Timeline

Rating: T (PG-13)
Pairing: Kris/Adam
Length: 3100+ words
Disclaimer: Not mine, clearly
Summary: ontd_ai auction fic for christg428
A/N: Thanks to drgaellon for the beta, and jerakeen for squeeing sentence by sentence.

Part I

His first clue that it wasn't going to work should have been feeling like a stranger in his own house. After months in California, and then more months on tour, Kris thought coming home would be the most wonderful feeling in the world. Instead, Katy has completely redecorated their home and it feels like just another hotel in another city—complete with sheets that don't smell like 'them'. He hates it.

He's too nice to hurt her feelings though, so he goes along with her 'change is good' attitude and tries to get used to it, but the changes don't stop with their house. His old friends come around, but they ask questions about Idol and Adam Lambert and want to know about all of the new things in his life. Kris wonders if he was really that boring of a person before that they don't care to relive the old memories with him now.

He leaves for LA a month later to lay down the tracks for his album and, for the first time, he doesn't feel homesick.

/-/

His first single hits #2 on Billboard, right behind Adam's at #1. Not a bad place to be, Kris thinks, and calls Adam to congratulate him. Adam answers the phone breathless and laughing.

"You can be on top next time," he says as a greeting.

Kris can hear a smile in his voice, and he can also hear whispers and laughter and another, unmistakably male, voice.

"Are you...are you with someone?" he asks, blushing at the mere thought of Adam having sex while talking to him.

"Well...it's not the most opportune...stop it!...time for a...that tickles...chat."

Kris closes his eyes. "You really could have let it go to voice mail."

"But it was you!" Adam says, and Kris forgets about the distance between them and the other guy currently inhabiting Adam's personal bubble. "I'd come for you anytime, Kris."

Kris hangs up before the allusions get any cruder.

/-/

He tries to get Katy to agree to come on tour with him; God knows they can afford for her to quit her job, but she doesn't want to leave Conway. That should have been his second clue. Kris tries to feel as passionate about their home as she does, but the tie has been severed. He doesn't think it will ever grow back.

When his US tour ends, he's given the chance to perform for American troops overseas. Katy voices her protest—over the phone because Kris hasn't physically returned home yet—but he tells her it's just something he has to do. The real reason lies somewhere in the fear that once he does go back, it'll feel more like a place he's visiting than returning to, and he isn't ready to face that.

By the time his overseas tour ends, Katy has moved in with her parents and sends him a separation agreement by registered mail. He calls her, but she has no problem letting the call go to voice mail. Kris spends one whole weekend moving everything he owns into his parents' basement, and then mails her the deed to the house along with his copy of the house key. She can have it.

/-/

Kris is drunk when Adam answers his phone around midnight. He's in LA, but Adam is in Japan—their schedules taunt each other like yin and yang.

"Thought you'd be here to find the worm with me," Kris drawls into the phone, sleepily lying back against the hotel couch cushions.

"Do not tell me you are drinking tequila by yourself," Adam says.

"I am a sad, sad little man."

Adam laughs. "Not sad, just lonely."

Kris is not lonely, he's just alone; there's a difference. And anyway, Jose Cuervo makes lively dinner conversation. You've just got to know the right questions to ask. "Like, shall I drink the next shot with lime or lemon?" Kris finishes into the phone.

"Okay, I don't know who you're talking to, but I'm pretty sure you don't have someone else in your bed."

"No, Miss Manners strictly forbids taking a call whilst engaging in..." Kris almost drops the phone when the salt shaker rolls off the side table onto the floor. "Ooh, salt on the carpet. Can I still throw it over my shoulder?"

"Okay, Kris? Kris!"

Adam's voice sounds suspiciously like Katy's when Kris has done something wrong. He moved to LA so that he wouldn't have to think about Katy anymore. And Adam was supposed to be there to help him. Not eating sushi in Japan, or whatever the hell you do in Japan when you're a glamorous rock star.

"I want you to put down the salt, and the citrus fruit, and the God-damned tequila, please. And I want you to get yourself horizontal and close your eyes."

Kris slides off the couch onto the floor and slumps over. He closes his eyes in obedience. He's changed his mind—Adam's voice is not like Katy's at all. Adam's is commanding and forceful, but it's caring and thoughtful too. And melodic. Kris is really digging Adam's voice right now.

"Sing us a song," he mumbles into the phone.

"Us?"

"Me and Jose. He loves you."

"I'm sure he does," Adam says softly, but he obliges. The notes softly float halfway around the world from Adam's concert dressing room to Kris's hotel room. He tries to hum along with the tune but it's unfamiliar.

"What song is this?" Kris says as he's dropping off the edge.

"Something new," Adam replies. "Sweet dreams, Kristopher."

/-/

The divorce goes through on a Monday and Kris calls Adam from his car in the record studio parking lot.

"Me and Jose need a place to crash," Kris says.

"Leave Jose in Mexico, my friend. I've got something even better."

Kris drives to Adam's house where the housekeeper lets him in as she is leaving. He finds brownies on the kitchen counter next to a note that says, "Showering, more goodies in the freezer."

