The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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airpsfic: (this is) not a statement, 6/10
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
I don't actually--usually post at this rate, but apparently writing the haiti fics are also setting off like, IDK, weirdness. Twenty something thousand words. I don't even know what that's about.

(this is) not a statement, 6
by Seperis
AIRPS, Adam, Kris, Adam/Kris
Notes: Thanks to transtempts and tricksterquinn for reading, advice, and general prodding.

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




"I could swear," Kris says from the bathroom, "that you have an entire house to decorate. Wait," Kris ducks his head out to level a glare at Adam, hair a wet, hilariously spiky mass sticking out in every direction, "make that two."

Rolling his eyes, Adam picks at the buckle of his boot as Kris comes out of the bathroom pulling on a clean t-shirt. "This is not a house," Adam says carefully. "It's a set from Criminal Minds where everyone wonders how no one knew the guy was a psychopath until they saw how he lived. If you aren't seeing it, you're in serious denial."

Kris scowls at him from the closet. "I don't need--"

"Kris," Adam says, "take a careful look around and ask yourself, when did I become a person whose flatware is plastic and the only place to sit is a sofa that could double as a torture device?"

Kris hesitates, worn sneakers in one hand. "The couch sucks," he concedes. "Though you know, it reminds me of the one you had during your period of greyscale minimalism, now that I think about it--"

Adam winces; he won't say there aren't some decorating choices he regrets in his life. That doesn't mean he's going to admit it. "It was very zen. You only have what you bring with you--"

"Oh God, not the speech," Kris groans. "You didn't meditate in that room; you wrote horrible songs about life having no meaning right after you started that no-fat diet and ate nothing but leaves and like, mineral water. I mean, white carpet, really? Black glitter? Rejection of color and joy as products of commercialism, do you remember this? Did I ask if this could possibly be a result of the sheer lack of food that has actual flavor in your life? What did you tell me? I'd given in to the patriarchy?"

"How," Adam asks a little desperately; to be fair, it had been leaves, mineral water, and near the end, there may have been 'shrooms, as those counted as herbal and Adam was a little desperate for meaning in life after all, "did this become about me? Hello, your bed has no frame--"

"It's right over there!"

"Not attached to the bed! That doesn't count!"

Dropping onto the foot of the mattress, Kris draws up his leg and shoves on one ragged shoe; there is literally nothing in this entire place that Adam is not tempted to set on fire, and he's not entirely sure he's excepting Kris from that, either. "It counts," Kris says sullenly, not looking at the unassembled frame inhabiting a corner of the room. With a sigh, Adam leans tentatively against the headboard, currently upright only because it's stuck between the wall and the mattress, and rethinks his strategy.

"All right," he says as Kris puts on the other shoe, the sole worn almost smooth, and decides not to take Kris' sartorial choices as a personal insult, even though, really, they are. "So. I've been thinking about publicity. Yours, specifically."

Kris' fingers slip briefly on the laces, but to his credit, he doesn't look up, voice steady. "My publicist is taking care of it, but your concern is noted."

"See, I was talking to her," Adam lies, though really, it's almost not a lie, because if this doesn't work, that's the backup plan. "And I had this idea that she seriously loved. Because as it turns out, they're bringing back Queer Eye for the Straight Guy--"

Kris straightens, eyes wide. "What?"

"--but the pilot's still under development," Adam says, casually removing his phone from his pocket; Kris' eyes follow its progress in unconcealed horror. "What could possibly be a better start than inviting them to help out American's most adorable Idol in his time of need? The ratings," he adds maliciously, "would be amazing."

Kris' mouth opens and closes in soundless horror before he finally finds his voice. "You wouldn't. How do you even know--"

"I have friends working on set," Adam says smugly.

Kris' eyes narrow. "Okay, despite your press, there is no way you've slept with every gay guy in LA.--"

"Hey," Adam says, hurt, "it's not like I don't have to stop for sleep--"

"--but there is--are you serious? Adam, you didn't tell her that."

Adam holds up his phone cheerfully. "You will live like a sane human being in a house with a dining room table or I escalate. Your choice."

Kris' eyes are fixed on the phone like he expects his publicist's voice to emerge at any moment and destroy his life.

