Chapter 1: there ain’t nothing that i wouldn’t do
Kris wakes up.
Vampire!AU. Takes place immediately following "I’ve Known It (From the Moment That We Met)". I’ve been wanting to write the follow-up fic from the moment I posted the other. I’m finally getting the chance to write the next scene for prompt #1: love at kradamflashfic. Additional scenes will follow. Title take from ‘To Make You Feel My Love’.
Written: August 14, 2011
Someone was speaking. Kris wanted to ignore it, but it sounded like Adam; though the voice seemed to come from so far away that he couldn’t be sure. Kris tried to look around, to find the source of the voice, but he was trapped in darkness and could see nothing. He strained to hear, and could finally make out the words; please, and his name. It was Adam, and he was begging Kris to wake up. Kris felt the soft brush of fingers against the back of his hand, and suddenly he wanted nothing more than to see Adam’s face.
Kris struggled to lift his eyelids, and finally his eyes fluttered open only to close almost immediately against the light. The feel of Adam’s face pressed against his own made him more determined. He tried again, and this time when his eyes opened he made out a blurry image. Once more, and he recognized the ceiling of Adam’s bedroom, and then Adam’s face was above his, looking down at him.
“Hey,” Adam said, smiling. “You’re awake.”
Kris felt Adam’s worry like a physical presence in the room; it smelled like ashes and despair. And then relief washed over him like a rain shower, washing everything fresh and leaving it smelling like . . . chocolate chip cookies?
Kris forgot the cookies and got lost in the blue of Adam’s eyes. They reminded him of the ocean, even though he’d never been to the ocean. Even after he’d moved to LA he’d never gone; wasn’t that weird? There were tears in Adam’s eyes, they’d slipped out and left streaks down his cheeks. Kris didn’t like that; it felt so wrong for Adam to be crying.
Kris raised his hand to touch Adam’s face and wipe away the tears, but his arm felt so heavy. It was like moving through water, as if the air itself was thickening around him and trying to hold him in place, keep him away from Adam. Kris fought it, and finally his fingers touched the soft skin of Adam’s face. He caught a tear before it fell.
“Adam,” Kris said. His throat felt as if he’d swallowed ground glass, but he had to know. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Adam said, shaking his head and smiling through his tears. “Absolutely nothing.”
The tears would seem to indicate otherwise, but Adam didn’t smell like he was lying.
“You’re beautiful,” Kris said in wonder, because how was it possible that anyone could be so beautiful?
Adam gave a huff of laughter and another tear fell. Kris tried to catch it, but he moved too slow and it dropped onto the blankets. Another fell, and Kris whined, “No, don’t waste them.”
Adam kissed him, and Kris pushed through the lethargy weakening his arms, and his fingers, and everything, and kissed him back. Adam tasted like glitter. No, that wasn’t right, but Kris’ brain seemed just as sluggish as the rest of him.
“What’s wrong with me?” Kris said when Adam let him talk again.
He almost wished he hadn’t asked when the shadow crossed Adam’s face. Pain and fear buffeted Kris before it was pulled back behind whatever wall Adam had built to hide it. Whatever happened had to have been bad. Maybe he shouldn’t have asked. Now would probably be a good time to panic, except he couldn’t seem to work up the energy for a good freak out.
“Am I dying?” Kris asked, even though he wasn’t sure he really wanted to know the answer to that question.
“No!” Adam growled, and it cleared away some of the fog that had trapped Kris within its tendrils. “You are not going to die.”
But Adam had been afraid that he might; he couldn’t hide that from Kris, no matter how much he tried.
“You’re just weak right now,” Adam said, running his hand over Kris as if he needed the proof that he was right there. “You need to feed, regain your strength.”
Something about that sounded odd, but Kris’ brain still wasn’t working enough to process it.
“Can I have chocolate chip cookies?” he asked hopefully.
Adam’s eyebrows went up in question.
“I can smell them,” Kris explained. “They smell really good.”
“Maybe for dessert,” Adam allowed. “If you’re good.”
Adam smiled when he said it, but it was tight, and didn’t quite reach his eyes. Kris watched as Adam rolled to the edge of the bed and picked up the phone. He pressed a button, and then asked whomever had answered (it sounded like Allison) to have a tray brought up for Kris. Kris made a sound, and Adam gave him a fondly exasperated look as he asked the person on the other end to include a plate of chocolate chip cookies, as well. Adam replaced the handset, and returned to his former position beside Kris.
“What’s wrong?” Kris asked again. He reached for Adam once more, but this time he thought his arm would give out before he made it. Adam grasped Kris’ hand and placed it against the cheek he’d been aiming for.
Instead of answering his question, Adam asked one of his own. “What do you sense?”
It was a weird question, but Kris answered it right away, not even having to think about his response. “You’re relieved, but still scared.”
“And angry,” Adam said wryly. “Don’t forget that.”
Before Kris could ask why Adam was angry, Adam said, “Do you remember anything that happened?”
Kris tried to pull up the memories, but what wasn’t fuzzy was blank. Or hidden behind a swirling curtain of fog. It was frustrating. And giving him a headache. He shot a pleading look at Adam.
Adam sighed and nodded. “Do you remember Cale . . . ?”
At the sound of Cale’s name the memories hit him like a freight train, each one a scalpel stabbing into his brain. He gasped, his body arching off the bed, Adam’s cries of concern a backdrop to the memories that were pulled from the depths of his mind and exposed to the light. He remembered the vitriol in Cale’s voice, the flash of blade as Adam stepped in front of Kris to protect him, the poison, Adam collapsing, Kris doing what he had to to make sure Adam didn’t die, and the calm he’d felt when he realized that he’d traded his life for Adam’s.
When it was over Kris felt as if he’d been rolled by a wave, every muscle in his body aching.
“Kris,” Adam said urgently. “Kris!” He sounded frantic, as if he’d been calling Kris’ name for a while.
Kris opened eyes he hadn’t realized he’d closed, and Adam breathed a sigh of relief.
“Don’t you do that again,” Adam said, trying to sound angry, but his voice wavered too much for him to pull it off. “Jesus, Kris, you scared me!”
Adam didn’t say ‘again’, but Kris heard it anyway.
Kris smiled, even though it made his face hurt. “You’re alright.”
Adam gave an exasperated shake of his head. “And still very angry at you for disobeying me.”
“I’d do it again,” Kris admitted, feeling too wasted and worn out to consider self-preservation.
There was something in Adam’s expression, and then it was gone, hidden once more. “Kris . . . .”
Adam’s head went up; he looked like a golden retriever on the scent, but Kris would never tell him that. He patted Kris’ hand as he climbed off the bed, and then went out into the sitting room. Kris heard the door open, and voices, though they spoke too low for him to make out the words. The door closed and Adam returned with a tray of something that smelled really good.
Kris tried to push himself up in the bed. When Adam saw the attempt, he quickly set down the tray and hurried over to help him. As Adam stacked pillows against the headboard and settled Kris against them, Kris breathed in the heavenly aroma.
“That smells really good. What is it?”
Adam sat on the edge of the mattress and played with Kris’ fingers.
Finally Adam raised his face. He looked almost said. “It’s blood,” he said.
“Blood?” Kris repeated, confused. “For you?”
Adam just looked at him, and the truth of it pushed on Kris’ chest like a heavy weight. He couldn’t breathe, he thought, at the same time a cool, rational voice inside his brain reminded him that he didn’t have to if what Adam was implying was true.
“I’m sorry,” Adam said. “I know we never talked about it, I never expected . . . .”
“You almost died,” Adam said, and though he looked and sounded very sad, there was a sharpness in his voice that told Kris he hadn’t been very happy about that, and would thank him not to do it again. Except he wouldn’t ever do it again.
“Did you . . . ?”
“I know it’s a lot to take in,” Adam said.
Understatement, Kris thought. He’d known about vampires, lived in the home of the vampire king of Arkansas, since he was three years old, but he’d never imagined himself as one. Now that he thought about it, that had been pretty naive of him.
“And there’s a lot to tell you, but right now you need to . . . drink. You need to regain your strength.”
Kris didn’t doubt what Adam had told him. He’d known he’d been close to death, felt it, and now that he knew what had happened to him, Kris recognized the differences inside himself. Still, he watched with trepidation as Adam walked over to the tray. As he raised the pitcher and poured the thick, red liquid – the blood – into a goblet, then carried it over to Kris. The blood smelled delicious, but Kris’ brain warred with itself. He wasn’t disgusted at the thought of drinking blood – he’d lived among vampires too long for that to be the case. It was just difficult to reconcile the thought of blood as sustenance for himself.
Adam resettled himself onto the edge of the mattress near Kris’ hip and held out the goblet. Kris was afraid to take it. What if he didn’t like it?”
“What if I don’t like it?”
“Then you don’t have to drink it,” Adam immediately replied, sounding very reasonable about it, even though Kris knew, logically, that he’d have to drink eventually, or die, this time forever.
Kris took the goblet and stared at it a moment longer before raising it to his lips. He took a careful sip, afraid he’d gag and embarrass himself in front of Adam if he gulped it and discovered he couldn’t stomach it. When the blood hit his tongue it exploded into the flavor of all his favorite foods mixed together. He’d never tasted anything quite this amazing, and he moaned, tipping the goblet so he could drink it all.
“Careful,” Adam said, holding the goblet so Kris didn’t spill the blood all over himself, or choke on it.
“Can I have more?” Kris said as together they lowered the goblet.
“You can have as much as you want,” Adam said, catching Kris’ wrist before he could swipe the back of his hand across his chin to catch the blood he’d spilled.
Adam leaned forward and licked the blood off Kris’ chin, and then licked his way into Kris’ mouth for a kiss that ended much too soon for Kris’ liking. Kris followed Adam as he pulled back, weak fingers clutching at Adam’s shirt. Adam parted his lips to Kris’ searching tongue, and slipped an arm around his back to support him and pull him in close. Adam broke the kiss, pressing small teasing kisses against Kris’ lips when he tried to recapture Adam’s mouth, and eased him back onto the pillows.
“I want more of that, too,” Kris said in a breathless whine as Adam drew away.
Adam smiled and brushed a lock of Kris’ hair off his forehead. “As much as you want,” he promised.
Adam brought Kris another goblet of blood, and he downed it just as eagerly despite Adam’s admonitions to go slow.
“Can I have another kiss now?” Kris asked after he’d licked off the blood mustache from his upper lip. “And then a cookie?”
“It’s good to see that you have your priorities straight,” Adam teased, but he gave Kris the kiss he’d requested. Even so, Kris whined in protest when Adam pulled away.
“You’re supposed to be regaining your strength, not using it up.”
Kris pouted, but it had no affect on Adam’s decision. He perked up, though, when Adam brought him a cookie, and only Adam’s disapproving look kept him from inhaling it. It was delicious, and Kris eyed up the plate across the room as he licked melted chocolate off the tips of his fingers.
Adam gave a long suffering sigh that didn’t hide the smile he wore. He brought over the entire plate and the glass of milk someone had provided. He handed the glass to Kris, who immediately took a sip, and then settled himself on the bed beside Kris with the plate between them on the mattress.
Kris bit into another cookie. He broke off a piece and popped it between Adam’s lips, and then let Adam lick his fingers clean when he’d finished it. Aside from the soft sounds of chewing and sipping, the room was silent. Kris knew he had to break it, but he was afraid to. He had no reason to be afraid, except he could sense Adam’s discomfort with whatever was coming next.
Finally Kris could put it off no longer. He set aside the glass of milk and asked, “What else is there?”
“Hmm?” Adam guiltily dragged his gaze away from Kris’ lips. Kris wished he could ignore his questions just a little longer, but he couldn’t. Whatever Adam hadn’t told him yet made the air heavy and smelled, oddly enough, like sour milk.
“You said there was a lot to tell me.”
“Oh. Yeah. It has to do with . . . .”
“Were you the one?” Kris asked. “Did you . . . ?”
Adam shook his head. “I wanted to. I was going to, and then I remembered the poison. I couldn’t take the chance. You were already . . . . We weren’t sure we got to you in time.”
Oh, Kris thought. Adam really had feared he might die. Not just the human to vampire die, but die-die, the end, so long, sayonara, good night. But if not Adam, then . . . .
“Tommy,” Adam replied evenly.
“Tommy,” Kris repeated. He felt an hysterical laugh bubble up and wondered if Tommy had a savior complex. He forced both the laughter and the comment down. Adam seemed too . . . too fragile to appreciate the gallows humor right now. Then Kris had another, horrifying thought.
“I don’t have to have sex with him, do I?”
Adam’s eyes widened, and then narrowed as his low growl filled the room. “Do you want to have sex with him?”
“No!” Kris yelped. But he really, really wanted to have sex with Adam right now.
Adam’s eyes went dark, and Kris could smell Adam’s desire. “Um. . . .” He gulped. “I didn’t say that out loud, did I?”
“You did,” Adam growled.
“Okay,” Kris said, his own body responding to Adam. “Does that mean . . . ?”
Instead of rolling on top of him and stripping him naked and having his wicked way with him, Adam stuffed another cookie in Kris’ mouth.
“Adam!” Kris whined around the cookie.
