The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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airpsfic: (this is) not a statement, 4/10
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
(this is) not a statement, 4
by Seperis
AIRPS, Adam, Kris, Adam/Kris

first part, second part, third part, fourth part, fifth part, sixth part, seventh part, eighth part, ninth part, tenth part



"….flew out here and you know. He gives good head." Adam just avoids knocking into the door when he misses the last number on his security code. Frustrated, he enters it again, giving the sky a wary look. It's been acting like rain for two days, and it's not that he doesn't like rain, it's that it does not mix with mascara and he hadn't gone for waterproof. "Wait, was that TMI?"

Kris is still laughing.

"Maybe I should have waited to talk until tomorrow," Adam says thoughtfully. He's not really high; two hits is not high. Two hits is mellow on tour, bringing him down from adrenaline-laced mania and into something in range of normal. Normal with oversharing, even. "But seriously, he's fucking amazing--"

Distantly, he hears Kris dropping the phone, laughing hard enough that Adam's worried about his lungs. "Kris?" he says, as the code finally clicks. Not kicking the door is possibly the greatest test of his self-control ever; going inside, Adam tries to remember what he came for anyway. Boots? Extra lipstick? Wallet? God, he's becoming one of those stars, that need an entourage to keep up with their things. A naked one, maybe. Sighing, he waits for the hiccupping sounds to ease and Kris picks up the phone again. "Done?"

"Yeah." Kris giggles slightly. "Sorry, it's just--I always forget how you are when you're stoned. So Alex is visiting for a few days, is that what I'm supposed to get from this conversation?"

"Oh. Yeah. Somewhere around here." Making out with one of the crew, maybe, or already left, figuring Adam would catch up eventually. Making his way through the bus, Adam finds the couch and decides for the moment, lying down would be so much more fun than looking for anything at all. Bracing a foot on the couch, he lifts the other to check his boot thoughtfully. "Went shopping."

"You took him shopping?"

"Oh God no." Adam shudders. Alex is not a fun shopper. Alex is a man on a fashion mission shopper, and the entire experience could be likened to some kind of strange military operation, grimly forced to march through five billion fucking stores with a detailed list of what is needed right now with no deviation. It's like shopping with his dad, to be honest. Exchange clothing for sporting goods and hardware, and now that Adam thinks about it with a growing sense of horror, it is just like shopping with his dad. "Do boys date their dads, do you think?"

Kris makes a helpless hiccupping sound.

"I don't know, Freudian? Something?" Adam sighs at the sound of Kris laughing again. "Could you restrain yourself? What did I come to the bus for?"

"I'm guessing from this line of conversation, condoms," Kris manages in a credible simulation of a normal voice. "Anyway, sorry to keep you from--from your entertainment tonight, I guess?" Kris strangles another giggle with an effort. "I wanted to give you my address. Really, I should have texted it, huh?"

"Probably," Adam admits, abandoning his boots and sitting up warily. "But I have a pen. Somewhere." Under a cushion, of course; Adam pulls out a Sharpie and looks around for paper, then drags back his sleeve, pulling off the cap with his teeth and spitting it out. "Okay, go--wait, address?"

"I rented a house. A condo, actually." There's something in his voice that Adam really thinks he should recognize, and suddenly, he regrets those two hits. "With Romantic Embargo and the album and everything--" Kris drifts off. "You know."

"Okay, one, thank God, you were spending more time in the air than in any one place, so I was wondering if your voter registration needed to be changed to reflect that, but two--when did this happen?"

"Um, this week? Yesterday," Kris answers, laughter in his voice. "It's only for when I'm in the city. Which is--"

"Pretty much constantly?" The Sharpie top has somehow worked its way under him and digs into his spine. Lifting his hips, Adam pulls it out and drops it on the floor. "So does Katy like the place? Did you already move?"

Even drugs can't compete against a pause like that; Adam sits up, head nearly clear. "Kris?"

"Yeah, here." There's another long pause, nothing but Kris' breathing, artificially slow and steady, like finals week but without the edge of incredulousness and laughter that this had come to mean so much to him, to all of them. Adam runs a hand through his hair, vaguely aware that someone is knocking on the bus door and trying to think who the hell would bother him this late. "It's--it's nothing. Katy's staying in Conway, that's all."

"So you're drunk?" Adam says, leaning against the back of the couch and drawing up one foot, absently playing with his bootlaces. "Because that's the only explanation for the fact you think you can lie to me that badly. Were you even trying?"

