Fandom/Pairing: American Idol; Kris/Adam
Summary: “Mostly the plan entails being with you. I’d say that’s where it begins and ends, actually.” A long epilogue to If It Kills Me, aka, the Plane Crash Fic, but really it can be read as a standalone with minimal confusion.
They’ve been back in L.A. for a week when Kris wakes up to Adam’s mouth on his, slick and hot and tasting sharply of vodka and cranberries and underneath that, smooth smoke. He hums a little in the back of his throat and blinks open his eyes to see Adam’s heady gaze fixed on his. It’s still dark, so dark that all Kris can make out is the outline of Adam’s face, his eyes glitter bright.
“Hi, baby,” Adam murmurs, nipping a little at the corner of Kris’s jaw, his full weight pushing Kris down.
Kris smiles up at him. “Hi,” he whispers back. “How was your night?”
“Fun. Not as fun as it would’ve been with you there.”
It’s not that Kris doesn’t get along with Adam’s friends—he’s become pretty close with Cassidy at this point, and he likes Danielle a lot, and even Brad has been on okay terms with him, the few times they’ve interacted. Some of the other crowd Adam runs with, though… They’ve been polite on the rare occasion Kris accompanies Adam to the bar or to a club, but he’s pretty sure they must wonder what the hell he’s doing there.
And it’s true, in a way—Kris is never going to be the kind of guy who parties with A-listers and schmoozes his way past the velvet rope at exclusive clubs. It’s not who he is. It’s who Adam is.
He cups a hand behind Adam’s head and runs it up through carefully styled hair. “Did you drive?”
“Like this? No.” Adam presses a sloppy kiss to the hollow of Kris’s throat before nuzzling into his neck. “I had way too much to drink for that. Soooo many drinks. Soooo many cute boys. Don’t worry, I didn’t do anything with them.”
“I’m not worried,” Kris says. “I’m never worried about that.”
Adam pulls back, one eyebrow raised, forehead crinkled in thoughtful lines. “Why not?”
“Because. You love me.”
It sounds so simple when he says it, even though they both know it isn’t. They spent so much time in the past telling each other why they couldn’t have each other, and now they get to be an each other for once. Get to figure out what that even means.
“Being in love doesn’t stop people from doing shitty things to each other,” Adam points out.
“Maybe,” Kris concedes, “but I trust you.”
Adam just looks at him for a long time, and then bends down to kiss him again, a kiss that’s longer and a little less heated. And then he says, “What about you?”
“What about me?”
“With other guys,” he says. “I mean, do you— do you look at any of them, you know, the way you look at me?”
Kris hasn’t exactly spent a lot of time self-evaluating his sexuality. He doesn’t know what label he falls under, or if he even does—all he knows is that he wants Adam. Only Adam. He wants him in a way that he’s never wanted anyone, not even Katy. He doesn’t see why anything else matters.
“I don’t look at anyone the way I look at you,” he says. “And really, all I care about is that you come home to me.”
He leans up and brushes his lips across Adam’s forehead, and when he pulls back, Adam is looking at him again, one corner of his mouth tugged up in a half-smile.
“We don’t have the same home,” he says.
That’s easy to forget when Kris can’t remember the last time he spent the night at his own place. He keeps his toothbrush in the holder next to Adam’s, and his books on the nightstand, and Adam keeps a stock of the creamer for Kris’s coffee and even cleared out space in his closet for Kris to hang some of his shirts.
“So let’s fix that,” Kris suggests. It’s not at all where he planned on this conversation heading, but the more he thinks about it, the more it makes sense.
Adam cocks his head to one side. “What?”
“I mean,” Kris says, “I practically live here anyway, so why not make it official? My lease is almost up, and…” The sudden thought occurs to him that Adam isn’t on the same page. They’ve never talked about it officially; it’s just been a gradual progression of Kris edging into Adam’s territory. He backtracks quickly, stumbling over his own words. “I mean, if you think it’s a bad idea—or you don’t want me to—”
“Okay,” Adam says.
Kris stops. “Okay?” he repeats.
“Okay,” Adam says again, more emphatically this time. A smile spreads over his face. “I mean, I do. Want you to. So let’s do it.”
“You’re sure?” Kris asks.
