live through this and you won't look back (buffyx) wrote,
live through this and you won't look back
buffyx

fic: The Burden of Universal Adoration (American Idol; Kris Allen; PG)

Title: The Burden of Universal Adoration
Fandom/Pairing: American Idol; Kris gen fic
Rating: PG
Summary: EVERYONE HAS A CRUSH ON KRIS.




It all starts with Wolfgang.

Okay, maybe it doesn’t start with Wolfgang, but that’s when Kris starts noticing the strange behavior.

He ducks into the bus early in the morning, because he’s craving Twizzlers and he knows there’s some stashed somewhere around his bunk. He gets a fresh pack at every tour stop from the fans, it seems. Sometimes he thinks if he tweeted about wanting a pony, someone would show up at the barricades with a Shetland in tow. Thankfully that hasn’t happened—Katy would be delighted, for sure, but where would he put a pony?—and instead he’s only inundated with licorice candy. Usually Scott, the man with the bottomless stomach and metabolism in constant overdrive, ends up scarfing them down before he can get his hands on them.

The thing is that Kris doesn’t spend as much time on the bus as everyone else. On the off days, he’s always flying out to record, so really he’s only on the road shuttling from the hotel to the venue and back. That means his bunk is more of a storage space than anything else. It’s a convenient place to indiscriminately toss all of the gifts he gets from fans.

When he digs through the bulging pile and shakes loose a sweatshirt, something falls from the pocket and bounces off the floor. He leans down and picks it up, and a small clay skunk stares back up at him. It must be from a fan. It’s not the craziest thing he’s received so far, but it’s pretty random.

He actually laughs, and Anoop, the only other one on the bus, looks up from his laptop and says, “What’s so funny?”

Kris walks over and shows him the miniature skunk. “It looks like I have a new friend.”

Wolfgang is one of those things that probably wouldn’t be so entertaining under normal circumstances, but when you’re on a nationwide tour with nine other people and rarely interacting with the outside world in a meaningful way, sometimes stupid jokes become a lot funnier than they have any right to be. The tour schedule is rigorous, but it’s also painfully repetitive, so it’s easy to glom onto anything that breaks the routine a little.

So for a day, Wolfgang provides an endless amount of amusement. Kris takes pictures with his phone of Wolfgang up by the window on the way to the venue, and Wolfgang by the salad plate at lunch, and Wolfgang propped next to his iPhone, and tweets them all. He waits for people to tell him how lame he is, but his followers all eat it up and beg for more—which is both hilarious and a little scary. He’s still not used to so many people caring so much about every random thought he shares with the internet.

Anoop gets really into it, too, which is surprising to Kris, because Anoop isn’t usually the type to indulge in these kinds of shenanigans. That’s more of a Matt thing.

And Matt is the first sign of the strange behavior.

“Can I be the godfather?” he jokes, popping a handful of croutons into his mouth. Kris doesn’t know why Matt bothers ordering a salad in the first place when he never eats anything but the croutons and the tomato slices.

“Well…” Kris says, looking at Anoop next to him, who’s scrolling through his iPhone. Wolfgang is placed in-between their salad bowls.

“No,” Anoop says flatly. He turns to Kris and adds, “By the way, I’m ordering the book My Two Dads off Amazon. I think it’ll help explain the parenting situation to Wolfgang more clearly when he gets older.”

Kris snorts at that, and Matt throws a crouton at Anoop’s head.

“If I don’t get to be the godfather,” he says, “then at least I get to be the mistress.” He leans in close to Kris’s ear, sliding one arm around his chair back, and drops his voice to a low purr. “I’m all yours, Allen.”

It’s not that Kris isn’t used to Matt’s attention, or that it makes him uncomfortable, but this sort of straightforward innuendo is… well. It’s a little weird. Not bad weird. Just. Weird.

And then it gets weirder.

Kris tries not to have biases, but he won’t lie—Michael Slezak is probably his favorite person to do interviews with. The guy is hilarious, and smart, and it’s nice to field questions from someone who actually pays attention to his career. It doesn’t hurt that Slezak is a fan. A real one.

“So my first question is,” Slezak says from behind his video camera, “how are you so awesome?”

Kris laughs. “Wow. You’re not even trying to, like, maintain any journalistic integrity anymore, are you?”

“EW does not pay me to be objective,” Slezak shoots back. “They pay me to be a fanboy. I’m not gunning for any Pulitzers, so indulge me here.”

What ensues is more like a conversation than an interview, and Slezak feels a little more like a friend than a member of the press, so it all feels less like work and promotion, which is a nice change of pace from the steady stream of local reporters in every town recycling the same five questions ad nauseum.

It’s not the interview that’s weird. It’s the emails he gets afterward.

Kris—

Thanks for the interview today! You better be making room in your schedule when your album drops, because I expect a face-to-face exclusive. It’ll probably consist of twenty minutes of me gushing about how amazing you are. I can’t wait!

Thanks again,
Michael Slezak


That’s not so unusual. The next few he gets, though, are.

Hey Kris!!

