Kris didn't know there was anything special about him. His aunt and uncle certainly don't think so. Actually, they kind of hate him. But whatever, the thing with the snake at the zoo was not his fault.
Then one day he finds out he's a wizard! Which is kind of unexpected and not a little bit freaky.
And then he's on the Hogwarts Express and he meets this redheaded kid named Adam and they become best friends.
For some reason, a lot of people think Adam is a secret Malfoy relative at first. Kris knows, though, that he is too much of an adorable goof to be a Malfoy.
And then, there’s the sixth year, when Adam decides he hates everything about being a redhead, and turns his hair black with a potion. He doesn't tell Kris, though, and so after a spectacularly boring summer holiday, Kris is running through King's Cross because Adam and Allison said they'd be getting here early. He sees Allison and this dark haired guy standing together, and he's wondering if this was the boy she started dating and was always mentioning in her letters.
But then the guy turns around and it's Adam and Kris nearly falls on his face tripping on his feet, because, hello, he was distracted from gravity by his sexual orientation deciding that the fence was no longer appropriate and wow, Adam is wearing Muggle liner around his eyes.
But it's not like he can say anything, because, well, clearly Adam is even more out of his league now (god, it was hard enough when he had red hair, even though Kris always kind of liked it, but Adam's insecurities kept him sort of reticent, and, therefore closer to Kris), and if he lets Alli know, there won't be anyone in any world who won't know thirty seconds later, so.
So all he can really do is stumble through hellos, and 'I've missed you so much' hugs, and Alli's 'Look at you, such a fine young man. I'm so proud,' and pretending to wipe away a tear because she likes to think she's not younger than either of them. (It's possible she's just crazy.)
Kris is almost positive that he gives himself away on the way to Hogwarts with all his staring. But no one says anything. And then there's the part where they've shared a dorm for five years and Adam has grown like, half a foot, and he doesn't have any of his daily, out in public, self-conscious issues when he wanders between the bathroom and his wardrobe wearing only his underwear.
And then there's Brad.
Well, Alli didn't notice anything different with Kris' behavior, and Adam's been oblivious since the day he decided to be (for the sake of his sanity, he had to get over the fact that his roommate is the cutest little creature ever), so, yeah, Kris got away with all the ogling.
They aren't even assigned the same rooms on the ledger, it's just automatically assumed they'll be sharing, because it took two days the first year they roomed together for it to be obvious they were meant to share a living space. (Plus, that professor with the long hair is totally a 'shipper...)
It's all going perfectly well, as usual, until Adam pulls out his phone and, with a smile on his face that Kris has never seen before, shows him a picture of this... this... guy. This tiny, skinny, loud-looking guy with brownish hair and a sharp, distinct jaw line, and high cheekbones, and brown eyes (huh, that sounds really familiar) and Kris realizes Adam is waiting for him to pass a verdict or something. He's got nothin'.
Saved by a knock at the door, Alli's there to pressure them into going down to the dining room with her, and they are hungry, so Adam shares his ...guy... with Alli, and Kris drags behind their squealing selves all the way down the hall. He's not pouting, he's just, ya know, pensive. It was a long trip, okay? Back off.
There are owls. Every single day. Great Grey owls tipping over Kris' glass of pumpkin juice and stealing Kris' bacon, because those are the only ones that can carry the encyclopedic novels that Adam and Brad write each other since Hogwarts' magic won't let them text message.
Kris suffers between confusion over where Adam is getting the time to write these monsters, and seething jealousy that he never even got one during the summer when he's supposed to be Adam's best friend.
Then there are the presents. Knick-knacks like the little glass ball that chimes a series of pure tones for Adam to tune himself on. Or a silver bell that's charmed to produce lovely, twisting palettes of color in response to Adam's voice.
The worst part is that Adam seems so incredibly happy and Kris feels like a dick because all he can think about is how he really wants Brad to go die in a fire.
Somehow he manages to get through two months of this, and then Headmistress McGonagall announces the arrival of some exchange students from Beauxbatons and guess who decided it was awesome to not tell Adam he was visiting and leave it as a surprise.
Kris hates everything ever.
And if His Specialness Brad thinks Kris is just gonna give up his room so that he can... do... whatever- god, he doesn't even want to think about it; like, is something so wrong with Kris that Adam never once thought, 'hey, maybe kissing him wouldn't be so bad'? Except, since when did Kris want kissage from Adam? Oh. Wait. Never mind.- then the weasel's got another thing comin'.
And it's not like he's jealous. Right? This isn't jealousy; it's, um, --- Oh, screw it, Kris is totally jealous, and Brad needs to watch out cuz he's been practicing his spells, and if he has to fight this time-stealing, attention-whoring interloper for Adam, he will.
Now if only he knew how Adam felt about that.
It's only a matter of being the most annoying third wheel he can be.