"One," Adam says. "Two. Three. Oh look, I have her on speed dial four--"

"Okay!" Kris lunges for the phone and misses dramatically as Adam holds it above both their heads; it's good to be tall. Kris pushes himself up on one hand with a helpless glare. "Promise me," he says, looking more than a little like someone who does in fact live in a place like this and likes it, "that you won't--that she won't--"

Adam smiles and holds out his small finger, wiggling it. "Pinkie swear." Kris twists a little, but Adam will give him that much if it makes him feel better. Rubbing his finger, Adam slides off the bed and waits for Kris to get himself together. "Ready?"

Kris gives him a helpless look. "Don't you have music executives who hate you and want all day meetings? And if you don't, why the hell not?"

"I took the day off." With a sigh, Adam gets Kris' arm and pulls him off the bed and toward the bathroom. "It'll be fun!"

"You always say that," Kris says bitterly, turning obediently when Adam pushes him against the sink and reaches for the one sad bottle of product Kris owns. Wrinkling his nose, he frowns at Kris' hair. "Don't say it."

"I'll just think it loudly. Stand still. You aren’t leaving the house looking like this." Adam threads his finger through the wet, silky strands, frowning. "Now, let's talk vision. What should this house say about you as a musician?"




Unlike Alex, Kris is a fun shopper once he gets into it (and stops sulking); he's has no set expectations of what he's looking for, he's flexible on detours for shiny things, he has a genuine appreciation for leather that's given Adam some sleepless nights, and other than his distressing attachment to flannel and a lack of understanding of what sizes actually refer to, his taste isn't completely hideous.

They wander through half a dozen different furniture stores, trailed by paparazzi held in check by Adam's beleaguered security (all of whom hate, hate, hate shopping), evaluating hardwood dining tables that seat twenty ("Have you seen my dining room?"), gorgeous art deco sofas ("Go ahead, let me see you sit on that, Adam. I dare you."), before Adam watches in satisfaction as Kris tries not to fondle butter soft leather ideally suited for both watching movies and falling asleep on without waking up wishing you were dead. Tentatively, Kris sits down and is completely unable to hide the blissful expression as it curls up around him in an orgy of comfort.

"That one," Adam says to the man hovering nearby. Kris nods slowly, looking drugged as he sinks even further. "And--" Adam evaluates the other pieces with an careful eye, "yeah, all of it, let's make this easy. That okay, Kris?"

Kris' head turns molasses slow, looking up at Adam in utter contentment. "Do I have to get up?"

"Eventually?" Pacing to face Kris, Adam bites his lip against a smile. "We have a few more rooms to go. And maybe some nice dinnerware? Saving the environment one paper plate at a time, baby. We all have to do our part."

Kris thinks about it for a few seconds, then takes a deep breath and lets Adam pull him to his feet with visible regret. "Can I get this delivered today?" he asks hopefully.

"Yes," Adam answers, reaching for Kris to ease him toward the utopia of kitchenware before handing over his credit card. "Of course they can."

The man nods enthusiastic agreement. "Yes, sir," he answers cheerfully, already imagining his commission. Adam likes it when things that makes him happy make other people happy, too. "We can."

Kris keeps looking longingly back until Adam tells him, "The faster we get this done, the faster you and your sofa can be together."

Things go wonderfully after that.




"You're doing dishes after dinner," Kris says from his seat on the island while Adam carefully unpacks and puts away each piece of casual dinnerware while trying to decide where to put the formal china. Because, he reasons, if you're doing this, you should go all out. "Though with twenty place settings, it will take a while to get enough for the dishwasher. Good call."

"Told you." They managed two rooms and then Kris had manned up and finished putting his bed together and even promised to look for a dresser in the not-so-distant future. The horrible couch was relegated to the nearly empty den, which Adam had carefully closed the doors to so as to more easily forget it, even if his back will never truly forgive. Turning around, he grins at Kris, then down at his feet, heels kicking into the cabinets idly. "Next up? Shoes."

Kris smirks. "Don't even."

"The soles are falling off," Adam says, moving to catch one ankle, indicating the ragged edges and slowly growing hole in one toe. "How long have you had these? Are they taped together?"

Kris looks at the ceiling like he has to actually think about it. "High school?" he offers after a second, then shrugs. "They still fit."

