Rating: PG-13, only for language and ~feelings
Pairing: Kris / Adam
Word Count: 1,046
Summary: Set during the tour, at a middle-of-the-night gas station stop somewhere in middle America; Adam has uncertainties and doubts about the future, and Kris tries to comfort him.
Disclaimer: If I owned either Adam or Kris, chances are I wouldn't be writing this. And if this had actually happened, chances are I'd be dead right now, so yeah. Title credit goes to Green Day.
"You promised you wouldn't get all Nicholas Sparks on me..."
Adam tilts his head up, smiling into the night sky, realizing that his words sounded as cheesy as Kris was suggesting they did. But it was difficult to fit this kind of emotion, these feelings, into simple words and phrases -- like trying to fit a circle inside a square.
"But you know what I'm talking about, right?" Adam asks, cocking his head towards Kris. "It's just, like...we could die tomorrow, but I feel...I feel fucking invincible. Look at where we are now."
Kris glances around. In the distance, about fifty or a hundred feet away, the convenience store of a gas station glows against the dark backdrop of night sky. Looming next to it are the tour buses, where the other eight contestants sleep as the drivers fill up the tanks. They're in the middle of nowhere, literally -- some midwestern state, with nothing surrounding them but a long stretch of road, the single gas station, and flat plains that disappeared into the horizon.
"...I still don't think I get what you're saying," Kris laughs, hugging his knees to his chest.
"Okay, look," Adam said, propping himself up on his elbows. "You're in sweatpants and an old T-shirt and you're barefoot. Can you even remember the last time you walked around outside barefoot?" He points up at the night sky, so clear that they can see the Milky Way. "Can you remember the last time you saw this many stars?"
Kris glances down, wiggling his bare toes against the soft blades of grass. "I guess not," he admitted. "But what does that have to do with being invincible or carpe diem?"
"I'm just saying," Adam sighs, "that I love what we do, and I love making music and playing shows and the attention. But sometimes...I don't know, sometimes I wish I could just stay here, right in this moment, forever."
Kris watches Adam's mesmerized face as he inhales deeply and closes his eyes, a small smile playing on his lips. He looks innocent, raw -- no makeup, still in his pajamas, his obsidian-black hair falling softy against his brow. And, for whatever reason, the image scares Kris: Adam had always been the strong, mature one. He'd been hurt, and he had his secrets, but he wore a poker face like an expert. He was charming and emotional and witty and dramatical when he needed to be, and he never faltered.
"I guess I'm just a glass-half-empty kind of guy," Kris mumbles, glancing at his feet.
"Bullshit," Adam laughs. He falls backwards again, laying on his back amid the tall grass, folding his hands behind his head. "You were the one who used to always talk about how lucky you felt just to be alive, to be on the show, to have Katy -- back when we were roomies. Remember?"
Kris lays down in the grass next to Adam, close enough to feel the body heat radiating from him. The night sky seems to be swallowing him whole. "Yeah, I remember," he says, swallowing down the lump in his throat. He had said those things before he had really known Adam; before he had really known himself, his own feelings.
They're quiet for a moment before Adam speaks again, shattering the silence that had enveloped them. "Hey, Kris?" He asks quietly, a sharp contrast to his usual loud voice.
"Just to, you know, make me feel better, can you promise me something?"
Kris knows just as well as Adam that he can't promise anything, but Adam seems so childlike that it makes Kris's chest hurt, so he nods instead. "Okay, sure."
Adam hesitates, and for a moment Kris thinks that he won't say anything. But his voice cuts through the thick summer air, soft and weak: "Promise me we'll stay friends, okay? 'Cause, really, I've never had a friend like you. You're sweet and funny and --" Adam's voice breaks off. "Just promise me, please?"
Kris glances over at Adam -- his eyes are closed again, clenched, and the smile has evaporated from his lips. The intertwining map of his veins are so prominent against the pale skin of his wrist that Kris is sure he could easily trace a path to Adam's heart.
Kris knows that, come morning, the Adam he was seeing now would be long gone, buried under a mountain of self-confidence. He'd be smiling, talkative, with a solution for everyone's problems, a word of ease for everyone's concerns. Kris found it flattering, in a way, that Adam saw him as a backbone of support for when even the seemingly strongest started to collapse; and he knew exactly what his friend needed to hear.
"Of course we'll stay friends," Kris says with what he hoped was an air of reassurance. He inches closer, casually draping an arm over Adam's shoulder. "I mean, come on, Adam. The economy's tanking, there's a hole in the o-zone layer, and you're worried about us staying friends?"
"You promise?" Adam repeats reluctantly.
"Yes, I promise," Kris swallows. "Listen, we'll come back to this exact spot, okay? I have no idea where the heck we are, but every so often I'll just call you up and be like, 'Hey, Adam, want to grab lunch?' And we'll take one of your fancy private jets and have a nice lunch out here. Right in the middle of nowhere, right where you can see the entire galaxy in the sky."
Adam leans his head against Kris's shoulder, something that might have been awkward or uncomfortable in front of everyone else, but now feels easy. It was like, Kris realized, Adam had fit into his arms perfectly, like two puzzle pieces.
"Thank you," Adam murmurs into Kris's shirt. They both know that everything Kris had said was far from reality -- that with their schedules and their futures, they'd be lucky to get in a five-minute phone call every few months after the tour. But, at that moment, Adam let his barriers crumble and let himself fall for the idea of it; let himself cling to Kris's words like they were pieces of driftwood in a flash flood.
Because, at that moment, all he wanted was the feeling of being invincible.