The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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airpsfic: (this is) not a statement, 10/10
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
(this is) not a statement, 10
by Seperis
Rating: NC-17
AIRPS, Adam, Kris, Adam/Kris
Word Count: ~57,688
Notes: Title from starandrea who named it in delicious and saved me the effort, as titles stress me. My love to girlnamedpixley and transtempts who manipulated and pushed for the last--God--seventeen thousand words the last week, tricksterquinn who made me email her every morning with a new section or she sulked, and everyone who left comments, because honestly, this was a snippet.

Art for this by katekat1010 for this story here, as commissioned by daemonicangel

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



Adam reluctantly drops an equally reluctant (and slightly dazed) Kris off at the studio well after noon with a reminder that no number of hilarious covers of any emo or post-emo bands will save his ass if he's still working when Adam picks him up at four (this is not, he thinks, going to be a problem today), then goes to meet Brad for lunch, enjoying the luxury of driving himself for once. He's kind of missed his car.

Armed with mimosas, Adam prepares himself for gossip infodump, and better, all true gossip, because Brad has some kind of amazing superpower for it.

"And now I have a question," Brad says so smoothly that Adam's caught completely unprepared. "True or false; what's up with Kris and Leah?"

Adam looks up from his drink with a sense that despite knowing every word in that sentence, he's just missed something. "That's not a true/false question. Also, repeat that?"

Raising an eyebrow, Brad picks up his phone and types into it before pushing it across the table. This is a very valuable lesson in assumptions, Adam thinks, and also, not fucking checking the entertainment blogs for four weeks. Apparently they're all burned out on Jared being Jared; staring at him is a picture of Leah and Kris dancing in the club, and to the uncultured and unprepared eye, yeah, maybe that could be considered a little questionable.

"No," Adam answers, clicking his way to the next page: lesson fucking learned. "They're friends."

"Really?" Brad rests his chin on his hands like a shark scenting blood: gossip superpower, activate. "Looks pretty cozy to me."

"She's married," Adam says absently, clicking again. Leah and Kris, dancing from every goddamn angle possible; Kris, getting Leah a bottle of water; Kris and Leah in LA over the last few months, documented in the obsessive detail only the paparazzi can achieve, going into the studio, leaving the studio, three separate meals in restaurants untyped, shopping in a dozen semi-anonymous stores, one apparently devoted to high end, art deco furniture, and Kris poking warily through a MAC counter with Leah holding up two separate eyeliner pencils with a calculating look. Adam makes a note to check Kris' bathroom, though if Leah gave input, he's probably okay.

"So's he, and Katy's been MIA for a while. Take into account the fact they're separated," yes, Adam remembers when that hit the wires, fun for everyone, "and Leah pretty much constantly credits Kris' work with them as the secret of their success--you're telling me this isn't just a little--" Brad draws it out, "--significant?" Reaching across the table, Brad tilts the screen and taps it. "He took off his wedding ring."

Adam looks at the date for a second, breath catching in surprise; after Vegas, but the morning before he left for Conway, wandering through Trader Joe's looking like he hasn't slept in weeks.

"Yeah, no." Handing Brad his phone, Adam tries to remember what he'd ordered or if they've ordered at all. "They're not."

"When's the last time you even talked to him?" Brad asks, a tiny line growing between his eyebrows. "God knows it's been a while since he answered my calls," and if Adam didn't know Brad up, down, sideways, and in ways sometimes associated with religion, there's no way he would have caught the faint trace of hurt beneath each light word, along with the worry, which are two things Brad would probably commit seppuku via nail file before he'd ever admit.

Adam starts to answer, when I dropped him off an hour ago, then stops himself, startled by the realization that he talks to Brad three times a week, every week, they've met every time he's come back to LA, and Brad spent a week with him on tour and at no point did Adam ever mention Kris in more than passing.

He's never hidden anything from Brad; he's never even tried, never really wanted to, even when he probably should have, but privacy is different and that's always been respected between them. He tried to explain this to Kris once and failed so spectacularly he still tries not to remember that argument, but apparently, that's one he's going to have to get back to sometime really soon. Picking up his drink, Adam finishes it and looks hopefully for a waiter.

Brad's unblinking stare starts to change as a waiter materializes with another glass. "Adam?" Brad says slowly, with a kind of uncomfortable glee that Adam's not sure he wants to interpret. "So tell me, why was Kris in Vegas?"

Adam hesitates. "Well, he did agree to go to that club--"

The thing is, Brad's never wrong, never; Adam knows this. He's placed bets on the strength of Brad's ability to get this shit right. It's like being around a fucking oracle, but without any associations with virginity on random Greek islands.

With a sinking feeling, Adam watches Brad flips his phone around; it's just Kris, guitar case firmly in hand, Leah leaning over to show him something on her phone, with Jared and Dennis trailing behind him; he's wearing ridiculously cute sunglasses and an oversized hoodie and heading into Leo's; the focus is, of course, on Leah and Kris, and sure, the media may not know what they're looking at, but Brad does.

Brad smiles, ignoring the lack of a wedding ring to tap on the familiar hoodie, abducted from Adam's closet in Vegas quite willingly; Adam's had it for years and it's kind of a sure thing that a google search will find a perfect match. Covering his face, Adam tries to pretend this isn't happening. "So," Brad says, ruthlessly gloating, "are you going to introduce me to your new boyfriend anytime soon? And maybe tell his ass to answer my calls? When you're done with it, of course."




Kris hands over his guitar without even the pretense of a fight when Adam backs him up against the wall just inside the studio door, surprising himself with how much he wants to touch him, slip his hands under the t-shirt Kris had borrowed from him this morning and press a palm against the back of his neck. "You're going to hide it for the weekend, aren't you?"

"Pretty much." Tucking it safely in the trunk (it's not that he thinks Kris would actually leap to his death from a car just holding his guitar if he thinks of something he really needs to finish; it's more the fact Adam can't prove he wouldn't), Adam waits patiently as Kris gets in; across the street are at least three representatives of entertainment media looking life-endingly bored. After American Idol, and for almost a year after, if they were together anywhere, pictures oversaturated the blogosphere. It took six years, but they're officially mundane news, so unchangingly wholesome that appearing together is background noise. There's much more interesting gossip now about Kris Allen with his long-absent wife, a near year of separation, and involvement in a band with a pretty petite blonde that could be a rock-chic version of Katy if you squinted.