Adam stares at him, appalled, and Kris' face dissolves, bent half over laughing. Dropping his foot, Adam sighs. Of course. "You wore them to irritate me, didn't you?"

Kris lifts his head, cheeks pink. "I used to use them for yardwork and repairs. I really didn't think you'd let me leave wearing them," Kris says between tiny hitches of breath. "Apparently, I underestimated how much you hated the furniture."

"Just for that? You're cooking." Bracing a hand beside Kris' hip, Adam picks up the new wok--why Kris wanted one, Adam has no idea, but apparently, he knows how to make food that requires one--then feels Kris' hand resting tentatively on his shoulder, a point of sudden warmth and more than that, intent.

Slowly, Adam straightens, letting go of the pan, to see Kris watching him, smile fading. "I didn't know if you'd want to use the key," Kris says in a rush. "After--after what happened on the--when I came to see you."

So they're going to talk about it after all: wonderful. That's his life. "That was stupid," Adam says as lightly as he can. "And you're adorable. We could do the freshman seminar questionnaire? Here, I'll start; can I touch you here--" and catches Kris in his side, the silky, sensitive skin that makes Kris giggle hysterically. Kris folds, forehead knocking against his shoulder, "or--"

Kris catches his hand, panting against his shoulder. "Don't," he says, husky, and Adam's abruptly aware he's standing between Kris' legs, Kris' knee against his hip. This is not new--for God's sake, he slept nearly on top of him in a goddamn bunk and woke up to hear Kris laughing when Adam accidentally groped him in his sleep--but this time, this time--

"You've seen my friends--you've seen Brad. A little making out between friends, not a big deal." Adam wonders if he sounds as breathless as he feels. Kris lifts his head, the flush fading for something that's both worried and thoughtful both. "Kris. You know me. And to be fair, I started it."

Kris' smiles a little. "It's just--I've been thinking about it."

"You could stop? Now? You were fine when I talked to you--" Adam trails off. Jared had pulled that stunt the same week that Kris had sent the key; effect, see cause. "Kris, what exactly did Jared do?" In retrospect, he should have asked before, but at the time, it hadn't really mattered. If it got Kris upset enough to punch him, then that's really all there was to say about it. And possibly, knowing specifics would not have ended well for anyone. "Kris?"

"Pretty much what happened in the bus, but there was a table instead of a wall," Kris answers, fingers tightening nervously. "I may have been drunk."

"That's not even an excuse for--"

"No, I get it, my skirt length doesn't matter, embrace the right to say no." Kris' mouth quirks in an uneven smile. "I've never been so drunk I did anything I didn't want to." Kris tilts his head, meeting Adam's eyes. "You know?"

Adam thinks he knows where this conversation is going, but Kris is too relaxed to be anywhere near gay panic. "Neither have I," he answers honestly.

"I didn't want to hit you." Kris frowns slightly, eyes fixed somewhere over Adam's left shoulder. "I've seen you around your friends. You do this, I get that. It's just--you."

There's a very real possibility that Adam and his friends have given Kris some interestingly skewed ideas on interpersonal boundaries in LA, but that's not really what Adam thinks is going on.

"You said--you said I didn't need to ask." Kris takes a deep breath, meeting Adam's eyes, cheeks flaring with bright color. "You don't need to, either. In case you didn't know that. In case you thought--that you thought what happened was--that I wasn't okay with that. I mean, you do that. I didn't want you to think--"

"Hold on. Let me get this straight." This isn't where he thought this was going to end up. Then again, this is Kris; he really should have seen this coming. "Are you--are you trying to assure me you’re not homophobic because you thought that was the reason I don't--"

"I don't know! You do that! With everyone! Even girls! Then Jared--and I didn't know how that looked that I…. Just--God, Adam, don't laugh--"

Adam tries to swallow it and fails; so not the time, so very much not the time. "I don't even know how to answer that," Adam manages, gripping the edges of the island with both hands, because seriously, only Kris. Only Kris. Straightening, he cups Kris' face. "I don't think because you won't make out with me you were repressing homophobia."

Kris shuts his eyes, looking pained. "It sounds crazier when you say it than it did in my head. Can we pretend I didn't say anything? Like, let's talk about my shoes. That you hate."

Rolling his eyes, Adam presses their foreheads together, still giggling. "Come on. I want to hear what else you'd do to prove you're okay with my sexuality. I really really need to know."