Kris snorts half-heartedly. "It's not a--not a big deal. She has a job and she can't just take off for LA whenever she wants."

"Does she want to?" Adam asks softly.

Kris swallows. "No."

Well, fuck. "You never said--" Adam bites off the comment; this actually isn't about him. "Do you want to talk about it?" he says instead, trying to keep his voice even.

"There's nothing--" Kris cuts the lie off with a sigh. "It's just--we're adjusting. I don't think we were ready for this to--that it would take this much time this time around, that's all. I didn't think--it's been busy. I screwed up, basically."

"And that's not what I asked." Before Adam can add anything, the bus door jerks open; for a second, Adam actually visualizes murder by projectile Sharpie. "Kris--"

"Not now, okay?" It's a plea, but it's the exhaustion that checks Adam's tongue. Not just the habitual insomnia of a workaholic with no one to lock him in his room until he gets some sleep and make sure he remembers to eat, no; it's something worse, and Adam wonders if he should have seen this during his last trip in LA. It's been a month; things couldn't go downhill in a month, could they? What the fuck is he missing while he's out here?

"All right," Adam says, watching Alex come to a sulking stop two feet away, glistening with rain and ungodly hot, damp jeans clinging to his legs. Putting his feet on the ground, Adam waves a hand to cut him off when he starts to talk. "You know you can--"

"I know. I do." Kris takes a careful breath, then adds with an attempt at normality, "So my address?"

Adam can give him this. "Go ahead."

Adam hears something heavy hit the ground and blinks at Alex on his knees--Alex does not like when he doesn't have his undivided attention. Long fingered, silver-nailed hands rest lightly on his knees, and Adam watches Alex lick his lips, green-lined eyes meeting his before his hands slide the length of his thighs.

"Not now," Adam mouths, sketching down the street with a not-entirely steady hand. Please God let that be readable. Before he can get any farther in that line of thought, Alex leans forward, mouthing him straight through his jeans. "Holy shit."

"Adam?" Kris breaks off in confusion, pre-zip code, and Adam drops the Sharpie, getting a handful of blond hair and jerking Alex back. Eyes nearly black, pupil blown wide with a ring of electric blue, mouth smeared pink-red, and high as shit. Mad, too: interesting. "Adam, is everything--"

"Fine, baby," Adam answers softly, watching Alex with narrowed eyes. "Give me the street again?"

Kris complies, and Alex frowns, bracing a hand on Adam's knee like he wants to stand up.

"Stay down," Adam mouths, tightening his grip. Alex hesitates, then obeys, breath coming a little faster. "Got it," Adam says, slumping a little into the couch and easing his grip so Alex can move a little in approval. "You sure you're okay?"

"Yeah." He can hear Kris' smile. "I'm fine. I should let you go. I didn't mean to interrupt--"

Adam bites down on a laugh as Alex warily leans forward, watching Adam's face. When Adam nods permission, he reaches for the buttons of Adam's pants. Adam pushes his knee into Alex's side, hard enough to get his attention. "Hands behind your back," Adam breathes, holding a finger over the microphone so that Kris (probably) won't hear it. "Nothing important," Adam says a little giddily into the phone; he's high. That's the only reason he could have thought this was a good idea. "Though I'm keeping you up; go to bed."

"I wasn't--"

"You are. It's--" Adam tilts his head back, sucking in a breath when Alex's teeth free the first button; weirdly, he hadn't known Alex could do that. This is a skillset worth some serious exploration. "It's after eleven and if you tell me you went to bed last night, I'll know you're lying."

Kris makes a vaguely protesting sound.

"Call a driver," Adam says; he remembers Kris like this during finals, too, insomnia and adrenaline and fear and riding the edge of mania in what they were doing. Not that Adam was much better; bringing Kris down was as much about keeping Kris from collapse as it was getting some sleep himself, and the habit is hard to break. "You have thirty minutes. I might call again just to check."

"…you really would, wouldn't you?" Kris says, sounding more normal, and Alex finishes with the final button, wetting his lips as Adam pulls him back, flushed and breath catching in his throat.

"Try me."

"Fine, going now. They're just screwing around now anyway." The sound of the couch springs squealing comes through the phone, then Kris says, more softly, "Night, Adam."

"Night," Adam answers, just as softly, ending the call. Alex isn't moving, eyes wide and swallowing dark. "You're just full of surprises, aren't you?"

"Surprised you didn't keep him on the phone," Alex answers, like he's actually surprised. "Are we leaving now?"