It's not even that hard. He's known Adam for five years, and he's been there to find all of the spots around Hogwarts that are Adam's favorites. So it never takes Kris long to sniff out where Adam and Brad have squirreled themselves away to.
Kris can do earnest like no one's business, and it's not like Adam's ever been able to say no to Kris. He's pretty sure Adam doesn't think Kris even knows what scheming means, so Kris just revels in the fact that he can blithely integrate himself into whatever 'study group' he and Brad are having with a big, naive grin on his face, and any objections Adam looks like he's about to have completely derail.
It works really well, until Alli catches on.
She's all, “I know what you're doing” in that sing-song voice that only annoying little sisters can have.
“What?” He will play dumb to the day he dies. “I'm not doing anything; you have no proof; the owls are lying.”
Deny, deny, deny. Also, escape to the boys' bathroom. Which only lasts until Kris gets hungry (and he's kind of always hungry; Adam glares at Kris' metabolism like it's personally offensive to him), and then he's got Allison shadowing him again, cuz, obviously she was waiting by the door.
The thing is, everybody likes Brad. Everybody. Allison, Matt, even Anoop's taken to him, on a peripheral level. Oh, and Adam. Of course, Adam's taken to him like a duck to water. Which is a stupid saying, and when Kris thinks of it, he accidentally glares at another student in passing. And, ya know, if he weren't totally stealing Adam away from him, Kris might not hate the guy too much, either.
But he is. Therefore, he must be dealt with.
He has it planned out and everything. It mostly involves bribing house elves and the Giant Squid (what, he's not exactly a Slytherin.)
It's just - - Professor Vector calls him to stay late one day to go over some of his arithmancy homework, so Kris can't catch up to Adam after his Advanced Transfiguration class. And when Kris finally finds them, Brad takes one look at Kris and then kisses Adam, just like that. And that's totally a dick move, but Adam doesn't see Kris, and his eyes slip shut, and his big hands are on Brad's waist, and he's making these stunned noises like he's found a miracle or something, and when he pulls back, he just looks so amazed and shy and - -
And Kris feels like a total jerk, because Adam is happy and Kris should be happy for him and wrecking his relationship with Brad would make Kris' mama so disappointed in him. So he goes back to the tower and Allison takes one look at his face and somehow produces Kris' favorite ice cream, and they go hide in the Astronomy tower.
For days, Kris keeps his distance from the happy couple, making sure he's nowhere near where his eyes could accidentally see another one of those gut-wrenching moments. At least he's getting in lots of guitar practice. Of course all the songs are emo, and even Allison is getting depressed, her hair going shades darker and her curls limp after listening to him for any prolonged period of time.
But does Adam notice? Noooo. No, of course not, because he's all... busy. Stupid, stupid little man! Kris isn't sure if he's cursing Brad or himself.
Alli says Adam's been looking for him, but Allison is a flake and wants everyone happy and will say anything to get Kris back into his sunny self. It used to be that Kris would leave a wake of inexplicable smiles. Now, it's like there's a barbed wire defense hovering around him.
All he can think is, life will be so much better when the visitation is over. He tries not to worry about Brad maybe getting himself permanently transferred, which would permanently ruin pretty much all of Kris' life.
The winter break is just around the corner and Kris has somehow managed to avoid interacting with Adam for a month, which is a little baffling seeing as how they share a dorm and a bathroom.
But Kris has long since perfected the art of being a giant coward, and he hides in the library until curfew. He has also started bringing a toothbrush in his bag so he can get ready for bed in the boys bathroom on the sixth floor because there are just so many times you can nearly catch your taken, might-be-a-little-in-love-with, but most importantly taken, best friend getting out of the shower before you die of eternal despair and woe.
Adam doesn't bother him if he can make it to his four poster and charm shut the curtains, so it's only a matter of getting up early enough to avoid any hazardous run-ins. His grades are certainly improving, even if Madam Pince is starting to give him the hairy eyeball for being there so much.
(Sometimes he thinks he hears Adam standing on one side of his bed, and Kris' heart will start racing and his palms will get sweaty, and he'll be waiting for Adam to cannonball onto his bed and wrestle him into a head lock like he used to back in first year. But nothing happens, and Adam sighs and goes to bed and Kris doesn't feel disappointed. He just doesn't.)
Two days before the winter break, Kris' luck runs out. He's hiding in the back of the library, as per usual, and he really should have plotted out an exit strategy or maybe picked a less inescapable corner, because the light on his book gets a shadow over it, and when he looks up, Adam is staring down at him.
At first, Kris thinks the look is annoyance. "You've been avoiding me."
Then Adam shifts, and Kris can see his face clearly, and even though his voice was carefully neutral, Kris recognizes that everything about Adam is screaming hurt.
Half of Kris wants to immediately apologize, roll over and beg for mercy. The other half smacks its counterpart in the back of the head, Gibbs-style (what? Muggle TV is one of the only things that keeps Kris sane during his trips home, ok?), because, hello, it's not like Adam's been making an effort to do anything except further his relationship with Brad.