Adam answers him with a kiss, fighting against the covers, and Kris slides both arms around his back, pulling him in closer and feeling the way Adam always makes him feel—like his soul is soaked in gasoline, and Adam is standing there, holding the match.
Kris never realized exactly how much stuff he had until he has to pack it all up. He rents a U-Haul truck and makes Chase help him load all his furniture and extra crap to drive to a storage unit, and then loads the rest of what he wants to take with him into the back.
After they’ve carried the last cardboard box into the house, Kris grabs two cold beers from the fridge and joins Chase sitting out on the front steps. He hands one to Chase and twists the cap off the other, gulping down enough to drown himself before holding the cool bottle to his sticky forehead. It’s warm out here, and his ancient UCA t-shirt is already soaked through with sweat from all the moving around.
“So our one year anniversary is coming up in a week,” Chase says, “but Allison and I haven’t talked about it at all. I don’t know if she even remembers. Should I be planning something for it?”
“When in doubt, gift,” Kris says wisely. “If you don’t, and she remembers, she will hold it over your head for the rest of time.”
“I dunno.” Chase frowns. “I don’t think Alli’s like that.”
“Hey, I’m just telling you what I have observed and experienced,” Kris says.
Chase snorts. “In the many, many years that you have walked this earth.”
They sit and unwind until Adam pulls into the drive half an hour later. He walks up to them, tucking his sunglasses into the collar of his shirt and smiling broadly.
“Hi, Chase,” he says, and then looks over at Kris. “So, you’re all moved in?”
“Yup,” Kris says. “Don’t look in the bedroom, it’s a mountain of boxes right now. I promise I’ll unpack tomorrow. Right now I’ve gotta drop the truck off, take a shower, and work on dinner.” He looks to Chase. “You’re coming tonight, right?”
It was Adam’s idea to have a housewarming party—just a small group, Cassidy and Brad and Danielle and Chase and Allison and Leila.
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Chase replies. “In fact, I have a surprise for you. I need to go pick it up. I’ll see you later.”
He waves goodbye and goes to his car, and after he’s driven off, Adam says, “Speaking of surprises, I have one for you, too.”
He tugs Kris up and leads him by the hand to the living room—the second, more formal living room, the one adjoining the dining room. And right there, in the middle of it, is a piano. Not just any piano—a Steinway baby grand.
Kris stops dead in his tracks and stares at it. “You… bought me a piano?” he says dumbly.
“You can thank Matt Giraud,” Adam says. “I called him up and asked him to help me pick one out, since he’s the expert and all. As soon as he saw this one he was practically salivating, so I knew it had to be the right choice.” He pauses. “You like it, right?”
“Like it? Adam, I—” Kris shakes his head and laughs. “You bought me a piano!”
Adam shrugs like it’s nothing. “Well, you’re living here now, and I figured you’d need something to write on, and maybe you can also entertain our guests from time to time.” He nudges Kris toward the piano. “Go ahead, try it out.”
The piano is so gorgeous and perfect that Kris almost doesn’t want to touch it, but he does, running hands over glossy ebony finish and flawless ivory keys. He sits at the bench and sounds a single note, softly, hears it floating somewhere above his head.
“It’s perfect,” he says to Adam. “I just—I can’t even—thank you.”
Nothing’s going to compare to this surprise, not even the randomness of Chase showing up to dinner with a fishbowl.
“His name is Ringo,” Chase declares solemnly, holding out the bowl toward Kris. Kris takes it warily, looking at the small goldfish swimming back and forth behind the glass.
“The name was my idea,” Allison says, and then launches herself at Kris in a hug, heedless of the bowl between them. She peels herself off and dives into Adam’s open arms. “Man, it’s been forever! Oh, and is the food ready? I’m fucking starving.”
Everyone else trickles in soon after—Brad and Cassidy arrive together; Kris isn’t sure what their deal is, if they’re dating or just friends or what. Every time he’s tried to broach the subject in a roundabout way with Cassidy, Cassidy’s answers have all been ambiguous. They sit with Adam, Chase, Allison, Danielle, and Leila while Kris serves the chili he made. It’s the one dish he’s really good at.