Heard you’re cheating on me with Slezak. How could you!! I thought we had something special!! LOL

Also heard he’s trying to beat me to the scoop with your new album. That better not happen. I’ll even let you sit on my lap like Alexa Chung. I know you’d rather sit on my lap than Slezak’s. He smells like burnt popcorn and douche.

Think about it!!

--Jim Cantiello

--

Kris,

Jim is a lying liar who lies. I smell wonderful. He’s just mad because you’re following me on Twitter and not him. Jealousy can drive people to low places…

I know you’re a married man, and so am I, but you can do more than sit on my lap if that’s what it takes!

Michael

--

Kris,

I forgot to say—why aren’t you following me on Twitter yet? Please remedy this, before I start to think you don’t like me! ;)

--Jim


Kris is not a master in the art of flirting, but he’s pretty sure they’re both flirting with him. The same way he felt it when Matt purred into his ear at lunch. And the way Anoop clung to his side all day while they messed around taking photos of Wolfgang. He wonders if this is new, or if he just hasn’t paid enough attention to how people act around him before now.

He doesn’t really think about it again until one night they leave Albany for Philadelphia. Normally he’d be sitting up with Adam, except Adam crawled straight into his bunk and plugged into his iPod to catch up on some much-needed sleep. Something that Kris should probably be doing, too, except the idea of clearing the mountain of gifts from his bunk is too daunting, so instead he ends up sitting between Matt and Anoop up front while Michael shoves Step Brothers into the DVD player.

He’s nodding off already during the previews when Matt pokes him in the stomach and hisses, “Dude, wake up. It hasn’t even started yet.”

“Leave him alone,” Anoop says sharply, setting one warm hand on Kris’s thigh. That really gets Kris’s attention, because Anoop is not a touchy-feely guy. “He can sleep if he wants.”

“I didn’t ask for your opinion,” snaps Matt. He slides an arm around Kris’s shoulders. “He’d be in bed if he wanted to sleep. Right, Kris?”

“Um,” Kris says. Anoop still has his hand on his thigh, and Matt is rubbing the back of his neck with his thumb, and this is all very, very awkward. “Let’s just watch the movie.”

He tries to focus on the antics of Will Ferrell and forget about the weirdness, except it’s kind of hard when Matt keeps staring at him at all the funny parts to see if Kris is laughing too, and Anoop keeps making comments like he wants to discuss the movie with him as it’s going on. Plus, he is really tired, and halfway through he can’t stop himself from yawning every five seconds.

Eventually Michael presses pause and says, “Kris, if you want, you can use my bunk for the night.”

“Really?” Kris says. The idea is tempting.

Matt sits up quickly. “Or you can use mine.”

“Or mine,” Anoop says, cutting a look at Matt. “I actually clean my sheets, unlike some people.”

“No, that’s okay.” Kris stands up and stretches his arms over his head, and when he glances to the side, he’s pretty sure Matt is checking out his ass. But maybe he’s just seeing things. He looks to Michael. “You’re sure?”

“Of course, man,” Michael says with an easy smile.

If Kris didn’t know Michael so well, he’d think maybe he was flirting too, except Michael’s just a nice guy to everyone, so he doesn’t think that’s it.

Except when he walks by, Michael gives him a wink, so… maybe he’s wrong about that.

**

It’s one of those things—once it has been seen, it can’t be unseen. And suddenly Kris is noticing it everywhere.

The hair artist letting her hands linger in his hair when she styles it into place and hounding him about his opinion on which product he prefers, like what he thinks carries a lot of weight. The stylist who hands him his polo during wardrobe changes and doesn’t even pretend not to watch him strip out of his shirt as he changes, and then spends a little too much time helping him button up. The way Anoop, Matt, and Danny always say, “Oh, tweet this!” whenever they’re together, like they’re desperate to be acknowledged on his Twitter or something.

Everyone is vying for his attention, and he doesn’t really understand why.

Funnily enough, the one person acting completely normal is Adam, who is supposed to be the one with the real, legitimate crush on him. Though at this point, Kris isn’t sure if he would be able to differentiate Flirting Adam from Normal Adam. Maybe Adam’s always flirting with him, and he’s just too used to it to recognize it for what it is. Or he just likes it. He must, because he likes being around Adam.

All of this thinking is making his head hurt.

In any case, Adam is the only one still acting like himself, and Kris has fallen in the habit of talking to him about things he can’t share with the others, so it only makes sense that he talks to Adam about this.

“Um. So. Lately everyone’s been flirting with me,” he blurts out. “Like. Everyone.”

They’re lounging on the couch in the dressing room, alone, everyone else busy with sound checks and finishing up press. Adam has his long legs draped over Kris’s lap. He doesn’t look up from his phone.

“Of course they are,” he says breezily. “Everybody has a crush on you.”

“I’m not kidding,” Kris says, nudging Adam’s snakeskin boot with one hand.

Adam sets his phone aside and sits up with his back to the arm rest. He levels Kris with an intent look, and—yeah, okay. Kris can admit it. He likes when Adam looks at him like that. He likes when Adam looks at him, period. It’s not a sexual thing. It’s just that Adam is one of the most interesting people he’s ever met, and the fact that he seems to think Kris is interesting, someone worth his time and energy and friendship—it’s flattering, that’s all.