"I'm never confiding anything in you again, ever."

Pulling back, Adam grins, feeling the heat from Kris' flushed cheeks against his palms, Kris' mouth curving in an embarrassed smile. "You do not have to take up a grand gesture lifestyle," he says; Kris groans at the familiarity of the words, "which for you is making out with me so I feel secure in your affections. I feel secure. You know, when I want you to feel secure, I just follow you around the country. You offer sexual favors. I think you win for most awesome friend in history. Congratulations."

"God, you're such a jerk." Tilting his head up, Kris stares at him for a second, then leans forward, slow, giving Adam every opportunity to move, the hand on Adam's shoulder tightening a little.

This is Kris asking; Adam smothers his grin and meets him halfway, catching Kris' lips in a quick, achingly sweet kiss--yes, Kris, I get it, you're fine with me, that was never in question--and just like that, between one breath and the next, it picks up right where it left off the last time. Because once it's been done, it will happen again; that's how they got into this in the first place. It's pretty much the definition of what they do. One day, Adam's going to remember that.

Shifting his hand to the back of Kris' head, Adam threads his fingers through Kris' hair and tilts his face up, Kris' mouth opening eagerly at the first brush of tongue, and Adam makes himself pull back from the drugging taste of him to ask, "Kris, do you--"

"You don't need to ask," Kris breathes, short nails pressing through Adam's t-shirt. "Just--Adam--"

Adam catches the next words on his tongue, tasting Kris' startled gasp before he relaxes into it, offering up his mouth artlessly, trusting Adam with whatever it is he wants to do, like he has from the very first. When he thought Kris was safe and Adam had every excuse, and after he knew he wasn't, when he didn't have any excuse at all and still couldn't stop. When the first interviews hit the media and Adam's preferred type became a matter of public record, they always, always looked at Brad, at Drake, then at Kris with amused, knowing eyes, but they never hit anything more than the surface. What they made of everyone since has always been a source of amusement and irritation both, but it's not like anyone had ever asked him the right questions once they'd gotten answers to the wrong ones.

Pretty, short, and adorable are easy to find; he'd know. He's fucked enough of them. None of them came close to what Kris could do to him, and what Kris would do for him, and it's always been this easy. Biting Kris' lip, Adam reaches for his wrists, easing them away until he can hold them against the small of Kris' back, and pulling him to the edge of the counter, feeling the hard push of his cock against his hip.

It's nearly chaste for all of that: Brad's done more than this with him as a way to say hello; he's gotten farther on stage, for God's sake. It's sweet, and simple, and even playful when Kris learns he can use his teeth to make Adam catch his breath, but Kris never fights Adam's light hold on his wrists, never pulling away when Adam licks down his throat, settling his teeth against the hard beat of his pulse, leaning in with a broken sound when Adam sucks a kiss into his collar. Like this, it could go on forever, probably would, if Adam was given a choice.

Biting Kris' lip, quick and hard, Adam pulls back, content to watch as Kris takes a deep breath, eyes fluttering open, pupils blown wide, mouth swollen and red and incredibly tempting. It's a good look for him.

"Hey," Adam murmurs, touching his cheek. Kris leans into it with a little nod, then sighs. "That's it, baby. You with me?"

Kris nods slowly. Squeezing his wrists once, Adam lets go, resting his hands on the wide spread thighs, kneading a little just to enjoy the feel of Kris beneath the denim. "I'll cook," Adam says, watching to see if Kris is tracking. "Think you can restrain the instinctive panic? Even Brad lets me now. If he's watching, that is."

"Yeah." Kris licks his lips, adding a little hoarsely, "So, I see why everyone wants to be your friend."

Smirking, Adam kisses his forehead lightly, then steps back. "Stay there," he says as Kris starts to slide off the counter. He thinks about giving a reason, but Kris just nods, sliding back until he's comfortable, hands braced on the counter, eyes fixed on Adam with focused attention. So this will be a good way to set the kitchen on fire in no time at all. "By the way, I feel very, very secure."

Kris ducks his head, but not before Adam sees him grin.




"Tell me again why I have to go on tour?" Adam says a little blearily from the boneless comfort of the sofa, because oh my God, he just didn't know life could be this good. "I'm never moving again."