Adam is not that kind of an asshole, but it would be hard to prove it with this shit. "Suck me off," Adam says, uncurling his fingers from the phone with an effort, eyes drifting to Kris' address scrawled the length of his forearm. "Then we'll see how I feel about it. I have to make a call in thirty minutes, so you can take your time."

Alex does take direction well; Adam catches his breath, grabbing for a cushion as Alex's mouth closes around the head of his cock, tight and wet and perfect.




Kris doesn't mention it again, but Adam can tell by the spaces in conversation that whatever is going on, it's not getting better, even if it's not getting any worse. Katy visits twice, helps him pick out furniture, and goes back to Conway; Kris works like a religious vocation. Jared gets in three fights at Leo's, which Adam cares about only so far as it gets Kris four days away from the studio and the beginnings of a truly brilliant plan.

Adam doesn't push as much as he wants to, and not just because a telephone isn't exactly the best way to get Kris to open up. He's known Kris long enough to recognize the difference between when he won't talk and when he can't. The former can be handled, but the latter is where Kris needs to someone to listen to him work it out himself. Which is why this is a goddamn brilliant plan.

"Come to Chicago."

On the other side of the phone, Kris makes a strangled noise and something sounds like it broke on the floor. "What?"

"What? You only have four days and I know you're not going back to Conway--"

"Aren't you like, leaving Chicago tomorrow morning?"

"That's very true. Take the one am flight and you'll be here before we leave." Adam tilts his head back, grinning at the ceiling. "I'm not a pretty Indie boy, true, but I need attention too, you know."

"That flight leaves in four hours--" Kris breaks off and Adam smiles at the alert from his email that pops up. "Who the hell could be here this late?"

Adam hums his innocence and checks Perez as Kris pads toward his door. "Kris?" Adam says as he hears Kris pull the chain and start to unlock the door. "I just want to mention something."

The door opens, and Adam listens contentedly to the resounding silence before Kris says, slowly and carefully and disbelieving, which is hilarious because really, Kris should know better, "Adam, why is Jim here? Holding a plane ticket and smiling like that?"

Adam laughs. "This is a statement. I'm kidnapping you. Pack fast. I'll see you at the airport."




It seems impossible that Kris could manage to be smaller than Adam remembers, but just from the hang of his clothes and the circles burned dark beneath his eyes Adam can tell that he's down ten pounds and about a hundred hours of sleep.

He also collapses into the hug, which Adam will not say he does not appreciate, but this close Adam can feel the faint outline of bones beneath thin skin and muscle, and more than anything on earth, he wants to tuck Kris into bed and make him sleep a week between as many meals as Adam can stuff into him.

"Hey," Kris mumbles against his chest, clinging just a little, like in the Idol mansion and during their tour, when sometimes all of them wound up on one bus after too-long days, needing each other even more than a semi-comfortable bunk. Bad nights, but good ones, too, because they might have been competitors once, but they were also friends, and this was where they could allow themselves to break, just a little, breathe a little. Just enough.

"How bad?" Adam says into Kris' hair, tightening his hold though Kris doesn't show any interest in pulling back.

"Not--" Kris stops himself with a watery laugh. "God, I did not mean to do this." Vaguely, he plucks at Adam's hoodie in a way that implies he might eventually want to let go. "Sorry. It's just been a long fucking month."

Carefully, Adam pulls back, looking into red-edged, bloodshot brown eyes, cupping Kris' face and pressing his thumbs against the fragile skin of his temples. "You've been holding out on me, baby."

Kris starts to answer, then shakes his head. "I--can we go?"

"Right now." Keeping an arm around Kris, Adam sees the driver and Jay waiting. "I'll get someone to grab your bags. What did--"

"Just my guitar and my bag," Kris says, looking up at Adam with a faintly amused look. "For some reason, Jim said it had to be checked."

"Smart man," Adam says as they go outside; there aren't any paparazzi yet, probably because sane rockstars don't go out in the middle of a storm just to pick up a friend when a driver can do it just as well. Taking Kris' laptop bag and handing it to the driver, Adam pushes Kris into the car and climbs in behind him. "You'll get it back when I'm satisfied you've slept."

Kris gives him a thoughtful look, eyes already half-closed now that he's seated and still. "You can be really bossy, you know?"

"That's what you like about me," Adam answers as they pull out. Kris' leans against his shoulder, struggling to keep his eyes open and losing badly. "Get some sleep. I'll wake you up when we get to the bus."

Kris makes a faintly protesting noise that's more like a snore before falling silent. Adam grins, slumping a little in the seat, and feels Kris settle with a sigh.




