Escaping from T.O.Y. HQ is like something out a Bond film. complete with explosions and legions of henchmen; well, explosions at least. In Adam's defense, it's not his fault all the "Warning: EXPLOSIVE!!" signs are at a human eye level. And the green barrel did cause a lot of pretty purple fires when it rolled into that lab.
Kris is human and distractingly naked the whole time and Adam sticks to his side to keep him from getting cold. T.O.Y. have ridiculously complicated door locks with emergency releases where only humans can reach them. It probably wouldn't take more than five minutes for the two of them to escape.
Unfortunately it turns out that it's not going to be just the two of them. Adam isn't really sure why he hadn't anticipated that there could be others like him and well, technically it's Adam who smells Lola's distress and rage over the smoke when they pass by the door to her enclosure. It's a hot-button scent that seems to be wired directly into Adam's sense of guilt. He stops dead in the corridor and nudges Kris' hip hard enough that he knocks Kris off his feet.
Adam's fox was tiny, Kris is bigger but apparently 'small and adorable' are fixed Kris characteristics, no matter which form he's in. Adam needs to stop forgetting that. Kris winds up sprawled across the floor under Adam. Adam's still-human mind goes to all sorts of interesting places. His mind snaps back to business when Kris yanks painfully on Adam's fur as he pulls himself back to his feet.
Kris looks at the cage, eyes going wide, then at Lola's claws as she kneads fretfully at her bedding, slicing it into tiny strips. Kris' hand tightens painfully in Adam's fur and he gulps loudly.
He cracks the lock on her cage anyway because Kris is still a sweet and wonderful person even if he is sadly lacking in anything resembling a survival instinct. Adam rubs up even closer, Kris shivering and his scent taking on an ...interesting flavor that Adam is totally going to be exploring as soon as they're both human again.
Lola bounds out., hackles up and tail lashing She immediately sniffs Kris with her whiskers tickling across his skin and Kris giggles involuntarily. Lola's scent changes and she sits up on her haunches, big paws engulfing Kris' shoulders as she leans in to sniff his throat. Kris eeps and Adam growls warningly. Lola snorts at him and licks Kris, two big swipes of her tongue that leave his hair standing up in spikes and oh, right. Adam recognizes that scent now. Well, ''recognize' is too strong a word –his tiger brain translates it as 'momma tiger and cub' and Adam relaxes, rubbing his shoulder into Kris' side in mute reassurance.
Lola lets Kris go (and sputter) and bumps noses companionably with Adam. Her hackles lower a few degrees. Then she looks past them both at the corridor and makes a 'prrt?' sound that clearly means 'out now?' and Adam circles, rubbing his cheek into Kris' belly. Kris giggles again, pushing Adam's head away and ignoring Adam's (totally justifiable) pout. He looks at Lola, then back at the steel doors down the other side of the corridor which even Adam can tell smell of metal and chemicals and not at all of fresh air and escape.
"We should probably let the others out," Kris says and Adam has to struggle to work out what he means and he stares up at Kris. Others?
Adam hadn't really thought that there could have been more fucking idiots like him which is short-sighted because T.O.Y. are certainly stupid and evil enough to have randomly tried changing people into rare animals again. Adam is proof that they never ever think rationally about any of this experiments.
Lola is pacing around them, lips curling into a snarl every time the klaxon goes off. Adam wants to leave, wants to take Kris (and well, okay, Lola too) and just run away from T.O.Y. and evil scientists but Kris is looking at the door and Adam is whipped. Before he's even gotten laid and god, that might be the most horrifying realization Adam has ever had. Brad must never, ever know.
Kris breaks into the main 'ark' and starts opening pens. Adam and Lola crowd up against his sides and start chasing T.O.Y. technicians around the pens. Adam is fucking fierce; top of the food chain. He can leap what feels like twenty feet straight up as easy as breathing and he's faster than any human.
It takes about ten minutes before every technician is unconscious or barricaded in the janitor's closet. Adam and Lola growl meaningfully outside the door until Kris finishes unlocking the cages. Adam looms up beside him, just in case anyone mistakes Kris for one of T.O.Y.'s jerks.