Kris opens the freezer to reveal ice cream and vodka. He makes a sundae and takes the Grey Goose with him to the couch. On days like this, he really loves Adam Lambert.



Part II

Adam is really good at repressing his emotions. He's been practicing since he was a tiny little fag and couldn't express it to anyone...not even himself at first. Nowadays, he's more accustomed to letting it all hang out there, even if it's just for the shock factor, but he still remembers how to repress like a champ. It comes in handy where Kris Allen is concerned.

Adam could have told you years ago that Kris's marriage was a plane spiraling ever closer to the ground. He has an intuition about these things, but he's learned that people don't generally like to be told, 'I think your marriage is a plane going down in flames.' Strange how people never want to know the truth.

So, Adam bides his time and tries to be there for Kris, but it's not like foretelling the end of Kris's marriage means anything is going to happen between them. They are friends. Really good friends. And if Adam wants to keep Kris as a friend, he knows he's never going to be able to make a move on him.

Just call him the sacrificial lamb and be done with it.

/-/

When his first single hits #1, he buys a bottle of Cristal and tells Drake to get his ass over to his apartment. They drink it from glasses, then in rivulets from each other's chests. Adam is lying back with his third glass tipped to his lips, while Drake licks the remnants from his stomach, when Kris calls.

It's perhaps not the best moment to take a call, but Adam doesn't think about that at the time. This is Adam's party—if he wants to talk to his best friend, he's sure as hell going to.

"You can be on top next time," he sings into the phone.

The frown on Drake's face doesn't go unnoticed, but he always could be a petulant child.

Adam can feel Kris's embarrassment through the phone. Such a conservative.

"You really could have let it go to voice mail."

"But it was you!" If Adam had a magic wand, he'd wave it over this scene and replace Drake with Kris in a heartbeat. Perhaps that doesn't speak well for the future of his relationship, but Adam never said he was in this for the long haul.

He tests Drake's annoyance with his next statement. "I'd come for you anytime, Kris."

Kris hangs up and Drake climbs off the bed. Just as well, Adam thinks as he pours himself another glass. He was getting bored anyway.

/-/

Adam's tour takes him across the country, same as Kris's. You'd think the stars would align for one concert in one city on adjacent nights, or for two concerts anywhere within a couple of hours flying distance (as if Adam could possibly sneak away without anyone noticing, and what would Kris say anyway?). But, of course, their schedules are about as opposite as they could be—Adam secretly suspects his publicist of coercing Kris's into this scheme, but he has no proof. He just misses his friend. He's alone and lonely because of Kris. He doesn't do alone well.

"Come visit me," he pleads into the phone one night.

"I'm on my way to Iraq."

His phone is broken. He could have sworn Kris just said he was going to Iraq.

"USO thing. Playing for the troops. You should try it."

Adam shoots for nonchalant. "Last time I checked, the Army only did gay on paper. I'm not in the mood to be tarred and feathered...unless it's for a show. I might have to write that in."

He tries to swallow down the sound of his heart pounding in his throat as Kris goes on to explain about getting to visit troops in the desert and fly in an actual helicopter. Adam's mind replays scenes of military tanks rolling over land mines and helicopters being shot out of the sky by 'friendly' fire. He wants to puke.

Into the phone he just whispers, "Be careful."

"I have to run. But don't worry—it's just music!" Kris says as he breaks their connection.

Adam speaks into the silence. "Come back to me, okay?"

/-/

Adam gets a text about the separation. He calls Kris right away but he doesn't pick up. His fingers tremble as he tries to fit all of his emotions into 160 characters. He finally settles for Call me when ready.

Kris writes back: thx.

It's not much, but Adam will take what he can get.

/-/

What he gets is an earful of drunk Kris in LA, just when he's just arrived in Asia for a six-week stint. Life truly comes up with cruel and unusual ways to punish him. Kris, a hotel room, and a bottle of tequila—there is a piece missing from that puzzle. A him-shaped piece.

He groans when Kris shudders his way through a mouthful of tequila. "Suck the lemon," he urges. Drunk Kris he can handle. Throwing-up Kris is a whole other story.

He wants to ask what brought this on, but that would only be for polite reasons. He knows perfectly well what brought this on—a blonde-haired woman that used to go by the name Mrs. Kris Allen. Adam doesn't know if he wants to choke her or thank her.

On the phone, Kris is sliding over into messy, crying drunkenness, and Adam has to get him to lie down before he passes out where he sits.

"Sing me a song," Kris suggests, and Adam is happy to oblige.

The tune is a new one; even drunk Kris picks up on that right away. Adam doesn't write very often, but sometimes a tune will get stuck in his head and there are very creative people around him who can help set it to music. This one, though, he's kept private. He calls it Battle Hymn and when he sings it, he thinks about unrequited love and want that you can taste in the back of your throat.

"Sweet dreams, Kristopher," Adam whispers as Kris slips off to sleep.

And from then on, the song is called Serenade. And it's always been for Kris.