Kris doesn't even bother lifting his head, but one socked foot kicks lazily toward his knee. "Mmm. Sorry you have to fly out tomorrow."

Rolling his eyes, Adam thinks about kicking back, then decides it's just not worth the effort. "I could take it with me," he says thoughtfully. "I bought it, after all."

"Yeah, you try that." Kris looks at the coffee table with narrowed eyes, in a fairly useless effort to make the chips come to him by will alone. After a few seconds, he shrugs, sinking back down into the soft leather like he might never move again. "Is Brad still flying out to see you next month?"

Adam sits up; even a spiritual experience of a sofa can't compete with that kind of random question. "So he says," Adam says, hooking an arm over one raised knee and watching Kris' face. "His boyfriend's a little insecure--"

Kris turns his head just enough to raise an amused eyebrow.

"--will you stop looking like that? What does that even mean? He's paranoid!"

"Yeah, that's a totally unreasonable reaction to knowing his boyfriend's spending a week with you," Kris answers dryly, the corners of his mouth curving upward.

"How does pretty much any conversation end up being about me?" Adam asks as Kris' grin grows. "Why do you want to know?"

"Do I need a reason?" Kris stretches his arms above his head in an exaggerated yawn, settling again to smirk. "It's driving you crazy I won't tell you what we talk about, isn't it?"

"If you'd stop reminding me, I might stop wondering." Adam wraps his fingers around Kris' ankle, tugging gently. "So--"

"It's nothing important." Kris' eyes flicker to the ceiling. "I just--it's cool, that you and Brad are still friends, that's all. That you wanted to so much."

Adam nods warily, aware of a growing sense of alarm, stomach clenching unpleasantly. "It wasn't easy," he answers carefully. "What did he say?"

"That it only started working when you both wanted it more than you wanted to be angry." Looking at the ceiling, Kris frowns thoughtfully. "It guess that's harder than it sounds."

Adam doesn't even realize his grip on Kris' ankle had tightened until Kris pulls sharply, raising himself on one elbow to look at Adam in surprise. Adam shifts his grip but doesn't let go. "Adam?"

"What did he tell you about us?"

"Nothing," Kris says in confusion, sitting up. "Not--I mean, I didn't ask for details--"

"Why the hell did you ask at all?"

Adam knows it's a mistake the second he says it; Kris eyes widen, shuttering over before he sees more than a flash of hurt. It's a sharp reminder Kris is as much a performer as he is and knows perfectly well how to hide what he doesn’t want seen. That Kris almost never bothers with him is the exception, not the rule.

"I didn't," Kris says, voice flat. "I don't hit up your exes for your dirt on you, Adam. God knows you do enough of it in public yourself when you get bored, so I really don't need more--"

"Brad doesn't." This is coming out completely wrong; Adam can actually see the second it went off-track and he still can't stop it. "You're telling me he just told you for the fuck of it on an off-night? That's what you want me to believe?"

Kris stills. "No, you're right," he answers in a voice Adam's never heard him use, "you nailed it. I don't have a life outside when you feel like gracing me with your presence, so yeah, so I fill the hours badgering your exes for all the dirty details of your past relationships."

Adam grits his teeth and ignores Kris attempt to pull away. "That's not what I meant--"

"Yeah, you did." Kris tilts his head, looking at Adam like he's not entirely sure he knows him. "You really think I'd do that. God, you think Brad wouldn't tell me to fuck myself if I even tried?"

Adam takes a deep breath. "I--no, I don't think he would--" And before Adam can catch how that sentence should have started, Kris jerks away hard, uncoiling himself from the couch. "--or that you would. Kris, stop. That's not what I meant."

"It wasn't even about you," Kris says, looking a little lost before starting to clear the coffee table, stacking the plates and piling everything else on top with quick, shaky movements. "He wanted to know why Katy hadn't shown up for the thing in Phoenix because they were supposed to do something, I don't remember what--"

That stops him short. Phoenix. "Three years ago? Phoenix, at that promotion--?"

"Yes, that." Kris loses a fork and ducks under the coffee table to grab it, nearly hitting his head on the edge as he comes back out. "It was just a thing, I think he was trying to make me feel better or something and it was--" Kris stops, fingers closing over the bottom plate to try and hide the fact his hands are shaking. "We were stoned, I probably imagined the entire conversation, would that make you happy?"