There are four animals in the pens: a panda with 'DANNY' on the sign wired to the front of his cage, a ring-tailed lemur ('ALLISON'), an orangutan ('MATT') and some sort of snake that makes all the hair stand up along the back of Adam's neck and shoulders ('ANOOP').
Adam growls in what he intends to be a non-threatening way. The snake coils up around the orangutan, eyes wide and tongue flickering nervously. The orangutan hops onto the bars of his pen, ready to climb if Adam lunges. The panda snorts and hunches his shoulders forward.
The lemur jumps into Kris' arms and clings to Kris' neck and it's a she, according to Adam's tiger-nose. This time, Adam growls low and rumbly and he's viciously satisfied at the way everyone but Lola and Kris flinches.
Instead, Kris slides clever wonderful fingers into the fur behind his ears and scratches softly back towards the dip between his shoulders. Adam leans into him, growl moderating into a purr and Kris laughs.
"I think that's everybody," Kris stops scratching Adam and scratches at his arms instead. "I-I don't think I can keep this up much longer and we need to get out before I get fuzzy again."
Adam nods and herds Kris (and attached lemur) back out and Lola collects Kris' bone as they jog past her former cage. The rest of them follow and Adam keeps twitching his tail out of the strike range of the snake. Tiger!him is far less keen on snakes than human!him and it's making Adam twitchy.
Kris gets the doors open and there are more alarms, deafening and discordant and Adam yowls just because he needs to protest, needs to do something and everyone in range of his fangs and claws is (probably) a friend. Kris buries his free hand back in Adam's ruffled up fur and Adam's still not happy but he relaxes, just a little.
The have to fight through another three layers of T.O.Y. personnel. Adam discovers more wonderful things that he can do as a tiger: smelling unfortunate hair product choices from two floors down for example. Finally, the last door creaks open and Lola is first out, bone clamped between her fangs and muffling her pre-emptive snarl. There are no people, no buildings or anything. Adam can't even smell any car exhausts or greasy food.
What he can smell is, well, cold. Kris starts shaking violently and wow, Adam feels like he's been flash frozen. All his fur stands up at once so Adam must look like a very exotic duster. Lola does. He is seriously not impressed – Adam Lambert is a man-tiger of many styles but 'bottle brush' is not one of them.
There's a sound like a set of castanets going triple time. It's coming from Kris. Adam looks up at Kris – cute, very, very naked Kris – who is rapidly going bluer than Adam's fur.
"A-A-A-Adam," Kris stutters. Allison the lemur is curled around his neck and chest, fluffed up like Adam and the other furry creatures. Adam winds around him, growling unhappily at the sheer ice that is Kris' skin. Lola drops the bone into a pile of snow and makes a weird 'humf' sound, before crowding in to help keep Kris from freezing to death. Anoop the snake is curled around the radiator in the hallway and glowering out at them.
Matt the orangutan comes out of the cloakroom with orangutan-sized armful of fleece-lined coats. Adam's whiskers perk forward and he sniffs interestedly at one of the coats which smells of food and meat. His human brain points out that it's actually a tatty sheepskin coat. Lola rumbles and puts out a paw as big as Adam's head to bat curiously at the coat.
Matt drops it immediately and scoots around so Adam's between him and Lola. Kris is still shivering violently.
"A-Adam," Kris chatters. "I n-n-need to change back to a f-fox or I'll f-fuh-freeze. This is M-Missouri. We've g-got to get to Arkansas. C-Conway. Don't forget!"
Adam snuffles against Kris' neck. He has no idea how the hell he's supposed to get two tigers, a orangutan, a fucking panda, a snake and a fox across state lines but Adam's thinking positive here.
Kris shivers all over and Adam blinks and there's his fox, now with two tails but still tiny, adorable and smelling delicious. He's immediately back to his tiny little fluffball self and Adam nuzzles him delightedly, licking at Kris' ears.
Kris yips and winds through Adam's front legs, rubbing up against Adam and getting Adam's scent all over him. Adam bats lightly at Kris' new tail and Kris snaps playfully at his paw. Adam spends the next five minutes playing with Kris and he probably would have been happy to stay right there, playing with Kris until T.O.Y. reinforcements showed up but Lola trips him mid-pounce and pins him flat on his back after about twenty minutes.
Adam isn't expecting to actually have to lead; Kris' directions were kinda vague and anyway, Kris is right there. Kris will know where they're going.
