’t know you had these type of feelings,” Marianne stated, looking at him and holding his gaze. He put his mug on the table, the china clinking loudly in the still air.

 

“Feelings?” Isak asked, frowning a little.

 

Were they going to completely avoid what was happening here? Could his mother really not say the word ‘gay?’

 

“For other boys.”

 

“Oh. Yeah, I mean...a while now I guess.” Isak swallowed, the fist in his throat tightening – tears threatening to spill over.

 

“Isak, I...God, I wish I knew what to say.” Marianne sighed, leaning back and crossing her arms in front of her chest.

 

“You’re disgusted? You’re angry? You think it’s wrong?” Isak suggested, imagining Marianne was feeling all those things but didn’t know how to phrase it properly.

 

“What? Isak, you...”

 

“I shouldn’t feel this way? I should tell Chris to go home? How will you have grandchildren? How will you ever go to church again without being afraid I’ll burst into flames?”

 

Isak couldn’t catch his breath.

 

“No! Isak, no. Calm down.” Marianne said sternly, her eyes full of concern as she watched Isak struggling.

 

How could he calm down?

 

She knew now. He couldn’t hide it anymore. The walls he had built around himself felt like they were being smashed down with a giant hammer.

 

“I don’t think any of those things.”

 

Isak scoffed, looking down at his hands that he was ringing together.

 

“Just because we go to church, doesn’t mean I think people who like the same gender are...weird, or disgusting.” Marianne continued, strain in her voice. “I’m a social worker, Isak. I meet so many different people – worked with gay people, rich people, poor and homeless people. Black, white, gay, straight.”

 

“Okay, so what? We go to a church that constantly speaks about gay people being...wrong. If you didn’t believe it, why are we still going there?” Isak asked.

 

Marianne sighed. “I...I think it’s because the church raises a lot of money for a well-known charity that I believe in to help homeless people get off the streets and find work. There’s a lot of good within the community of it. I’ve sort of...tuned out the rest of that.”

 

“I grew up listening to that bull shit, Mom.” Isak pleaded, crying for real now. “You want to know why you never knew I liked boys? That’s why. I thought that you must believe that too, especially if you’ve never said anything to tell me otherwise.”

 

I’m sorry, Isak. I should have...paid more attention. I should have...”

 

And when you saw me and Chris upstairs, you sounded so angry. You sounded like you were disappointed that I was with him.”

 

I wasn’t angry, Isak. I’m still not angry.” Marianne said softly, shaking her head. “I’m just...I was surprised that you didn’t feel like you could tell me. But I understand why now.”

 

Isak wiped the tears off his face with his shirt, not knowing what else to say. He didn’t know if he could believe her. He’d spent the last three years believing his mother would hate him if she knew about him. He’d lived with that fear in his heart for so many years that it felt like it had to be true.

 

How could she be okay with everything?

 

Um, Isak?”

 

Chris’s voice startled them both, making Isak stand up awkwardly and look between his boyfriend and his Mom.

 

If you want, I’ll just...go.” Chris offered, looking equally as uncomfortable. He couldn’t look at Marianne and a harsh blush was spread across his cheeks and neck.

 

No, please don’t.” Marianne said quickly, standing up. “I’ll make something for you boys to eat, okay? I’m sure you’re hungry.”

 

Chris kept looking at Isak, a question there. Is it okay? Are you okay?

 

“You don’t have to do that.” Chris whispered, walking a little closer to Isak now.

 

“Yes, I do. Whatever happened yesterday, Chris, seems like it’s taken its toll on you. I’m here to help, okay?” Marianne said, and before Isak could process what was happening his mother walked over and pulled Chris into a big hug.

 

Chris flinched as if she was hurting him, eyes wide, but then he melted into the embrace and wrapped his arms around her. Isak heard Chris sniffling and Marianne pulled him in tighter.

 

“It’s okay. Take a deep breath.” Marianne whispered, brushing Chris’s hair back with her fingers.

 

Isak was tearing up again because Chris was in so much pain. He was clinging to Marianne, helpless and upset – probably surprised by the parental affection after dealing with his asshole father yesterday.

 

“Do you like eggs?” Marianne asked and Chris pulled back, laughing a little bit and wiping his face.

 

“Yeah, I do.”

 

“Perfect. Isak, grab Chris some juice as well.”

 

**

 

Fifteen minutes later, they were all sitting around the kitchen table eating a delicious omelette. Marianne sipped her coffee, looking fondly at Chris. He was eating his portion without abandon, clearly starving and also hungover.

 

“Chris, I’m going to say something and I know how much I’m going to sound like a Mom, but it’s true, okay?”

 

Chris swallowed the last bite of his food and put his fork down, looking worried.