Kris has every right to be pissed. His friendship with Adam is -was- the best thing about Kris' life, and it's all being blown to TheLairOfTheOneWhoShallNotBeNamed, and all Kris wants is last year back. He wants his Adam back.
But can he say any of that? No, because it's pathetic.
Adam's hurt because Kris hasn't been the eager little puppy chasing his heels? Well, Kris' dreams, including the ones he didn't even realize he had, are being dashed on a daily basis, so there.
"Why, Kris?" He pleads (and suddenly Kris has ‘Break Another Piece Of My Heart’ stuck in his head) when Kris doesn't respond.
Because I'm in love with you! Because you're killing me every time you touch him! Because there is no spell to fix this- fix me- and I am broken, stuck remembering what I can't un-see and un-know, and with you standing there, all I want to do is bury myself in one of our special hugs, and I can't.
What is Kris supposed to say?
Nothing. He can't say anything at all. Because he is the cowardliest Gryffindor there ever was, and at least this way he can stay sort of friends with Adam. It sucks, and Kris will work on the avoiding, he will, but it's better than rejection because he's pretty sure there's no recovering from that.
Adam will let Kris down gently, because he's a good guy, and he cares about Kris. But their conversations will turn stilted with what's not being said, with what's being tiptoed around, and Adam will start making excuses to not be around Kris and his massive unrequited love, and then one day they'll look at each other and they'll be strangers, and then Kris will grow old and die alone.
"Is this..." Adam starts, and Kris ducks his head and looks at his Transfiguration notes. "Is this about Brad?"
Kris flinches and thinks, oh no, oh no.
There's a long moment of silence and then Adam spits out, "I can't believe you."
Kris looks up in shock. Him? Can't believe him? Except Adam looks furious. Angrier than Kris has ever seen him before. He looks like he's half way to punching Kris in the face, and what the hell? Something ugly and bitter and angry twists up in Kris' stomach.
"I can't - -" Adam's face is pale, and his fists are shaking. "You - - you were okay with it. You said - - you said you were fine with me being gay. Oh my god." He looks horrified, disgusted, like Kris is covered in Flobberworm guts. "That's it. You - - you were just saying it, weren't you? And now that I have a boyfriend..." he trails off and takes a step back.
Kris can feel all the blood drain out of his face. "What - - Adam - - no - -"
Adam looks like he's going to be sick. "I can't believe you. I thought - - I thought we were." His face twists into an ugly scowl. "What, you never thought I'd never find anyone? Is that it? Thought I'd just be theoretically gay for the rest of my life? Well, I'm sorry my fag is in your face, Kris. I kind of thought you were a better person than that. Obviously I was wrong."
He turns on his heel and stomps away. Kris leaps to his feet. "Adam - - Adam wait!" But Adam just shoots this venomous look over his shoulder and is gone.
Kris sinks back down into his chair. "Oh my god. Oh my god."
Well, studying any more is out of the question.
Kris grabs his bag, leaving the mess of books and scrolls on the table- which he never does, so he figures he's earned one freebie on that- and heads off to find the only other person to whom he could possibly speak: Allison. God, that's sad.
His destination hits a snag when the quiet guy from Kris' Potions class- C-something... Carl? Cable? Cale? Cale!- accidentally bumps into him.
His papers are everywhere, books splayed open on the grass, and the taller boy is just staring down at them blankly, like he doesn't know what to do with what just happened.
"Dude, are you okay?" Kris asks, bending down to start picking up the unrolling scroll and errant leafs of paper, hoping it will jog Cale's memory into action.
Cale shakes his head, and his eyes seem to focus, and he kneels on the grass.
"Yeah; jeez, I'm sorry. My mind was totally somewhere else."
"I can tell. Everything alright?" Because his Momma raised him right, and no matter how bad -so, so bad, oh my god, so freaking bad- your day is, that's no excuse not to help someone else.
Cale studies Kris for a second, messy pile of papers and books in front of him that he's trying to put into some kind of carryable order.
A deep sigh, "I just got a message dropped on me." Literally. Frickin' owls.
He scoffs, a disgusted sound, "I was just dumped via air-mail. An actual bird gave me the information. I'll find that funnier, later."
Kris, a sympathetic expression on his face, puts a consoling hand on Cale's shoulder.
"That sucks, man, I'm sorry. Anything I can do?" Kris quirks a grin, hoping he's reading Cale right, "I'm pretty good at rhyming; maybe we can compose a limerick to send back."
It takes long enough that Kris starts to worry, but eventually Cale cracks the tiniest of smiles. Well, it's not a frown, at least.
"Actually, I was going to toss all this crap in my room, and go get drunk. You wanna come with?"
Kris responds with one of his patented smiles, "More than you know."