“No sex,” Adam said. “You need to regain your strength.”
“You could do all the work,” Kris said after he’d removed the cookie.
Adam looked like he might be considering that for a second, and then he frowned at Kris. “No. I’m serious about this, Kristopher. We’re not taking any chances with your health.”
Kris pouted, but he didn’t argue. He could tell that Adam had made up his mind. “How long?” he asked.
“Three days,” Adam said. Kris couldn’t tell if he’d been thinking about it, or if he’d spouted the first number that came to mind.
“Three days?” That was, like, forever! “That’s, like, forever!”
Adam laughed, and then laughed again when Kris gave him an indignant glare. “Sorry, it’s just, your face . . . .” Adam hiccuped, and then there were tears in his eyes again. “Jesus,” he said, “sorry, I just . . . .”
Kris hated that, seeing tears in Adam’s eyes, especially since they were because of him. “Adam,” he said, reaching out for Adam’s hand. “I’m here.”
“I know,” Adam said, but he took Kris’ hand and clutched it tight, as if he was still afraid Kris would be taken from him.
“Is there a no cuddling rule?” Kris asked.
Adam gave a watery laugh and shook his head. “No. Cuddling is allowed.”
“Okay, then . . . .” Kris reached for the plate, but Adam got there first. He set it on the night stand beside the warming milk.
Once there was nothing between them Adam moved closer to Kris. He took Kris into his arms gently, as if Kris was made of porcelain. Kris snuggled against Adam, and rested his head on Adam’s shoulder. At the familiar feel of Adam’s body against his own, all the tension Kris hadn’t realized he was holding onto left him.
He still had so many questions (like what being turned meant for him and Adam), and he knew he owed Tommy a huge thank you (a fruit basket probably wasn’t gonna cut it, but what did you give the vampire who saved your life after you gave it up for the vampire you loved?), but all of that was going to have to wait while he just laid there, basking in Adam’s love and enjoying the feel of Adam’s hand in his hair.
They’d talk later, after Kris closed his eyes for just . . . a . . . minute . . . .
Chapter 2: i could hold you for a million years
Adam starts the process of looking into what Cale knew.
Written for prompt #2: ghosts at kradamflashfic.
Written: August 24, 2011
Adam lay awake while Kris slept in his arms, the feel of Kris against him a balm that chased away the nightmarish ghost of seeing Kris lying so still and silent, too close to death for Adam to feel safe even now that Kris had woken from the change. He touched Kris’ skin, and smelled his hair, and when Kris finally stirred from his nap, Adam pressed his lips to Kris’ and watched him ease into wakefulness.
Kris blinked up at him, and then gave him a slow, lazy smile. “Hey.”
Adam couldn’t help but smile back. “Hey, yourself.”
Kris’ stomach growled, and before he could tempt Adam with his dozy smile, Adam plied him with more blood. Tommy’s blood. Kris would need it, at least for the first day, and in his case, possibly more if Adam had his way. Just to be certain that Kris would regain his strength. Once his body had adjusted to the change, he could be weaned off of his maker’s blood and fed human. Part of Adam wished that he were feeding Kris his own blood, helping to make him strong, but he knew that there had been no way he could turn him, not with even a remote possibility of poison still in his system.
Adam watched Kris drink, eager and sloppy, still unused to the way blood now tasted to him. When Kris finally lowered the goblet, Adam licked his chin and lips clean, and then licked into his mouth. Kris moaned his approval, one arm going around Adam’s neck as he lost his grip on the goblet he held in the other. The sound of it rolling off the bed and onto the floor made Adam pull back despite Kris’ whine of protest.
“How do you feel about a shower?” Adam asked, stroking his hands over Kris.
“Together?” Kris hopefully replied.
“Together,” Adam acceded, though unfortunately it would only be to make sure that Kris didn’t fall and hurt himself.
Adam helped Kris out of the bed and across the room to the bathroom. He set Kris on the toilet and started the shower. Kris watched avidly as Adam stripped himself, and then helped Kris out of his clothes despite his protests that he could do it himself. Adam held Kris as they stepped into the warm shower. He let Kris lean against him as he washed his hair, and then slipped one arm around him as he soaped him up. By the time Kris was clean and dressed in fresh clothes he looked ready to keel over.
Adam got Kris back into the bed and propped up against the pillows. He called down for Kim, and then settled on the edge of the mattress, waiting for her arrival.
“There’s someone here to see you,” Adam said when he heard the outer door open.
Moments later the bedroom door opened and Kim peeked in. Her breath caught when she saw Kris sitting up in bed, and Adam could see the tears in her eyes from where he sat.
“Mama,” Kris said, both surprised and glad to see her.
As difficult as it was, Adam stepped out of the way and let Kim embrace Kris. “I’m going to leave you two alone,” Adam said. He squeezed Kris’ leg. “I won’t be far.”
Though he was just going to be in the sitting room of his suite, Adam left Kris’ side reluctantly. He couldn’t bear to be away from Kris right now, so soon after his change, and besides, Adam himself still wasn’t feeling one hundred percent. He didn’t know if his malaise was physical, or emotional. He had a feeling that once Kris recovered, he’d feel much more himself.
When Adam called down a second time, Alli answered. He allayed her fears, telling her that both he and Kris were fine, and allowed her to come see him for a few minutes. They cuddled on the couch for half an hour, and she told him what she’d been doing to keep busy, since Adam had curtailed all travel outside the mansion until they could figure out if their security had been breached. She and her mother had spent several hours baking, which meant that Adam was going to put on a few pounds because he could never resist the temptation.
“Kris enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies,” Adam told her, and was glad to see a pleased smile cross her face.
As much as Adam enjoyed spending time with Allison, there was work that needed to be done. He sent her off to do her homework, and asked her to send up Brad. They needed to reschedule phone calls that had been canceled while Adam watched over Kris, and meetings would have to be moved back until Adam could determine how much Cale knew.
From his surprise at learning that Adam was the King of California, he hadn’t learned too much about the vampire organization in California, but he knew names. Adam also needed to discover whether Cale was a member of the Children of the Light, and if so, whether he’d passed on any information to them. He still wasn’t convinced that terrible jealously hadn’t played a hand in his assassination attempt, since he’d gone first for Kris rather than Adam.
Cale would have to be questioned, of course, and possibly made the subject of a public trial, though Adam was as yet uncertain whether such a spectacle would serve to make the vampires feel more safe, or only raise their fear level. The last thing they needed was a backlash of vampires striking out against humans and doing the CotL’s job for them.
When King Neil arrived he was brought directly up to Adam’s rooms. Adam greeted him formally, and then said, “I’m so sorry.”
“This can hardly be laid at your door,” Neil said. “But we are going to have to do something about these, these Children of the Light,” he said the name scathingly, “before they do something we can’t recover from.”
Adam agreed, then told him that Kim and Kris were in the bedroom. He let Neil go in alone, but listened briefly to the family reunion before turning his attention to Monte and Tommy, who had picked up Neil at the private airport and brought him to the mansion after they’d searched Cale’s apartment. They’d gotten Cale’s keys off him, as well as his cell phone, which Cam was already going through.
“What did you find?”
“He had a nice little hidey hole under the bathroom sink,” Monte said.
“Not good enough,” Tommy added, setting the duffel bag he’d carried up onto the coffee table.
“We found a journal and a bottle of poison. We also grabbed his address book and laptop,” Monte told him as Adam unzipped the bag and looked inside.
Adam sat on the couch and emptied the bag, spreading out the items (the bottle of poison safely sealed inside a plastic bag) over the coffee table. Just the sight of them brought forth a rage Adam hadn’t felt since the death of his parents twenty years ago. The CotL were trying to expose his people, but Cale had attempted to kill Kris, had nearly succeeded in that endeavor by poisoning Adam, and for that reason alone Adam wanted Cale to die.
Not just die; suffer. Adam wanted to tear him limb from limb and leave him to bleed to death.
“When this is over,” Adam said in a tone that brooked no argument, “he’s mine.”
It wasn’t unheard of for the King to handle an execution of this magnitude personally, but it was unusual. No one spoke, not even Brad, who always had something to say. Their silence was the only answer Adam needed.
“Give the laptop to Sasha,” Adam instructed. She was their tech expert. Since Cam was already working on the cell phone, Adam ordered the address book given to her, and sent the jar to Terrence, who had been trying to determine the type of poison. (They’d tested Adam’s blood twice since he’d fed from Kris in order to make sure that the poison was leaving his system, but the sample had been too diluted for them to determine the poison used on him.) Adam kept the journal for himself.
Adam instructed Brad to call his governors – Neil, Alisan and Danielle – and inform them of Cale’s treachery. He wanted to put them on alert, though he doubted that Cale’s knowledge extended to them. Brad also needed to set up a conference call with King Sven for the following evening. Since they were allies it was incumbent upon Adam to inform him of the attempt on Kris’ life, and ultimately on Adam’s, and the possible threat posed by the Children of the Light.
Adam sent Monte and Brad off to do his bidding, but held Tommy back. “Did you introduce yourself to King Neil?”
Tommy shook his head. “Not officially. Figured it would be better coming from you.”
Adam nodded. “We’ll do it now. Also, Kris needs to see you.”
Tommy nodded and followed Adam to the bedroom. Adam gave a perfunctory knock before pushing the door open.
“Excuse me,” Adam said, peeking his head around the door before stepping all the way into the room. “I brought someone to see Kris.”
Adam stepped back and gave Tommy space to enter the room. Kris’ expression, which had gone all soft and happy when he saw Adam (which made Adam want to curl up next to Kris on the bed and just hold onto him), went wide-eyed and nervous when he saw Tommy.
“Um, hi.” Kris gave a little wave with the hand his mother wasn’t clutching.
Tommy gave a nod of his head in acknowledgment of the greeting, then said, “You look like crap.”
Kris snorted a surprised laugh, but he lost the cloying scent of anxiety. “Thanks,” he said wryly, then, picking at the comforter, said, “And thanks for . . . you know.”
“You’re welcome,” Tommy said.
“Oh,” Kim said as realization dawned, but before she could continue Adam stepped forward to make the formal introduction of Kris’ maker to his parents.
“King Neil, Lady Kim, you remember Tommy, one of my most trusted lieutenants.”
Tommy offered a respectful half-bow, and Neil rose to take his hand.
“Thank you,” Neil said, and Adam could tell he was choked up.
“Yes,” Kim said, adding her thanks, “thank you so much.”
“You’re welcome,” Tommy said, this time with more gravitas. “I’m happy I was there and able to help. After all, Kris saved my King, it was the least I could do.”
“Actually,” Kris interrupted the moment, “you could bring me more chocolate chip cookies. I mean, if you really want to say thank you.”
Tommy gave him a look, but Kris knew him too well to be cowed.
“What? They’re good.”
“Wait for me,” Adam said, dismissing Tommy to the sitting room. He strode over to the bed and curled his hand over Kris’ cheek and jaw, touching him as if they were alone, wishing they were when Kris’ eyes met his. He bent down and pressed a kiss to Kris’ lips, and reluctantly released him. Adam squeezed Kim’s hand, then gave Neil a respectful inclination of his head before leaving them alone again.
Adam made sure the door was closed before speaking to Tommy. “I want you and Monte to work with Isaac on a review of our security.”
They had an awesome security system; it had been upgraded after Adam’s . . . after he took the throne, and updated twice since then, but Adam wanted them to look at everything, from the security of the mansion to their security when they went out. Until they knew how much information Cale had learned and passed on Adam was going to err on the side of caution.
“Oh, and have Alli bring up another plate of cookies for Kris.”
Adam ignored Tommy’s look of amusement. He sat down on the couch and picked up the journal. He was still staring at the first page when Alli’s knock sounded. At her pleading expression Adam allowed her to deliver the cookies to Kris herself.
“Five minutes,” Adam said, feeling a twinge of jealousy. “You can spend more time with him tomorrow; tonight’s for his parents.”
Alli readily agreed, entering the bedroom with a smile on her face, and an, “I brought cookies!” on her lips. When she came back out five minutes later, Adam held her while she cried.
“I’m not s-sad,” she hiccuped. “I’m just . . . so glad . . . you’re both . . . alright.”
“I know, Alli Cat,” Adam soothed. “Me, too.”
Adam reached for the box of tissues, and after she’d wiped her eyes and blown her nose, he sent her back down to her mother, who had stayed up all night to be with her. Once Allison was gone, Adam looked at the journal he’d set aside. He needed to read it, needed to know what kind of information it contained, about them, about Cale, about the CotL, but it felt as toxic as the poison that had burned through him.
Instead of picking up the journal, Adam contemplated other things that still needed to be done. He wanted Brooke to meet with Kris, make sure he was okay spiritually. If Terrence was the closest thing they had to a doctor, Brook was their counselor. Ironically, she was also their armorer. It had been twenty years since she’d had to function as such, and had since turned her weapon-making skills into something beautiful in the jewelry she now created.
Adam hoped it wouldn’t come to an all out war, as that would mean they’d already lost their most important weapon; secrecy. In case it did, though, they’d need to inventory their weapons and supplies. Some might need repair; others, like the swords they’d carried into battle a hundred years ago, would need to be replaced with something more up-to-date. Adam hated the idea of dealing with weapons smugglers, but there might be no other option.
