knees knocking, blood flowing, so i want you to know (that i want to)
i have been lurking on your blog since you made it, and you’ve just lightened up my days so much and gotten me back into writing (after a horrendously long drought). so, i wanted you to read this. because you’ve been such a huge inspiration. i hope it’s not too broody!
It starts: with him, face down on the bed, at two in the morning. Even’s breathing close by. The radiator is snapping. Those are the only sounds in the apartment, apart from the ever distant rumbles of traffic further out. It’s just enough sound to let it happen; to let the thought be heard and take root, weave its way between his neurons until it’s not going anywhere, no matter how he tries.
It’s not too foreign. It happens a lot – this spiraling thing he has going on. Thoughts wearing a groove in his mind until he ends up tongue-tied and frozen dead in his tracks. Usually it’s unpleasant; something he wishes he could get rid of. Not necessarily the thought, but the process of getting stuck. It’s one of those characteristics, (– along with the jealousy, selfishness, insecurity, abundant cowardice –) that he really doesn’t like about himself too much.
But this. This is different. Really, it’s just a thought. It doesn’t feel so bad to think it. He’s just surprised at himself. A bit proud, even, for going there. Acknowledging it.
At first, anyway.
It’s another thing when it starts to crystallize, becoming real – not just a liquid deliberation, but a solid want. And the more he lets it ( – starts analyzing how when why now? – ) the more something tightens up inside, like a knot tying up his throat and something cold settling in the depth of his stomach.
He swallows, turning onto his back and staring into the ceiling of his room; someone else’s floor.
Nothing is awkward anymore.
Well, that’s a lie. Nothing outward is awkward. But words in the mind are different from the words said. Even when the whole world has been tipped on its head ( – as it tends to when your boyfriend have a brain that’s a little faster and sadder than mosts and you find out in the worst possible way; leaving you scared out of your mind and gasping frigid air – ) you still think in the same ways, stuck in the same grooves, just with your head a bit higher; eyes focused ahead rather than down.
A bit more objective, perhaps.
Still. Shame that has had time to take root just doesn’t go away overnight. It lingers in the smallest ways, even when he tries to fight them off. Lingers in the way he still turns his head when Even wants to kiss him in the street; in the way he still has to convince himself that it’s okay to smile and enjoy dorky things, in how he still sometimes has a prepared excuse on the tip of his tongue to let go of, in how he can never really relax when they’re not around friends –
He was getting better. Is. But here’s the thing: at two am, without someone to remind him that it’s okay, that’s it’s alright to feel, the good and the bad ( – that it goes up and down, is a process, and that he too should take it minute by minute, you’ve got to be kind to yourself, Isak – ) old patterns tend to repeat themselves, simply in new constellations (– feeling shame about feeling shame in the first place; a layering process, a spiraling thing, the same emotion to the second fucking power –)
Isak bites his lip, releasing it when he tastes blood. His face is so hot he can hear the rush of blood in his ears: turning his head into an echochamber until it’s all clamouring so loud he can barely breathe.
Turning onto his side again, he sees the vulnerable skin on Even’s neck. Smiles. An old part of him tell him he shouldn’t want to, how could anyone, but god, he does. He really does.
Closing his eyes to shut out the noise, he listens to Even’s slow breaths, halfway muffled by the blue pillow, turning into gentle snores. Isak presses his nose into the back of the (his, because even if you can’t own people, Even is his – ) shirt, and pulls his sleeping body closer. Even doesn’t wake; he just lets out a long exhale, and Isak can hear his heartbeat through his back, smell his warmth, feel how solid he is; safe for now.
He goes back to sleep.
Fact: Isak’s always been curious.
Ever since they got sat beside each other because of their surnames, Jonas has been the speculative of them. He’s known things – or claimed that he did – by simply putting two and two together; figuring them out the hermeneutic way. He’s smart in that old school philosophical way that lends itself to making self-reflection and self-improvement an instinctual thing.