"You, too, huh?"
"Dude, you don't even know the half of it."
Together they get all of Cale's paraphernalia into his room, leave a note for his roommate, and head to the 'secret' place where copious amounts of brain cell-killing alcohol can be found.
Kris only found out about the Room of Requirements last year, after a spectacularly terrible stint of heterosexuality ended up with him and Katy getting high from candles that were less for setting a mood than extreme mental stimulation. There had been dancing underwear (Katy is marvelous at Charms) and real dancing (Kris is terrible at dancing) and he'd tried to kiss her, but she just giggled through it, and then they spent the hours until dawn munching on chocolate frogs and bickering about the relative attractiveness of all the male Quidditch players (that should have been his first clue.)
Kris remembers being very hung over. Also, there were possibly manly back slaps when he got back to the Tower that afternoon. He doesn't remember if Adam was there.
This is very much like that night. Only there's less dancing and more Kris' complete inability to keep his mouth shut, and the strange freeing sensation of unloading massive emotional crises on a relative stranger. So he ends up telling Cale about the last few months (years), about Adam in general and Adam and Brad in specifics, Kris' doomed attempts at trying not to be giantly resentful, Adam taking it completely the wrong way.
In other words: his life, look how tragic it is. He wishes it sounded less sickeningly like pining.
"He thinks I hate him," Kris says desperately, taking another swig of Fire Whiskey and coughing a little at the burn. "Because he's gay. Oh, god, what am I gonna do?"
"Well," Cale says slowly, the word thick with alcohol. He blinks, loses his train of thought and then says. "Well, you're gonna have to...um, tell him. 'Cause he, uh, kind of thinks you're a douche now. And, uh, you still wanna be..." He rubs his temple. Kris understands completely; thinking is hard. "His friend right? You still wanna be his friend, an' he's not gonna wanna be your friend if he thinks you're a douche." He is a wise, wise man.
And because the mind of the inebriated is a simple one, Kris correlates "tell him" with "show him you're gay" and not "tell him you're in love with him" as would be logical. And because the mind of the inebriated is also a stupid one, he decides the best course of action to would be to kiss Cale right then and there, just like he did with Katy, just like he wants to with Adam. And, just like with Katy, Cale laughs.
"No, man, nuh-uh," he snickers and pushes Kris back. Kris stumbles and collapses onto his ass, and feels like an idiot, but he starts laughing too, because god, his life. "That would make things, like," he giggles high and a little frightening into his glass. "Really, really bad," and Kris has to agree. Even though there is no kissing. Which is very sad.
And then Allison is there and shrieking invectives and 'what is wrong with you's and then there is a lot of singing.
It's all very strange.
"Ow." It's the only thing Kris can come up with, including his own name.
Everything hurts and is loud and bright, oh my god, and something has died in his mouth, and he's kind of wishing he could join it in passing.
There's thunder pounding around the room, and lightning flashing everywhere... only not, because he knows those footsteps. Adam.
Kris means to jump up and tell Adam all about his revelations and the reason behind his craptastic behavior, but nothing wants to cooperate, so basically a few limbs do a spazy, twitching thing, and he makes a gurgling sound, and then his head explodes.
He manages to lay his head over the edge of the bed before his stomach gives up.
The weird thing is, the waste basket is right there, like it was waiting for him.
"Have fun last night?" It sounds like he's spitting acid.
Kris cringes from the noise and the tone.
"Figured you'd be needing that," Adam gestures vaguely to the trash can, "and I wasn't about to have the carpet reek of puke for the rest of the year."
Well, that explains the magically appearing garbage can. Although, they are in a school for magic, so...
"Th'ksss." Kris slurs, unable to move any part of himself.
Adam makes a derisive sound, "Didn't do it for you. I'm preserving my olfactory senses; this was purely selfish."
He's standing there, distanced more than just physically, arms crossed, hip canted to the side, unreadable expression on his face.
"Th'ks 'n'way." It doesn't matter why to Kris.
Adam sighs, but he doesn't leave, which Kris was fully expecting.
He remembers the last time he got sick like this. A flu was going around, and not even magic could take out the germs, and Kris ended up violently ill in the middle of the night, all over his bedspread. Adam woke up at the noise, helped Kris to the bathroom, took care of the disgusting blankets, made sure Kris was okay, and let him sleep in Adam's bed, while Adam kept vigil, curled up next to him. Three days, Adam pampered and fussed over Kris, who hadn't been so well taken care of in all his life.
Kris didn't know how he was ever going to repay Adam.
"Don't even worry about it, Kris. You're my best friend; it comes with the territory."
Now, Adam is cold, dead-eyed, and drowning in betrayal. Kris really wishes he wasn't so very, very useless right now, because it'd be the perfect opportunity to fix this mess, but as it is, all Kris can do is lay there awkwardly, moan, and throw up some more.
He doesn't hear Adam leave the room.
