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hvordan får jeg deg til å bli?

Breathe in, breathe out.

You know that this isn’t your fault. A sensible part of you—as small as it might be—knows that you’re not to be blamed for the raging ocean inside of you, but you also know that you’re a calamity and nothing can change that. You have always held the promise of tribulation because it has been sharp and cold inside of you all your life. It has become an untamed ocean within you, angry and unforgiving and frightening. You know that this isn’t your fault, but you also know that you’ve held a hurricane in your heart since the day you were born and now when you look in the mirror, you can’t see anything else anymore.

You’re not even sure that you’ve ever been anything but a catastrophic heartbreak waiting to happen.

It seems poetic that your safe place is the cliff at Kvalvika Beach. Although you haven’t quite figured out if the isolation is settling because no one can touch you or because you can’t touch anyone else up here, it’s always just been fitting. Because in all your cataclysmic angst, you don’t know where you belong in this world anymore—except maybe, possibly, with the sea.

You can’t touch anyone here.

Breathe in, breathe out.

The wind rolling off of the salt water bites with merciless teeth, your cheeks stinging and the tip of your nose growing numb, and yet the winter air hangs thick with humidity as if it wasn’t cruel enough. You have to pull your jacket tighter around yourself as you watch the storm creep closer and closer to shore—towards you, tides wrathful and restless. For barely one moment, you can’t tell if you’re the building storm or the chaotic ocean. You feel like both, then you feel like neither.

You don’t know how long you stand there, watching the churning blue and the ceaseless gray as they collide on the skyline. They merge into one another with everything there is, short of clemency and kindness. And the cold starts to become therapeutic as a relieving numbness seizes your aching chest. It’s the only time you feel like it’s not all inside of you; like, for once, you’re not trying to tame the destructive tornado in your bones. Here, you can let it go until you’re too tired for anything else.

Let go.

“Leif?” It barely carries on the breeze and you almost think it’s a figment of your imagination. You hold your breath and you clench your eyes shut. Breathe in, breathe out. His voice is somehow softer when it’s closer, “Leif?”

Kasper. Gud, Kasper.

You think that perhaps your downfall started when you fell in love with him.

And if someone asked you when your heartlines drew themselves for Kasper, you’re not sure what the answer would be.

Maybe you would say it was that rainy day in February where you housed his books in your bag as an act of kindness so he could make it across the quad. Maybe you would say it was that day in April when he was humming a song by your favorite band under his breath. Maybe you would say that it was the day in September where he asked you for coffee, then haphazardly poured his heart out to you about his awful week, his otherwise soft voice wavering in small cracks.

Or maybe… just maybe, you would say that it was the first night he kissed you in October, tasting like black cherry water and sweet tarts; when he touched your hair softly with an edging alacrity, like he might just pull you closer. Maybe you would say it was in the moment you kissed him back greedily, as if you were desperate, and he still opened his heart to you. You would say that it was when he taught you what it felt like to undulate with someone that moves to a similar rhythm as you.

But maybe you would just say you didn’t actually know because you really don’t. As far as you can remember in the atlas that has come to be Leif & Kasper, you’ve always been in love with him some way or another. You don’t think there really was one epiphanic moment where your heart bottomed out when you looked at this boy with gray eyes and unkempt hair.

And the thing about him is that he’s so intertwined in you that he knows the most intimate parts.

You open your eyes when Kasper is so close that you can feel the soft warmth of his presence. When you turn to look at him, he has his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his favorite navy parka jacket, his shoulders drawn up slightly from either tension or the cold, you’re not sure, and there’s an icy flush to his cheeks from the biting draught. You sigh, “Halla.”

Halla,” he murmurs. He steps a little closer uncertainly and you have the haziest impression that it seems as if he’s approaching a wild animal that he doesn’t want to chase off, but he doesn’t want to get bitten either. “Hva gjør du? Here?”

You look back out at the sea when he does. A part of you hopes that he sees what you see: everything and nothing. Your answer comes out roughly like sandpaper, coarse and stifled, “Thinking. Hvordan fant du meg?”

You can feel Kasper’s eyes slide from the horizon to you. Usually, it could be considered poetic that you always seem so cognizant of when Kasper is looking at you, but now you wish you weren’t. It makes you feel cut open, susceptible, and it leaves a crawling sensation under your skin. You feel like stained glass and there’s an anticipation hovering like Kasper’s about to throw a rock. He considers you cautiously for a long moment before he says slowly, “You are… predictable.”

It almost makes you smile—if not sentimentally—because if there’s anyone that would know you well enough to think you’re at all predictable in any sense, it really would be Kasper Solheim, but you don’t. You almost can’t smile because at the same time that this thought comes with almost-amusement, it also reminds you that you’ve capsized so many times just in the past year that Kasper truly does think that this is the most obvious thing. That you being here, like this, will always be foreseeable. And you wonder how you can be so dark that you taught an angel how to brace himself for ruthless teeth when all he ever did was teach you what tenderness felt like. You can’t believe the harsh paradox of it all.

You clench your eyes shut again.