It's not that Adam wasn't aware the media was incredibly wrong pretty much half the time, but there's a breathtaking quality in this, the wide abyss between reality and those rumors, like he's participating in a very alternate universe.

"…and I don't know what happened to the sound there, but it was wrong, okay?"

"No, baby, it's just you're crazy," Adam answers automatically. "Crazy," he says soothingly, starting the car before Kris can open his mouth. "It's cute and everything, but still. Crazy."

Kris rolls his eyes, sinking back in his seat with a faint frown. "I need to--"

"I think we'll start with food. Possibly get the lamp from under your bed and display it as it deserves--"

Kris looks pained. "How high were you when you got that? Did you look at it? Like, at all?"

"--and you didn't tell me that you're having an affair with Leah."

Kris half-turns in the seat, blinking at Adam before he cracks up. "Dude, you missed that?"

"Do I look like I spend all my extremely limited free time trolling the blogosphere?"

"Um, yes, when you're not trying to bring sea shells back as a legitimate trend in home décor." Kris grins, sitting back in his seat. "David's been giving me threatening eyebrows when he picks up Leah. It's, you know, scary. And hilarious."

Adam nods as Kris starts to talk about Jared and Leah's work on the album. He finds the lamp (under the bed, of course), puts it on the left end table, makes Kris give him control of the kitchen with the solemn promise he won't set anything on fire, and is well into mint-chocolate chip ice cream before he realizes three things: Kris has been watching him uneasily for a while; the lamp is gone, again; and the den door is open and filled with a lot of boxes.

Kris follows his gaze. "Oh. I brought some stuff from Conway."

"The entire house?" Getting to his feet, Adam wonders where the torture device of a couch went. "Several houses, maybe?"

Kris follows him, leaning against the doorway, arms crossed. "Not everything." He hesitates. "Just my stuff."

Adam looks up from one neatly packed, taped box; across the top in Kim's neat block letters, CLOSET - SHIRTS 2, resting on top of what he assumes is CLOSET - SHIRTS 1 and beside MISC - TROPHIES.

"Kind of missed some of it," Kris adds casually, eyes fixed on the floor. "Though I could have lived without all my yearbooks."

"We all could," Adam answers automatically. "Plan to unpack anytime soon?"

"I have been," Kris answers a little weakly, indicating the only four boxes not in neat stacks, opened and partially gutted. "You know, when it's something I need."

Adam looks his thoughts on that.

"Dad and some friends helped me do the packing," Kris says, pushing off the door to examine a stack of boxes against the wall like he'd never seen a box before. "It took a little longer than I thought, but we got most of the house done. I put the furniture and stuff into storage and shipped what Katy said she wanted for her place in Las Vegas. She said she'll get the rest when she goes to see her parents."

Adam looks at the straight line of Kris' back. "She's staying in Las Vegas?"

"She bought a condo," Kris says, turning around to smile a little ruefully. "When I bought the one in LA. She was feeling competitive."

Adam nods blindly, looking down into the open box, mouth dry. Stacked on top are ten troll dolls, wrapped carefully in tissue paper. Kris collects nineties-era troll dolls; something else he didn't know. He recognizes some of them; he'd spent valuable time in his early teens wondering if he could ever achieve that particular shade of fuchsia hair color. "Are these yours?"

Kris winces when Adam holds one up. "You could pretend you didn't see them?"

"They need a display shelf somewhere public. Like, by the front door," Adam answers, rewrapping them and putting them back before pulling out part of a twisted mass of Mardi Gras beads that take up half the box, then flips the lid to check the label: MISC - KRIS WHY? "I really want to know what you did to get this many."

"So do I," Kris says, faintly pink as he joins Adam at the box. "Freshman year. Woke up with a hangover, covered in beads and wearing lipstick."

Adam's mouth twitches. "Really?"

"Really." Kris looks up, eyes dancing. "And none of it on my mouth."

Putting the beads back, Adam surveys Kris' entire life contained in upwards of thirty-two boxes. "You're really staying in LA this time," he says, surprised to realize he hadn't quite believed it, even though really, at this point, there's no reason why he shouldn't. Blinking, Adam clenches his hands together against the floor and wonders how likely it is he can pass off an inexplicable and ridiculous fit of tears for amazement in Kris' breathtaking dorkitude in owning fucking troll dolls.

"Yeah, of course." Kris half turns, pulling up one leg and resting his chin on his knee, "I bought real estate. Moved significant possessions. And a lot of non-significant ones," he adds, with a faintly appalled glance at the boxes. "And you're here. That's pretty significant."

"Point," Adam concedes, clearing his throat before staring hopefully into the depths of the box to find something else both hilarious and embarrassing and conversation-changing. "So what else--"

"You said this time." Adam doesn't have to look at Kris to know he's watching him. "You mean, last time I left LA--"

"It was surprise that time, too," Adam says, moving the troll dolls so they won't get crushed the beads. Faintly, he thinks there's a reason he shouldn't continue this line of conversation, but at this second, he can't remember why. "So not without precedent to wonder."

"You said it before," Kris says slowly. "You said I left LA."

"With a text message." Adam shuts the box. "The ice cream is melting."

"You have no idea how much I don't care. You're mad about that," he says, surprised. "You're still mad about that."

"No," Adam answers after a moment of thought, because he's not; getting over something is not the same as forgetting it. "I was though. For a while."

Kris doesn't answer, scratching at the knee of his jeans.

"I'm not now." Getting to his feet, he pulls Kris up and toward the probably liquid ice cream which is hopefully not melting into the floor. Hardwood does not take that well at all. "Don't worry about it--"

"Last time I managed a month before--" Kris stops, padding toward the bowls like it's clean-up time, and abruptly, it's three months ago again and this is going to go wrong again, just in new ways. "Just a month before--"

"Kris, I'm not--"

"--before I promised her anything to come back. I left LA and knew I was giving up my career, but what else was I supposed to do? There're a lot of things you can put on the backburner, but you should always have time for your marriage."

Adam drops on the couch; last time, he'd thought he didn't have time for this. He should have made time; the show could have fucking been rescheduled. "What happened in Phoenix?" Adam asks with a sinking feeling, watching Kris stack the bowls with eerie déjà vu. "Because I get the feeling, call me crazy, there's been some serious editing involved."