The rest of the day is a write off.
He barely manages to get down to dinner, and there's a moment of soul crushing despair when Adam doesn't resolve himself in their regular seats. He finds Cale instead, who looks about as bad as Kris feels and grunts commiseratingly when Kris collapses into the seat opposite him and lays his head down on the table.
"Progress?" Cale asks miserably. Kris just shakes his head and feels like dying.
Allison flounces up to them and starts chattering at them, willfully ignorant to their pain and mocking them loudly and maliciously. Kris hates her.
He still feels awful the next day, but it's Sunday, so he doesn't have to be anywhere and means that he can spend as much time as he needs begging for Adam's forgiveness. Unfortunately, Adam seems to have ninja-like powers of evasion and Kris spends most of the afternoon wandering around the castle aimlessly.
He's about to give up when Brad appears out of nowhere and pulls him aside. The look on his face is a little frightening.
"So Adam told me what happened," he says, with a faint scowl that is nothing less than physically imposing.
"Oh?" Kris winces. "He did?"
Brad rolls his eyes and sighs gustily. "Well, what he thinks happened at least. I mean, I know what happened - What's happening - What have you. He's being totally unreasonable, I'll give you that. But really?" He sends Kris a hard look. "Really? You had to make him think you hated him for being gay? Seriously? Do you know how much you fail at everything right now?"
Kris thinks: Wait a second... I fail? Okay, yes, I can see his point, but, hey!, not totally my fault, alright?
"What do you think is happening, then?" He still hates this man.
Another eye roll -what, did he go to a special attitude class or something?- "You're in love with him. I swooped in, scoped your man- not on purpose, mind, I'm not that kind of boy... well, I am, but not this time- you turned into the prince of pout, Adam took it wrong, and now everything is fail. That about sum it up?"
Hate. Hate this man. Also hate that he's right. Crap.
Kris doesn't respond out of spite, and the fact that he can't think of anything to say.
"Look, don't worry about it, sugar plum; I'll be out of here in a few days, and your little world can go back to whatever counts as normal."
Kris snorts and scoffs at the same time, nearly choking on his tongue in the process.
"Yeah, right back to the way it was, with the ignoring and the novels being sent back and forth, like, daily- seriously, how do you have that much to say to each other?- and him being all dreamy-eyed over you, and I have to listen to him missing you and hating me. Yep, that sounds awesome. Can't wait."
Brad's mouth is gaping quite a bit, and Kris revels in the idea that he finally found a look that doesn't work for the overly pretty man. Yes, it's petty, but he's had a rough few months, he's taking what he can get.
"Whoa," He says, finally. "You're, like, really, seriously in love with him."
Like this is news? Hello, he said it first.
Kris now realizes that he never even tried to deny it. He'll think about how he feels about that later.
"Honey, you don't have anything to worry about, I'm telling you. Once I'm gone, I'm gone, okay? He's all yours by next week."
There's several moments needed for Kris to fully grasp what Brad is saying. Once he does, though, the sick feeling in his stomach triples, and for a whole slew of brand new reasons.
There's a chance Brad thought he was helping. It's plausible, in some kind of weird, foreign way where people auction off their boyfriends to their best friends. Except in reality, as the week winds down to Brad's departure day, instead of making Kris feel better, Kris is increasingly sure that he's going to expire from sheer terror as soon as Sunday rolls around and Brad heaves off. He's developing a tension headache that would put Filtch to shame, and he's feels like he's going to throw up at any given minute. Allison has been giving him the hairy eyeball since Friday night.
("So," she had said, cornering him in the common room after his nightly exile to the library has come to an end. "Are you going to talk to him soon? 'Cause I gotta say, I love soaps and everything, but this is real life deary, and grown ups talk with their words.")
Suffice to say, she isn't helping.
Saturday night, Kris comes back to the Tower and Adam is sitting in the empty common room, staring forlornly at the fire.
Kris freezes, quails like a coward because he doesn't know what to do, and then sits down next to Adam, because he's Adam's friend first and foremost, and he hasn't exactly been acting like it.
"Hey," he says quietly, looking at the fire.
Adam looks up, startled, but so bone-weary and shadowed around his eyes, that Kris is the one suffering the bigger shock.
'This is what happens when you aren't around, Kristopher.' He can hear Allison say in his head.
There are about a hundred things Adam wants to say running around his head, but he can't seem to grab on to any of them long enough to make sense of the words, and then get them out of his mouth. So he stares for an unseemly amount of time. To his credit, Kris doesn't flinch or shift or do anything that he wouldn't have done last year, before he- they- well, before.
Which is when Adam remembers why he and Kris haven't been seeing each other lately, and a frown creases his face.
"You're not going to want to be around me right now." He intones to the fire.
"I always want to be around you." Kris admits, not even thinking first.
Adam snorts, pain and anger and another kind of hurt all mixed in.