Kris sleeps fourteen hours straight, waking just long enough to eat and tell Adam, very seriously, "Tell me you changed these sheets since Alex was here."

Adam blinks over the top of his laptop at the sleepy, cranky Kris curled up in his bed, pillow creases on his cheek and eyes red and a little swollen from sleep. "That's the cattiest thing I've ever heard you say," he says admiringly. "I'm impressed. Do some more; it's adorable"

"I hate you," Kris says resentfully, curling up tighter in the blankets without any visible sign he gives a shit about the cleanliness of the sheets, eyes drifting shut on a glare. Kris is never at his personal best when he first wakes up, but even the other Idols never knew that; seeing Kris unfiltered like this is something you had to earn. "Well? Did you?"

"I have a couch," Adam says brightly, pushing the laptop aside and crawling up from the foot of the bed so Kris doesn't have to tilt his neck at that angle to keep glaring. Settling against the headboard, Adam lets himself ruffle Kris' hair, a little longer than he can ever remember Kris letting it grow. It's a good look for him, a little less Arkansas, but not quite LA; something in between the clean-cut Southern boy and the LA songwriter and American Idol.

Jared, now that he thinks about it, and then rolls his eyes at himself and wonders if you ever outgrow being an asshole.

Kris snorts half-heartedly, and it may be the exhaustion that makes him lean into Adam's touch, sighing a little when Adam eases his fingers deeper, rubbing against his scalp. "What time's the next show?" Kris murmurs into the pillow.

"You'll be sleeping through it," Adam says, working toward the back of Kris' neck, muscles tense beneath the soft skin. "Then we'll talk."

Kris nods slightly, like he doesn't want to dislodge Adam's fingers.

"And Kris? I changed the sheets."

Kris opens his eyes long enough to give Adam a smile.




"You know," Adam says near one the next morning, stealing Kris' fries since he's finished his own; Kris' presence is totally reason enough for fast food and God, Adam's missed it. "I've been amazingly patient."

Kris looks at him from over his burger for a second. "Adam."

Adam shrugs, taking another fry and slumping into a corner of the couch. He loves privacy, he loves having his own bus, and God does he love not sleeping in a bunk, but that doesn't mean he doesn't appreciate that the trade meant that without active effort on his part, he was going to spend a lot of time alone.

Kris wasn't the first to make the observation that Adam's turned his personal life into part of his media life (Brad mentions it weekly), but even now, Adam's not sure either of them will ever understand why he had to.

"I can wait you out," Adam answers easily as Kris slows down his chewing in an unsubtle attempt to delay as long as possible. "The bus isn't that big and I have time."

Kris sighs and finishes his burger at normal speed, crumpling the wrapper. Nearly a day and half of sleep have at least taken the edge off of Kris' exhaustion, but the tension hasn't melted away so much as redistributed. Adam can see the moment Kris decides to talk in the way his body shifts, caught between wanting space and needing to be close enough for comfort, as obvious as it is instinctive.

That's another thing about Kris that has to be earned, because while Kris won't ever ask, his body always tells.

"You didn't ask why I didn't go back to Conway," Kris says, staring intently at a hole in the knee of his sweatpants.

"You said Katy was in Vegas for an audition," Adam answers neutrally, watching Kris back tense beneath the thin material of his t-shirt.

"I--yeah." Kris rubs the back of his neck distractedly. "And I'm sort of--we're--we decided to maybe--that she'll come to LA to see me. Instead of me going to Conway."

Adam works out text and subtext in what Kris isn't saying; unhappy on the surface with unsettling implications. "She said you couldn't go home."

Kris' mouth twists into an uneven smile. "Not--exactly. She said that I stopped visiting LA a long time ago. Conway isn't home anymore. And it probably hasn't been since I won, even when I went back. And the thing is, she's right."

Adam doesn't answer, because there's nothing he can do with that but agree. Because Kris is pretty much easy on everything right up to the point where he's just not, and by the time Kris moved back to Conway, Adam hadn't been around enough to know there was a battle he should have fought. It had been a mistake, as much personally as professionally. It wasn't just his career that had suffered; the musician who loved his craft had lost so much more.

"I just--" Kris looks at Adam helplessly. "I didn't really think it mattered. If I--if I was careful and--" Kris bites his lip. "She filed for separation. She said--she said we have to find out if we can live like this. If we even want to."