It may have been three years, but Adam thinks he'd remember Kris and Brad getting high together; God knows, he's wanted to see Kris like that for years. "I don't remember anything--"

"Obviously. You weren't there." Kris pushes himself up, plates clutched against his chest. "We didn't confess our secrets and braid each other's hair and promise to be bffs forever. He got bored and really didn't take a locked door for an answer." Kris straightens, eyes narrowed at Adam. "A lot like someone else I know."

Before Adam can think of a response to that, Kris goes to the kitchen, and how someone who weighs less than one thirty soaking wet can make his progress across the hardwood floors that clear is kind of disturbing. After a second, Adam follows him, hesitating at the doorway as Kris dumps everything but the plates into the trash, and from the look on his face, it's a struggle not to do that, too.

"That came out completely wrong," Adam says quietly when Kris doesn't move. "I was just--surprised."

Kris snorts, setting the plates on the counter and opening the dishwasher, still pristine since Adam's pretty sure he's never actually used it.

"It's just some things are--private," Adam says. "And I--"

"Katy filed for separation while I was in Phoenix," Kris says without looking up. "She called to tell me and then I spent the weekend trying to figure out what the hell had just happened."

Adam starts to ask why he hadn't known about that, then stops himself. You weren't there. Kris doesn't just mean an epic night of recreational drug use among his two favorite people in the world. "I didn't know that."

Kris picks up the first plate, setting it gingerly in the lower rack. "I didn't tell anyone. Even my parents. I don't know if hers knew." Kris grabs another plate, hesitating. "Well, I didn't tell anyone until your ex got me stoned out of my mind, which really shouldn't count, since he's fucking persistent, you know? I roomed with the great Adam Lambert once upon a time and suddenly he has the right to know everything about me forever and ever. Not like that's an uncommon sentiment in the world. I've gotten used to being one of your footnotes."

Fuck. Adam leans against the doorway, wondering how long this has been coming. Kris doesn't hold grudges, but that doesn't equal selective amnesia, either.

"So your ex thought it was his duty to give me advice, and your goddamn bassist got into it, and I think your drummer at the time?" Kris finishes adding the rest of the plates then pushes the rack in and shuts the door. "And he felt so bad for me he decided to be my personal advice columnist for the rest of my life. Now you know the founding members of the Lambert groupie association. Even moving back to Little Rock wasn't enough to get away from it." Leaning against the counter, Kris laughs, not particularly happy. "It wasn't even about you. It was just--they knew what it was like when your life becomes part of the Lambert Media Experience. What you do when you realize you can't get away from it."

Kris looks up, mouth tight. "So. Sorry that your ex in a fit of pity decided to try and explain that even though my wife was going to leave me because she wanted an actual life and not a daily photoshoot wherever she went, and by the way, wanted an actual husband who would be around for more than a few hours between touring and recording and promotions, I'd get through this because sometimes, it's hard to be friends after, but it's worth it. If you can stop being angry because you can't imagine your life without that person in it. "

Adam swallows, ignoring the sick ache. "I'm sorry for--Kris, I never wanted--"

"For God's sake, it's not about you!" Turning, Kris pushes off the counter, looking at Adam with disbelief. "I don't blame you for that. I don't resent you got exactly what you told me you wanted the first time we met. You can be pissed at a tornado hitting your house, but I mean, it's a tornado, a lot of good that does you. I never regretted anything. I still don't. I wouldn't change anything. That doesn't mean sometimes, I don't get tired of it. Not of you. Just--everything." Kris sighs, the anger draining away so suddenly there's nothing but tiredness left. "It's really not about you. You, I'm okay with. Usually."

Adam doesn't remember Phoenix in specifics; it was a promotion that coincided with the end of his first tour, and he'd been so tired, so close to the end, that everything had blurred those last weeks. It hadn't been just touring, but the constant media presence, because somewhere along the line, he'd been contracted to represent the entirety of the not-straight world, no signature and no controversial opinion needed or desired, and he doesn't remember ever agreeing to that.