 

“Um, okay.”

 

Marianne chuckled at the older boy’s dumbfounded expression. “Don’t use alcohol to make things better. If you’re ever upset about something or don’t feel safe, you can always come here. Understand?”

 

Chris smiled, looking relieved. “Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome. I have to go back to work now. Isak, can you clean up for me?”

 

“Sure.” Isak nodded, watching his mother gather her things.

 

“We can talk more later?” Marianne asked, looking at her son hopefully.

 

“Yeah.” Isak said, smiling a little. Marianne bent down to hug him briefly before she was out the door.

 

Chris had gathered their plates and was beginning to do the dishes but Isak pulled his hands out of the warm water and pulled the older boy into a hug. Chris laughed and playfully wiped his hands all over Isak’s t-shirt.

 

“Hey!”

 

“You asked for it!”

 

“You’re a menace!” Isak squealed as Chris began tickling him. “Stop, stop! I’m so ticklish there, you don’t even know!”

 

“That’s what makes this so fun.”

 

“Chris, you suck!”

 

**

 

“Your Mom is nice.”

 

“I didn’t know she would be that nice, honestly. I’ve been scared of her finding out I like boys for a long time.”

 

They were back in Isak’s bed, cuddling again – this time Isak was the little spoon.

 

“I’d say she took it pretty well.” Chris smiled, kissing Isak’s cheek.

 

It was turning into late afternoon and Isak didn’t know what was going to happen next. Did Chris go home? Did he stay the night? How could Isak keep him safe from his father?

 

What had actually happened between them?

 

“Chris, I...”

 

“I know.”

 

Isak scoffed. “I didn’t even ask my question. How can you know?”

 

Chris rubbed his chin on Isak’s back, tickling him once again, and Isak tried to pull away as he whimper-laughed. But Chris kept him against his chest and stopped, sighing deeply and holding Isak tight.

 

“I just know how your brain works, and you’re overthinking again. I know you probably have a lot of questions for me, right?”

 

Isak nodded. “I just want to know what happened.”

 

Chris was quiet for a few long minutes, just breathing against Isak and stroking parts of his exposed skin absent-mindedly. He placed his hand under Isak’s shirt and spread his fingers wide, holding it there against Isak’s soft stomach.

 

“After I dropped you off yesterday, I went over to a friend’s house to play video games. I didn’t really want to, but I also didn’t feel like going home yet. So, after we had dinner I went home and realized that Even was over at my house. He was watching TV with my dad when I got there and his Mom was on the phone.” Chris swallowed and Isak placed his hand over Chris’, wanting him to know he was there.

 

“Like I said, I never liked Even. We tolerate each other because of our parents being married, but I’m glad he doesn’t live with us full-time. I said hello to him and tried to go up to my room, but Even asked that I come and sit with them. My dad would have thought it was weird for me to refuse, so I sat down next to him.

 

“I noticed that he kept texting someone. It was obnoxious, like he wanted me to notice. He was laughing loudly at the replies, humming to himself as he typed. It was just annoying.”

 

Isak swallowed hard. This would have been around the time Even had texted him – threatened to tell Chris.

 

Fuck. Even had been sitting next to Chris as he did that.

 

Finally, I just asked him who he was texting and why he was being so loud about it. My dad grumbled at me to relax, that Even wasn’t doing anything wrong. Then, Even pulled up your number in his phone, showed it to me, and grinned widely. He didn’t say anything else, didn’t tell me what had happened between you, just showed me your name in his voice and smiled. Smiled.”

 

“Jesus.” Isak whispered, clinging tighter to Chris now.

 

“I just...I think it just came to me right then. I suddenly just knew that it was him who had hurt you, who had manipulated you. And the fact that he looked so goddamn smug about it. I couldn’t fucking take it.

 

“I stood up and swung at him. I hit him right in the nose and he started bleeding almost instantly, putting his hands above his head and shouting for my dad to help him. My dad got up, pulled me back away from Even and punched me in the face. I fell down to the floor, feeling disoriented for a second, and then I heard my dad shouting something at me. It wasn’t clear right away, but then I realized he was saying what an asshole I was. He was asking why I hit Even, who hadn’t done anything wrong.”

 

“Chris, I’m so sorry.”

 

“Without thinking, I shouted back that Even had hurt someone I cared about. That he was a twisted fuck, a bastard. I just kept calling him all these hideous names that were all fucking true. Even’s mom came into the room and helped Even up, saying she would take him to the hospital and to keep me – an animal – away from her son. My dad put his hand over my mouth to keep me from shouting any more until Even and his mom were gone.”

 

Chris was shaking, breath coming out harsh and uneven. Isak wanted to turn around and pull Chris into his arms, try and make something better. But he didn’t move.