Letting out a breath, Kris slumps back against the couch. "The papers came two days ago. She's in Vegas until the end of next month, and then she's coming to LA so we can talk about it. If--if I can live in Conway, or she can--if she wants to move to LA for good, or we make this work living in different cities, I don't know." Kris pauses, mouth tight. "And maybe what happens if we can't."

Adam bites back his instinctive response before it gets any further than the tip of his tongue. The silence begins to stretch uncomfortably, and Adam tries to think of something he can say to make up for everything that he can't. God, he should have gotten some fucking alcohol.

"I really wish we were drinking," Kris says a little wistfully, turning his head to look at Adam, the last of the tension leached away, like saying the words finally released something he'd held inside for far too long. Maybe since he adopted an Austin band and realized that giving up again would have more casualties than just himself, or maybe since he stopped being willing to be a casualty himself. "We could start now?"

Adam nods eagerly and gets to his feet. "God yes. Let's do that."




"This could be a good thing," Kris tells him, sounding unnervingly positive, and Adam reluctantly pulls his attention from the ceiling to look up at Kris, who is able to sit upright in a monstrous example of the unfairness of the universe. Adam always forgets Kris isn't nearly as much a lightweight as by all right he should be. Frowning, Kris jerks his hair, because the couch is tiny and Kris lap is the only space available. "Pay attention. This is a good thing."

Adam blinks his undivided attention.

"It's like--we'll figure ourselves out. What we're doing and where we're going, you know? Like--like what road we want to travel."

Adam narrows his eyes. "You sound like my therapist."

"Maybe she does lunch with mine?" Kris thinks about that. "You think they talk about us? I mean, they both work for 19E. Maybe they hang out after work?"

Now there's an unnerving thought. "Please shut up now."

"Yeah." Looking disturbed, Kris sighs, fingers threading through Adam's hair absently. "Anyway, she's probably going to get that--did I tell you it's this reality TV show?"

"No?" Adam thinks about it. "What kind?"

"I don't remember? I went down for the first audition and it was like, this room of women. Hundreds. Of women. Everywhere." Kris looks wistful. "They were pretty. I really wanted her to get that part. I mean, because she wants it."

"Not really my thing." Adam watches as Kris finishes his drink and tries to set it on the floor from two feet above it. Nothing breaks, so Adam considers it a success. "Have fun?"

Kris nods enthusiastically. "She did too. There was this bar we went to after, and she'd made friends with some of them, so we met them there. We were fighting pretty much, like, the entire weekend? So we weren't--we got really drunk at the bar." Kris mouth curves in a smile that Adam's never seen before. "It was--easier to drink than fight, but we managed to do both anyway."

Adam can feel the tension come back abruptly, nothing like it was before, and tries to fight off the alcohol haze.

"She filed for separation when she got back to Conway. And when I got the papers, I bought the condo."

Adam meets Kris' eyes, recognizing the smile for what it is; people look like that when they realize they're forgetting how to hope.

Taking a deep breath, Adam sits up, ignoring the unhappy roll of his stomach to brace himself against the back of the couch. The change in position clears his head enough to try and work out the right questions, because he gets the feeling that this time, he can't afford to be wrong. "Do you know what you're doing?"

Kris' face crumples before he buries his face against Adam's shoulder, thin body starting to shake like he might fall apart. "No," he breathes, voice choked. "Not really. Not anymore."

Adam eases an arm around him; even dead sober he wouldn't know what to say. "It'll be okay," he says. "When you see her, you'll, I don't know, talk it out, figure out how to make it work…"

"Yeah." Kris curls closer. "I don't--I don't know what I'm doing," he says softly. "But I know what I'm not. I can't--I can't go back. I can't give this up again. I can't."

Adam's relationships have been media fodder since American Idol; he'd learned a lot in the first two years. Earlier, he'd thought Kris could never understand the choices he'd made, the trade he'd been willing to make; now, Adam wonders if maybe Kris already does and just doesn't know it.

After a few long minutes, Kris lifts his head, though he doesn't pull away. That's good, because Adam's not sure he remembers how to let him go. "Sorry," he breathes, face flushed, eyes darting away. "You shouldn't have to deal with this."

Adam reaches up and carefully wipes away the faint track of tears and waits for Kris to look at him. "Kris, that's exactly what I'm supposed to do." Smiling encouragingly, Adam continues. "What would you do with your straight friends?"

Kris' mouth twitches. "Well, pretty much this. But you know, less cuddling."

Standing up, Adam gets his balance before pulling Kris to his feet. "Wow. I've never been so happy to be gay."

"Sometimes strippers," Kris continues. "And football reruns."

"Really happy."