He doesn't remember Phoenix except in blurred images, because at that point, he'd been fighting with anyone who would stand still long enough to let him. How he hadn't been stabbed to death violently in the night is a mystery, but he thinks it might have been the fact that his messy death would have just made it worse for everyone. Loving what you do does not and will never mean you can't hate it, and hate everything about it. At the end, he hadn't hated everything, but he thought he'd started to hate himself a little, both the guy who had abruptly become the worst of rockstar stereotypes and the one that was held up as some kind of symbol for either progress or degeneracy, depending on the political affiliation represented.

He'd talked to Kris twice; that he remembers, brief, bright moments in a weekend that was anything but, of coffee in the hotel restaurant, making him promise to meet for dinner; the next day and in front of five thousand cameras, he'd hugged Kris and thought a little cynically that their entire friendship was almost hilariously media-ready and wondered if he'd ever thought of just how perfect the married Arkansas boy was for the part.

It wasn't true, not even close, but even now, it's the fact he thought it at all, even for a second, that tells him exactly why he has two memories of Kris Allen and nothing else. That was three years ago, and it was less than a year ago that Kris told him that he'd never wanted his life. Apparently, that hadn't actually been an option; he'd been dragged into it whether Adam was there or not.

"You left LA," Adam starts, then stops. He could make this worse. It seems impossible, but three words just proved there is nothing on earth that Adam can't escalate. Kris stares at him, and Adam can actually hear Kris telling him to leave, and Adam's on fucking tour. He doesn't have time to fix this-- "Okay, let me start over where I wondered why you'd ask Brad and add instead of me. Which you answered. I am totally fine with that."

Kris raises an eyebrow, unimpressed. Adam gropes after something better--after that, Kris deserves better, but even if he'd had the words, the look on Kris' face tells him he wouldn't hear them anyway. Not after this.

"Kris," he says helplessly. He's six hours from his flight and in the way of things, it might be a good thing to cool off in separate parts of the country. Kris doesn't hold grudges, and it says so much, none of it good, that Adam not only knows that, he's using it. "I never meant--"

"I know," Kris lies, shaking his head, and already, Kris is papering over it; he doesn't know, but he'll pretend he does. Which is so goddamn typical that Adam hates him a little for it, and not just for the fact he can do that when Adam's never been able to. "Look, your flight out's in six hours or something. It's not a big deal. Let's get some sleep, okay? I'm going to bed." After a second, Kris smiles, and God help them both, he actually means it. "I'm just tired. It's really not a statement."

"Kris--"

"We're fine," Kris says, sincere. "Seriously. I'll drive you to the airport in the morning." Kris hesitates near the door, waiting, and Adam sees the uncertainty; this doesn't have to stop here, it shouldn't stop here, something's happened, and maybe something's been there for a while now. Kris is on his second separation from the wife he loves more than he loves his music, and Adam hadn't known a fucking thing about it.

"Yeah," he says finally, ashamed of his own relief. Kris makes this so easy. He won't make Adam work for it. He just--stops being angry. Because there are people he can't imagine not having in his life. "Get some sleep."

Kris grins back in utter relief, shoulders slumping like something huge has been lifted away. Adam manages a smile back, watching Kris wander back to his assembled bed, waiting until the door closes to spare some time from relief to wallow in a little self-disgust. He doesn't have time for this, not now, and if Kris is okay, then he'll be okay.

They'll be fine.




seventh part

but will i be fine? oh gosh, i don't know if i can take this. i want so bad for them to get this right! another great chapter!

oh, this just keeps getting awesomer!

you're doing a great job ramping up all sorts of issues, and fallout of past actions; I can't wait to see what's coming next

Your icon mentions bacon and now I really want bacon. God.

Thanks very, very much!

Oh, this is tangled and interesting. I can see what you meant now, about getting tangled up in linzeestyle's writing. I can't wait for the rest of the story!

Thank you very much!

Linzee has a very weird affect on me as a writer. I kind of blame her for me even wanting to write this. *g*

i have been dealing with the worst vom-inducing cramps in the world since the night before last and this has helped so much. your writing is so subtle, so well-paced, that this doesn't feel like a wip at all - each part is comfortable and well-done on its own, and i esp like the descriptions of kris's relationships with all the other people in the (AHAHAHA ILU) "lambert media experience". lovelovelove (and now i'm going to go sit on my own leather sofa for a while, unf)

and this line, btw - Loving what you do does not and will never mean you can't hate it, and hate everything about it. - almost made me cry, bc of some personal shit atm but also because it's so true

i esp like the descriptions of kris's relationships with all the other people in the (AHAHAHA ILU) "lambert media experience"

I really wish there was a way those conversations could be worked in. The hilarity must have been epic.