Isak, on the other hand, always wants to know more, and how. When he doesn’t know, he seeks out an answer. From sources – books or newspapers or the internet. Scours through page after page until he can puzzle together a picture from facts.
However, that’s regarding worldly things. Things others can tell him about; tell him if it’s right or wrong, even if those concerns started out as private thoughts only for him to mull over. They’re things he can research, and then apply to the real world. Sure, he has done it with private things too ( – sad, embarrassing midnight searches, sleepless Saturdays spent reading and so much before it searching for clue to prove it wasn’t true – ) and about all and anything.
Lately, though, he can’t. This is, while a curiosity and ignorance he wishes to solve, also something else. He can read about it, sure, but ultimately, no text, no explanation nor story –
No words can explain how something feels unless you’ve already felt it.
Even’s staying over for the third day in a row now; sitting crossed-legged on the floor by the foot of the bed as he types away at one assignment or another. Tapping his pen against his text book, Isak gives up reading the same paragraph about bimolecular nucleophilic substitution reactions for the fifth time. Even’s got his headphones in, the light from the bedside lamp highlighting those lighter streaks in his hair. He cut it recently, and it’s still coming back into its own; the shorn edges still coarse when Isak drags his fingers through it.
With his always working senses, all six of them, Even must realize that Isak’s watching him. He turns, tipping his head backwards, sly smile at the corner of his mouth.
“Taking an undeserved break?”
Isak kicks him, lightly. “No,” he says, but he’s smiling so Even just laughs and grabs his ankle before letting go.
“Go back to reading then, or I’ll go home.”
“Because I promised not to kiss you until you were done with that chapter. And I’m not staying the night if I can’t kiss you. That would be impossible.”
“Fine,” Isak grumbles, but takes up his book again and stretches his leg out .
Even takes him up ( – so attentive it’s ridiculous and he makes it seem so easy why is it so hard – ) on the unspoken invitation and slouches down a bit to lean his head against Isak’s shin; a familiar, safe weight.
It takes a while to get into the rhythm of the text, he does manage to finish the chapter, even though he’ll probably have to re-read it to get it all. But not tonight. He puts his book down . Even’s once again engrossed in his writing, the rhythm of keys soothing, so Isak rolls over in the bed and puts his chin on folded arms.
“Have you ever broken a bone?”
Even frowns for a moment, then he sighs. “Yeah. Wrists and collar bone. My toe when I fell out the window that time.”
It’s not awkward now that he knows the best reaction is no reaction when Even decides to share something from his episodes. It’s all Isak needs, really. Some sort of guideline, and then he’s good to figure it out on his own.
“You’ve never done that?”
Isak frowns. “No?”
“Not even skating? Lucky.”
Even smiles with his whole face and wow, Isak loves him so much. So glad to have him. All of him. Looking down at the duvet, he asks, “What does it feel like?”
Tipping his head back, Even holds the thought for a bit. Then he says, “Like losing the love of your life.”
He says it completely serious, because he’s utterly ridiculous and Isak can’t do anything but roll his eyes. It’s fond though and Even just laughs so Isak swats at him. He dodges easily, clearly even more amused as he grabs Isak’s wrist to keep him from swatting again.
Naturally, things go south from there pretty quickly, and they end up side by side, panting from the impromptu wrestling match ( – which it was, through and through, just playing, being close and physical but not intimate in that way and it’s so long since he’s had that, but with Even he can and it’s the best feeling in the world – ) staring into the ceiling, Isak’s hand resting on Even’s ribcage.
It moves gently with his breathing, loud in this small room.
“I’m serious, though,” Isak says softly. “How does it feel?”
Even is quiet for a long while, and by know he must know that this is really about something else. But, he’s so patient, and says, “It’s searing. Almost as when you poke a bad bruise too hard, mixed with that sharpness of a paper cut. But it lasts forever?”
Even cracks an eyes open, and then nuzzles close ( – smelling so good, it’s incredible how someone can smell so good, so warm and safe and human –) so that their noses touch.