“I’m not either,” Adam says. “People like you. They like it even more when you pay them attention.”

“But why?”

“Because. You’re one of those people.”

Kris shakes his head. “I’m not—I mean—I’m just me.”

“It’s not about wanting in your pants,” Adam explains. “It’s just that you have this thing where you make other people feel special. You make them feel better about themselves just by being around you.”

Kris wonders if Adam includes himself in that category. He doesn’t know why Adam would need him to feel special, when the whole world tells him as much on a daily basis.

But if it’s true—if Kris is one of those people—that’s sort of like a responsibility, isn’t it? He doesn’t want to make anyone feel bad, and he’s never been good at saying no.

Which is how he ends up spending all night at the hotel bar in Reading with Matt. It was a bad idea, because it was late, and Kris was tired, and Matt was in the beginning stages of a bad cold, coughing everywhere and red in the eyes. But Matt all but got down on his knees and begged him to come, and Kris—well, there was a responsibility, wasn’t there? He couldn’t bring himself to turn him down.

He regrets it the next morning, though, when he wakes up to his blaring alarm with an insistent pounding behind his eyes. It’s not from the two beers he had, either, but probably from when a tipsy Matt flung his arms around him and mumbled, “I love you, man, I can’t believe tour’s almost over,” and then had a coughing fit into Kris’s neck.

It gets worse when they hit Wilkes-Barre, and Kris isn’t the only one—Anoop, Scott, and Michael are dragging, too, and Adam is avoiding them all like the plague to keep from catching the bug. It may actually be the plague. Kris doesn’t know what symptoms the plague has, but he feels crappy enough to jump to that conclusion.

“That was really fucking stupid,” Adam says afterward, during the drive to the hotel from the venue.

Kris is curled up in a ball on the long couch out front, wrapped up in his gray hoodie, feeling shivery and hot at the same time. He can’t believe he made it through the show at all—even if he did almost fall over once, during his second song—and that he didn’t pass out during the meet and greets, though there were a few iffy moments. He could’ve skipped the after show party and the signing, no one would blame him, but. There were people who came to see him. He can suck it up and get through it. It won’t kill him.

Unless he really does have the plague, which at this moment seems entirely possible.

“I’m fine,” he insists, except it’d be more convincing if his teeth weren’t chattering.

“You look like death warmed over,” Adam tells him. “Like, someone left death out on the counter for two days, stuck it in the microwave for thirty seconds, and then pulled it out. That’s you right now.”

“Don’t exaggerate,” Kris says.

He goes to poke a hole with the straw in his packet of Capri Sun, but his hands are a little shaky, and he ends up dropping it on the floor. Adam sighs and comes to pick it up, hands it back to him. And then he pushes Kris over a little, sitting next to him, guiding Kris’s head into his lap.

“You’re gonna get sick,” Kris points out, but he doesn’t really want Adam to move. His lap is comfortable.

“It’s inevitable at this point. This bus is a breeding ground for germs.” Adam sighs again. “Seriously, what the hell were you thinking?”

Kris shrugs, burying his face into Adam’s pant leg. He smells good. Warm. If someone found a way to bottle up Adam’s smell and turn it into cologne, they would make a killing. Kris is sure of it. Maybe he should try and do that. There has to be a way, but not like in that freaky movie with the guy who kills the girls to make perfume out of them. Adam can’t die. Who would Kris talk to then?

Okay, so maybe he’s a little delirious with fever.

“Didn’t want to disappoint,” he mumbles. “Have a responsibility.”

“Your responsibility is to take care of yourself,” Adam tells him gently. “People can’t love you if you’re dead.”

That isn’t even true— Kris wants to point out Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, all the members of the Twenty Seven Club—but he’s too tired to argue. Too tired to do anything but close his eyes. Definitely too tired to make any sense, even in his own head.

“Adam, seriously, you shouldn’t be around me right now,” he says. “You can’t get sick.”

He tries to move off of him, arms shaking a little as he pushes himself up, but Adam pulls him back down.

“It’s worth it,” Adam assures him, patting the top of his head. “For you? It’s worth it.”

If Kris was a better person, he’d protest harder, but he’s sort of sick of trying to do what’s best for everyone all the time, and Adam doesn’t seem to mind. Besides, if Adam meant what he said—if being around Kris makes him feel good—then maybe it’s like he’s doing Adam a favor or something. And being around Adam makes him feel better. So maybe it’s, like, a mutually beneficial situation.

This is what he tells himself as he slumps down and rests his head back in Adam’s lap.

If he has to suffer the burden of being universally adored by everyone he comes into contact with, he might as well enjoy the perks.


--end

A/N: Written for chachthegreat for ontd_ai's charity dollar drive. It is far less epic than I'd hoped, and feels kind of incomplete; sorry, bb. Someday I will write you Kris/Jim/Slezak threesome fic or something, IDEK. Also, my title is horrible, haha.

Tags: fic: american idol
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