Thanks very, very much! And oh man, cramps, I hear you. *sends support*

adsl;kfjhas;lhgasl;dkfj omg...

i think what i love love love about this fic is that it addresses so many things about adam and kris and their relationship and in such a realistic way. you get their voices right. and you're so good at painting a picture of their relationship, which is all kinds of complicated and unconventional, but at the same time make it seem perfectly natural. but then bam! you throw something in there to shake it all up that seems like a surprise at first but then as i read it i realize these issues have always been at the back of min mind, it's just no one's really explored it in fic.

i seriously like teared up during this chapter and i don't really know why except that i feel liek something's broken.

Thank you very much!

i realize these issues have always been at the back of min mind, it's just no one's really explored it in fic.

I am thrilled you think so. *g* Thanks again.

I've gotten used to being one of your footnotes.

Oof. Ouch. :( Oh, boys. I agree with what spangel_kat said above, it feels like something's broken.

I'm loving this so much - you're turning the story in directions that nobody really has before, taking tropes and turning them on their heads and making things AWESOME. It's such a treat whenever I come home to check my flist and see something new from you. :D

and i thought you couldn't outdo yourself from the last chapter. this was just... wow, breathtaking. seriously, just gorgeous writing. i'm negl, the last section had me shedding a few silent tears. the way you just hit on certain areas of their relationship and even just what sometimes happens to people who are a "part" of adam's life with the whole "lambert media experience" -- you explored it so briefly in kris' words, yet you used it so, so well and the impact was still monumental. just, yeah.

yeah. i'm basically one big puddle of gush, i'm sorry i can't give you anything more than that.

i know this is silly since you've already written a few stories already, but are we (airps fandom) keeping you? please say that we can keep you. they have ice cream!

Thanks very, very much! *glee*

I want that couch!

In all seriousness, you're a master. Your Adam's voice is as crystal clear and multi-faceted as can be. Real life is in the myriad details of a day and how sometimes a person gets things so right (threat of Queer Eye/delightful shopping trip) and gets things wrong (reactions and mis-reactions when talking to Kris).

This story gets better and better with each installment and I'm rooting for a happy ending.

God, I do too. I swear I dreamed of that perfect couch the other night.

Thanks very much!

I've gotten used to being one of your footnotes
Ow ow ow ow... Hurts so good! Can I just say that I'm ecstatic that you're in the zone with this story.. I cant wait for more!

I love this story - can't wait for more!:)

Damn it. I knew this was gonna be one of those ones that if I started reading I'd want to stay awhile and roll around in the words a bit. Instead, I raced through it like a cheetah on meth and I'm all strung out. What's a girl to do?

This is so good it's too good, and I know good when I see it.

If I did not fully and completely understand what it's like to have a 6 part WIP that's currently without a seventh part, I'd say, "Please. When? More. What? More?"

But I have manners, damnit, so.

Really well done. Adam is heartbreakingly *present* in this fic and I love him. Almost as much as Kris loves him, but not quite.

The dialogue is incredible and funny and I like seeing Kris and Adam grow out of Idol and into something else in fic. You've spent a lot of time with them and it's so necessary to the world you've put them in.

Thank you for this.

*grins* Thanks very, very much. I seriously cannot figure out how my snippet grew up into this sometimes.

I think the best bit for me was when they were shopping for furniture. Mmm, sofas. Crockery.

Scuse me, I'm just going to be over there, ogling coffee tables and cushions on the internet.

...oh thank God I'm not the only one that does that. I ended up googling through furniture after I was done too. I have no idea how I feel I have that kind of power of suggestion over myself. *g*

Thank you!

Wow. This whole fic is amazing.

I'm still completely sucked in by this. I kind of want to sneak inside of your brain and see how you can know all of this, as this feels too real to be made up. I know you aren't likely to write at this pace forever, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts- I worry about the boys between pieces and I'm glad not to have to worry for days and weeks. I hope they get this right in the end (and of course I still want Adam to get everything he wants. That's my mantra).

*grins* Me too.

Thanks very much!

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