Unfortunately, Kris in fox form turns out to be a little flake.
Adam should possibly not be as surprised about this as he is. It's not that Kris isn't still the sweet adorable kit he was in Adam's pen, it's just that he gets distracted by things like snowflakes and icicles and candy wrappers. He romps and bounds around in front of them for the first three miles. Adam thinks it's adorable. Lola thinks Kris is going to wind up as a snow sculpture if Adam doesn't keep an eye on him.
After the third time she tells him this, Lola bites his tail to prove her point and it hurts and the next thing Adam knows he's on top of a bare tree, clinging onto matchstick-thick twigs and cursing every one of his stupid, stupid feline instincts.
Lola sits under the tree and laughs at him. Tiger laughing is all in the body language; she curves her head away, shooting sly glances up at him and her tail twitches, curling up towards her body. Adam snarls at her and she laughs harder. Adam is starting to think the fur over his balls has frozen to the damn tree and he really, really doesn't want to have a Brazilian in this weather and in this body. Lola laughs harder. Adam growls and wonders why he thought it would be a good idea to break her out again.
Then Danny shows up, all stupid big eyes and stumpy tail and Adam remembers.
Adam read somewhere that pandas were herbivores. Danny doesn't seem to have read that article because he keeps looking at Kris or Allison (who is chasing after Kris and bounding up trees to scare birds) and his scent shifts towards hunger when he does.
Adam drops the ten feet straight down, sending up a flurry of snow in a bad-ass display of feline grace.
Danny grunts and backs up. Matt hoots mockingly (Matt also missed the 'orangutans aren't monkeys' memo – Adam has already resolved to loan him every Terry Pratchett book in existence) from where he's hanging out of another tree, Anoop's fleece cocoon swinging from his back.
Adam snorts and looks around for Kris.
This is the other problem with Kris leading the way. Kris in fox form is at most eight inches at the shoulder. Adam is guessing that the snow is about a foot deep. His belly fur keeps getting wet and cold. Allison is light enough to scurry across the crust of the snow. Kris, particularly with his new tail, really isn't.
Adam calls, a throaty rumble and Kris comes hopping through the snow. He has to jump pretty high so it's less 'hop-hop-hop' than 'hop-hop-fump' and a few seconds of desperate scrabbling as Kris digs himself out of the snow-drift and then the whole thing starts again.
Adam has had time to stop, give himself a thorough tongue-bath and get in a fight with Lola in the time it's taken Kris to cross ten feet. They are not exactly setting land speed records and Kris is panting heavily by the time he leaps onto the flattened snow under Adam's paws.
Kris is bright-eyed, tiny pink tongue hanging out and has so much snow in his fur that he looks like the ginger runt of the Abominable Snowman family. Adam really wishes he had a camera to capture the moment.
Lola bumps against his hip with a little more force than Adam thinks is really necessary and Adam looks down at Kris who has spotted his bone, half-buried in the snowdrift where Adam dropped it when Lola tried to bite his tail off. It's like watching a chihuahua playing tug-of-war with a tow truck.
Adam looks over his shoulder; they're about five miles from a freeway with a sign that looks like it reads 'Route 67'. If they keep up this pace, Adam guesses they're going to make it to the freeway sometime tomorrow afternoon. T.O.Y.'s ark is only about ten miles back and Adam knows that they could be going much faster.
Kris is still growling around the end of his bone and Lola looks at him and there is a gleam in her eyes that makes Adam want to dig a snow burrow and hide until she goes away. His tail curls defensively around his haunches and he edges back a little. He's aware of Danny and Allison and Matt watching them so he can't actually hide in a snow-drift.
Adam looks down at Kris, then back up at Lola.
Lola is teaching Adam lots of new things about tigers like the fact that tigers can not only laugh, they can snigger. She sniggers the whole way to the freeway while Adam's paws sink a little into the snow and Kris' tails draw two squiggly lines in the snow. Adam is hoping that T.O.Y. will be at least be confused by the tail-trails.
Adam keeps his head up (surprisingly difficult because the bone is heavy enough even without a two-tailed fox kit hanging off one end) and just keeps walking.
Kris is probably laughing too but the bone muffles it beautifully if he is.