Adam rose to his feet, pulled out of his contemplations when Kim and Neil exited the bedroom. Kim hugged him tight and thanked him for allowing them time with Kris.
“He’s your son,” Adam said. “You’re welcome here any time.”
By the time they said their goodnights and Adam had turned off the lights in the sitting room, Kris had already fallen asleep. Adam just stood and stared at him for a long while before making himself ready for the day.
They showered together the next night, as well. This time Kris was a bit friskier, so he must have been feeling better. To keep Kris’ hands off him (though he hated to do it), Adam made Kris wash himself. Kris pouted, and still managed to rub himself against Adam enough for Adam to wish he hadn’t been so hasty in setting a three day recovery before they could have sex. Still, it was the safest thing, so Adam forced himself to abide by his own judgment.
Kris wasn’t quite as winded when he finished dressing as he had been the night before, so Adam set him up in the sitting room. No sooner had he called down to let Kim know that Kris was ready for visitors, than she and Neil appeared at his door. Adam allowed them to greet Kris, and then took Neil aside to tell him about the conference call with King Sven, and invited him to participate.
Kris looked like he wanted to know what was going on when both Adam and Neil excused themselves. “We’ll talk later,” Adam promised when he bent down to kiss Kris goodbye.
Brad sat in on the call, as did Neil’s assistant. Not much could be decided before Adam had determined what exactly Cale had known, nor without convening a Council, so they spent most of the call, after Adam had explained the circumstances of the attack to King Sven, tossing around ideas on how to handle the situation with the Children of the Light, which was growing more dire if Cale had even unwittingly gotten close to one of their kings. Hours later Adam had a headache and they had made no firm plans.
Adam took a break after the call and led Neil back up to his rooms. They had passed Allison on the way down the stairs, and now Taylor and Sasha were in Adam’s sitting room, as well. Adam sat on the arm of the couch beside Kris and held his hand, letting the conversation they’d been in the middle of flow over him and wash away the stress of having to deal with the current threat. The phone rang, and Adam knew it was Brad, calling to let him know he’d taken enough of a break.
Adam kissed Kris on the side of his head as he nodded at something Adam hadn’t heard. “I’ve got to get back to work. I won’t be long.”
Kris looked at Adam, and squeezed his hand before Adam released him. Adam left the room, even though it was the last thing he wanted to do, and went to his office, where Brad already had Neil, Alisan and Danielle on speaker. It was almost harder to listen to his friends’ concern than it had been explaining his relationship with Kris to King Sven, even with Kris’ foster father sitting right there.
Once they got the assurances that both Adam and Kris were doing well and would be fine out of the way, they settled down to business. After explaining the situation to them, though they’d already heard the particulars from Brad, Adam brought in Monte, Tommy and Isaac, and they discussed internal security measures until Adam wanted to put up an electric fence just so he could run into it. He didn’t voice a complaint, though, because his concern for Kris overrode even the headache that hadn’t eased since he’d disconnected the call with King Sven, despite the short while he’d been able to spend with Kris between calls.
Finally Brad called an end to the discussion. Adam figured he must have looked like shit for Brad not to have made him sit there for another hour just because he could. Brad shooed him away, and Adam didn’t argue; he hurried to his rooms and Kris. The raised voices from his previous visit had been replaced with softly spoken words, so Adam pushed the door open quietly. Kim sat on the sofa beside Kris, his hand held in hers. Brooke sat on a chair she’d pulled closer to the couch so they didn’t have to speak loudly.
Kris’ head was tipped back against the couch and his eyes were closed. Little snores issued from his mouth, which had fallen open, and Adam even thought he spotted drool. Adam couldn’t help smiling to himself at the picture Kris presented. He nodded a silent greeting to Kim and Brooke, and then gently lifted Kris into his arms. Kris jerked and mumbled something Adam couldn’t understand, then dropped his head against Adam’s shoulder and started snoring again.
Adam carried Kris into the bedroom and got him ready for bed and under the covers. Adam stripped down and joined him, drawing Kris into the circle of his arms so he could fall asleep with the scent of Kris all around him. As much as he loved just holding Kris, and knowing that he was safe and there, Adam hoped that the next day passed quickly so that he and Kris might do something other than sleep in this bed.
Chapter 3: when the evening shadows and the stars appear
Kris thinks they’ve waited long enough
Written for prompt #10: aftermath at kradamflashfic.
Written: March 10, 2012
Kris sat on a wrought iron bench in the garden, waiting for Adam to finish with his meeting. He’d sat on this very bench once before waiting for Adam, only that time he’d been irrationally afraid that their relationship was on the rocks before they’d even gotten a chance to have one. He should’ve known that they both wanted it too much to let a silly misunderstanding put an end to it.
The feelings they each held for the other had caused them to do some pretty crazy things. Kris had been willing to trade his life for Adam’s, and when he was near death Adam had had Tommy feed Kris his blood to make him a vampire so he could keep Kris with him.
Just thinking about the reason all that had been necessary made Kris’ blood boil. He was not a violent person by nature, but he wanted to hurt Cale for what he’d done. For the pain he’d caused Adam to suffer, the fear he’d caused Kris. He didn’t even try to pray, to ask God to help him forgive Cale because he wasn’t a hypocrite and he’d never pray to God for something he didn’t really want.
Maybe later he’d be able to, once his chest didn’t still ache with the fear he’d felt when he thought he was going to lose Adam. When Adam’s eyes didn’t still hold a hint of relief every time he looked at Kris, as if he half expected him not to be there one of those times his eyes sought him out. As if he feared that all of this was a dream and he’d wake up to the nightmare where they hadn’t been able to save Kris.
Also, on a more practical note, Kris had no idea where they were holding Cale, and he’d barely made it down the stairs to wish his father a safe trip home, and to hug his mother and assure her that he’d be fine while she rode with Neil to the airport, so exploring the mansion in search of Cale was out of the question. Just the thought of attempting such a thing brought a vision of him passed out somewhere, and Adam finding him and carrying him upstairs and tying him to the bed so he couldn’t leave it again – and not in the fun way.
Adam would also probably postpone even further (possibly indefinitely) their ever having sex again, which Kris was determined would happen tonight if he could make it back up to Adam’s bedroom without needing to stop and rest along the way.
Kris tipped his head back and looked up at the moon. He closed his eyes and breathed in the scent of the flowers filling the garden. This was the first time he’d been alone since he’d woken up. He loved his family, and the family Adam surrounded himself with, but it was nice to have a moment alone with his own thoughts. Even if they weren’t the light and fluffy variety just now.
Kris didn’t open his eyes when he heard the French doors open, but he did smile when Adam’s scent reached him.
“What are you doing out here?” Adam said, his footsteps silent against the flagstone.
“Waiting for you.” Only then did Kris open his eyes and turn his head to look at Adam.
He feared he’d see relief or worry in them, but Adam’s eyes held neither. Instead he gazed at Kris as if he was an adorable puppy that had learned to pee outside. Kris chuckled to himself; he wasn’t altogether sure if that was an improvement.
“What?” Adam said as he closed the distance between them and settled on the bench beside Kris.
“I’m not a puppy,” Kris said, snuggling into Adam’s side as he drew Kris into his arms.
“Okay?” Adam said, confused, which made Kris chuckle again.
“How was your meeting?” Kris said, changing the subject.
Adam groaned. “If I’d known how mind-numbingly boring being King was, I would’ve let Neil have the crown. He’d have loved it.”
Kris knew that Adam was merely blowing off steam, so he gave him a wordless hum of understanding and rubbed his belly.
“Did Neil get off alright?” Adam asked with deceptive casualness.
“You’d probably know better than I would,” Kris said without accusation.
“What do you mean?” Adam said, almost able to pull off the innocent act. Kris didn’t think his ability to read Adam had anything to do with being a vampire now, but with knowing Adam so well despite the short amount of time since they’d first met each other.
“Are you telling me that you didn’t send out at least one decoy car, and put your best men with my parents, and instruct Tommy and Monte to call you every five minutes?” Kris said.
Adam sighed. “Busted.”
“So, did he get off okay?” Kim had offered to call Kris, but when he’d finally found his cell phone the battery was dead.
“Yes,” Adam said. “And he’s radioing back every fifteen minutes from the plane.”
“I’m not . . . . You don’t have to hide things from me, you know. I’m not going to fall apart, or disappear, or whatever it is you’re afraid of.” Kris knew that it was Adam’s fear for Kris’ safety that was making him act weird, and not that he didn’t think Kris could take care of himself if he had to, but Kris needed Adam to hear these words, almost as much as he needed to say them.
“I know that,” Adam said. “I do. But I can still see you lying on the floor, so pale, and not breathing.”
Kris shifted on the bench so he could look up at Adam’s face. “Stop seeing me like that, and see me like this.”
Kris slid his hand up Adam’s chest and across his shoulder to the back of his neck. He buried his fingers in Adam’s hair and tilted his head down until their lips met. The kiss was sweet, gentle; a promise of things to come.
“You could also picture me naked, if you wanted to,” Kris said, taking Adam’s huff of laughter into his mouth when he kissed him again.
“I picture you naked way too many times during the day as it is,” Adam said when they pulled apart and returned to cuddling.
“Maybe if you actually saw me naked you wouldn’t be so distracted by imagining me naked,” Kris suggested slyly.
Adam gave Kris a knowing look. “I’m not sure that would work. But I suppose we could give it a try,” he concluded, sounding decidedly less than thrilled about the prospect.
Kris gave an indignant squawk and pinched Adam’s side. Adam laughed at his reaction and grabbed at his hand. He squeezed Kris tight to his side and smacked a kiss to the top of his head.
“This is much more fun than meetings and paperwork,” Adam said.
“Thanks?” Kris said, not altogether sure that was much of a compliment.
Adam chuckled at Kris’ tone, then pressed his face to Kris’ hair and just breathed him in. Kris could tell when Adam’s scenting of him went from merely reassuring himself that he was there and alright to a deeper desire. It was in the way Adam’s body took on a certain awareness of him, the way his scent changed from its normal yummy to super delicious.
Kris couldn’t stop himself from reacting even if he’d wanted to. He pushed against Adam’s side, seeking to be even closer to him. He tipped his head back so he could press his nose into Adam’s neck and breathe in the scent of him, slipped his fingers beneath Adam’s shirt so he could slide them over bare skin.
“Kris?” Adam said. Are you well enough for us to do this?
“Adam, please,” Kris said. Yes.
Adam claimed Kris’ mouth without need for further assurances, as if the tight rein he’d been keeping on his need had snapped, letting it loose. And yet somehow Adam managed to remain gentle, his hands sliding over Kris’ sides, up his back, into his hair, cradling his head as he deepened the kiss. Kris was just considering moving things along by sliding into Adam’s lap when he recognized his mother’s familiar tread.
“Mama!” Kris squeaked when he saw his mother standing at the French doors. His first instinct was to put a couple of inches between him and Adam and try to pretend that his mother hadn’t just caught them making out. (His only consolation was that she couldn’t read his mind and therefore had no idea what he’d been contemplating just before she appeared.) Adam squeezed the back of Kris’ neck and instead of pulling away Kris melted into him.
“Kristopher,” Kim said. “Adam. Sorry to interrupt.” She didn’t sound sorry, and Kris was pretty sure she was biting back a grin.
“You’re not interrupting,” Kris said quickly. He tried to surreptitiously wipe the back of his hand across his mouth. “Dad get off okay?”
“He got off fine,” Kim said. “Though I hated to let him go.”
“You didn’t have to stay, you know,” Kris said, trying to be supportive.
Kim glared at him. “Of course I had to stay,” she said. She didn’t need to remind him that she’d been as worried as Adam that they might lose him. “Just for a couple more days,” she added.
“You’re welcome to stay as long as you want,” Adam assured her.
Kris fell for Adam just a little bit more at the sincerity in his voice when he made the offer, and the fact that he hadn’t said it just to be polite.
“Thank you, Adam, that’s so sweet, dear,” Kim said. “Well, I’ll just let you two get back to . . . whatever you were doing.”
Kris felt heat in his cheeks. How he could still blush after being made into a vampire was unclear to him. And totally unfair. Adam just laughed and slid his fingers over the bare skin above the collar of Kris’ t-shirt. Kim was no longer bothering to even try to hide her grin.
“We weren’t doing anything,” Kris muttered. That was his story and he was sticking to it.
Kim laughed out loud at the obvious lie. Kris wasn’t sure whether to feel petulant at being the cause of her mirth, or grateful that she wasn’t brooding about his brush with death.
“I’m going to go visit with Mrs. Iraheta and Allison in the kitchen,” Kim said. “You two be good now!”
“Wait!” Kris called as she turned away, his attention successfully diverted for the moment. “Are they making more cookies?” he asked hopefully.
Kim didn’t answer, but he heard the fading tinkle of her laughter as she headed to the kitchen.
“Meanie,” Kris grumbled after her.
Adam chuckled. “Well, that wasn’t awkward at all.”
“What wasn’t awkward?” Kris said. He raised his hand to stop Adam from speaking. “No. I’m doing my best to forget that even just happened.”
