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Title: Afterimage
Kradam. R. From the Metaphors and Dinosaurs universe.
Disclaimer: Don't know these people. Never happened.
Note: I've been listening to the snippets of Kris Allen's album almost continuously, so I blame him for this chapter.

"God, I wish I didn't have to do that fucking thing tomorrow."

"What thing?"

"Going to New York, hello."

"Oh. Well you sort of use the word 'thing' for lots of different stuff, so it's not always easy to tell."



"But seriously, I mean we just moved in here, and now I've got to go all over the place again to do these things to promote the thing and--"

"There you go again, with that 'thing' thing."

"Shut up and let me finish."

"All right."

"Well this is no fun," Adam said, reaching across the bed and snatching the Sunday paper out of Kris's hands. "How are we supposed to have a good argument if all you'll say is 'Okay' or "All right' or whatever?"

"Okay," Kris said, smiling that crooked smile of his as he took off his glasses and leaned back luxuriously on his pillow. "What should I say instead? 'You jerk'? Or how about....'diva'? But nah," Kris amended, shaking his head. "That one's sort of overused, don't you think? I mean not by me, but by other people. So maybe....Oh, I know: how about 'crazy'?"

"You know it, baby," Adam purred as he leaned closer to Kris till Kris's honey-dark eyes were only inches from his own, before they closed helplessly when Adam reached beneath the sheets for Kris's already stirring cock.


It had seemed as though the day that Adam would have Kris safely ensconced in the Brentwood place would never come, that by the time escrow closed at last and the moving-in date was set Kris would somehow change his mind suddenly, or decide to scurry back to Arkansas again, or some fucking thing--Adam could never tell what went on in that exasperating boy's head--so that in a way when they finally stepped through the door of their house, keys in hand, what Adam had felt most was relief, before he decided to inaugurate the brand-new couch in their brand-new (plain-white, ugh) living room with a dazy hazy sex-drunk Kris splayed before him like an offering to Ra.

Which, in a way, it had been.

Though it's true that there were certain things that Adam hadn't particularly anticipated in this arrangement: for one, the ball games that would shout from the TV all weekend and even some weeknights (how many fucking sports games or whatever did Kris need to watch anyway?); and for two, the fact that, at odd and unpredictable times of the day or night, Kris would go into the basement studio, or worse, lock himself in his "study" for hours at a time, where by the time he emerged at last--pale, somehow, yet peaceful, his eyes almost drowsy with satisfaction--Adam couldn't do much else but take his boy in his arms and claim from him a payment for all those precious minutes when Adam had been deprived of Kris's company.

It was all worth it, though--was all worth it to have his own place, with his very own Southern Comfort American-pie sweet-faced boy who was there to open the door for him with a smile when Adam came back from one of his trips, or to cook for Adam some down-home Southern food that was like angels dancing on the head of a pin, or, best of all, to fuck his boy senseless wherever whenever without having to worry about Kris deciding to go home because he already was home and that was just how it needed to be.

And so it had been a sort of giddy Adam who, after he'd laid his Kris flat that Sunday morning and reaped the rewards of being Adam Lambert, picked up his phone and cryptically tweeted that one word, knowing full well that all his fans would go crazy trying to figure out what the fuck he meant by that, and taking great satisfaction in the knowledge.

As Adam was busy with his phone however, Kris's own phone chimed on the bedside table next to him; and since it was around the time that Mama Allen tended to call, Adam didn't take much notice of it (Oh my fucking Ra, Adam thought to himself when he received a particularly absurd @reply from a fan), until out of the corner of his eye he saw Kris freeze up after he answered his phone, and then turn abruptly away from Adam as he said into the phone in a low voice after a pause "Um. Hi."

But what made Adam forget all about his stupid Twitter was the fact that, after some moments, Kris stood up from the bed as he held his phone to his ear, and sort of stumbled out the bedroom door while he said into the phone quietly "Yeah. Yeah. Me too." And then he was gone.

At this Adam shut off his own phone, lay it on the bedside table, and stared up at the ceiling, trying his best to remain calm and collected because surely it was nothing: surely there was nothing amiss, after all it's not like Kris always left the room whenever he got a phone call from somebody, had even stayed with Adam when the calls started to come in from Arkansas after the media got hold of Adam's and Kris's thing (shut up) and so why the fuck did he need to leave the room this time because--

Fuck. Just....fuck.

When it seemed like ten hours had passed and Kris still hadn't returned, Adam sighed, stood up at last, then padded out of the room and down the stairs, where to his surprise he found no Kris in the study, found no Kris in the living room, and Adam pretty much searched the entire house till he finally stepped into the kitchen, and saw a small form sitting naked at the kitchen table, blank phone held listlessly in his hand as his shoulders curled around him and he stared at the floor with a grey face.

"Kris?" Adam asked after a moment when it seemed as though Kris hadn't noticed Adam's presence.

At this Kris swiftly looked up at Adam, then glanced away again but not before Adam saw the expression in his dark eyes, expression of a man who had seen a ghost.

"I....I mean, yeah," Kris said at last, swallowing a little and faintly nodding his head.