"And drunken blowjobs," Kris adds thoughtfully. Adam stumbles, shoulder knocking into the wall hard enough to feel it in his teeth. Turning around, he looks at Kris, who stares at the wall above his head with an innocent expression. For the first time since Kris arrived, Adam thinks he just might be okay.

"You little bitch," Adam breathes, failing to fight back the helpless laughter bubbling up from somewhere inside that may be relief and sheer happiness both. It sets Kris off, too, leaning against him and laughing like he can't stop.

"You know," Kris manages brokenly between breathless gasps, looking up at him with dancing eyes. "I told you. Guy rules."

He doesn't think about it, maybe doesn't want to, and maybe doesn't care; cupping Kris upturned face, he leans in and kisses him, slow and soft but not careful, not this time. Kris is a tease, sure, but the truth is, so is he. Kris stills for a second, barely long enough to notice before the smiling lips part and Kris kisses him back.

He'd thought about this (a little, a lot, sometimes, never, he never stopped, not really), thought about it in the mansion and on tour, like a teenager with a crush and not a grown man who fucked his boyfriend on hotel nights one door away from where Kris slept. He hadn't thought about what that meant then because he'd already known.

Sliding a hand around the back of Kris' neck, Adam tilts his head just a little, tasting Kris sigh as he lets Adam control the kiss, easy, easy, opening up for Adam's tongue and pliant beneath his hands, like they've done this before, like they'll do this again, like a first kiss never is and probably shouldn't be. He licks away the burn of alcohol from Kris' mouth until he can't taste anything but Kris, running his tongue over Kris' lips and biting the lower to hear his soft gasp, one hand grabbing for Adam's hip to steady himself, fingers grasping the bare skin beneath his shirt, letting Adam turn him, push him up against the wall, soft sounds catching in his throat when Adam pins his wrists against the wall leaning into every touch like he'll never get enough.

Pulling back for air, Adam looks down at Kris' mouth, swollen pink and soft and waiting, and makes himself step away. Slowly, too slowly, Kris opens his eyes, wide and dazed but shocked most of all.

The problem with wanting Kris had never been that Adam wanted a straight boy he could never have had; his life would have been so much easier if that were true. It had taken too long for him to figure it out, weeks and weeks before he'd let himself admit the pretty boy he'd pretended was safe to touch was anything but. Adam still couldn't have him but not for the reason he first thought; now he knew that Kris wanted him, too.

Kris didn't know, and he didn't need to; if he did, what they were doing would have to stop, everything would stop. Adam could deal with never having him but not with losing him entirely.

Licking his lips, Kris swallows. "Adam?" Pushing off the wall, he stumbles a little, and it's not from the alcohol.

Adam pretends it is. "And that," he says, voice light, "means it's time for drunk boys to sleep it off." Catching Kris, he keeps him upright, ignoring the way Kris frowns at him, and thank God for alcohol to blunt his instincts and his memory. "If you fall over, you're staying on the floor."

Kris keeps his feet. "I'm not that drunk," he says, voice still unsure. Adam dumps him on the bed--carefully--and smirks when Kris squeezes his eyes shut when he bounces.

"I'll get some water," Adam says as Kris tries not to move, hand resting gingerly on his belly. "Don't fall asleep, okay?"

Kris nods warily, eyes already feathering shut; he'll be out in seconds.

Shutting the door carefully, Adam takes a breath and lets himself slide to the floor, the haze of alcohol wiped away and every memory sharp enough to cut. He lets himself think about it anyway, about another life entirely where he could have met Kris first, where he could have had him and kept him: about another time, when he was younger and wouldn't have cared what promises Kris had made if he could have been the one to make Kris break them; about what he could do now if he tried, with Kris needing him like this; it would be so easy to do and impossible to regret.

He drinks two bottles of water and brings one back to the room, waking Kris up with amused indulgence and makes him drink every drop. He kisses his forehead and shoves him over and watches him fall asleep, boneless and warm and easy against his shoulder and thinks of the man who fell in love with Kris five years ago and never learned how to stop. He hadn't regretted his decision, not then; he'd kept a friendship that would last the length of both their lives, and it was so much more than enough. Letting Kris go had meant he would never have to give him up.

He's not that guy, not anymore, the one who loved Kris enough not to even try when he knew no matter the outcome, Kris was the only one of the three of them who in the end would always have to lose. But he still wants to be, and maybe, maybe that will be enough.




part 5

Oh, my hearttt. This was my favorite update yet, and I really love what you're doing with this story! <3