Adam smiled indulgently at him. “How’s that working for you?”
Kris sighed. “Not well. All I can think about now is chocolate chip cookies.”
“All?” Adam raised his eyebrows.
Kris patted Adam’s belly and sorrowfully said, “Yeah, sorry, man.”
“I’ll show you sorry,” Adam growled.
Adam lifted Kris and dragged him onto his lap, exactly where Kris had wanted to be before his mother . . . no, that hadn’t happened. Still, he scented the air to see if he could get a hint of what they were doing in the kitchen.
“Did you just try to sniff out chocolate chip cookies?” Adam said.
“What? No!” Kris denied.
Adam slid his hands down Kris’ back and took a moment to squeeze his ass before moving down his thighs. Adam tightened his grip and dragged Kris forward. Kris let out an involuntary moan as they came into contact.
“I hope I’m not boring you.” Adam punctuated his words with a gentle roll of his hips.
Kris bit his bottom lip and shook his head. “No.”
“Because you seem a little bit distracted,” Adam said.
The fingers of one hand flexed on Kris’ leg, the fingers of the other slid over the bare skin at Kris’ lower back and then dipped beneath his waistband. Thoughts of interruptions and cookies flew from Kris’ mind. He cradled Adam’s face between his hands and kissed him.
Adam made a greedy sound and tried to pull Kris even closer. Kris rocked his hips, meeting Adam’s upward thrust. The kiss, which had already been hungry, turned desperate. Adam drew back before Kris was ready for it to end. Before he could put his displeasure into words, Adam was standing.
Kris yelped and clutched at Adam’s shoulders. “Adam! What are you doing? Put me down!”
“We’re going upstairs where we can lock the door,” Adam said, the sound of his arousal roughened voice going straight to Kris’ dick.
“Good idea,” Kris quickly agreed. “But I can walk.” He didn’t bother Adam with the fact that he wasn’t altogether sure whether his knees would buckle the moment he put weight on them, much less carry him all the way upstairs.
He needn’t have worried. Almost before he registered Adam’s smirk Kris was flung through the air. When he stopped moving, Kris was hanging upside down over Adam’s shoulder, staring at his ass. The view was nice, but the fact that Adam thought Kris needed to be carried, that he could just be manhandled . . . well, it was actually pretty hot, but there was no way Kris was going to tell that to Adam.
“Put me down,” Kris said, quite reasonably.
Adam just chuckled in response. And rubbed Kris’ ass.
“Adam, put me down.” Kris’ tone became more urgent as they entered the house. He would never live it down if anyone (god forbid, Tommy) saw him like this.
“Adam!” Kris hissed softly when they reached the hallway. The last thing he needed was his mother (or, oh god, Alli) coming out to see what the ruckus was about.
Adam did not, in fact, put Kris down until they reached the bedroom and he could dump him on the bed. Kris didn’t even have time to think about scooting away because Adam immediately followed him down and blanketed him with his body. Any protest Kris might have made was lost in Adam’s kiss, and the way their bodies reflexively moved together.
Adam tried to pull away but Kris dragged him back. Adam indulged Kris for a moment, then he broke them apart. When Kris tried to follow him, Adam placed a hand against Kris’ shoulder and pressed him back down to the mattress. Kris whined in protest, and then groaned when Adam’s other hand went to his waistband. Kris pushed up, trying to find friction against Adam’s fingers as he unbuttoned, then unzipped Kris’ jeans.
Adam dragged jeans and boxer briefs down Kris’ legs, tugging off his sneakers without bothering to untie them, and dumping the whole lot into an untidy pile on the floor. Kris moaned when Adam’s fingers moved to his own waistband.
“Please just tell me you remembered to lock the door.”
“I absolutely locked the door,” Adam said, sounding as desperate as Kris felt.
Kris pulled his t-shirt off over his head and then lay back against the pillows and watched Adam remove the rest of his clothes. It was a glorious sight that Kris would never tire of. As soon as he was naked, Adam crawled onto the bed. Kris reached for him, urging him down until they were skin to skin.
As soon as they touched, the flame erupted into a conflagration. They moved against each other, bare skin sliding over bare skin. It felt amazing, a balm to his senses, as if it had been years instead of merely days since they’d touched like this.
It wasn’t long before they both lost their rhythm. Adam sounded as if it hurt him to admit, “I can’t . . . Kris, I’m not going to . . . .”
Kris understood. He was close, as well. “Adam, please,” he said. “Adam, please.”
Adam’s fangs dropped and Kris shuddered at the sense memory of Adam sliding his fangs into his skin.
“Can I . . . ?” Kris said.
Adam brought his wrist to Kris’ mouth. Eyes dark with desire went even darker when Kris sniffed at the sensitive skin and then pressed his lips there. Adam lowered his own head to Kris’ throat. Kris couldn’t help the moan that escaped his mouth when Adam’s lips touched his skin. He tilted his head, offering his throat to Adam.
Kris shivered when Adam growled against his throat. He pierced Adam’s skin and tasted his blood on his tongue. It was almost enough to distract him from the feel of Adam’s fangs sliding into his own skin, the sensation of Adam drawing on his blood. Kris cried out in surprise and wonder as his body responded.
Kris suckled greedily at Adam’s wrist, clutching at Adam’s back as his hips moved against Adam almost of their own accord. He’d already been close, but now Kris was flying, soaring higher than he’d ever been, and then he fell.
Adam was murmuring Kris’ name when he returned to himself. “There you are, baby,” Adam said as he touched the corner of Kris’ eye, brushed away the trace of wetness there.
“What happened?” Kris said, his voice sounding ragged even to his own ears.
“It was apparently very good for you,” Adam teased, though Kris could hear the crack of fear in his voice, see the tightness of his smile.
Kris remembered. It had been amazing, and overwhelming. “It was alright, I guess,” he rasped, and then chuckled roughly at the expression on Adam’s face.
“I don’t know whether to kiss you or yell at you.”
“Do I get a vote?” Kris asked.
“The kissing, definitely.”
Adam pressed a kiss to Kris’ forehead. “I’m going to get a wet cloth now that you’re back with me. You stay right here.”
Kris stretched. Every muscle in his body felt weak and ached as if he’d just run a marathon. “No problem,” he agreed.
Kris couldn’t stop the satisfied smile from spreading across his face as he watched Adam cross the bedroom, unselfconscious of his nudity, and disappear into the bathroom. He kept his eyes on the doorway until Adam reappeared, his own belly wiped clean of the evidence of their recent love making, and then soaked up the sight of him.
Adam raised his eyebrows. “What are you looking at?”
Kris smiled. “You.”
Kris reached for the cloth when Adam got close, but Adam gently pushed his hand aside and tenderly cleaned Kris up. Kris got choked up for a second, imagining how empty the rest of his life would’ve been without Adam in it. Adam frowned. He dropped the cloth on the floor and climbed back onto the mattress with Kris.
Kris didn’t answer. He rolled into Adam, and Adam’s arms went around him, gathering him close. He buried his face in Adam’s neck as he clung to him. “I love you,” Kris whispered.
“Oh, baby,” Adam said, his hand pausing for a moment before he resumed stroking Kris’ back. “I love you, too.”
That was what Kris wanted, no, needed to hear, and it should have been enough. He tried to bite his tongue, but he’d spent too much time thinking the past couple of nights and he needed to know. “What are we going to do now?”
“Is this a test?” Adam said. “I guess we could call down and see if they made any cookies?”
“I don’t smell any,” Kris muttered, almost distracted from his purpose. “But no, I mean, with us.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t . . . shower?” Adam tried again.
Kris was getting frustrated, partly at Adam because he wasn’t reading Kris’ mind, but mostly at himself because he couldn’t just say it. “No, I mean, with us. I have an apartment, and I guess I’m well enough to leave if . . . .”
Adam stiffened against him. “Do you want to leave?”
“No, but . . . .”
Adam let out a huge sigh of relief.
“. . . I don’t want to impose.”
“You’re not imposing,” Adam said strongly, back on firmer ground. “And you’re not leaving. First of all, it’s too dangerous. I would worry every second and I wouldn’t get any work done.”
Kris tried not to feel disappointed.
“And secondly,” Adam said, “I don’t want you to leave.”
Kris curled his arms around Adam’s back and hid his face in Adam’s shoulder. “Okay,” he said, trying to not sound as desperately relieved as he felt. “Good. That’s, uhm, good.”
Adam continued to stroke Kris’ back and drop kisses to the top of his head, and soon Kris’ thought were eclipsed by his body’s reaction to Adam’s nearness.
“I don’t want to push my luck,” Kris said, wiggling his hips against Adam. “But do I get to stay in your bed, too?”
Adam pressed Kris to his back and moved over him. He pushed Kris’ hair back from his face and gazed tenderly at him. Kris had never before been the focus of so much love. It was heady and humbling at the same time.
“Just you try to get out of it,” Adam said, a smile teasing the corners of his lips, hunger burning in his eyes.
Kris felt his body grow warm, as if the heat of Adam’s gaze was a physical thing.
“I want you to fuck me,” Kris blurted, his embarrassment lost in the desire that flared in Adam’s eyes, the arousal that spiced his scent. “I want . . . I need to feel you inside me,” Kris went on, more confident now. “Stretching me, filling me up so good, Adam, please.”
Adam bared his fangs and hissed. He crushed his mouth to Kris’, plundering, claiming. His hand moved over Kris’ skin, possessive and searching. He slid his fingers over Kris’ ass, slipped them between his cheeks. Kris spread his legs eagerly, silently begging for more as he returned the kiss.
Just when Kris thought he was going to get what he wanted, the phone rang. Adam froze above him and Kris whined in protest.
“Fuck,” Adam swore. “I have to answer that.”
Kris knew that if it was an emergency Tommy or Monte would be pounding on Adam’s door. Still, given their current circumstances, with Cale and the Children of the Light, Adam couldn’t ignore the call. Even as much as both of them wanted to.
Kris whimpered his reluctant agreement and Adam rolled off him so he could pick up the phone. “What?” he snapped into the receiver.
With his newly enhanced hearing Kris could hear Alli’s voice quite clearly.
“You interrupted us for that?” Adam said, and Kris grinned at Alli’s pithy reply.
Adam disconnected the call before she could finish her thought, dropped the handset on the floor, and rolled back to Kris. He stopped in the midst of reaching for Kris, an expression of disbelief blooming on his face.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Adam said.
Kris pouted. “It’s chocolate chip, Adam.”
Adam opened his mouth to speak, closed it, then opened it again. No sound emerged. Kris relented in his teasing. Mostly. He reached out and drew Adam close.
“I guess they’ll still be there later,” Kris allowed.
“Unless Tommy eats them all,” Adam said. Unnecessarily meanly, Kris thought.
“Well, then, you’d better make sure this is worth me missing out on chocolate chip cookies.”
Adam shook his head. “You drive me crazy, Kristopher.”
“Ditto,” Kris said.
Kris pulled an unresisting Adam down and let him drive him just a little bit crazier. The cookies could wait.
Chapter 4: the storms are raging on a rolling sea
In which meetings are boring, cookies are eaten, and surprises abound.
Vampire!AU. Takes place immediately following when the evening shadows and the stars appear, and is the fourth follow up scene to I’ve Known It (From the Moment That We Met). Written for prompt #12: shadow at Kradam Flashfic. Additional scenes will follow. Title taken from ‘To Make You Feel My Love’.
Adam was feeling very smug when he went down the stairs the next evening. He’d left Kris sleeping in their bed (their bed – Adam liked the sound of that) after a vigorous round of late afternoon love making. Bracing, Adam thought, and chuckled to himself as he skipped the last two steps to land lightly on his feet on the ground floor.
Leaving Kris to get an early start to his night was the last thing Adam had wanted to do, but he’d known that if he stayed in bed with Kris he wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation to touch him, and Kris, while recovering nicely from being changed, needed his rest. So Adam had taken a shower and dressed, and reluctantly left Kris with a kiss to the top of his head. Kris had mumbled something in his sleep that had sounded suspiciously like Adam’s name.
It put a smile on Adam’s face that not even Alli’s, “Is Kris wearing that same self-satisfied smile?” could diminish.
“Kris is sleeping,” Adam said, swooping down to give her a kiss on the cheek and ignoring the fact that Kris had, indeed, worn the same self-satisfied smile earlier. “What are you doing up so early?”
“Studying,” Alli said immediately.
“I’m glad you’re being so industrious,” Adam said as he snatched the geography textbook out of her hands to reveal the latest bodice ripper she’d gotten her hands on hiding behind it. Adam shook his head. “You know the rules, Allison Iraheta.”
“No reading sexytimes books unless I read the good bits out loud to you?”
“Exactly,” Adam said, dropping the textbook onto the couch cushion beside her.
“I bookmarked them,” Alli said, tipping the book to show Adam the dog-eared pages.
“That’s my girl,” Adam said, patting her on the head.
Adam turned to see Scott, one of the human males that offered their blood to Adam’s family, kneeling just inside the doorway, head bowed, arm held out with the wrist facing up.
“Scott,” Adam acknowledged him.
“May I be of service, your Majesty?” Scott said.