Adam regales everyone with the story of how his meeting with his upcoming music video director went. “He says he thinks he figured out a way for me to have the flaming headdress I want,” he says excitedly, fluttering his hands over his head in what seems to be an imitation of fire shooting from his head.
“A flaming headdress?” Chase says. “Isn’t that dangerous?”
“Probably,” Adam agrees, unperturbed.
Allison giggles and scrapes her fork across her plate. “Awesome.”
The dinner goes well—everyone talks comfortably as they eat, and afterward, Cassidy tries out the new piano for everyone while Kris and Leila take care of the dirty dishes.
Kris has always liked Leila. She’s not like his mother—she’s less smothering, less sensitive, has the same biting sarcastic sense of humor she must’ve passed onto Neil. But she’s also sweet and kind and has never treated Kris as anything less than part of the family. After the island, especially. He knows that during… everything that happened, their families grew even closer. And when they came back, she called him once to thank him for taking care of Adam. He’d tried to explain that really, it was Adam who kept him alive, but she wasn’t having any of it.
It was hard for him to appreciate her words back then, or to appreciate anything people told him—he’d been so mixed up with guilt over so many things. But he appreciates her now. Appreciates the motherly way she hands over dishes for him to load into the washer, the way she squeezes his shoulder or ruffles a hand through his hair affectionately every time she passes by. It makes him feel warm inside, and it makes him miss his own mother, back in Arkansas, who he hasn’t seen in too long.
“You know,” Leila says, “this is really big for him. Living with someone else.”
Kris busies himself with rummaging for the tea kettle so he doesn’t have to look at her. “Yeah,” he says, swallowing hard. He has a feeling this is going to turn into the What Intentions Do You Have With My Son talk.
But then Leila says, “I’m glad it’s with you.”
“You are?” he says, unable to keep the note of surprise from the question.
Leila comes up beside him, quietly, while he puts the kettle on to heat up water. He should probably make it with milk, that's how Adam always makes it, but the package says water, and he doesn’t want to screw it up.
“I’ve never seen him be with anyone the way he is with you,” she confides softly. “Don’t get me wrong, I do like Brad, and I know Adam cared for him deeply—but he was different then. Less settled. I think you’re the first person he’s been with where he doesn’t feel he has to impress you to keep your interest. He can just be himself. But I suppose when you’ve been through what you two have, putting on airs seems rather pointless, doesn’t it?” She smiles at him, a touch wryly, and pecks him on the temple. “I’ll meet you in the other room.”
Kris tells Adam what Leila said to him, after everyone has gone and they’re at the piano. Kris is seated on the bench while Adam drapes himself over the top, legs dangling over the sides.
“She’s right, you know?” Kris says, playing a simple, directionless melody with one hand. “It’s like—I don’t know, like there’s nothing to hide. Like we’ve seen everything. You know what I mean?”
“Yeah,” Adam agrees, but he sounds subdued, and he’s staring down at the white carpet.
Kris takes his hands off the keys. “Hey, what is it?”
“Nothing,” Adam says quickly. Kris lifts his eyebrows, and Adam exhales a long breath. “I mean, she’s right, she really is. I just—doesn’t that scare you?”
“Doesn’t what scare me?”
“You’ve seen everything. You know me better than probably anyone, and you still—” Adam’s voice strains, almost ready to crack. “Sometimes I just feel like I’m waiting for you to realize how so completely not worth it I am.”
He almost wants to laugh at the absurdity of it all—the idea that he could ever see Adam as worthless. After tearing his life apart to get to this point. No, the only thing that scares Kris is the idea of losing Adam. He dreams about it sometimes, wakes up feeling like his head is going to explode, will turn over and rest his head on Adam’s chest just to hear his heartbeat, to assure himself that Adam is here and real and alive and his.
“You’re an idiot,” Kris tells him. “I love you, but you’re an idiot if you think that I would ever… It’s not going to happen.” He pushes the bench back and takes Adam’s face between his hands, kisses him harder than usual and draws away a little breathless. “Okay? It will never happen.”
Adam ducks his head down for a moment, fingers playing with the collar of Kris’s shirt, and then he glances back up, eyes shining and smile weirdly shy. “Kristopher Allen,” he says fondly, “I want to keep you forever.”
Kris makes a face and grins. “That’s sort of the plan, if you haven’t noticed.”