 

“Once they were gone, I tried to explain that Even wasn’t the person my father thought he was. I tried to explain that Even made it look like he was perfect, but he isn’t. My dad wasn’t listening. He didn’t even acknowledge what I said about Even hurting someone I cared about. He just told me to get out of his sight. So, I did. I went back to William’s place and we started drinking. We kept drinking and drinking until all I wanted...was you. And then it was already morning. You know the rest.”

 

“You didn’t drive here, did you?”

 

“No, I walked. William wouldn’t let me drive.”

 

“Good. Fucking hell, Chris.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“The worst thing though, was that Even texted me when I was at William’s. I was drunk when I read it, but...it just fucked with me even more. He said, ‘April 17th.’”

 

Isak frowned a little, waiting for Chris to continue. But he didn’t say anything else.

 

“What’s April 17th?”

 

Chris held on to Isak tighter and Isak felt hot tears slide down his neck, Chris close enough for them to fall there.

 

“That was the day he did the same thing to me.”

Chapter Text

“Chris, let me…”

 

Isak wanted to turn and bring Chris into his arms, but the other boy shook his head; his grip tightening on Isak. They were still lying down, Chris out of Isak’s sight.

 

“No, I don’t...I don’t really want to talk about it. I just wanted you to know.”

 

Isak struggled with what to say next. He wanted to know more - mostly because he was so angry that Even had done this to both of them. But he also didn’t want either of them to spare another thought about the older boy. He wanted them both to forget.

 

“I don’t want to go home.” Chris whispered, calming down. Isak stroked his hand, pushing his body back into Chris’s.

 

“Then stay here.”

 

“I have to face it sometime.”

 

“I could come with you.” Isak offered, turning his head enough to put a kiss on Chris’s lips. “For moral support.”

 

Chris looked pained. He gazed at Isak for a long second before shaking his head sadly, cupping Isak’s chin and kissing him again.

 

“I want you to come with me. But I want to face this alone for now.”

 

“Okay.”

 

**

 

Chris left an hour later, promising to text. Isak laid in his bed for a long time before getting up, scrolling through social media. He was gazing through Jonas’s instagram when a message popped up, immediately filling him with dread.

 

It was Even’s facebook picture that had appeared.

 

Isak clicked on it, fully ready to tell Even to go straight to hell. But when he read through the message, he realized it wasn’t Even who was messaging him.

 

Hi Isak. This is Mikael, Even’s roommate. I wanted to make sure you were okay.

 

Why are you messaging me? I’m not falling for more of this bullshit.

 

Was this Even’s latest trick? Getting his friend to reach out to Isak, apologize on Even’s behalf and get Isak to somehow come back to their apartment? That wasn’t going to fucking happen.

 

I don’t blame you for doubting my reasons for talking to you, but I just wanted to make sure Even hadn’t hurt you.

 

Why do you care?

 

Because I know what he’s like.

 

You know he manipulates people?

 

Yeah, i do

 

Isak was a little stunned by Mikael’s honesty. He sat up straighter in bed and thought of what to say next.

 

If this isn’t a trick, why do you live with Even? Why didn’t you warn me?

 

Because I was hoping he was getting better.

 

No. I can say with certainty that he’s still an asshole

 

Fuck. i’m sorry, man

 

You shouldn’t be apologizing for him

 

I’ve been doing it for a while. It’s just second nature now.

 

Isak sighed, checking to see if Chris had messaged him yet. There was nothing and Isak’s nerves were frazzled - still feeling like this was some kind of joke. He thought of a plan.

 

If you’re really not Even, call me right now on facebook.

 

Two seconds later, Isak’s phone was buzzing.

 

Incoming call from Even…

 

Isak accepted it, turned on his own camera and waited. He expected to see Even, a smug smile on his face. But the boy who came into view was the roommate Isak had met that night, the one who had flashed Isak a worried glance.

 

“Hey,” Mikael said, looking awkward. “Do you believe me now?”

 

“Yeah. But Even could still be asking you to do this. How would I know? I don’t exactly trust anything to do with that fucker.”

 

“He’s at work right now. I logged onto his computer and went on his facebook. Look.”

 

Suddenly Isak was being given a tour of the apartment, Mikael opening the doors to every room, including the bathroom. Nobody else was home. He sat back down on the sofa with a grunt, squaring his shoulders and looking back at Isak.

 

“Okay. I just don’t know what you want me to say.” Isak said quietly, unable to look at Mikael for very long. His eyes kept shifting to spots on the walls.  

 

“I don’t know either. Even came home yesterday with a beat up face and was saying something about his step-brother and you. I just wanted to know what happened and if you were hurt. Chris told me to fuck off, so I had no clue what the real story was.”