Adam thought of Kris lying upstairs, asleep in their bed, thought of the blood they’d shared that evening and how it had felt to sink his fangs into his lover’s throat.
“No, thank you, Scott. I’m not in need of your services right now. If I get hungry later I’ll drink from the pitcher.”
Scott took the words for the dismissal they were. He rose to his feet, head still bowed, and backed out of the room.
Adam turned back to Alli and, ignoring her smirk, said, “Where were we?”
“I was going to tell you all about how the Duke likes Natasha’s heaving bosoms.”
“Excellent,” Adam said as he flopped down onto the couch beside her, moving the geography text before it could cause him any damage. “Except for the heaving bosoms.”
Alli snickered as she opened the book to the first dog-eared page.
“I should have known I’d find you in here,” Brad said, sounding resigned.
“Shh,” Adam said. “This is a good part.”
Brad rolled his eyes. Adam didn’t need to see it to know he did it. Brad dropped into a chair across the low coffee table from the couch and waited impatiently for Alli to finish reading the section.
Brad allowed a moment of silence in respect to the Duke’s impressive . . . skill and amazing prowess, then said, “I can’t believe your mother lets you read such filth.”
Alli snorted. “Please, I’ve read some of the books off your shelf. Talk about filth.”
“You what?” Brad said.
“Brad doesn’t read them,” Adam said. “He just looks at the pictures.”
Alli giggled. “Besides, mama knows. She said she’d rather have me learn about sex from reading books than actually, you know, doing it.”
“Doing what?” Tommy said as he strode into the room, not a hair out of place.
“Having sex,” Alli said cheerfully.
Tommy blanched. “You are never having sex.”
“Of course I am,” Alli said, unfazed. “I’m not going to be celibate like you.”
Tommy gritted his teeth. “I’m not celibate.”
Alli smiled sweetly. “Exactly. I’m eighteen now,” she added, as if the number made all the difference.
Adam glanced at Brad’s long-suffering expression. He was just about to ask why Brad had sought him out – anything was preferable to listening to Alli and Tommy’s familiar argument – when Kris appeared in the doorway.
“Am I interrupting?” Kris said, eyes wide at the loud voices.
“Yes!” Adam said. “Thank god. Please come rescue me!” Adam held out his hand and watched with pleasure as a slow smile slid across Kris’ face.
A bemused expression on his face, Kris crossed the room to Adam’s side. He put his knee on the cushion beside Adam’s thigh and leaned down to press their lips together in a tender good evening kiss.
“You left me alone,” Kris said against Adam’s lips, voice still rough from sleep even though he’d been awake long enough to shower, if the wet hair and scent of hair product he’d borrowed from Adam’s stock were any indication, even if his hair still managed to look as if he’d just woken up.
“You were sleeping,” Adam said defensively as he slid his hand up Kris’ thigh. “You needed your rest.”
Kris’ smile turned knowing. “Couldn’t trust yourself alone with me?”
“Not even a little bit,” Adam agreed as he slid his hand over Kris’ hip and up his side.
Before they could get any further Scott returned to offer his services to the others. Kris froze over Adam as the others answered – Brad had eaten earlier and Tommy, annoyed with Allison, declined. Kris waited silently, his eyes on Adam. Finally he spoke.
“What about you?”
“I declined Scott’s kind offer earlier,” Adam said. “I believe he’s waiting on your decision.”
“Oh,” Kris said, one more reality of his new situation hitting him.
When Kris didn’t say anything else for a few seconds, Adam said, “You can, you know. I won’t mind.”
It was more difficult than he’d realized it would be to get those words out.
Kris’ eyebrows went up. “Really? You would be okay watching me feed from someone else?”
A low growl rumbled in Adam’s throat, but he bit out, “Yes.”
“Well, then,” Kris said, and Adam’s fingers tightened on Kris’ side without getting permission from his brain to do so. A wave of desire, Kris’ arousal, filled his nostrils.
“Say it,” Kris teased. “Say you don’t want me to.”
“I am not going to be that kind of . . . person,” Adam said, but he knew his eyes were flashing, and his fangs had dropped. Kris gently slipped his tongue into Adam’s mouth, curled it around his fangs before mapping his mouth.
“Okay, fine,” Adam said when Kris drew back. “I don’t want you to. Happy now?” he added, knowing he sounded the slightest bit petulant.
“Ecstatic,” Brad said dryly.
“No,” Kris said in Scott’s direction, then to Adam, “What’s his name?”
“Scott,” Adam told him.
“No, thank you, Scott,” Kris told the human. “I’m good.”
Kris didn’t wait for Scott to leave, but turned his attention back to Adam. Before he could fulfill the promise in his eyes, though, Brad broke the moment.
“No! No, no no! No more hanky panky! We have work to do.”
“Hanky panky?” Alli repeated at the same time that Kris mouthed the words to Adam. It was weird, watching Kris’ lips move and hearing Alli’s voice. “Who says ‘hanky panky’ anymore? Careful, Brad, you’re showing your age.”
“I’m fabulous at any age, kitten,” Brad replied.
Adam didn’t want to admit it, but Brad was right. Not about being fabulous, but about their having work to do. He’d put it off as long as he could. Adam sighed. “Fine.”
“Me too?” Alli said excitedly.
“No,” Tommy growled, probably still mulling over Alli’s earlier comments.
Kris stood back so Adam could rise from the couch. Once Adam was on his feet Kris ducked his head behind Adam’s back so he could see around him to Alli.
“Do you have any more chocolate chip cookies?”
Adam rolled his eyes.
There were cookies. Kris took Adam’s hand and let him to the kitchen. Brad opened his mouth to protest, but Adam forestalled him with a raised finger and a glare. Adam was so surprised when Brad actually closed his mouth that he almost forgot to say, “I’ll be right there,” and had to call it back over his shoulder.
Kim and Mrs. Iraheta were sharing coffee at the kitchen table. When Adam walked in they both rose. Adam greeted Kim with a smile and bent over her hand, pressing his lips to her knuckles. He hugged Mrs. Iraheta and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“Please, sit back down and enjoy your coffee,” Adam said. “I didn’t mean to interrupt. We’re just here to raid the cookie jar. Well, Kris is here to raid the cookie jar,” he amended when he saw Kris, one arm around his mother, a chocolate chip cookie (already missing a huge bite) held in his other hand.
“What?” Kris said, his mouth full of chewed cookie.
“I’m not actually sure what I’m here for,” Adam concluded, shaking his head at Kris’ manners even as Kim tapped him on the back of the head.
“No talking with your mouth full.”
“Oh,” Kris said, then closed his mouth and chewed hurriedly, gesturing for Adam to wait, even though Adam hadn’t been going anywhere. When his mouth was empty, Kris said, “I wanted to talk to you.”
“Now?” Adam said, an image of Brad impatiently tapping his fingers on his clipboard popped into Adam’s head.
“It’s about your meeting,” Kris said as if he’d read Adam’s mind. Kris hesitated a moment and Adam could tell he was bracing himself. “I want to go with you. To the meeting.”
It took Adam a second to comprehend what Kris had said. His first instinct was to say no. Absolutely not. It wasn’t that he thought Kris was weak, or would be unable to handle the truth (even as a human Kris had been strong enough not to flinch when a strange vampire sniffed his neck and was executed right in front of him for the liberty), but the desire to protect him was almost overwhelming. Kris wouldn’t thank Adam for wrapping him in cotton wool and keeping the truth, no matter how horrible it might be, from him.
Adam pushed down his misgivings and said, “Alright.”
Kris’ mouth fell open, and then snapped closed. “I . . . I had a list of reasons! I was all set to argue my point!”
Adam couldn’t bite back the grin at the petulance in Kris’ tone. “Please, don’t let me stop you.”
Kris pouted and stuffed another bite of cookie into his mouth. “It’s not the same.”
Kris ducked, only his newly acquired preternatural speed saving him from another swat to the back of the head. Kim and Kris both looked surprised, and then Kris gave a nervous chuckle. “Oops.”
“Hey, before you guys go,” Alli said, having apparently been paying some attention to their conversation despite having her eyes glued to the screen of her cell phone. “Archie wants to know when they can come over and see Kris. And you, too, of course, your Majesty,” she added with a smirk.
Kris turned wide, hopeful eyes on Adam.
“Oh my god!” Adam said. “Not the puppy dog eyes, geeze.”
Kris smiled. “Can they come over?”
“Yes, Kristopher, they may come over,” Adam said. “See if they can come over tonight after closing,” Adam told Alli, his arms automatically going around Kris as he stepped into Adam and curled an arm around his neck.
“Thank you, your Majesty,” Kris said, husky voice traveling straight to Adam’s dick despite the fact that *Kris’ mother* was standing right there. No force in the world could’ve stopped Adam’s hand from sliding down to Kris’ ass when Kris went onto his toes and kissed him.
“Mmm,” Adam said, licking his lips when Kris drew back. “Chocolate.”
Kris laughed, and popped a piece of cookie into Adam’s mouth.
Nobody seemed surprised when Adam walked into the conference room with Kris in tow. When they started to shift around the table to make room for one more Adam held up his hand to stop them. He picked up an extra chair and carried it over to the head of the table, setting it beside his own chair.
The enormity of the gesture didn’t escape anyone, not even Kris, who’d only been a vampire for a few days, despite having grown up in the home of the King of Arkansas. Kris licked his lips, then raised his eyes to Adam’s. Adam was afraid to move, much less speak. He couldn’t ever remember feeling this way about anyone. Only vampire sight would have noticed the flush that colored Kris’ skin, or the soft tilt to the corner of his lips. Kris ducked his head and took the seat Adam still held the back of in a white knuckled grip.
Adam slid the chair in, and then took his own seat, glad to be off his wobbly knees. Everyone stared at them in silence. Brad, unsurprisingly, was the first one to break it. He clapped excitedly. “I love planning weddings!” He flipped through the pages on his clipboard. “We need to set a date.”
Kris made a strangled sound in his throat. Adam reached out and took his hand.
“Brad.” When Brad looked up, Adam said. “Kris and I have a lot to talk about before we’re ready for that.”
Kris gave Adam’s hand a grateful squeeze. Adam turned to Kris and gave him a sheepish smile.
“Sorry, I did things backwards, I guess.”
Kris, sitting in the place of honor to Adam’s left, usually the spot reserved for the King’s Consort, smiled at him. “That seems to be par for the course, for us.”
“We’ll talk later, okay?”
Kris nodded slowly in agreement, though his eyes told Adam that he’d much rather do something altogether different from talking.
“Well!” Brad interrupted the moment. “If I can’t start planning a wedding, I guess we’d better get down to business.”
Adam reluctantly turned his attention back to everyone gathered around the table, but refused to relinquish Kris’ hand. Everyone was staring at him, at them, with varying degrees of amusement, and various sizes of smiles on their face. Adam cleared his throat.
“Okay, where should we start. Cam?”
Cam nodded. “I’ve finished going over the phone, for the most part. None of the texts I was able to recover sound suspicious, and none of the numbers he called regularly appear to belong to members of the Children of the Light, or any other anti-vampire organizations. Mostly parents, friends from home, and an ex. I’m still checking some of the other numbers, though – a few new ones popped up recently on his call log, though they weren’t in his contact list, which made me suspicious.”
“Good. Thank you,” Adam said.
If they could prove to their satisfaction that Cale Mills hadn’t been involved with the Children of the Light it would be a huge weight off Adam’s shoulders. Despite the damage he’d managed to single-handedly cause, an individual on a mission was easier to contain than an organization dedicated to the exposure and extermination of all vampires.
Since they were dealing with electronics Adam called on Sasha next. As with the texts on his phone, none of Cale’s e-mails appeared to be directed to the Children of the Light or any similar organization. Most of the e-mail addresses checked out as belonging to family and friends, or being work-related. Adam felt a cold chill when Sasha told them that Cale had added a new e-mail address to his address book recently, though he hadn’t had a chance to use it before he’d made the attempt on Kris’ life. His browser history also showed recent searches for ‘how to kill a vampire’ and ‘anti-vampire organizations’. He’d bookmarked the Children of the Light website.
It could’ve been much, much worse, Adam thought as he squeezed Kris’ hand, if Cale had contacted the Children of the Light before he’d attacked Kris.
“Thank you, Sasha,” Adam said, and then he looked at Brad. Brad squirmed beneath Adam’s regard, which was so unusual as to make Adam take note of it. “The journal,” he said.
“Suffice it to say,” Brad said, “that Cale Mills was one sick puppy. He developed a crush on our boy here.” Brad indicated Kris. “Which he thought was wrong, because the Bible told him so,” Brad said in a sing-song voice. “As well as his parents, his pastor, and his friends . . . ad nauseam. When he found out that Kris was gay, and that he had, horror of horrors, a boyfriend, it threw him off balance. He became even more unbalanced when he stated having suspicions that Adam was a vampire, which made it so much worse, in his mind. And you know the rest.” Brad shuddered. “I feel dirty just from having read that thing.”
“Thank you, Brad,” Adam said, hoping Brad understood that Adam was thanking him for more than his report – for reading the journal so Adam didn’t have to, for summarizing the contents and sparing them the vitriol that must have permeated the words.