"I told you, she called, and--"

"Told you over the phone?"

"Voicemail." Kris pushes the bowls away, sitting back on his heels, the word falling between them like a stone. "It went to voicemail."

Adam thinks a text message is starting to look a lot better by comparison.

"I was at breakfast," Kris says, eyes fixed on something only he can see. "I was busy, and I checked my phone when she called, and I thought, "I don't have time for this" and let it go to voicemail. We'd been arguing. A lot."

There's no way he can remember this three years later, but Adam thinks that he does. They both were used to sending things to voicemail, a sideways, half-attentive glance before tucking their phones away again.

"And it was a busy day, and then you wanted like, fajitas or something--"

"Salsa bar." It's a hazy memory, but he was just so tired, and he honestly hadn't cared where they went, as long as it was quiet and he got five minutes with Kris without a goddamn camera in his face. "Those were not fajitas."

"Yeah, no idea what that was," Kris says with a wince. "I was sick for hours. So I--forgot to check. Until weirdly enough, that last night in Phoenix. You went to bed early and suddenly, I had time. Brad came to find me about an hour later since you weren't around to entertain him and--" Kris shrugs. "'No' was not a word in his vocabulary."

Kris stares at the coffee table. "I went home and we talked and we separated for a month. And then--I was working on something and trying to, I don't even remember, convince Katy that I could have a sane schedule and trying to conference with my publicist and you called me from Philadelphia." Kris pushes the coffee table with one foot. "You didn't go to voicemail. I mean, you were touring and you couldn't call much, but--I took the call. I always took your calls."

For a few seconds, Kris doesn't say anything. "Katy didn't want me to give up my career, though she would have liked me to be in LA a little less, but that was fine, we could deal. She just thought maybe I could stop cheating on her with my best friend. It's not like she wasn't right. I didn't have to be having sex with you to be unfaithful to her."

"You didn't tell me--" Adam stops, wondering how the hell that conversation could have happened. He can't imagine how Kris could have started it, but he has a pretty good idea how it would have ended.

"I had two weeks," Kris says softly, "to make a decision. That's when you'd be back in LA full time. I thought, I'd talk to you about it, because you're my best friend and who else would I talk to? And three days before you finished tour, I left LA, because I was waiting for you to come back so you could tell me not to go. And I wouldn't have." Kris rubs his eyes, looking impossibly young. "People aren't supposed to prioritize their best friend over their marriage. I sent you a text and moved back to Conway and talked my wife into coming home. I finally got what she was trying to tell me, though; I felt like I was cheating on someone. Just, not on her."

The first time he'd seen Kris after he left LA--at a fundraiser, of all things--Adam remembers still being pissed about that without being able to articulate why. Just that start of startled anger, and Kris looking at anything but him (guilt, he realizes now) while they talked about completely forgettable things like the goddamn weather. Two years of conversation on weather and work and life and touring and nothing that reminded him that he'd come back to LA and Kris had left, and that no matter how often Adam saw him, he never really came back.

"This time…." Kris stops, staring at his hands, the missing ring. "We fought in Vegas--I told you about that. I didn't tell you why. She thought a year should be enough, that our mistake last time wasn't waiting longer to be sure about what we were doing. She--she said this way, we wouldn't have to give each other up when we could finally let go. I didn't get that they weren't the same thing, not then. When I called her from Conway, I told her that I understood what she meant. She came to LA so I could sign the papers and--" Kris shrugs. "She took the sofa and the guest bed back with her. She really likes that sofa. No idea why."

Because in the end, the choice is so much easier when you can't stay angry because they're too important to lose; when you can let them go knowing that means you never have to give them up. Adam nods slowly, chest tight.

"I couldn't tell you I was sorry," Kris says softly, looking up with fragile calm a bare glaze over fear. "I couldn't even tell you why. You forgave me anyway. I couldn't thank you for that either. Not then. You have no idea how I--how much I wanted to explain. It wasn't your fault, any of it, and anything I said couldn't--you couldn't think it was because of you when it was me." Taking a deep breath, Kris rubs a hand across his face. "I'm sorry, for doing that to you. And thanks, for--"

"Do not thank me because I stopped being a dick to you," Adam manages to say before Kris can finish the whole horrifying sentence. "Come here."

Hesitating, Kris pushes up off the floor, looking more exhausted than a three day studio bender, and Adam pulls him into his arms before Kris can start to worry, brushing a kiss against his temple before saying, very quietly, "I was pissed at you. And I was mad at myself, because you don't tell your best friend that you're angry that he left you for his wife. I was okay with not fucking you if I could have everything else."

Kris turns to look at him, eyes wide.

"And I don't think," Adam says carefully, because it's a confession, and maybe it's an explanation, too, "that I'm sorry for that at all."




"I don't understand," Adam says, eating a bagel while staring at the empty dining room, "what you have against furniture."

"I don't get your obsession with furnishing rooms I never use, so there you go." Kris leans against the doorway, surveying the painfully empty room, like he can't feel the angry glare of the bare white walls. "There are three guest bedrooms upstairs, and a game room or something. Two bathrooms, too." Adam winces. "Oh, and the den. When it's cleared out."

"And your bedroom with a depressing mattress and a frame, yes, shut up, I'm looking."

"But I do have a very nice tablecloth," Kris answers with utter sincerity. "It's almost like having a table. I was thinking of spreading it out in the dining room and say I'm taking up minimalism--"

"You're seriously not going to get over that, are you?"

"You made me sit in that room and listen to you play guitar, badly, while singing about anarchy. If you think that didn't leave scars, you haven't been paying attention."

Adam sighs, taking another bite. "It's just--it's wrong. We need a dining room table, just for the not-looking-like-serial-killers factor."

"You have," Kris says carefully, "a house. Two of them. One here in LA, in fact."

"And yet I haven't actually seen it since--God, I had to pick up that turquoise shirt, the one--"

"That's where that came from," Kris says in surprise. "With the silver inlay, yeah, I had it dry-cleaned. It's in the closet."

Adam looks at Kris thoughtfully and takes another bite. "Who exactly did you think it belonged to?"