That night, Adam drops to his knees and goes down on him, right next to the piano. Kris has to lean back against it to keep his balance as Adam undoes his pants and tugs them down his thighs. Adam takes him in and sucks slowly, licking around the head before moving up and down in a constant rhythm—slow, fast, slow, so slow that it’s like some form of exquisite torture, until Kris can’t take it anymore and finally comes.
After, Adam yanks him down to the floor, and they lie spread out side-by-side on the carpet.
“Oh, God, I’m going to have to get this steam-cleaned,” Adam groans.
Kris slings an arm over Adam’s waist and closes his eyes. “Probably not a bad idea.”
They’re quiet for awhile, and Kris is halfway drifting off to sleep when Adam nudges him a little and says, “So what is your plan?”
“You said there’s a plan. For us.”
It takes Kris a minute to figure out what Adam’s referring to; his brain always feel like mush after sex. “Oh,” he says when he remembers. “Um. Well. Mostly it entails being with you. I’d say that’s where it begins and ends, actually.”
Adam hmms under his breath. “No specifics, then?”
“Like what kind of specifics?”
“Well, you were married to Katy. Is that something you want again?”
“You mean, do I dream of the marriage, the picket fence, the two-point-five kids and a Golden Retriever?” He lets out a breathless half-laugh. “I don’t know. My mom would probably be thrilled with that, though.” She’ll never say it to him, but Kris knows she has to be a little disappointed that his life isn’t turning out the way they all assumed it would. Now she’s forced to pin all her hopes for grandchildren on poor Daniel. “I thought that was what I wanted. But then—well. You happened.”
“Then I happened,” Adam echoes with a soft chuckle.
“Maybe I’ll want some of that again someday, but I just got out of all that. Right now I guess I’m just rolling with the punches,” Kris continues. He rolls over onto his side so he can lean over Adam. “And what about you? You want to get married?”
“That’s such hetero-normative thinking,” Adam says, “to assume that just because straight people want to get married that gays must covet the concept too.”
“That’s not really an answer.”
“I…” Adam hesitates. “I don’t know.” He turns his head to look Kris in the eye. “I think I would marry you, though. If you wanted.”
“All I want,” Kris says, “is for you to be around. I don’t care about the rest.”
He doesn’t care that it sounds stupid and in love. Because he is. Stupid. And also in love. He thinks he would do anything for Adam. In some ways he already has. And he would do all of it all over again in a heartbeat—though maybe not the same exact way—but he would do it, he would do it if it meant he got to be here. In this moment. At this place.
“It’s your lucky day,” Adam says around a smile. “I’m not going anywhere.” He threads his fingers through Kris’s hair and kisses his cheek, his forehead, the bridge of his nose, and finally his mouth, slow and sweet. “This is the first time in my life I've ever felt like if the world ended, tomorrow, today, in the next five seconds, I would die happy. I would be happy. I am happy.”
His voice is a low hum against Kris’s ear as one of his hands burrows under Kris’s unzipped jeans, rubbing him where he’s half-hard again already. Kris inhales sharply, twists to grab Adam in a kiss that’s warm and salty and alive.
“Don't die,” he breathes into Adam’s mouth. “Be happy. But don’t die.” He pauses and adds as an afterthought, “Please,” and Adam laughs a little.
“I won't,” he says with a grin. “End of the world and I’ll still be here. The universe will come crashing down and it’ll be just me and the cockroaches, baby.” But it doesn’t feel like enough.
Kris rolls on top of Adam all the way, legs on either side, pinning him against the carpet, and says it over and over between plaintive kisses just this side of desperate: “Don’t die, don’t die, don’t die, please.”
“I promise,” Adam says, again and again, “I promise, I’m not going anywhere.”
And Kris knows that it’s a lie, that it’s a promise Adam will never be able to keep, but he holds onto it anyway.
Notes: This is written for areasontofight-- sorry for taking so long, hopefully the length makes up for it. Title is from Jason Mraz' "Beautiful Mess." I'm not a songwriter so just pretend those parts are more awesome than they really are. Also, I had this idea that after this conversation Kris would go and get a tattoo of vines up and down his wrist, to show to Adam that what he felt was permanent, but I couldn't figure out how to write it in, so you can just imagine it in your head.