“Alright,” Adam went on. “It appears that Cale Mills was acting alone, and that he hadn’t yet contacted anyone from the Children of the Light. Thoughts?”
“Agreed,” Monte said. He stood by the door, arms folded across his chest. Monte wasn’t one for sitting very long. “But I still think we need to question him. Thoroughly.”
Murmurs of agreement filled the room. Adam couldn’t deny that he felt the same, and was even looking forward to the interrogation. Adam nodded, his thumb absently stroking the back of Kris’ hand so that he felt Kris’ hand tense just before he spoke.
“Cale was . . . mad, but he wasn’t stupid. Could he have contacted them some other way?”
“Sent a card?” Brad joked.
Despite the severity of the situation, Kris rolled his eyes. “I meant, maybe he used a computer that couldn’t be traced to him, a library, for example, to send his e-mail, or a payphone to make his call.”
“Shit,” Brad said.
Most likely because he hadn’t been the one to think of it.
“He could’ve easily created another e-mail account,” Sasha said.
“Or even used a burner phone,” Cam added.
“So we can’t be certain he didn’t contact them,” Isaac concluded.
“We should presume he did and act accordingly, then,” Adam said, silencing the murmurs of disappointment and disquiet.
It was better to err on the side of caution, but it made Adam’s stomach go tight to imagine preparing for, fighting, another war. This time Kris squeezed Adam’s hand in a gesture of support. Adam shot him a grateful look, but quickly turned back to his panel of advisors, his most trusted lieutenants, his friends. Brooke’s report would be even more important now, but first he wanted to hear from Terrence about the poison.
“Terrence,” Adam said. “Have you found out anything?”
“Unfortunately, not much,” Terrence said. “I’ve been able to discover that it’s a poison created for the sole purpose of making blood toxic. It would work just as disastrously on a human as on a vampire. I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t his intent – poison Kris, force you to attempt to turn him – two birds, one fucking evil stone.”
Adam nodded calmly at the news, but inside he was shaken. He would have tried to save Kris, even if he knew he might kill himself in the process. He’d never have been able to just sit there and watch Kris die, not if there was a chance he could save him.
“However,” Terrence went on, “Mass Spec was able to tell me how the poison was made. I’m tracing the individual components now.”
“Good,” Adam said. “Let me know as soon as you know anything.”
“Will do, boss,” Terrence said.
“Okay, I think we’re done talking about Cale Mills right now,” Adam said, “but before we go on.” He turned to Brad. “Assign someone to check out the libraries, cafes, payphones, and whatever else you can think of, in his neighborhood.”
“And talk to the pastor at the church he attends here,” Kris added softly.
Adam looked at Brad to make sure he’d gotten that down, as well.
“Terrence,” Adam went on, feeling better when he was doing something, even though they were still merely spinning their wheels. “We need to stock up on blood.”
They didn’t know how Cale had gotten hold of the poison, or how much of it might be out there in other, equally dangerous hands. Terrence nodded. Tommy raised his hand and Adam acknowledged him. Tommy didn’t say much, so when he spoke it was usually important.
“Suggestion. Allison and Taylor are going to hear rumors and get antsy if we don’t give them something to do.”
“They can help Terrence organize a blood drive,” Adam said. Terrence nodded his agreement with that.
Adam sighed. “Is there anything else regarding what we’ve already covered?”
There wasn’t, so Adam turned to Brooke. “Looks like you’re up, Brooke.”
Inventorying the weapons had been easy – they’d been inventoried when they’d been put into storage after the last war, and not touched for nearly twenty years since then except for ceremonial purposes. Determining which were in need of repair, and which needed replacement had required a closer inspection and taken longer. Brooke had printed off the inventory, marked up to indicate which items were in good repair, and which weren’t. She passed copies around the table, apologizing when she didn’t have a copy for Kris, and offering him her own.
“That’s fine,” Kris said, gentle, but firm. “I’ll share with Adam.”
Adam was happy to slide his copy over for Kris to see. They each studied the numbers – most of the weapons were in good shape despite being stored for so many years. Unfortunately, swords and axes, while being the weapon of choice in a battle among vampires, were less effective when humans were involved.
Humans of this century routinely carried and relied on guns in battle. While a bullet wouldn’t kill a vampire, it would hurt like hell (to which Taylor could attest), and it could cause blood loss that would impair healing, as well as slow mobility, and make them vulnerable to further attack. On the other hand, a bullet to the head would be debilitating, and enough bullets to the chest might shred the heart to the point where it killed the vampire in question outright.
At the very least they’d need bulletproof vests. They might also need to arm themselves with guns. The only good thing about that was that they could attack from a distance (but then again, so could humans). Also, it might be possible to re-purpose them to hold wooden bullets in case they were needed in the future against another rebel vampire faction.
“Call Charles,” Adam told Brooke when she’d finished her report. Kris looked on in surprise, though he didn’t voice it, at the mention of his father’s assistant. Charles had an irreverent sense of humor, Adam had learned during Neil’s visit, but he was also quite capable. “Brad has the number. King Neil thought he might know someone we could use to arm ourselves without having to resort to the usual sort of nasty black market arms dealer.”
Brooke made a note of it and glanced at Brad, plans to touch base later passing silently between them.
“Alright,” Adam said, sighing. The meeting really hadn’t been going on very long, but it felt like his brain was turning to mush from all the information he was trying to process. “Security.”
Monte spoke up. “For the most part, security is good. We’ve changed all the codes and put up additional cameras and sensors, mainly for long distance detection so we have more of a warning if something does happen.”
“We’ve also changed the guard schedule and instituted stricter entry protocols at the gate,” Tommy added.
“What about when we go out?”
“We used a decoy vehicle and a three car cavalcade when we drove King Neil to the airport. No one reported any sign of being followed. Granted, you’re well-known in LA for your philanthropy so doing the same for you might not be remarked upon, but if we do that for everyone that leaves the mansion we may end up drawing more unwanted attention to ourselves,” Isaac said.
“Suggestions?” Adam said.
“We should use extra precautions when you leave the mansion, that would be expected and therefore unremarkable, and take the usual amount of precautions when anyone else goes out,” Monte said.
“That would also announce Adam’s presence to anyone who wanted to know,” Kris said, sounding worried.
“Maybe we need to consider arming ourselves,” Tommy said. “At least when we go out. Human bodyguards do, so that wouldn’t be unusual, either.”
“We’d need to get a weapons permit,” Brooke said.
“Look into it,” Adam told her. Anything to keep Kris, Alli, Taylor and the others safe.
Adam dismissed everyone except Kris (whose hand he had yet to release) and Brad. “Get me the Governors – I’ll personally fill them in on what little we’ve discovered.”
While Brad set up the conference call Adam turned his attention to Kris. Now that they were alone Kris went all shy on him. He met Adam’s eyes, and then ducked his head.
“After everything we did this afternoon, you go shy on me now?” Adam teased.
Even as a flush crept up Kris’ neck he raised his eyes to Adam’s. “We were in private for that!” he hissed.
“Oh honey,” Adam said. “If you think the entire mansion didn’t hear you, you’re deluding yourself.”
“What?” Kris said, eyes going wide. “Adam, seriously? Because if you are not joking, you need to soundproof your room. Right now!”
Adam laughed at the serious expression on Kris’ face, only looking away from Kris when Brad cleared his throat.
“The conference call is ready.”
Adam leaned forward, though he didn’t have to. “Is everyone there?” he asked, knowing it would irritate Brad, who rolled his eyes at the question and the implied slight to his abilities.
Neil, Danielle and Alisan all answered in the affirmative.
“I hear congratulations are in order,” Neil said before Adam could begin the briefing. “Brad says you’re engaged to that cute little southern prince.”
“Brad has a big mouth,” Adam said, throwing a glare at said big mouth. “Kris and I have not had a chance to discuss it. We sort of . . . .”
“Did things ass backwards,” Neil interjected.
“Par for the course,” observed Danielle.
This time it was Kris who laughed at Adam. He had to admit that it felt good getting picked on, being treated like a regular vampire for just a few minutes before he had to reclaim the duties of King. It only took a short time to brief the others on the meeting, even with them asking additional questions and Brad taking notes.
“I want everyone to continue taking precautions until we know what’s going on,” Adam commanded before ending the call.
“You have a guest upstairs,” Brad informed Adam as he relaxed back in his chair. It was padded, and normally quite comfortable, but right now it felt like he’d been sitting in it for days, instead of hours.
“Archie and Cook?” Kris said excitedly.
“Tommy didn’t say, and I didn’t ask – I was busy taking notes,” Brad said.
Adam was happy to finally be able to stand. He stretched, and watched Kris’ gaze fall to his belly where his t-shirt had ridden up. Adam smiled. “See something you like?”
“Yes,” Kris said. “But I’m afraid it’s going to have to wait,” he added primly. “We have guests.”
“They won’t mind waiting,” Adam said, making a grab for Kris as he walked around his chair, which made Kris squeal like a little girl and skip out of his grasp. Adam followed Kris out of the conference room, laughing, and grabbed him around the waist when he finally caught up to him. He swung Kris up into his arms and bared his teeth.
Kris giggled nervously. “Adam, don’t you dare!” he said, not knowing (or perhaps knowing all too well) that the challenge would only excite Adam more.
Before Adam could act on the promise and close his teeth on Kris’ neck, a shadow passed over Kris’ features. Kris seemed to have forgotten all about Adam as he stared over Adam’s shoulder. Adam turned, and slowly set Kris onto his feet when he saw who Kris had been looking at. Their guest, as it turned out, was not Archie and Cook.
“King Adam!” the uninvited, unexpected, and unannounced guest trilled, smiling happily at Adam.
“Your Majesty,” Tommy intoned, looking bored. “His Royal Highness, Prince Sauli of Nevada.”
Prince Sauli stepped around Tommy and, ignoring Kris, took Adam’s hand. “I’ve been so looking forward to seeing you again,” he said breathlessly. (Which was a feat, seeing as he didn’t have to breathe.)
Beside Adam, Kris growled deep in his throat. Now was probably a bad time to get aroused, Adam thought as he shook Sauli’s hand and then tried to extricate his own hand from the Prince’s grip without seeming rude. Kris shifted at Adam’s side, and Adam feared that Kris would rip his hand out of Sauli’s grasp if he didn’t manage it himself.
“What an unexpected surprise,” Adam said, all royal politeness.
Sauli smiled slyly. “A pleasant one, I hope.”
Adam was saved from having to answer by Kim’s appearance with a plate of cookies and a glass of milk, presumably for Kris. “Isaac said you were almost done with your meeting, so I fixed you a plate of cookies,” she said, oblivious to the tension in the hallway. But only for a moment. Her eyes sharpened when she saw the way Kris was glaring at Sauli, and then her eyes dropped to Sauli’s hand still clasping Adam’s.
“Oh,” Kim said, her smile broadening into the one she used to greet the public. “I didn’t know we had company.”
Before Kris could growl out what Adam supposed would be impolite at best, impolitic at worst, he squeezed Kris more tightly to his side and said, “Yes! Let me introduce you. Kim, this is Prince Sauli from Nevada. Prince Sauli, this is Kim Allen, Consort to the King of Arkansas. And this is Prince Kristopher, her son.”
Sauli bowed his head to Kim, since both of her hands were full, and merely let his gaze slide over Kris as if he weren’t there at all. Kris stiffened at his side, and Adam had to admit to feeling a bit peeved at Sauli’s behavior.
“Is there someplace private we can talk?” Sauli said. “Father wants to be kept in the loop, and he thought it would be more expedient if I were here to act as his ears. I’d like to brief him on anything that’s come up since you spoke with him the other night.”
Before Kris could explode out of Adam’s arms and punch Sauli in the nose, Kim chirped, “Cookies, anyone?”
Chapter 5: when the rain is blowing in your face
In which Kris questions his own behavior, everyone has his back, and old friends are seen once more.
Vampire!AU. Takes place immediately following the storms are raging on a rolling sea, and is the fifth follow up scene to I’ve Known It (From the Moment That We Met). Written for prompt #13: a passionate kiss with eyes wide open at Kradam Flashfic. (It's in there if you look very closely. *g*) Additional scenes will follow. Title taken from ‘To Make You Feel My Love’.
Written: July 3, 2012
Kris could not believe his own behavior. Yet even as he told himself that he was acting inappropriately (his mama really had raised him better than this), he couldn’t keep the growl from forming in his throat. Even human, without ever having met him, Kris had taken a strong dislike to Prince Sauli – mainly because King Sven had made no secret of his wish that he and Adam formalize their alliance through marriage. And now here Sauli was, in Adam’s home, batting his eyelashes at Adam like some kind of . . . tart.
The only thing that kept Kris from lunging for the prince’s throat was the tight grip Adam had on him, his arm effectively pinning Kris to his side. Finally Adam managed to free his hand from Sauli’s intimate clasp and Kris felt marginally better. But only marginally. Not even the scent of the cookies on the plate his mother held, or even his mother’s presence, could calm the irrational (somehow he knew his reaction was irrational, though he could do nothing about it) response he had towards Sauli’s presence. His very existence, in fact.