The nausea in your stomach is crawling up with the tightness in your chest. You can feel your own heart starting to crack.

There’s a lull between you two where the only sounds you can hear are the waves crashing into the rocks below, the storm currents starting to coil, and your own echoing heartbeat in your head. Breathe in, breathe out. You clench your fists. You don’t actually think you’re breathing anymore because there’s a muffled ringing in your ears and your lungs burn.

And then Kasper throws the rock.

Breathe in, breathe out.

“Leif,” he whispers, his freezing hands reaching for you. Your heart is fragmenting so much that it hurts when you do pull a breath in, a piercing in your ribcage as you inhale, and the ache is unfolding to your palms. He knows you’re shattered glass when he touches you, but the way his eyes are the same color as the sky make you feel like he doesn’t mind that his hands will bleed. His hands hover near your shoulders though, not quite making contact when he says, “You are your worst enemy.”

You sway on your feet somewhat. You feel so unbalanced, like anything Kasper says will put you in a free-fall. “Jeg vet.”

Finally, his icy fingers touch your jaw. You almost flinch back from the cold, then you try to coil away from the contact altogether, but Kasper’s holds you still, a bit too tightly, so you look at him. He tries to maintain a steadiness to him, but you can hear the wavering in his throat as he says, “Det er greit. Dette er ikke hvem du er.” His voice cracks as he moves his hands to grab taut fistfuls of your denim jacket, twisting to such a point that you think it might hurt. The small tug compels you to focus on him and he flicks his eyes over your face before he whispers, “You are more than an illness.”

Jeg…” you start, but your words lodge themselves into your throat in a painful lump. You can’t spit them out and you can’t swallow them back down. You’re simply stuck, looking at this boy that came to get you with wide eyes, your mouth open, and your heart plummeting into your stomach at such a frightening velocity, you feel like you might throw up.

You have held the thunder rolling through clouds in your veins. You have felt the heavy winds and the pouring rain in your core. You have been the agitated and ireful ocean with bloody fists. You have become the devastating hurricane with a spiteful vigor before it dies out. But as Kasper grounds your heart into him on the Kvalvika cliff top, you realize that every so often you are merely Icarus falling and you’re not always the ruinous force. Sometimes, it’s simply waiting for you. Sometimes, it wins and all you can do is swim back to shore with what little you have left after nearly drowning again.

You feel like you’re standing at the cliff’s edge now and you can’t see down, and you have always loved the sun even when you thought you didn’t.

It’s cold when Kasper wipes your cheeks gently with a brush of his thumbs, but it’s warm when he rocks forward in his beat-up converse to kiss you with a delicate yet desperate kind of ardor. You wrap your fingers around his wrists as if you’re going to pull his hands back, but after another moment, you lean into him with a noise and he takes this as a gesture to wrap his arms firmly around your neck. He holds you closely, tenderly and sympathetically all the same.

Du er ikke alene,” he kisses against your mouth, onto your tongue, and it tastes like salt and copper. Breathe in, breathe out. He hugs you flush against him and whispers again by your ear, “Du er ikke alene.”

And as the world tilts you off your axis and you feel like you’ve been pitched into a free-fall finally, you move your sluggish arms as if wading through molasses and you clutch onto Kasper with a certain degree of despondency and trepidation, your fists bunched into his parka jacket tight enough for your knuckles to fade from an angry and cold red to a raw white. You don’t want to take him down with you, you never have and you never will, but the way he surrounds you even though your sharp edges draw blood sometimes causes you to feel terrifyingly human rather than like a thunderstorm of a boy waiting to tear apart all that you love.

And as the clouds deliver a harsh downpour and the restive sea crashes against the rocks, you know that you will never feel more alone yet more loved than you do in these moments, and that raw energy will forever dwell in your heart without mercy to give. You will always be a thin glass bottle confining an unkind hurricane that picks at you until you give in—even when you go home with Kasper and even when you kiss him as softly as you can, but you will always bite because it’s all that you know. He’ll kiss you back tenderly as if he can teach you otherwise, even when you both are aware that it’s never going to be that simple.

Because you will always find your way back to this because the storm that exists inside of you will never give you compassion. Sometimes you will ruin and sometimes you will be ruined, but no matter what, you will always be fated to repeat yourself.

And you will always be the damage done in your own calamity.

Breathe in, breathe out.
♠ ♠ ♠
leif — pronounced lay-f

i actually did try to keep the Norwegian to a minimum so there wasn’t an entire script of translations in the author’s note, but it takes place in Norway and i like when my characters talk apparently so my bad.

hva gjør du?’ — ‘what are you doing?’
hvordan fant du meg?’ — ‘how did you find me?’
jeg vet.’ — ‘i know.’
det er greit. dette er ikke hvem du er.’ — ‘it’s okay. this is not who you are.’
du er ikke alene.’ — ‘you are not alone.’

and this has been a Norwegian lesson! (and a how-to lesson in italics because hoboy)

shout out to Lizz and Rylee for actually managing to keep me somewhat sane while i wrote and rewrote this entire thing, you guys are the bomb.com