"Well, whatever. I'm just saying I'm kind of having an issue of the big, gay variety, and I wouldn't want to offend your delicate sensibilities."
Kris' initial instinct is to say, 'Oh, my god, man, shut up! Like I'd ever abandon you, regardless of your issue.' but figures that he wouldn't even be able to get to the second sentence before Adam had him spelled into next week.
He clears his throat and answers quietly, sincerely, "I was there when you came out, here at school, and I'm here for you, now. Look, I know I've been a crappy friend, but I've had some really... well, not good reasons, but pretty valid excuses, at least, and I want to tell you everything, but that can wait."
Chancing it, Kris places a tentative hand on Adam's shoulder, pleased beyond words when he isn't shoved away.
"Talk to me, Adam."
When Adam finally turns his eyes back to Kris, they're shining, wet, red from crying, and Kris accidentally swear-spells the fire into a momentary burst of flames and heat.
Adam gives a watery hiccup of a laugh and scrubs furiously at his eyes as Kris hastily casts Aguamenti to put out the small fire that starts up on the carpet.
Kris laughs weakly with him and they fall into an uneasy silence, pressed shoulder to shoulder on the couch.
Finally, Adam says, "Brad and I broke up," and half shrugs his shoulder like he wasn't really expecting it to go any differently.
"Oh?" Kris says, feeling suddenly awful.
"Yeah, I mean, I was kind of expecting it. Brad's going abroad next year and he said that he didn't think a long distance relationship would be good for either of us. It just sucks, you know? I thought..." He swallows and stares down at his hands miserably. Kris hesitates for a second, wondering at his welcome, and then slides his arm around Adam.
Adam hiccups again and lets his head fall back against Kris' shoulder, the spikes of his hair brushing Kris' cheek. "I'm sorry if you thought I hated you for being gay," Kris murmurs, because he really needs to explain that. "It wasn't that. It was never that."
"I know," Adam says. "I know and - - I'm sorry for not trusting you. I just - - you know me. Boom! Overreaction. Brad told me I was being an idiot but..." He swallows and licks his lips in a way that Kris is very definitely not think about. "I don't know, you just didn't seem to be around me anymore. Since, like, the start of the year. You kept looking at me funny on the train and then you just..." started avoiding me, he doesn't say. "I guess I got a little defensive."
"Maybe a little," Kris allows and rests his cheek against the top of Adam's head.
They're quiet for a minute and then Adam says in a tiny voice. "Did I do something?"
"No," Kris says. "No, it - - no. I guess I just had a bad summer." Which is true at least. "Not, bad-bad, just. I hate going back there, you know? And then..." he tenses a little and Adam looks up at him, blue eyes bright with firelight through the wings of his bangs, and Kris goes for broke. "I just wasn't used to not being your best friend anymore," he says quietly.
That makes Adam yank his head up off Kris' shoulder and stare at him wide-eyed.
"You've never not been my best friend, Kris. I mean, Brad was cute- so, so cute- and new and fun, and I just... Well, you know me; if it's shiny and different, it becomes an obsession."
Kris mumbles, "Yeah, he's definitely that."
Adam narrows his eyes at Kris, his face going into 'seeing into Kris' soul' mode.
"Wow, you didn't like him at all, did you?" And there's none of the expected vehemence or disappointment in his voice. It almost sounds amused.
Because he is Kris Allen, he blushes, palms the back of his neck, and hedges.
"It's not that I didn't like him, I just--" He sighs, and the feeling of now-or-never wells up inside. "It wasn't who he is, it's what he was to you."
It takes Adam several long seconds of full-on confusion before he's able to cobble together a sentence.
"You mean, like, my boyfriend?"
Kris bites his lip and nods, not quite meeting Adam's eyes.
"Not- not because of the 'boy' thing; it's not about that, I swear." He's quick to amend.
"No, I know. But," Adam breathes heavily through his nose, trying to gather his words. "I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean."
The earnestness is what gets Kris, every time.
He dares to meet his best friend's -always, always- gaze.
It's a terrible idea. It's way too fast and he promised himself he'd give Adam a couple of days, and Merlin, they just got back to being friends. It would be stupid and thoughtless and stupid, and half of him is terrified that Adam's going to say no because then he would literally have to go throw himself off the Astronomy tower, but the other half has gone all lizard brain and Kris' arm is still around Adam's shoulders and it's just so easy to tug Adam forward and kiss him. Just a chaste press of lips and shite, shite Kris can feel how rigid Adam goes, shoulders tense and unfriendly, and Kris just closes his eyes because, bugger, he might as well get one kiss if his entire world is going to end anyway.
He doesn't want to pull back, doesn't want to see the anger on Adam's face, but there's only so long you can kiss someone who's not interested in kissing you back and Kris is sick of being a coward.
"Wh... what was that?" Adam says, voice carefully flat.