"I knew it was yours," Kris answers, resigned. "I just didn't see it when you unpacked last time, and then there was the horrifying realization that you had me doing your laundry. We'll talk about that later, in detail. You were saying--"

"That we need a table, and chairs, and maybe a picture, would it kill you to have something on the walls? Really?"

Crossing his arms, Kris stares at the room for a second. "You're not letting this go."

"Not really, but it's cute that you think that I would." Finishing the bagel, Adam presses a kiss to the top of Kris' head and wanders back to the kitchen. "Since you mentioned shopping--"

"Um, I didn't?" Kris trails him into the kitchen, picking up his nearly-empty coffee cup and holding it against his chest like a shield.

"Right, that was me. Since it was mentioned, I know how we'll be spending a lot of time post-tour." Wandering back into the living room, Adam stares at the open den doors for a while; with the boxes, he can't get the right perspective. There's a gameroom upstairs. He hadn't even known that was there. "Also, call Brad."

There's a faint noise from the kitchen; interested, Adam goes back to see Kris wiping down the counter, empty cup upright in a small puddle of spilled coffee. Tossing the mass of paper towels in the trash, he gets another handful before turning to look at Adam with poorly acted confusion. "What?"

"It's been, what, five weeks? I didn't ask or anything, because he already blames me for it, so why confirm the obvious? The counter is clean, baby. Let it go now."

Reluctantly, Kris drops the remaining paper towels in the trash can. Curious, Adam checks under the sink for cleaning supplies. Kris is very much a guy; there's Windex. God, how does he live like this?

"I don't know why you think that I--"

"Haven't called him? I know why; I'm an idiot and let you carry on like a wounded princess, flouncing off to bed instead of--"

"Did you," Kris says dangerously, "just call me a princess?"

"If the tiara fits, honey, wear it with pride."

"I don't believe you!" Kris says, starting around the island clutching a half-empty roll of paper towels like he knows how to use them for non-cleaning purposes. Abruptly remembering Jared's eye--and also, Kris' knee--Adam drifts casually toward the other side, keeping several feet of granite between them. "I didn't--flounce or whatever, I just didn't want to drag it out--"

"Maybe it needed be dragged out," Adam answers, leaning on his elbows. "Or at least maybe, I don't know, not assuming that I--"

"Didn't trust me?" Abruptly, Kris seems to deflate, tossing the roll safely onto the island. For good measure, Adam subtly moves it out of range of a quick lunge. "Look, I get what you were trying to say--"

"You really don't. Let me try again." Taking a breath, Adam thinks carefully; he has to get it right. "I wasn't--it wasn't about you talking to Brad. I have no problem with that."

Kris nods stiffly.

"It's--complicated." Kris' expression doesn't change. "Okay, say there's someone that knows everything about you--and I mean every fucking thing about you. Like, good and bad and blackouts included. There's nothing you've ever been able to hide even if you wanted to. They know your history because they helped write it."

Kris traces a finger along a vein in the granite. "Yeah, I get that."

"They know--" Adam thinks carefully. "They know when you were a shitty friend, and when you were a shitty boyfriend, and everything you did to earn being called both. Everything. And every goddamn time they meet someone you're--involved with--you wonder, just a little. Not because--Brad wouldn't do that to me. Not with anyone I was involved with. Not anyone he knew I was involved with. Neither of us would, not if we knew."

Adam can see the moment it clicks; Kris looks up, startled.

"Some things are private," Adam says, very carefully, because God knows, he got this spectacularly wrong the first time. "You can ask anything you want, about anything you want to know about me. I just want to be the one you ask first."

Kris doesn't answer for a long time; Adam can't read his expression at all. After a second, Kris circles around to push between Adam and the island, looking a little grim. "Right. I get that. So." Taking a deep breath, Kris seems to brace himself, and Adam wonders nervously exactly what Kris wants to know. "You picked out a dining room table already, didn't you?"

Adam blinks, staring down at him for a second, then takes out his phone and flips it on, turning it so Kris can see the screen. "Couple of weeks ago. Online shopping is a miracle of our time. Don't worry; it fits the tablecloth perfectly." Putting the phone down, Adam catches Kris by the hips and lifts him up onto the granite, smirking at Kris' surprise before cupping his face and kissing him, soft and sweet and maybe a little smug.

When he pulls back, Kris blinks at him hazily. "I told you," Adam murmurs against his cheek. "You're tiny."

Kris slides his knee up his side, head tilting back for Adam to press a quick kiss against his jaw before working his way lower. "You really like doing that."

"Yeah," Adam says, smiling against Kris' neck. "I really do."






The last two and a half hours of Adam's second tour go by in an intense rush of light and endless, crashing sound that seems to last forever and still manages to shock him when it ends, stripped bare and exhausted and so high he's not even sure his feet are touching the ground when he walks off the stage the final time, still feeling the thrum of the crowd in his fingertips and the balls of his feet, stretching up his back and filling his head with light.

The adrenaline crash is going to be a bitch, he thinks vaguely, manic grin widening when he sees Kris, camped out under the protective eye of Jim to avoid any wandering into the crowd since Jim's immune to Kris' pout and is about twice his weight. Adam just manages to avoid picking him up and spinning him around, mostly because there's a pretty good chance they'd both land on their asses and that's so not what he's going for today.

"You were amazing," Kris says, sounding a little breathless, grinning up at Adam just as hard, fingers twisted in his shirt beneath his jacket. After a few long minutes, Adam makes himself let go, keeping hold of his wrist as he turns to the band.

"Hey," Kris says, tugging a little. "Meet you in your dressing room? Need a minute."

"Hold up," Adam says to Tommy, pulling Kris close enough to kiss, leaving a smear of red lipstick across his lips. It's too dark to appreciate the contrast, but Kris just smiles, touching his mouth before Adam lets him go, eyes soft. Tommy jumps him in a bid for attention before Adam can watch him walk away, and as expected, they go down hard in a giggling pile on the concrete floor.

It's a fantastic night.

Twenty minutes later, Adam half-staggers into the dressing room, starting to feel the effects of the let-down, getting himself to the small couch and collapsing in a still-giggling heap, shutting his eyes to feel the slide down along every nerve. Relaxing, he opens his eyes, startled to see Kris bent over in front of the mirror, staring at his reflection thoughtfully.

"You," Kris says, straightening with a finger drawn below his lower lip, "almost fucked up several hours of careful work. I finally had to webcam Leah for advice."