All made worse by his stupid smile and the way he reached for Adam’s hand again even though Adam had withdrawn it from him, as if they were close friends and he didn’t need permission to touch Adam, though he be the King of California. Kris had to fist his hands at his side to keep from slapping Sauli’s hands away and coming off like a jealous lover. Which he totally was not.
“Why don’t we go into the parlor,” Adam suggested politely.
Kris bit his lip on a snort. He’d never heard Adam say ‘parlor’ before, and it sounded way too formal for the way he usually spoke. Which brought Kris up short. Adam was acting like a King entertaining a guest – no matter that the arrival of said guest had been unexpected. And unwanted, in Kris’ opinion – while Kris was acting like a, well, a big boob.
Kris pushed his shoulders back and determined to act like a big boy, not a child whose favorite toy had been stolen by some brat at the playground. He slid his arm around Adam and squeezed him in apology. He said, though it took several attempts to get the words out, “We’ll leave you two alone, then.”
Adam’s hold on Kris tightened fractionally and Kris braced himself for Adam’s agreement, reluctant as it might be. Instead, Adam said, “That won’t be necessary. In fact, it’s probably a good idea for you and your mother to sit in on this briefing. Kim can bring King Neil up to date.”
Kris’ heart leapt in his chest and he had to bite back a victorious grin, telling himself that it wasn’t very charitable of him to enjoy the sour expression that now graced Sauli’s normally pretty (if you went for that kind of look) features. At the same time he was mulling over the fact that Adam had also invited his mother to the briefing. It wasn’t that Kris didn’t think she could handle vampire business, because she was privy to nearly everything that went on in Neil’s kingdom, but this was different – they’d be talking about a former friend of Kris’, someone his mother had met, who’d tried to kill Kris and nearly succeeded in killing Adam instead. It was personal.
Now he knew how Adam had probably felt when he’d asked to sit in on the earlier meeting. He could do no less now than Adam had done then. Kris looked at his mother, who was giving him the ‘don’t even think about it’ raised eyebrows, after probably having read his thoughts on his face.
Before Kris could say anything, Kim reinforced her public smile and said, “That sounds like a lovely idea, your Majesty.” At once reminding everyone, including Sauli and Kris himself, that Adam was no mere trifle to be fought over like two dogs with a bone.
Kim glided ahead of them into the parlor (Kris put extra emphasis on the word even in his thoughts), and Adam gestured politely for Sauli to precede them. The three of them followed in Kim’s wake. She’d set the plate of cookies and glass of milk on the coffee table, a ceramic coaster protecting the shiny old wood from the condensation already forming on the glass.
“I’ll just call to the kitchen for some refreshments, shall I?” Kim said to Adam, easily taking on the mantle of hostess. And perhaps reinforcing for their guest her position in Adam’s household (and therefore Kris’ place), that she was able to do so.
“Thank you, Kim,” Adam said graciously.
While Kim went to the phone, Adam waved Sauli to one of the chairs opposite the couch. Adam seated himself on the couch and pulled Kris down beside him. For the first time Sauli looked out of his depth, confused by Kris’ presence (not only at the meeting, but in Adam’s home), and at Adam not fawning all over him when he’d made his interest so blatantly obvious a blind man would have noticed. Kris felt the slightest bit sorry that he’d been acting so horribly toward the other vampire.
After she concluded the call Kim sat in the other chair, probably so she could jump up at a moment’s notice to attend to her hostess duties. “Prince Sauli,” she said with a formality Kris rarely heard from her. “Tell me, please, how fares King Sven?”
Sauli looked almost surprised at being addressed by her. “My father fares well,” Sauli said, adopting the same formal tone.
They spoke of King Sven for several minutes, interrupted only by Mrs. Iraheta appearing with a pitcher of blood, three snifters, and another plate of warm cookies. Kim thanked her, then rose and poured the blood as if she was serving tea to the ladies on one of her many committees.
“None for me, thank you,” Sauli said. “I prefer to drink my blood straight from the vein.”
Kim didn’t miss a beat. “We could have someone brought for you,” she offered as she set the pitcher down and passed the two full snifters to Adam and Kris.
They thanked her, and Kris sniffed the aroma of warm blood. Somehow he knew that it hadn’t been reheated, but had been spilled just for them, like he once would have poured lemonade into a glass. It made Sauli appear highfalutin’ and snooty, to Kris’ mind, to turn down fresh blood because he hadn’t been able to sink his fangs into the source.
For his part Sauli seemed taken aback by the offer. Rather, by the fact that Kim was the one who made it. He actually glanced at Adam, as if he expected him to reprimand her. When Adam said nothing, Sauli stiffly replied, “No thank you, I brought my own.”
Kris ignored Sauli’s pomposity, but only because the scent of blood had reminded him that he hadn’t had any since earlier that afternoon when he and Adam had shared blood, and now he was starving. Kris sipped at the blood eagerly, trying not to appear greedy or uncouth in front of the Prince of freaking Nevada. He frowned when the blood hit his tongue. It tasted different from the blood he was used to – Adam’s and, as Kris had come to learn, Tommy’s.
“What?” Adam said softly when he noticed Kris’ frown. “Does it not taste good?”
“No, it’s good,” Kris assured him. “Just . . . different.” Kris gave Adam a sly smile. “I guess I’m just used to a better vintage,” he said in the most snooty tone he could manage.
Adam choked on the sip of blood he’d just taken and Kris hid a grin behind his own glass. He gave Kris a glare softened by the love shining in his eyes, which made Kris go all sorts of warm all over. “Play nice,” Adam said softly, though Kris could hear the slight husky quality that meant he’d remembered their earlier activities, as well. And wouldn’t mind repeating them.
“That’s the sort of thing a mother doesn’t need to hear, Kristopher,” Kim said, but she smiled to take any sting out of the words.
“Sorry, mama,” Kris said. However, the gentle reprimand was well worth the pinched look on Sauli’s face. Perhaps now he would realize why his advances were unwelcome. And likely to get him a sock right in the nose if he didn’t back off.
Sauli cleared his throat and wiped an imaginary bit of lint off his perfectly pressed slacks. Kris put his bare feet on the edge of the coffee table and tried not to smile at the frown that crossed Sauli’s face before being smoothed out behind a mask of pleasantry.
“I’m sure you have other things to do,” Sauli said as if he hoped Kim and Kris would jump up immediately and leave him and Adam alone. Fat chance, Kris thought, and tried to wipe the mulish expression he knew had taken up residence there off his face. “If we could get down to business so that I might brief my father, I won’t hold you up any longer than necessary.”
That was okay with Kris. He took another sip of blood – the taste of it was growing on him, though he’d rather have had Adam’s any day – and waited for Adam to begin speaking.
“Kim,” Adam said gently. “Some of this might be difficult for you to hear.”
“Thank you, Adam,” Kim said with a quick glance at Adam, “but I’m prepared.”
“Alright,” Adam said. He sounded doubtful, but he didn’t insult Kim by asking if she was sure. Adam summarized the findings with respect to Cale’s cell phone, computer and journal, as well as what little they’d managed to discover about the poison so far. He didn’t mention, Kris noted, the security of the mansion, nor the weapons inventory in front of Sauli.
Kim’s expression remained stoic as Adam concluded the briefing, but Kris could hear the pounding of her heart, the rush of blood through her veins. She’d been trained to exhibit an unruffled exterior, to keep her heart rate slow so no one could use that physical response against her, but the fact that they were talking about the man that had nearly succeeded in killing both Kris and Adam made it difficult for her to remain calm. If Adam or Sauli noticed Kim’s reaction, neither let on.
“Father said that you’d been attacked,” Sauli said, carefully choosing his words. “I am glad that you’re alright.”
Kris couldn’t begrudge Sauli the sentiment, but he wanted to punch him anyway. Even more so at the dark expression that crossed Adam’s face when he glanced in Kris’ direction, no doubt remembering how Kris had almost died to save him. Kris tried not to look too stubborn because he didn’t want that look turned on him, but it was difficult for him not to think that he’d do it again in a heartbeat (not his, obviously, since he no longer had one), and most likely broadcast his feelings on the matter quite clearly.
“Thank you,” Adam said, his tone brooking no further discussion on the matter.
Kris could have kissed Adam when he drew the meeting to a close. And definitely would, later.
“Kim,” Adam said, “Prince Sauli, I’m sure you’d both like to brief your Kings on what you’ve learned here tonight.”
Kris would have to learn how Adam could issue a dismissal that didn’t sound rude. Neil knew how to do it, too, but Kris had never really paid attention to the art before. Maybe it was something you just knew how to do when you became king.
“I would. Thank you, your Majesty,” Kim said, taking the lead and following strict protocol as she rose to her feet. She was the consort of a king, and it wasn’t necessary for her to continue to call Adam ‘your majesty’, especially since he’d asked her to call him ‘Adam’, but doing so in front of Prince Sauli reinforced the fact that he shouldn’t act too familiar in that regard. Kris could have kissed her, as well.
“Yes, thank you, your Majesty,” Sauli said, also standing.
Adam gave them a regal nod that made Kris want to giggle. To hide that fact, he squeezed Adam’s hand before standing and walking over to give his mother a hug. She hugged him back tightly, the only outward indication that she’d been upset by anything she’d heard there that evening.
“I love you, mama,” Kris whispered before releasing her.
“I love you, too, sweetie,” Kim said. It took her a beat longer to open her arms and let go of Kris.
Kris watched his mother walk out of the room, her back straight, shoulders squared, putting on a brave face despite everything she, they, had been through the past few days. Kris turned back to see Sauli still standing beside his chair, as if he’d maybe hoped that Kris would be leaving with Kim. Kris smiled. He didn’t think it was a friendly smile. He’d have to ask forgiveness for that later. Maybe.
“It was a pleasure meeting you, your Highness,” Kris said. He didn’t think his dismissal was as polite as Adam’s had been. Then again, he didn’t give a flying fuck.
Sauli’s jaw tightened, and then he inclined his head in Kris’ direction. “You, as well, Prince Kristopher.” Sauli then executed a low bow in Adam’s direction. “Your Majesty.”
Kris watched Sauli leave the room and did not dance a jig the moment he’d stepped out into the hallway. But it was a close thing. Instead he turned around to face Adam. And smiled. Adam raised an eyebrow at him, but didn’t speak. He watched intently as Kris walked over to him and slid onto his lap.
“Alone, at last,” Kris said, sighing dramatically.
“Indeed,” Adam intoned, which made Kris giggle again. Relief, he thought, at having gotten rid of Sauli. At least for the rest of the night. “But not for long,” Adam went on. “Our guests, the ones we actually invited, have arrived.”
Kris slumped against Adam’s chest. “You sure know how to burst a guy’s bubble,” he complained.
Adam laughed and patted his back. “Poor baby. Don’t worry,” he added, “I’ll take of your bubble later.”
Kris laughed, and then he kissed Adam because, well, because he couldn’t go without kissing Adam for another moment.
Alli and Taylor were entertaining David and Archie in the rec room. Tommy was hovering over Alli from a seat in the corner, booted feet resting upon the table, a snifter of blood in his hand.
“You have a rec room?” Kris exclaimed when Adam led him to the room. It was the best rec room he’d ever seen. A bar, a pool table, comfortable couches scattered about, and a couple of flat screen televisions. Kris could have lived in that room. He was already imagining watching the Arizona Razorbacks on the big screens – all of them at once. “This is awesome,” he said, sounding as awestruck as he felt.
“You’re both looking well,” David said diplomatically when he saw them.
“Hey!” Kris said, a genuine smile spreading across his face. It felt nice to smile after having been fighting off a frown for the past half hour (though it felt like days). “It’s good to see you guys! I’m glad you came over.”
Kris hugged Archie, who was like a puppy with its tail wagging, all smiles and happy to see Kris, and he and David did a very manly one-armed hug while Adam looked on, amused.
“I hope you don’t mind that Alli filled us in on what happened with you two,” David said, then added warmly to Kris, “Welcome to the family.”
“Thanks, man,” Kris said, taking the sentiment in the spirit in which it was intended. “And no, I don’t mind. Not that it would matter.” Kris slid his eyes towards Alli, who didn’t even bother trying to look repentant.
Alli took that moment to sneak in and get her hugs, then asked if one of them would play pool because Tommy was being a meanie and wouldn’t play and David didn’t have to play if he didn’t want to because he was company but that meant they didn’t have even teams . . .
“Whoa!” Adam held up his hand. “Slow down, girl.”
Alli stopped and took a breath. “Sorry! I think I’ve had too much caffeine.”
“Who’s in charge of Alli’s caffeine intake today?” Adam teasingly demanded of the room.
“Not me!” Taylor said.
“We’re off duty,” David drawled.
“Her mother,” Tommy grumbled from his corner.
“From the way you act I though you were her mother,” Kris said before his brain could stop his mouth. When he realized what he’d said, Kris quickly ducked behind Adam. “Sorry, sorry,” he said as Alli giggled, which Kris didn’t think was helping his case any. “I didn’t mean it!”
“Adam won’t always be there to protect you,” Tommy said.
Kris clutched Adam’s back dramatically. “That’s not true, right?”