"No, seriously, what was that? You just - - why did you just - - Kris you just - -"
"I kissed you, yes, okay, I know. I was there," Kris says, covering his hands with his face to hide his mortification. Adam is a silent, shocked presence beside him and Kris kind of wants to go leap through a window.
"Why?" Adam whispers.
"Why does anyone kiss anyone, Adam? It's not that hard." This must be a nightmare. All of it. The entire year. There's no way he can actually screw up this badly so many times in such a short period of time.
"Were you... were you jealous?"
Kris battles his gut reaction to deny, deny, deny, because that's less than helpful, now.
There's also a part of him that wants to just haul off and smack Adam for being so completely dense that he gives lead a run for its money.
Despite both these things, Kris still can't maintain eye contact when he admits, "Well... yeah." And then, stronger, "Yeah, I was."
With a wariness borne of years of practice, "Because of all the time I was spending with Brad?"
Kris figures Adam has earned the right to hear what he's trying so hard not to outright ask.
Shaking his head, Kris concentrates on the shiny, black polish, chipping now on his best friend's fingernails. He reaches out and smoothes fingertips across them, tracing upwards over the freckled hands he can finally admit to himself that he loves so much.
"No. I mean, that was part of it- apparently I'm the jealous type; who knew?" He quirks a half-grin and chances a glance up at Adam's face to find Adam entranced by Kris' fingers on his own.
"But, um, I- I was uh, yeah, I was staring at you on the train, because you looked so different-- in, in a good way! You--" Kris sighs, and more to himself than anything, "You're- God, you're just amazing."
And then he remembers that words are coming out of his mouth, and he should probably pay attention to that.
"And I was feeling all these things that I didn't- I mean, I knew what they were, I just didn't get what they were doing being directed at you, ya know? I've always noticed you; always thought... I don't know. And then you got all..." Kris flails his left hand and makes a face to indicate both how Adam was and how Kris feels about that, "about him," wow, he really didn't mean to say it like that, but, hey, he's on a roll now, and Kris has never been good with keeping the truth in. "And I just-- But that was fine. He was only a picture; only an idea, ya know? Only the thing that you spent every waking hour talking about or writing to- and, dude, seriously, you couldn't shoot over a 'hey, how ya doin'?' even once this summer? Anyway, whatever, that's not-- Until he came here, and then it was--"
Kris growls, throwing both hands in the air before slapping them over his own face.
"You just looked so happy, ya know? I couldn't- I couldn't take that away from you. Not because of something I wasn't even sure how to define feeling. But the more he stayed; the more you two... were together, the less indefinable it all got, and the more, whatever, upset, I guess, that I got, but I still didn't want to-" Kris shrugs, looking somewhere between ashamed and shy, though -wonder of wonders!- he isn't blushing. "I didn't want to bring you down with my emo. I'd already dragged Alli into the spiral of my black hole of gloom, and I refused to make you a casualty, too."
"Wait, Alli?" Adam tries to interrupt, but Kris' head is buzzing like he got hit with a Bludger, and doesn't hear him.
"Oh my God!" Kris throws his hands up into the air and leaps to his feet, pacing, and sick of the subject changes and the not-saying-what-he-means thing that's going to like, give him an ulcer. "I want to date you! I want to kiss you all the time! I want to throw Brad out a window, and I'm having trouble sleeping because you're right there and it would be really creepy if I like, crawled into bed with you because I - - I - - I don't know, want to freaking cuddle." He's aware that his voice is raising and he's becoming steadily more frenzied and Adam looks a little freaked out and kind of like Kris hit him with a Bludger.
"Cuddling, Adam! Like a teddy bear. That is what you've reduced me to. And- and- and the shower thing--"
"The shower thing?"
"You - - you with the walking around with no clothes on. I want to climb you like a tree, okay? I have designs on your virtue."
Adam blinks, stunned, and says, "Okay, wow, you're kind of shouting right now."
Kris opens his mouth, closes it, and agonizes over his burning cheeks. "Right, uh, yes, shouting. Um."
"Um, you want to date me?" And he looks so hopeful, so wide eyed and bewildered that Kris heart aches.
"Yeah," he mumbles, clears his throat. "Yeah, yes, kind of a lot."
Adam gets to his feet, crowds up close enough that Kris can smell his shampoo, bright and clean, and takes his hand. He towers over Kris and it's kind of unfair, but it's mostly a little thrilling and Kris' mouth goes dry when Adam palms his hip, thumbing gentle circles into the shirt fabric right along the bone.
"How... How long - - did you - - have you - -"
Which is really the question he was hoping desperately Adam wouldn't ask, but woe is his life.
"A while?" He hedges. Adam's eyes narrow. "Um, since always? I mean, I just - - really wanted to be your friend for first year, and second, and then third was like 'hello, smack in the face,' and um. Yeah."
"Why - - why didn't you say anything?"