Blinking, Adam straightens, bracing a hand on the sofa as Kris paces across the small room, head tilted thoughtfully. The light in here is unforgiving, but then, Kris has never needed light to make him look good.

"Why did you--holy fuck." How the hell he could have missed this? Smudged kohl-lined eyes glittering with bronze and a hint of silver regard Adam in with poorly concealed excitement, thick black lashes sweeping down over flawless skin, mouth drawn in a dark pink only a shade's difference from the color of his lips, and apparently, Kris figured out side lacings. "How…" Adam swallows and tries again, motioning toward the laces. "How did you…" It's possibly the least important question he's ever asked.

Kris runs a hand over the bare skin of his hip above the waist--what the fuck, Adam thinks blankly--sliding a finger between the laces and his skin. "Oh. Cale came with me and helped out." Kris grins, all teeth. "Haven't seen him since."

Adam opens his mouth to ask why the fuck Cale would come along, then realizes he just doesn't care. "Come here," Adam breathes. Kris stills for a second, then loosens his shoulders, crossing the short distance between them to stand between his knees. This close, he's impossibly pretty, shadowed eyes watching Adam in interest. Taking a deep breath, Adam straightens, lightheaded from a second rush of adrenaline and wanting to touch Kris so badly he's almost shaking with it. "You have something in mind, baby?"

Kris' mouth curves up in a grin. "Thought I'd fuck a rockstar tonight. Kind of dressed for it. Too groupie?" Kris twists around, shirt riding up to reveal an inch of pale gold stomach, a flash of more golden skin between the black laces almost to his knee. Very carefully, Adam traces a finger down the crisscrossed leather; he might have tightened those too much last time.

"If--" Adam stops, trying again. "If I had groupies like you, I'd never stop touring."

"I'm kind of a groupie," Kris says. "So what do you do with your groupies after you perform, Adam? Do you bring them here?"

Adam leans against the back of the sofa, trying to catch his breath, keep his voice even. "Haven't had one in a while," he says softly.

Kris hesitates, eyes narrowing thoughtfully.

"My boyfriend would get pissed," Adam says, watching Kris shift his weight to his other foot, stretching the laces along his hip distractingly. "I like it when he's happy."

"You haven't had this boyfriend that long."

Adam shuts his eyes; that's what he gets for being honest. "It was hard to make that distinction for a while," he manages, hoping Kris will blow it off, which has never happened yet. Kris is silent, and for a second, Adam hopes….

"You're kidding."

Adam tips his head back against the sofa with a thump. "Please don't ask--"

"How long are we talking about here?"

Adam covers his face. "Could we go back to that twink seduction thing you had going on? Because seriously, I had no idea you had that in you."

"How. Long?"

Adam looks at him incredulously. "I don't know? Around the time I was touring and my best friend got drunk on my couch and--"

"Oh my God."

"There were clubs," Adam says defensively, because he's never been opposed to a bathroom quickie when drunk, high, or just really turned on. "Just not--that. Could we--"

"No," Kris says, looking at him strangely. "So I actually did need to remind you to get laid in Vegas--"

"Fuck yourself, baby."

"So you just want to watch then?" Kris reaches for the laces on his left hip, fingers curling around the knot. "Well, if you--"

"Hands down."

Kris looks up, dropping his hands instantly. Leaning forward, Adam cups his hips, laces rough beneath his palms, looking at the shimmering black shirt tight against Kris' skin, noticing silver nails flash against the leather--had to be professional, he's seen Kris' relationship with nail polish and it never ends well--stroking his thumbs along the smooth skin just above the low rise of the pants. Nudging up the soft material, Adam presses a kiss against the warm skin of Kris' belly, breathing him in, clean soap and a faint trace of cologne, but it's mostly Kris, familiar, silly though it is to think that.

"You didn't have to--" Adam takes a deep breath, pressing his forehead against Kris for a second. "You don't have to do--have to dress up like this for me. I don't hate flannel nearly as much as I used to." Somehow, one worked its way into his closet, a blue plaid that he found after he left LA, tucked between a feather boa and a white linen scarf, about two sizes too large and incredibly warm, smelling of Kris' detergent and soft with repeated washings; Adam wondered when Kris had gotten it, imagining him on a rare laundry day tucking it in with his clothes until it was as comfortable as one of his own.

Tommy took a lot of pictures.

"I'm in love with you," Kris says, cupping his face with unsteady hands. "I wrote a song about you. You asked me once how it ended. That's how it began."

Biting his lip, Adam wraps his arms around Kris's waist and burrows closer, trying to catch his breath.

"I moved to LA for you and wrote an album for you and changed my life for you. If you think there's anything I wouldn't do for you, you just haven't been paying attention." Kris shrugs. "This took a lot less time, all things considered."

"I think," Adam breathes, "that you still win."

"Feeling pretty secure myself, yeah." Kris answers shakily. Sliding his hands down Kris' thighs, he eases him into his lap, kissing that distractingly pretty mouth, tasting Kris' lipstick and the faint bitter flavor of makeup, cupping his tight ass, leather slick beneath his palms, sliding up his back beneath his shirt, licking into Kris' mouth slow and deep and endless until he pulls back only long enough to breathe.

Reluctantly, he pushes Kris back to his feet, easing his shirt over his head before dropping on his knees to lick between the black laces crossing over the skin of his hip, unfastening the knot and pulling out each lace, tracing the faint impression left on Kris' skin with his tongue before turning him to unknot the other side, listening to Kris' breath catch unevenly, tensing with every touch. Stripping them down to Kris' knees, he sucks in a breath at the reveal of bare skin and nothing else beneath.

"Sit."

Sliding the boots off, Adam skins the leather down Kris' legs, easing them apart and pressing a kiss against the soft skin of his inner thigh, mouthing down to his balls and briefly sucking each one into his mouth. Kris' fingers close around the edge of the couch, moaning as Adam pulls back, tracing a finger along the soft skin behind his balls and easing his hips toward the edge of the couch, shoving one of the pillows behind his back. "Don't move," he says, sinking his teeth into Kris' thigh to remind him. When he looks up, Kris is nodding dazedly.