"Are you okay?" Adam asked now, quickly coming up to Kris and taking the chair beside him. "You look sick. Did something happen? Your mom--is she--"

"No, no," Kris replied, shaking his head and turning away. "That's not....Well."

"Well then what?"

But to Adam's surprise Kris suddenly dropped his phone on the kitchen table and brought his hands up to his face, whereupon instinct swept away everything else and Adam scooted closer to Kris, took him in his arms.

"What happened, baby?" Adam asked as he stroked Kris's hair and rocked him slowly back and forth. "What's the matter?"

"It was....It was....Oh shit, never mind," Kris responded in a choked voice, shaking his head against Adam's shoulder. "It'd just sound stupid."

"Nothing you could say could ever be stupid to me," Adam reassured him, pressing a kiss onto Kris's head. "But you don't have to talk about it, if you don't want to."

"It's nothing," Kris muttered against Adam's shoulder. "Just that--well, it was Katy, and--Well," Kris went on, as though he hadn't noticed that Adam had froze up at those words. "It was her, and...."

And suddenly it was like a dam had broken loose, for, unbelievably, Kris began to sob in Adam's arms, muffled, hoarse sobs as he inarticulately said things about Arkansas and how he was such a failure and how he let everybody down and how he was just no good and "Hush," Adam said after a time, mustering up the will to smooth his hand through Kris's hair again even though right then and there he felt like he'd been carved out of ice. "You're not a failure, Kris. Come on. And anyway," Adam said next, his tone growing sharper despite himself. "What did she say to you? Did she call you a failure?"

"No," Kris whispered, pressing his face against Adam's shoulder. "She was really nice, Adam. Had just called to say hi, that--I mean she knows all about the--but she was still really nice, and....and," he continued after swallowing hard, "and just wanted to tell me she hoped I was happy, that she never forgot me and that she was sorry things ended bad between us but that she still cared about me and....Oh God, it was all my fault," Kris said, shaking his head vehemently. "All my fault that stuff with her didn't work out. I just let her down because I'm a failure, a loser who couldn't get their shit together, and she deserved so much better than me. You know?" Kris said, lifting his head at last and staring into Adam's eyes, his own eyes lost and filled with the kind of agony Adam never imagined he could ever see within that face.

At this hot and angry words bubbled to Adam's lips, but they were immediately checked by the memory of a time in the not-too-distant past when, during one particularly champagne-soaked evening, he'd wailed to Kris pathetically about stuff with Brad, even though it was all over but the hurt of a breakup still will leave its ghostly afterimage to haunt you, and shout to you your failure even if you were now on top of the world and had everything.

And what had Kris done in response to that? Adam remembered damn well what Kris had done.

"Hush," Adam repeated now, holding Kris tight in his arms and banishing the ugly thoughts from his mind. "You are not a failure, Kris. You can't help but be who you are. And maybe I'm biased, but I think that Kristopher Neil Allen is kick-awesome."

"You idiot," Kris replied, taking a shaky breath and sort of smiling at Adam with his lopsided smile. But then, his smile faded, and he glanced at the floor as he went on with "I guess it's just that--I guess it's just that talking to her reminded me of things, and....And I know you may not want to hear this, but at one time she was everything I'd wished for."

And right then Adam suddenly remembered a pretty little blonde in the pictures of a MySpace page, a girl even tinier than Kris who looked up at him with warm eyes as he looked warmly down at her, and once more Adam wondered what in the fuck was Kris Allen doing a million miles from where he belonged, and couldn't help but wonder also if Kris was wondering the same thing just now.

It had reached a point where Adam could not imagine Kris being gone from his life--could not imagine a life where he was not blessed by sunny brown eyes and a land of smiles, a land where a small supple puppy-like body like the one that he now held in his arms was not available to him. Inconceivable.

But what was worse was imagining this same stalwart yet fragile boy broken by misery, and so Adam bowed his head for a moment in silent prayer to a God he didn't even believe in, before he managed to say at last "If you....If she wants you back...."

"No," Kris replied immediately, swiftly looking up at Adam again and blinking hard through the salt in his eyes. "I mean, she was everything to me, but that....Well, that life is gone. Forever," Kris said, glancing at the floor again. "I couldn't go back, even if I wanted to. And I don't."


"No, Adam," Kris said now, drawing away a little and taking Adam's hands in his. "That life was....Well, it's like it was only a dream, for me. It was what I wanted to be, but not--not who I really was. Or am. This is what I really am," Kris said, then added as he squeezed Adam's fingers hard in his own "And this is where I belong."

"Uh-huh," Adam replied, leaning forward to rest his chin on Kris's head. "You can just be a loser failure with me, Kris Allen. I am not minding it."

"Shut up."

"That's better," Adam smiled faintly, releasing his hand from Kris's own so that he could place his fingers under Kris's chin and tilt his head up till Kris was looking into his eyes. "Now just call me a jerk or a diva, and I'll know it's all good."

"You jerk," Kris replied, though the corner of his mouth twitched a little all the same as he said it. And even though Adam knew that it meant all would be well, for now--even as he coaxed Kris back up to the bedroom, and Kris willingly followed, Adam knew that there lived between them more than one silent ghost; for the specter of loss, and regret, is as hard to wash away from memory, as the afterimage of the sun behind closed eyes.