 

Isak couldn’t help but laugh at that. “To be honest, I was going to do the same thing.”

 

Mikael smirked. “I don’t blame you. I just...don’t want people to think I’m the same as Even because we live together and have been friends for a few years.”

 

Mikael put quotation marks in the air with his fingers when he said the word ‘friend.’

 

“Chris found out Even and I…” Isak swallowed hard, shaking his head. “And he got upset. Even was smiling about it - looking proud - so Chris threw a punch. Even denied the whole thing to Chris’s father, who now thinks Chris just hit Even for no reason.”

 

“Shit. Are you and Chris together?”

 

Isak didn’t say anything. He felt like he had just revealed too much. What if Mikael went straight to Even and then Even told everything to Chris’s father?

 

“If you’re together, why were you with Even?” Mikael asked softly, not looking or sounding judgemental. He just seemed curious.

 

“Does it matter? It was a mistake. I fell for Even’s bullshit. You just said that you know he’s manipulative.” Isak snapped, sounding harsher than he’d meant to.

 

“Okay, okay. You’re right.” Mikael said, putting his hands up. “Sorry.”

 

“Why does he do this?” Isak asked on a whim, not sure if he wanted the answer. “You’ve contacted me, said you’re worried and that you’ve been apologizing for him for a long time. That means he’s done this to a lot of people, right?”

 

“Isak, I…”

 

“So, why? Do you have any idea why he likes to fuck with people’s lives? Sweet talk his way into sleeping with people and then completely not caring about their needs? Going too fast and then smiling about it?”

 

Mikael closed his eyes and pushed his hands through his hair, letting out a long breath.

 

“I don’t know, Isak. I thought I knew him for a long time until he started telling me...stories. Messed up shit that I didn’t believe for a long time. In fact, I wasn’t completely sure of him until I saw you that night. Everything became so real. Until then, all I’d had to apologize for on his behalf was his drunken mistakes - lying to his parents and making sure he was at work when he should be. It was just irresponsible crap like that. I never thought I’d be talking to someone who he hurt like this. I…never believed he was capable of…”

 

Mikael cut himself off, wincing.

 

“He didn’t like... hurt me. Not physically.” Isak cut in, wondering if that’s what Mikael was thinking. “But he...made it seem like everything was okay. That there was no reason why I shouldn’t come over and sleep with him when I wasn’t sure about my feelings. It seems like he latches onto your sensitive spots and takes advantage of them.”

 

“And he’s older than you, Isak. He should know better. He shouldn’t be trying to sleep with someone your age. Like, fuck.” Mikael said.

 

Isak hesitated for a long second, not sure how to answer.

 

“It’s probably because people my age are stupid. We fall for anything.” Isak cringed, knowing it was true about himself. Even had been sweet to him, complimented him, and he’d gone weak in the knees.

 

Isak had been puddy in Even’s hands.

 

“There’s no excuse for him. Absolutely none.” Mikael said firmly. “The lease on this place is up soon. I’m going to find somewhere else to live.”

 

“That’s probably a good idea.”

 

“And I’m going to talk to Even’s step-dad. Sounds like you need backup so he actually believes Even has done something wrong. He’s a master at making parents believe he’s an innocent angel.” Mikael rolled his eyes.  

 

Isak froze for a minute, letting that offer sink in. At first he didn’t know if it was a good idea and he opened his mouth to tell Mikael to just stay out of it, but then he considered it for another second longer.

 

“If you do that, can you please make sure you don’t mention anything about Chris and me? His father isn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of boys liking boys.”

 

Mikael nodded. “Sure. I won’t say anything.”

 

“Thanks, Mikael. I mean it.” Isak said.

 

Their call ended with Isak giving Mikael his mobile number. He wanted to be updated on what happened with Chris’s father after Mikael spoke to him. Mikael promised to stay in touch and to do anything possible to prevent Even from doing this to someone else if he brought anyone else home. He also said he would clear any evidence of their conversation from Even’s laptop and facebook profile.

 

Isak felt a little uneasy when they hung up but he tried to ignore it. Instead he sent a text to Chris, asking how he was and if anything bad had happened with his father.

 

He waited for a few minutes, turning his phone back on again and again; looking for messages. He sighed and got up, telling himself Chris was all right and he would contact Isak when he was ready.

 

Just as he decided that, his phone started ringing.

 

“Chris? Are you okay?”

 

“I’m coming over again. Can I? I’m sorry to…” Chris sounded like he was running; out of breath and panicked.

 

Isak was instantly on edge. “Yes. Yes. Come here. Are you all right?”

 

“I’ll be there soon.”

 

And then the line went dead.