Getting up, Adam sorts through the mess on his dressing table by dint of tossing things out of the way until he finds lube and condoms stuffed in a drawer. Looking back, the view of Kris almost takes his breath away, stretched long along the sofa, fingers closed tight around the cushioned edge, head tilted back, eyes shut and mouth open enough for quick, soft breaths.

Bracing a hand on the wall, Adam shoves off his boots and then his jacket, padding back to Kris as the brown eyes flicker open, glazed and heavy, watching Adam intently as he kneels between Kris spread legs, pressing a kiss against the inside of his knee before spreading his hand beneath and lifting Kris leg over his shoulder, tilting his pelvis up. "Take a deep breath," Adam says, using his thumbs to spread Kris open before leaning forward and licking the tiny hole flat-tongued and slow and wet.

Kris arches, moaning, heel scraping against Adam's back; doing it again, even slower, pressing his tongue against him and pushing, just a little, feeling the slight give and reaching down to snap the lube open and ready. Reaching for Kris' other leg, he folds it up, heel wedged against the edge of the seat and spread wide, licking again along the sensitive skin as Kris shivers, freeing one hand to touch Adam's face before he gasps when Adam pushes the tip of his tongue inside, wet and obscene, humming as he holds him open with one hand and slicks two fingers, drawing back to lick again, feeling Kris loosening against his lips.

"Good," Adam breathes, pleased, looking up to see Kris has one hand closed white-knuckled on the back of the couch, mouth open and panting. Drowsy-slow, Kris tilts his head forward, eyes half-opened and unfocused. "Open up, baby." Licking again, Adam slides his tongue inside, tight, tiny space relaxing around him, then pulls back enough to replace it with his finger in one long, aching slide, pressing up and Kris hips leave the couch, a half-articulated sound muffled abruptly. Grinning, Adam licks around his finger, sliding it back out and then in, working his tongue in beside it as Kris shakes, the long muscles of his thighs trembling.

When he adds the second finger, smooth and easy, Kris is boneless, panting helplessly as Adam licks around his fingers, adding more lube to get him thoroughly wet, mouthing Kris' balls when he starts to work a third finger in, going back to suck around the stretching skin, listening to Kris' broken sounds as he opens up, easy. Leaning back, Adam watches the tiny hole stretched open and perfect around his fingers, twisting his knuckles against tight, satiny heat, Kris jerking every time Adam changes the angle. "I could do this to you all day," Adam breathes, leaning his head against Kris' thigh. "Bet I could make you come just with this, too."

"Adam," Kris breathes, thready, and Adam leans forward to lick around his fingers, pushing his tongue between them and humming, listening Kris lose his voice all over again. Adam's years past getting hung up on what turns him on, and it's beyond hot to feel Kris falling apart like this, how perfectly he takes it, trying to push down against Adam's fingers and work himself open even more.

"Beautiful." Kissing Kris' thigh, he reaches for a condom, tearing it open between his teeth, twisting hard and bringing Kris panting off the couch, hips hovering an inch from the cushions and holding him there before easing him back down, opening his pants, cock aching abruptly.

Sucking in a breath, he leans against Kris' thigh, surprised to realize how close he is already. With a final thrust of his fingers, he pulls out, Kris whimpering as Adam eases his leg back to the floor, bracing Kris' heel against his knee to keep him from sliding off the sofa. Impatient, Adam pulls off his shirt and gets his pants down enough, material slick and unforgiving, easing the condom on with a hiss at the cool latex sliding over the oversensitive skin.

"Okay, here we go," Adam says, running his hands up Kris' thigh and easing his other foot to the floor before pulling him into his lap, hissing again when Kris cock, red and slick, slides against his. Curling a hand in Kris hair, Adam kisses him, licking inside his mouth roughly, bending him back against the sofa again, reaching down to push his fingers back inside for a few white-hot seconds and taste Kris' helpless gasps.

Making himself let go, Adam noses along his throat, trying to bring himself down enough that this won't over before they even start. "God, Kris," he says helplessly, licking along his collarbone, Kris fingers tight on his shoulders, nails scratching ever time Adam slips his finger out and back in, keeping him open and ready. "Turn around and lean against the couch." Kissing him again, Adam eases off his heels and curls both hands around his waist, shoving the cushions aside until Kris is bent over, panting against the cloth, eyes squeezed shut. Spreading Kris' legs, Adam licks up long line of his spine, pressing a kiss against the back of his neck, letting Kris feel his cock settling against the curve of his ass.

Reaching for Kris' hand, he kisses his wrist, lacing his fingers between Kris' and resting it on the cushions, then reaches down, pressing the head of his cock against Kris and pushing, feeling Kris start to tense at the blunt size that's not all that much like fingers at all. "Shh, baby, relax," Adam says against his ear, sucking a kiss beneath before resting his forehead against Kris' shoulder. "Open up for me just like you did before. It was perfect, you were perfect, you took it so well…" Kris back tenses, but he can feel Kris making the effort, pushing back against him and trying to make himself open up. "That's it, you know how good you felt around my fingers? So good I didn't want to stop."

Kris nods against the cushions, licking his lips. "You can--a little more--"

Nuzzling the back of his neck, Adam pushes, feeling himself slide inside another eternal inch--fuck, Kris, pushing back against him, a tiny line appearing in the center of his forehead as he reaches back with his free hand, sliding up Adam's thigh before landing on his bare hip and pulling, whimpering every time Adam slips in a little further, flushed and burying his groans in the material. Adam slicks his fingers, slipping them down between them to circle his stretched hole, getting it even slicker as Kris gasps and tries to take more, whimpering when Adam touches his cock, half-hard but still obviously interested at the first slick jerk of Adam's hand.

Panting against his shoulder, Adam squeezes once and then wraps a tight hand around Kris' hip and pushes the rest of the way inside.

"Oh God," Kris breathes, shocked, nails digging into Adam's hip, stinging. "Adam, please--"

"Hold on," Adam manages, spots dancing in front of his eyes, Kris stretched tight and perfect around him, begging, God, burying his mouth against Kris shoulder and trying to think of anything, anything, to slow this down. "Okay, baby?"