“It feels like forever. Until it heals.”
It continues: March is dreary, cold and misty. Isak pulls down the makeshift curtain ( – a blanket, let’s call it what it is – ) to let some light in. To make it easier to wake up in the morning; make it easier to get out of a warm bed into a draughty room, knowing that Even can just turn over and go back to sleep since he’s got study hall first period on Fridays.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, a finger hooks into the back of his shorts; the elastic snapping back lower than earlier when he spins around. Even looks at him from under the duvet, eyes thin slits, his lips forming unintelligible words until they stretch into one of his smiles.
Isak just gives him a look. “Don’t be smug.”
Even’s smile brightens, and he reaches out again; a long arm and a warm, big hand curling around Isak’s neck to pull him down for a kiss. A bad one, tasting of morning breath and placed half on his chin, but isn’t that a testament of everything when it’s still good?
Fact: lying on top of the covers, just kissing is the best thing in the world.
It’s finally good. It wasn’t always. With Even though, it’s so good. Feels safe and right in a way it never did before (– he’s just right; right height, right shape, right smell, right everything – ). Also: the way he doesn’t assume, but stays in tune, senses working, always, to make sure to check what Isak wants, not acknowledging but neither forgetting how much two years can be in terms of experience; how some things can still be scary, no matter how close you get.
He’s considerate, Even. Dictionary definition.
Still. Isak knows this and yet, he can’t bring himself to ask. He’s thought about for weeks now ( – a thought, call it what it is; want, desire even, what the fuck to even call it when he can’t bring himself to articulate it in his mind – ) and the doubt festers; pulsating at his temples when Even’s hand takes hold under his shirt, fingers dipping and out of the hem of his jeans, making him shiver.
This is so good.
Even rolls onto his back; letting Isak hover over him as if it’s the easiest thing in the world. And it is. It should be. Isak’s seen him more vulnerable than this (– seen him all but flayed open at this point – ) and yet, it’s still remarkable how easy he makes it look. It makes the contrast between them even more stark. Isak wishes he too could relax like that; settle into himself instead of being a haze around the edges, not knowing where he starts or ends or where his contours even are. He’s gotten better at it: knows where they are when he’s with the boys, mostly when he’s alone, but always when Even’s arms are around him, caging him in, forming him into something he wants to be – what he is.
When he’s alone, it fluxuates. He’s more relaxed now, sure, but it’s still a process.
( – you’ve got to be kind to yourself, Isak, demand things, you’re not a burden I promise – )
Something pulls within; esophagus and stomach in two opposite directions and a lattice laces behind his eyes.
He pulls away.
Even doesn’t follow. Instead, he pushes Isak’s fringe out of his eyes, smiling up at him slightly as he searches for something. “Would you rather do something else?” he asks, a joke hanging in the air when he doesn’t find it.
It nearly makes Isak stiffen; damage control ready to engage, the false explanation ready at the tip of his tongue. Even’s hands are still down the back of his jeans, but there’s a small frown forming between his eyebrows. He knows that Even knows something is up with him, (– but he trusts him enough to let him spill on his own terms and isn’t that just heartbreaking when all Isak wants is for him to just ask so he can spill – )
He knows he’s diverting; Even knows it too. Yet, he doesn’t push.
He’s patient. Dictionary definition.
Isak doesn’t even wish he could be; he just wants to be able to speak his mind, always. Screw this process thing: he’s ready to be done.
Even’s eyes stays on his; silently asking, and Isak can’t, not really, but he makes himself.
“I want to know how it feels.”
It’s soft, cowardly, and cryptic. But blood is rushing in his ears, and his pulse is ticking at his wrists.
At first, Even’s eyes widen. It’s a small thing, and for a second, Isak fears that Even still thinks this is about bones ( – wouldn’t that be just perfect though, something to laugh at, you’ve got to lighten up – ), but then he reaches up again, cradling Isak’s face in his hands.
Isak closes his eyes, and nods. “Yeah.”