Part III

Kris is sitting in the living room, halfway through his sundae and sipping Grey Goose from a coffee mug, when Adam walks out of the bedroom. It's been months since they've seen each other, and the last time was at Allison's launch party, where most of their 'alone time' was spent grinning for cameras together. It wasn't much for laying the basis of a relationship.

Adam chides himself that you can't build a relationship with only one person in it. He just can't help himself from yearning after it. Apparently all of his repression skills faded when he came bursting out of the closet. You finally get to be the person you always were on the inside, and it's tough to bottle up something as big as his feelings for Kris. Cramming the Grand Canyon into his swimming pool would be an easier feat.

"Should I go with ice cream or vodka?" Adam calls out across the breakfast bar separating the two rooms.

"Both!" Kris mumbles with his mouth clearly full.

Adam forgoes the brownies and scoops out a large dish of vanilla ice cream. His waistline is going to pay for this, but he needs something to keep his mouth occupied. If he relies on the vodka alone, he'll be drunk in twenty minutes.

Kris pours him a coffee cup of vodka as Adam sits down on the couch by his side.

"I do have overpriced glasses that we could drink from," Adam says, gesturing to the bar in the corner.

"The bar, right. I only looked in the drip tray," Kris says, grinning around a mouthful of sundae. "Your housekeeper is amazing. You definitely have to keep her."

"How do you know I didn't make them?" Of course, he didn't. But to not even get a thought...

"They're edible," Kris says, and grins. He has a speck of chocolate on his lip and Adam is mesmerized. Really, he can't be faulted for Kris being so damn adorable.

"You've got a bit...right there..." Adam reaches out with his hand and wipes Kris's upper lip softly. Kris's eyes do not move from Adam's, the electricity coursing between them almost creating sparks.

"All clean?" Kris asks when Adam drops his hand back down to his bowl.

Adam nods. He can't speak. He gulps at the vodka instead—it tastes exactly the same in a coffee cup as a crystal glass. In fact, Adam thinks it tastes even better, and downs his first glass in two quick mouthfuls.

"Easy. I know that stuff is smooth and all..."

"Like liquid courage," Adam mumbles, and shovels in a mouthful of ice cream before he can say any more.

Kris shoots him a questioning look but doesn't press the issue further. Thank God for small miracles.

"So is this going to be dinner?" Kris asks after a while. He's finished his sundae and is still sipping his first vodka.

Adam meanwhile is drawing smiley faces in his melted ice cream and downing vodka shots like water. Apparently, you can't just will courage to come to you. You really have to get knock down, drag out drunk before blurting out your emotions becomes a reasonable option.

"Because you could probably use some food to pad your stomach," Kris continues, reaching his mug out to clink it against Adam's.

Adam stares down into the vodka. Kris just finalized his divorce. There should be no thoughts of anything remotely close to Kris getting naked on this couch running through his head right now, yet that's all he can think of. He is so dead.

"Or we could just have more ice cream," Kris offers. "The brownies were really good."

"I've been thinking about you for years."

Kris's eyebrows rise up towards his hairline. He looks like a cuddly little Muppet.

"Well, we have been friends for years, so I've been thinking about you too."

"Not like that." Adam takes another mouthful of vodka. He is made of fail. "I've been thinking about you...not in a friend-way."

"You mean you didn't want to be friends...oh." Kris gets it just a second after he speaks. He lifts his own mug to his lips and poof, just like that, Kris likes Grey Goose as much as Adam does.

It really is a miracle drink.

Adam sets his bowl and his evil, evil mug down on the coffee table and clasps his hands between his legs. He can't look at Kris. He can't stand the look of shock and disgust that's bound to be there.

"I want you to know I would never, ever do anything about it. And I never wished your marriage would end. Well not really, not, you know, like I wanted you to get hurt or anything. But I wouldn't have minded...I mean, if you had been single in the beginning..."

"Hey." Kris places a hand on Adam's back, sliding across to rest it between his shoulder blades. "It's not...this isn't..."

Adam turns to look at him. Would you look at that—no shock, no disgust.

"Are we still friends if this doesn't work?" Kris asks.

If what doesn't work? Their evening of ice cream and vodka?

"Because I've been thinking about you for years too. Only, if you freak out after this, I'm not going to be able to be your friend anymore."

Kris doesn't wait for an answer; he just leans in and places his lips on Adam's. It's the most awkward kiss in this history of awkward kisses, because Adam is too shocked to move his mouth, and apparently, Kris doesn't know what the hell it means to take initiative—they just sit there for a moment, frozen like statues.

Adam pulls back, licks his lips, and gets the taste of Kris's brownie and ice cream, mixed with the vodka. He looks into Kris's eyes, but Kris isn't backing down. He's waiting—waiting for Adam.

The next kiss goes much better—Adam always was a better leader. He twists against Kris so that his hand can snake around to Kris's back, and runs his hands up and down Kris's spine as he explores his mouth with his tongue. Kris doesn't back away, and he doesn't seem scared, and when Adam finally comes up for air, there is a smile on Kris's face.

Adam is going to make that smile stay there forever. And he's just decided—his new favorite dessert is brownie-vodka sundaes.

/fin/


e-mail