Kris nods jerkily, still too tense but relaxing. Adam kisses his shoulder and when Kris lifts his head, his mouth, the angle painful but not close to impossible, slipping his tongue between the slack lips, stroking Kris' hip until he can feel Kris start to relax. Getting the lube one handed, Adam makes a slick mess of it in his hand, curling a hand around Kris' cock and jerking him off, fast and hard, like Kris loves it, thumb sliding over the head and around the ridge and beneath until Kris is moving into it, sliding a little off his cock to thrust, sliding back on easier every time. It's hardly more than an inch, but it's enough, and Adam finally pulls away so Kris can breathe, kissing the side of his throat before pulling out when he rocks forward and easing back in when he slides back, matching the rhythm he set on Kris' cock.

"Oh," Kris says suddenly as Adam tilts his hips forward, lifting his head, eyes wide. "That, do that--"

Grinning, Adam grinds into him, using his knees to spread Kris wider and letting gravity do its thing, easing Kris back onto him entirely before pulling back, thrusting back in a little faster, wrapping slick fingers around the head of Kris' cock for him to push into, tight, and Kris gasps, nails skidding up Adam's side before grabbing for his ass desperately. "Keep doing that, Christ, Adam," he says, getting into it, moaning every time Adam gets him just right. "Adam, that, please," pulling their joined hands until he could rest his forehead against it and grinding back, picking up the rhythm Adam sets instantly.

"Fuck." Biting the side of his throat, Adam tightens his fingers around Kris' and stops holding back; every time he slows, Kris whimpers like Adam's killing him, fingernails digging into his ass imperiously, demanding. It feels amazing, and he can hear Kris panting desperately, trying to get more, more, more now, thank you; giggling a little hysterically, Adam gives it to him.

Anything this good shouldn't last nearly as long as it does, but somehow, it stretches out impossibly, Kris slick with sweat, back slippery against his chest, making a series of impossibly hot sounds as he starts to tense, cock swelling up against his palm. Squeezing his eyes shut, Adam tightens his hand and feels Kris go tight around him, stilling before he starts to shake and coming in Adam's fist, teeth closing over Adam's wrist to strangle something not unlike a shout that sounds a lot like Adam's name.

"Oh my God," Adam whimpers, working Kris through the aftershocks and feeling the long build start to fray apart. Shoving Kris onto the couch, he manages a few more strokes, Kris shaking through them all, oversensitized, whimpering, pleading, teeth sinking into Kris' shoulder when everything falls to pieces, a white-shock of heat down his spine and trembling heat on the surface of his skin and Kris breathing hoarsely, laughing, "Come on, Adam, I want to feel it", the fucker.

After a while, Adam makes himself sit back on his heels, keeping just enough coordination to ease Kris down with him, bracing them both against the edge of the sofa, not quite ready to slide out of Kris' warm, boneless body. Distantly, he can feel the throb of his wrist, and lifts his head enough to check Kris' shoulder and make sure this doesn't end with stitches. His back aches and he can feel hot stinging trails down his hip and ass, and while there's a certain amount of satisfaction that Kris won't be sitting comfortably for a couple of days, he's pretty sure he'll be feeling this just as long.

"God," Kris says, sounding drugged. "So that's why guys like this."

Adam buries his laughter between Kris' shoulder blades, sliding an arm around his waist. Kris winces, making him laugh even harder. Easing Kris up on shaky knees, Adam makes himself pull out, kissing an apology against the back of his neck when he winces again and pulling off the condom, throwing it somewhere that's not anywhere near them and with any luck near a trash can. Everything aches and Adam just lets them both slide down on the floor grabbing one of the cushions for his head and cuddling Kris close.

"Porn made it look a lot less fun," Kris says after a few seconds, sounding surprised that life doesn't resemble the internet's red light district. Adam tries to stop himself, but he can't help it, stomach muscles aching with every hysterical giggle, but come the fuck on. "What? I wanted to know what I was getting into."

"RedTube is not life," Adam says with a shudder. "That's not a reference point for like, anyone sane--"

"No, no," Kris says dismissively, curling closer. "I bought some legit, too."

Adam lifts his head, blinking slowly. "Like, on the internet? Or--"

"Like, at a sex shop," Kris answers easily. "I got some recommendations from Tommy--"

"I owe Tommy and his girlfriend a threesome," Adam says blankly. "Okay, not that I will--fuck, that hurts--"

Kris lifts his head, smiling with the teeth that just sank into Adam's shoulder. "And you know." Kris shrugs. "I wanted to see if--what it was like."

Adam thinks of the range of experience as illustrated by gay porn and wonders how surprising it is that Kris was still willing to go through it. Even good porn--really good porn--also shows a level of athleticism and flexibility that Adam needs a few weeks of yoga to achieve, and looking at it from Kris' point of view…. "I'm really glad you didn't run away screaming," Adam answers honestly. He really, really is.

"Had to be something to it," Kris answers comfortably, yawning a little, fingers sliding idly over Adam's skin, just feeling him. Adam doesn't think he'll ever get used to how much Kris seems to like it, to want it, casual and comfortable and-- "Oh." Kris sits up, eyes widening as he shifts onto one hip with a pained expression. "So I was going to apologize, but not so much now." Easing himself back down, Kris stretches along Adam's side nearly on his belly, and Adam frowns, looking down where Kris' fingers had been and sees the angry, blood-flecked lines crisscrossing his hip and down to his ass. Taking Kris' hand, he blinks at the darkening black-red flecks staining the silver and almost sighs, because he's never been into that kind of thing before, but apparently, he just didn't know.

"I have a first aid kit somewhere," Adam says, looking at the mess of Kris' hair and the utterly satisfied look on his face, then eases him up to kiss him. "Don't move," he says softly, easing from under Kris and tucking the cushion beneath his head. "I need to check--"

"Don't say it," Kris says, muffled. "Afterglow."

"I think that ended with RedTube, baby." Easing his thighs open, Adam gropes for what's left of the lube and slicks his fingers, gently easing him open. The delicate flesh is flushed dark red and swollen, but Kris shivers at the touch, making a soft sound between uncertain and interested. Very gently, Adam licks over the swollen skin and Kris chokes, hips shifting back into the wet touch.

It's way too early to get hard again. Taking a deep breath, Adam draws back, looking at the perfect outline of teeth in his wrist, running a thumb over it to feel the echo of pain before crawling back down and kissing Kris, licking into his mouth. "Come on," Adam breathes, pulling back. "I want you in my bed on your stomach, and you're going to come just from my mouth on you."