Isak doesn’t answer, words lodged in his throat. Instead, he leans down to kiss Even again, softly and containing the full one word he should say out loud, but can’t. Instead, he lets Even take his upper lip between his own, and it’s such a simple thing, but it sends something warm through him, from head to toe. Not frantic, but just a simple that’s pleasant that has him press his tongue against Even’s just to be close to him.
It resolves: him, face down on the bed. Even’s big hand is steady on his shoulder, minding the pimples that hurt when touched. The other is curled around his hip.
“This is all about you,” he whispers, lips brushing against Isak’s neck, breath warm and soothing behind his ear, over his throat.
He nods, cheek rasping against the pillow case. “I know,” is all he can say, barely audible. If Even asks one more time, he won’t be able to speak; his throat tight with nerves even though he should be – is – relaxed, should show and not just say how he does want this so badly. Wants to be so close to Even it can’t be undone, despite it being scary.
He can feel Even’s breath on his neck, making the hairs on his arms stand up when he starts mouthing at his neck; the skin behind his ears, the topmost know of his spine ( – the same place where he left his first hickey on Even, the exact same spot – ).
“A little bit about me too, but that’s just because we’re two about this. Like I can’t fuck you if I’m not here, you know. ”
Isaks’ face heats up. It burns. Still, he manages to laugh a bit, and to turn his head to look at Even. His eyes are soft, a bit worried, perhaps, but he’s smiling now too. He’s making soothing circles on Isak’s lower back, and god, Isak loves him so much.
He swallows, curling his fingers ( – the tension concentrating in those joints, the rest of his body languid, it’s okay, you’ve got the right to be nervous, everyone’s nervous, it’s seriously okay – )
It resolves: with him, holding on. It’s the only way to describe it. Even’s fingers in between his, and Isak knows he’s squeezing them too hard, tightening his sweaty hold with every shift, but he needs it ( – needs it so bad because he’s on the verge of unspooling, it feels so good, but he should be scared out of his mind from the intensity of it and maybe he is, but something it overshadowing it – )
It doesn’t hurt, like he’d feared. It’s just. Too much.
His breathing is loud even to his own ears, and he’s mouthing at the back of Even’s hand; tasting his skin just to keep himself grounded here, in this moment. It’s barely been a minute, if that, but he knows he could come now. At the same time, it’d be impossible – that feeling being just out of his reach ( – hooked around his lower spine, somewhere, where he knows it’s exact location and could find it, but he doesn’t want to, he wants it to last, because he’s getting what he wanted and asked for and got – )
A hand around his clammy forehead. Even. Of course. Turning his head a bit, just enough to kiss him properly. It forces him deeper inside, and Isak loses his breath to a gasp, because oh that’s good. Fuck it’s good. Finally it’s so so good. Not just enduring, not that it ever was about that. But it’s finally good; because not only his mind but his whole being knows it’s Even. It’s his hand on his, it’s his shorn ends brushing again Isak’s cheek, his mouth kissing him and him inside, so close it would hurt –
If it wasn’t Even.
It ends: with them. Isak catching his breath against Even’s collar bone ( – the broken one apparently, but it’s been set properly – ) and Even drawing light patterns on his back with the tips of his fingers.
Isak holds him a little tighter, breathes him in. He is okay, he thinks. Simply, a lot to mull over, once again, but in a different light ( – how this is certainly only temporary, them that is, in the grand scheme of things, and how it’s both a blessing and a curse, but how now, Even will always be a first because Isak asked for it and got it because he asked – ) and how, in a way, he’ll always be Isak’s, one way or another.
It’s a soothing thought. Or just the endorphins speaking, he doesn’t know.
He nods. “More than.”
Even places a kiss on top of his head, and Isak feels like sleeping. It’s safe enough here ( – doesn’t get safer to be totally honest – ) that he can let it happen. He closes his eyes, listens to Even’s breathing, to the calm stead rhythm of his heart and –
It ends: the spiral up-rooted.