Why? He's asking why? 'Why' and 'How long' and, seriously, Kris is not in the mood to play 20 Questions, alright?
"Because I am a cowardly Muggle who is so ridiculously not even close to in your league, it's borderline obscene! It's- it's like a- a fairy tale prince and the guy no one even notices in the teeny, tiny town on the outskirts of the kingdom."
Kris thinks he sees Adam deflate and tense slightly, but is on a roll with his analogy, and we know how he gets when his mouth starts going.
"And, yeah, okay, maybe there's been a miraculous sort of camaraderie between the two, but... And then, because fate apparently hates the little town boy, another prince from an adjoining land comes in and swoops the prince off his feet, and it's like, how is this nobody from nowhere supposed to compete with that?"
Adam holds up an abating hand, and Kris pauses, catching his escaping breath.
"Wait, I'm the prince?"
Kris stares at Adam like maybe all this emotion all at once today might have fried some of Adam's higher cognitive functioning, because, duh Adam is the prince.
That tension that was building in Adam's shoulders and spine leeches out, leaving the kind of smile that turns Kris' knees into JELL-O in its wake.
"Kris." He whispers, and Kris has never heard his name spoken like that.
It's possible that tone of voice isn't used outside of movies.
There's hints of wonder and awe and disbelief. It's the kind of voice used when someone creates a work of art- a painting, The Hanging Gardens, a sunset, a meteor shower during the Aurora Borealis- and dedicates it to someone else. Says they created it for that person, with that person in mind.
Like a miracle.
Kris' eyes widen, and his mouth parts from lack of muscle support.
There's a warm, long-fingered hand ghosting up onto Kris' cheek (the one on his face, people), and the sort of fear behind perfect blue eyes that causes both boys to swallow hard, but also gives them the courage needed to keep going.
Tilting his head back with gentle encouragement, Kris' stomach clenches down on those circus freak butterflies when Adam halts their momentum six inches from the target area.
At this point, Kris is thinking, 'Oh god, what? Oh Merlin, don't do this to me! You have to kiss me. I will actually die if I do not have Adam's lips on mine in the next ten seconds.'
"Can I? Please?" He dips closer, hand tightening and relaxing in intervals, like he just can't help it. It's mostly air and movement, very little sound, when Adam pretty much begs one more time, "Please."
Merde, are you kidding?!
Kris pushes up on his toes and closes the three inch gap -finally, finally, oh my god- and, holy mother of all that is good, those are Adam's lips! On his! Lips!
This is Kris' favorite moment in all of his life, ever, including being born at all, and the first time he flew and actually stayed on the broom.
And then Adam slides his hand down a little, framing Kris' jaw, thumb over his pulse point, and he takes just the smallest bit of Kris' bottom lip between his own, and, yeah, this is the best, most favorite moment of Kris' life.
“I love you, by the way.” Adam reveals several minutes later. “Have for, oh, pretty much ever since I first saw you, all tiny and adorable and perfect. Well, it took a few hours for me to be sure about the perfect thing, but my instincts were right on. I just told that part of me to shut up and that you would never… and then there was you and Katy--”
“Me and Katy? There was never a ‘me and Katy’.”
Adam’s nodding, though, like he’s agreeing with himself, “Yes, last year. You two went up to the Room of Requirements, and everyone knows what that means. You got congratulated the entire next day.”
Kris studies Adam’s posture and facial expression and comes to the conclusion that, “Were you jealous?” There is no small amount of incredulity in Kris’ voice.
“I--” Adam starts strong, then halts, becoming less sure of himself as the moments tick by. “I maybe wasn’t as thrilled with the development as a professed best friend should have been.”
“You were jealous. Of me.” Kris is outright gaping, eyes and mouth, because this is unreal.
Adam wrinkles his nose. “Well, of Katy, but… yeah.” He finally admits.
Kris just plain does not know what to think right now. All of this could have been avoided, if he’d paid a little more attention to how Adam was acting, instead of wondering why kissing the prettiest girl in school was amusing, but did nothing for him in any other way.
Maybe the words, “I am such a moron” all got mumbled out during Kris’ lips’ trip up to Adam’s, but it doesn’t really matter if they did or not, since it’s understood and inconsequential in equal measures. Hands wrap around a bending neck, lacing at the knobby bone at the base, relaxed and easy as another, larger pair settle like they were made to be exactly where they are: holding Kris’ waist and back.
“I love you, too,” Kris sort of gasps out in between kisses.
“Hey,” Adam stops them abruptly, and the bottom drops out of Kris’ stomach. “You wanna go make out in our room?”
Oh, thank the stars. “I really, really do.”
A bright, blissful smile overtakes Adam’s face. “You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to ask you that.”
Kris chuckles, taking Adam’s hand and pulling him along, heading directly for their room in the most expedient way possible. “We’ve got a lot of lost time to make up, don’t we? Let’s get started on that.”