Kris blinks, looking up at him hazily. Crouching, Adam eases him half-upright, then gets them both to their feet, sliding his hands down Kris' back to his ass, kissing him until he's nearly boneless.

"When we get home," Adam breathes against his ear, licking every mark he left on Kris' skin, "you'll come just from my cock in your ass while I watch you. Then I'll do it all over again. Now be a good boy and stay still while I get you dressed."

Kris nods, eyes blurred and smoky from smeared kohl, wrecked and beautiful and smiling a little, leaning against Adam before straightening with a little wince. "Okay." Then. "Can we get something to eat first?"

Adam picks up the leather pants. "God yes." Kris hand braces on his shoulder as he steps into the leather, letting Adam smooth them up his legs and arrange them carefully at his hips, then starts to lace them. "Anywhere specific?"

"Denny's," Kris answers promptly, watching Adam finish lacing the right side, fingers carding through Adam's hair. "I want to take you out for pancakes."

Adam hesitates, knotting the left side before standing up, cupping Kris' face. "I love you," he says, surprised to realize he hasn't ever said it, surprised to realize this is something Kris may not know. Kris smiles hazily, leaning into the touch. "That's a statement."

"Was kind of hoping so." Kris pushes himself up on his toes, pressing a quick kiss against Adam's mouth. "You were wrong. You're kind of amazing at relationships."

Adam leans his forehead against Kris, shutting his eyes. "Really love you."

"So you said." He can hear the smile in Kris' voice, arms sliding tight around his waist. "I feel very secure."

(Deleted comment)
Omg finally. Brb reading ch 9&10.

*grins* I hope you enjoy it!

This might be my favourite thing ever. It's not just that you narrate their getting-together-sometime-in-the-future in long and delicious detail, but that the focus is on the tiny give and take of their entanglement with each other, how they work with each other and why that works for them. It isn't just Kris leaving Katy and then getting together with Adam, but the connections between arguments and feelings and selfishness and self-fashioning and really, this is the most fleshed out, richest characterisation I have ever seen in this fandom, and possibly in any fandom ever. Thank you for writing this.

Thank you very much. That's what I was hoping I'd be able to do, and I'm thrilled that came across. Thank you, again, very much.

OHHHHHHHHHHHHH. JUST. WOW.

Remember the description you gave a while back of Kris's couch--all buttery leather and heavento sink into--that's what reading this fic felt like.

*incoherent flailing* I DO NOT KNOW HOW YOU ARE SO AWESOME. I SUSPECT I NEVER SHALL. THAT IS OKAY.

*grins happily* Thanks very, very much!

This is insane. You are insane. I adore this story, how you map out all the little and big things they are and they do for each other, the love and devotion and domesticity (Clothes sharing! Plaid in Adam's closet!) as well as the misunderstandings and things left unsaid and little selfish moments. It's all so layered and complicated and real, I'm kind of stunned.

They're also really, really ridiculously hot. *___* Adam manhandling Kris, Kris dressing up, Kris submitting so beautifully, unf.

Fantastic series. It was always such a treat to get the installments as they came in, made my days a little extra special, and I'm gonna miss flailing like that. Can't wait to see what's you come up with next. :)

*laughs* Thanks very much. I'm very glad you enjoyed. And for your frequent comments! I looked forward to seeing your reaction to the ending!

...your username also makes me hungry.

OMFG!

<3!!!!

This is AWESOME! I have no idea how to be coherent about this!

LOVES!

This is a ridiculously wonderful story. Thank you.

This fic was amazing to read, one of my favorites! :D ♥

Thanks very, very much!

WHO IS A MOTHERFUCKING ROCKSTAR?

SEPERIS IS A MOTHERFUCKING ROCKSTAR.

I'll read the final bits when I get home from dancing tonight or tomorrow, my dear, but basically YOU FOCK HOLY GOD. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

*grins* Thank you hon. I hope you enjoy it!

YAY! I just downloaded this to my ebook reader--I'm looking forward to reading it SO MUCH.

You and Astolat, man. I don't even WATCH American Idol!

*glee* thank you!

astolat's fault totally.

I'm so happy right now I can't even tell you. Adam did get everything he wanted, but so did Kris. The layers and layers of their relationship are so compelling- they know the best and the worst of each other and love each other for the whole, real deal. I think I could live in this place with them.
I also want to say how much I've enjoyed the way you wrote this story. In (I think) the first chapter of this you mentioned that what Kris doesn't say is as important as what he does. I think the same is true for the way you wrote this. For all of the fabulous, fabulous words with all the lovely details and layers, there was almost as much detail in what you didn't write. You really made me pay attention to every single word, and if I started to read too fast I had to back up and slow down. I love it when a writer can do that to me, and it doesn't happen that often. Thank you for that.

I went back to read the beginning again now that the ending is done and was surprised how much of it was there all along. It's been kind of amazing for me to write, and just--*laughs* It's silly, but I'm just so surprised by it now when it's done and see what it became.

Your feedback is awesome. Thank you very, very much, and for all the comments throughout the parts that seriously actually did make me keep going. Knowing people were waiting was really motivating.


*throws glitter and confetti*

(Anonymous)
Please to be writing more snippets, asap.

These last two slices of story-telling nirvana were a joy to read from beginning to end. In trying to tell you what is so wonderful about this series I would need to copy/paste the entire thing. It's in my top five favourite fics of all time.

I just want to say: 'yay, Jim!' for looking after Kris, 'yay, Brad!' for being Brad & 'OMFG!' for when Adam finally realises what piece of jewellery is missing from Kris' finger.


Re: *throws glitter and confetti*

*grins* Thanks very, very much! I'm very glad you enjoyed it!

Yes yes yes! I'm so glad I waited to read until it was done. Don't think I could have taken it in smaller doses. Thank you!

Holy shit. I don't think any words I could write here would really do justice to how I feel so you'll just have to settle for HOLY SHIT and trust that it was amazing. And this line "I'm in love with you," Kris says, cupping his face with unsteady hands. "I wrote a song about you. You asked me once how it ended. That's how it began." made me tear up in the middle of the car dealership.

*bounces* Thanks very much! I like that line a lot, too. It made it through six separate revisions pretty much.

oh, YES.

What a perfect (and HOT) happy ending for them. And you made them earn it - well done!

Thanks very, very much!

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