Adam laughed and pulled Kris out from behind him. “I’ll protect you, baby.” He dropped a kiss to the top of Kris’ head. “Until I have to leave.”
Kris had been relaxing until he heard that last bit. “Wait, what?” He glanced at Tommy, who merely grinned back at him. But it was a very evil grin.
Instead of reassuring Kris, Adam answered Alli. “Sorry, Alli, I need to talk to David.”
Alli glanced hopefully at Kris to make up their foursome, then rolled her eyes at the way Kris huddled more deeply into Adam’s embrace and glanced fearfully (in jest, of course) (mostly) over her shoulder at Tommy. “Wimp.”
“He scares me,” Kris whispered loudly.
“He’s a pussycat,” Alli said.
Tommy’s glare turned onto Alli.
“A toasted marshmallow,” she went on, either oblivious, or feeling impervious. “Crusty exterior, gooey center.”
Kris almost laughed out loud at the description, but he managed (just) not to. ‘Thank you,’ he mouthed to Alli.
‘You owe me,’ Alli mouthed back.
They bumped fists to seal the deal.
“Alright, no teams,” Alli announced as she turned back to Archie and Taylor. “You guys go ahead and play; I’ll play the winner.”
Tommy’s gaze followed Alli as the three youngsters (as Kris, rightly or wrongly, thought of them) moved over to the pool table. He wasn’t glaring at her any more, not at all. Kris shook his head and wondered when Tommy was going to get his head out of his ass. Adam squeezed Kris as if he’d read his mind.
“Let’s sit,” Adam said, now that the three of them were alone. He indicated a couple of couches away from the pool table where they’d have some privacy to talk. “Can I get you anything to drink?” he asked David.
“Nothing for me, thank you,” David said.
David waited for Adam and Kris to make themselves comfortable on one couch before he seated himself on the other. When Adam didn’t speak right away, he said, “What’s up?”
“How have things been at the bar since . . . the other night?” Adam asked, easing into it.
“Good,” David said, frowning.
“Have you noticed any new faces?”
David shrugged. “Sure, one or two, but nothing out of the ordinary.”
Adam nodded thoughtfully. David waited for Adam to continue speaking with more patience than Kris would’ve been able to show in the same circumstances.
Adam lowered his voice in deference to Alli and Taylor, and possibly Archie, though Kris really had no idea of knowing how old he was. “Have you heard of an anti-vampire organization called the Children of the Light?”
“I’ve heard rumors,” David said, looking as though he’d just tasted something bad.
“Yes, well,” Adam said. “There have been some . . . rumblings lately. The council is aware of them. But then this . . . .” Adam took Kris’ hand into his and held it tightly. “We don’t have any proof that Cale was working with the Children of the Light, but we don’t have any against it yet, either. We’re taking precautions and treating the situation as if he wasn’t working alone.
“There’s also no indication – that we’ve discovered, anyway – that he was aware of your and Archie’s nature, but he did know we hung out there. And if you’ve heard of the Children of the Light, you know they don’t discriminate between vampires and vampire sympathizers.”
David glanced at Archie. “I do know. Don’t worry about us, we’ll take extra precautions, as well.”
“Good,” Adam said, and Kris could hear a king’s regard for one of his subjects layered beneath the care that Adam held for a friend. “Maybe put on extra security, especially during the day,” he suggested.
Kris had a feeling that Adam would have ordered David and Archie into the mansion if he could have. Would have done the same for all of the vampires in California.
“And you, your Majesty, how are you?”
Instead of taking offense, Adam smiled sheepishly. “I’m doing well. Now.” He glanced at Kris, and Kris couldn’t keep a huge smile from forming on his face.
The smile faded when Prince Sauli appeared in the open doorway, Isaac (who’d been assigned to him while he was at the mansion), at his back. He shrugged helplessly over Sauli’s shoulder. Apparently the prince had decided to join them after all, Kris thought sourly. Adam, noticing Kris’ expression, glanced over to the doorway. Kris watched as the genuine smile on Adam’s face was replaced with his public one. Until this night it had been a while since Kris had seen it.
“Prince Sauli,” Adam said graciously, hiding whatever his true feelings might be, “please come in and make yourself comfortable.”
Sauli looked around the room, and then took a careful step over the threshold as if he was afraid he might step into dog poop or something just as disgusting. “Thank you for the kind invitation,” he said, trying (and utterly failing) to keep the distaste off his face. “Unfortunately, I must decline. I’ve come to beg your indulgence, your Majesty,” Sauli went on, laying it on kind of thick, Kris thought. “I have finished briefing Father, but he’s expressed a desire to speak with you. Privately. At your convenience, of course, your Majesty,” he added, as if just then remembering to whom he spoke.
Adam’s hand tightened on Kris’, part reassurance, part annoyance. Kris wasn’t sure how he could tell that merely from the squeeze of a hand.
“Of course,” Adam said, sounding only slightly put out as he put his kingly duties before his personal wants.
Kris stood with him when Adam rose from the couch. He wanted to protest, but he knew he couldn’t. Not only had he been raised by a vampire king; he knew how much Adam cared for his people, and part of taking care of his people was the treaty he’d formed with the King of Nevada.
“Be careful,” Kris said, as if Adam was heading off to battle instead of merely taking a phone call.
Adam grinned. “I will be.” He squeezed Kris’ hand again, this time as a gesture of parting, and began to release it. Kris gave Adam’s hand a little tug and Adam immediately turned back to Kris as if they’d had the same thought. He ducked his head and captured Kris’ lips in a kiss that held more passion and promise than regret. Kris went up onto his toes and deepened the kiss, forgetting for a moment that they had an audience. When they broke apart Kris was as breathless as if he still needed to fill his lungs with air.
“I won’t be long,” Adam said, husky voice sending a shiver through Kris.
“Better not be,” Kris said, giving Adam a smile that said if he was, Kris was going to start without him.
Adam actually hesitated, which made Kris feel all sorts of good. Until Sauli cleared his throat to remind Adam of his duties. Kris felt his smile turn feral.
“Down boy,” Adam said. “And hold that thought.” Adam turned away from Kris and resumed the mantle of the King of California.
Kris watched Adam and Sauli head for the exit. He caught Tommy rising to his feet from the corner of his eye and Kris had a brief panic attack that maybe Tommy was going to get back at him for his little joke earlier now that Adam was leaving. Instead Tommy winked at Kris and followed Adam to the door. He jerked his head at Isaac, who shrugged and let Tommy take his place following Adam and Sauli to the conference room.
Kris hoped it was the conference room, anyway. Sauli better not be planning on taking Adam back to his room to take the call! Kris growled unhappily and flopped down onto the couch. “I really hate that guy,” he muttered. At least Tommy had his back.
“Tommy?” David said.
Kris’ eyes darted to David. “What? No!”
It took Kris a moment to realize that David was teasing him. “King Sven wants to ‘formalize’ relations between California and Nevada,” he said morosely
“Ah,” David said. “I take it you’re against that plan?”
Kris’ eyes shot to David’s face again, and then he rolled them. “Adamantly,” he said dryly, then added, “No pun intended.”
David laughed and Kris found himself smiling, as well. He let his eyes drift – Isaac had joined the others at the pool table and now they were playing teams. He looked back to find David watching him.
David shrugged. “I’ve been where you are, once upon a time. I mean, I guess all of us have, but if you want to talk about it . . . .”
Kris didn’t know if he needed to talk about it. There really hadn’t been too much time to think since he’d woken after the change. His life had taken a dramatic shift, but he’d just been glad that Adam was okay, and that he was still there to be with Adam. It wasn’t as if he’d never thought about being turned. Living amongst vampires, it was a reasonable thought to have, generally speaking. But he’d never thought about the specifics of it, the every single day reality of it. “Thanks,” he said.
Maybe he would take David up on the offer, but not tonight. Kris had too much other stuff on his mind to do any type of discussion of his changed circumstances justice. Instead they talked about other things. The possibility of Kris resuming playing at the bar when this was all over. Kris’ recording contract, which had completely slipped his mind while he’d been recovering. Matt. Megan.
They chatted easily, first just the two of them, and then joined by the others when they finished playing. David and Archie stayed until the nearing sunrise dictated that they had to leave. Adam still hadn’t returned. Kris walked them to the door, but he wasn’t in the mood to return to the rec room to wait, so he headed up the stairs, thinking he’d get ready for bed and wait for Adam in their room. At the top of the stairs, though, Kris turned right instead of left. He let his feet take him to the music room. The door was unlocked – Kris pushed it open and turned on the light. The room felt sad and neglected. Kris sympathized. He walked over to the piano and sat. Kris raised the cover and rested his fingers on the keys, and simply let them play whatever came to mind.
As his fingers moved over the keys, Kris thought. About how his own guitars had mostly found a home in the music room. About whether his clothes would fit into Adam’s closet, and his photos on the walls. About assuring Matt and Megan that he was alright. So much had changed with his turning, the least of which was the fact that he was now sunlight-challenged. He’d been the son (foster or no) of a vampire king, but when he was human that position held different connotations than it did now. He was also, Kris shivered just thinking it, the courted-almost-consort of another vampire king. (Even if a certain other vampire king didn’t know that and probably wouldn’t accept it if he did.)
“What are you thinking so hard about?” Adam said, scaring the crap out of Kris.
Kris winced at the sound his fingers made as they dragged across the keys. “Geeze, Adam!”
“Sorry,” Adam said, but he was smiling as he crossed the room to Kris’ side. “You were smiling as you played, and then you started frowning.”
“You were watching me?” Kris said. He’d been so involved in his own thoughts that he hadn’t realized Adam was even standing there.
“Don’t change the subject,” Adam said as he slid onto the bench beside Kris. “Spill.”
“Oh. Well. I might have been thinking about . . . him,” Kris spat the last word.
“Don’t laugh at me,” Kris warned.
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Adam said. “It’ll get better, you know.”
“What will?” Kris asked.
“The whole jealousy thing,” Adam said.
“When he leaves?” Kris said glumly.
Adam laughed. “When you get used to being a vampire. Everything’s heightened right now – how sensitive you are when I touch you, the taste of blood on your tongue, the feeling of wanting to rip the hand off of anyone that touches me . . . . Well, it’ll mostly get better,” he clarified when Kris gave him a skeptical look. He clearly remembered Adam being jealous of Cale . . . . Maybe that wasn’t a good example.
Adam looked around the music room. “Do you remember the first time we were in this room together?”
Kris blushed and forgot all about Sauli and Cale, as perhaps Adam had wanted him to. “Yes.”
“You mesmerized me even then,” Adam said, speaking the words as if he was very far away, perhaps remembering that moment.
“I knew you were trouble . . . .”
Adam smiled, but he continued to stare off into the distance. “I told myself to send you back to Arkansas. Or agree to let you stay in LA and just get you out of my sight as soon as possible. But I couldn’t do either. You were gorgeous. And you smelled amazing. I was . . . intrigued.”
“Thanks?” Kris said. It felt weird hearing Adam speak of Kris’ scent as if he’d been a particularly appetizing slice of chocolate cake, or something, except for how Kris could totally relate now that he was a vampire because Adam smelled like heaven all the time.
“You were such a puzzle,” Adam continued as if Kris hadn’t spoken. “I couldn’t let you go without taking a crack at solving you.”
Kris raised his eyebrows. “And did you?” he asked dryly.
“Not even close,” Adam said. His gaze returned to Kris. “But if you stick around long enough I might.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Kris said, sounding more vehement than he’d meant to.
“Good,” Adam said, a smile spreading across his face. “Because I’ve got a proposition for you.”
“Really?” Kris said, unable to hold back a surprised little laugh at the reminder of the events leading to their first time together. “Well, in all fairness, I feel I should warn you – I’m rather easy for a certain vampire king.”
“How lucky for that vampire king,” Adam purred.
Kris shivered. “Lucky for me, too, I think,” he said.
“Perhaps we can discuss this further in the other room then?” Adam suggested, his voice doing things to Kris that would’ve been embarrassing in any other situation.
“I’m willing to open negotiations,” Kris said, trying to keep his voice even, but closing the cover over the piano keys and nearly catching Adam’s fingers in his hurry.
“Careful,” Adam said, wiggling his fingers. “I’m going to need these later.”
Kris laughed and blushed at the same time. “I can’t believe you just said that,” he said. “And also, yay!”
It was Adam’s turn to laugh. “Yay?”
Kris shrugged, but couldn’t wipe the smile off his own face.
“Well, then, let’s get these discussions under way, shall we?”
Kris let Adam take his hand and draw him off the bench. They walked side by side down the hallway to Adam’s suite. Only once they were inside did Kris remember Adam’s words from earlier that evening.
“Hey, Adam, were you serious about people hearing me?” Kris asked, wondering if he’d need to be mortified later.
Adam just smiled in reply.
“Adam?” Kris said, really worried now.
“Do you care?” Adam asked teasingly, though Kris could hear the undercurrent of seriousness.
Kris remembered Sauli, currently ensconced somewhere in the mansion and plotting to take Adam away from him, and shook his head. “Not at all.” He just hoped his mother was far enough away that he’d not have to worry about her hearing. And then Adam kissed him, and Kris forgot about anything but the two of them in that moment.