Adam clung to the side of the bed, trying not to scream. It had been a fabulous night; he had rocked the show and returned to the Idol mansion, but everything had gone downhill from there. Danny had bumped into him, accidentally pushing him against one of the work surfaces in the kitchen. The little glass ball on his bracelet had shattered, unfortunately it was the glass ball containing the suppression spell.
He had another one, which was why he had run for his room, but it was too late. He had to go through what was turning out to be an agonising transformation before he could activate the second spell.
His back felt like it was splitting in two and he was on his knees beside his bed, just trying to breathe.
"Adam," Kris' voice made him moan quietly; his cute, southern roommate was the last thing he needed, "are you okay?"
He would have loved to have been able to reply, but he was biting his lip so hard he didn't dare try. When he had fled he hadn't even considered Kris, but there was nothing he could do about it.
"Oh my gosh," Kris said, stepping into the room, "Adam, what's wrong? What do you need me to do?"
Trying to reply, he started to ask Kris to go away, but it turned into a cry of agony and the magic inside of him flared before he could do anything about it. The door slammed and instinctive protections went into place around the room as his wings ripped through the skin on his back.
His mother had drilled into him how to protect the secrets of his kind and there was nothing he could do to stop his reactions. Humans did not know about daemons because he and the rest of his race were very careful to make sure only the most trusted ever knew the truth.
"Dang," Kris said, voice full of wonder and Adam almost wanted to laugh; even under extreme circumstances Kris didn't swear.
He could feel blood running down his back and little shots of agony kept making him twitch as he slowly collapsed forward against the bed, moaning quietly. Everything around him seemed surreal and he realised he was well on his way to passing out.
"Adam," gentle hands touching him brought him back a little way, "you need to put your head down. Let me help you."
All his strength had gone into the transformation and shielding the room, so he just let Kris move him. He leaned against his friend as Kris held him up and made him lower his head. His back was sore and his wings felt heavy and all he wanted to do was sleep or pass out, whichever came first. He had been using the suppression spells all his life to hide his true form, but Idol meant he had gone far longer than ever before between nights when he shifted back. Once a week was how he had always done it, but he'd been using his current spell for over six. Now he knew why that was not recommended.
"Can you sit up?" Kris asked him after a minute or so, rubbing gently between his wing nubs.
It felt surprisingly good, but he nodded and moved anyway. Lifting his head he looked at Kris properly for the first time and he saw his friend's eyes widen with surprise; his cat-like eyes would undoubtedly be visible now.
"Are you okay?" Kris asked.
He nodded again.
"Been too long," he said and his voice was hoarse from the tension.
"This has happened before?" Kris didn't sound as if he thought he should be asking.
"All my life," Adam replied, feeling the need to explain. "It's not usually this bad though; I can control it. Haven't been able to transform in the mansion."
"What ..?" Kris began to ask and then stopped himself.
"What am I?" Adam prompted and Kris nodded guiltily. "We are called deamons and we come in many different shapes and sizes. Our races have lived side by side for thousands of generations, but we have always hidden. There are far more of you than there are of us. Dad's human, Mom's daemon."
Kris's eyes flicked to his wings and Kris tentatively reached out to touch. Under those calloused fingers his feathers twitched and he shivered.
"Beautiful," Kris whispered quietly.
The way Kris said it made something inside Adam twist almost painfully. For once in his life his human side and his daemon side had been in agreement; it had taken him precisely twenty minutes to fall in love with Kris Allen as they sat next to each other in the theatre audience. When they had been paired to share a room in the mansion he had almost died, because the one person he wanted he could not have. Straight, Christian, southern boys did not fall into the laps of WeHo gay boys; not in this reality.
"Please," he said, trying to sound calm and together, "don't."
Kris drew his hand away.
"It's not you," Adam tried to reassure his friend because he did not want Kris feeling guilty, "they're sensitive, that's all."
"Katie always says I'm too tactile," Kris said, still looking guilty.
Katie was Kris' best friend and she seemed to give sound advice. When they had first been paired as rooming buddies, Adam had thought Katie was Kris' girlfriend, because he talked about her all the time, but then Kris had given him the whole background. Kris and Katie had been high school sweethearts and even been engaged for a while, but then they had realised actually they loved each other, but they weren't in love with each other and had called it all off. They shared an apartment back in Conway as friends without benefits and it was Katie who had demanded Kris enter Idol.
"It felt good," Adam assured him and managed to conjure up a slightly wicked smile, "just a bit too good."
The way Kris blushed was just too cute.
"What can I do?" Kris asked, clearly trying not to be embarrassed.
Adam put any of the explicit things he was thinking to the back of his mind. The transformation always upped his sex drive, so he had to sit on his reactions quite hard.
"Washcloth would be good," he said with a grateful smile, "to get rid of the blood."
Kris nodded and immediately headed to the bathroom. Meanwhile, Adam pulled off his already wrecked t-shirt; luckily it hadn't been one of his favourites.
"Wow," Kris said as he walked back in, "that looks sore."
"It's already healing," Adam assured his friend, "it doesn't usually even take this long."
Kris knelt down beside him and very carefully began wiping away some of the blood.
"You really do this a lot?" Kris asked as Adam bit his lip to stop himself moaning or something equally embarrassing.
"Every week," he replied, "but, like I said, usually I can control it better. It was only because Danny broke my suppression spell."
"So you'd look like this all the time if it wasn't for the spell?" Kris actually sounded curious.
Adam chuckled a little at that; he never had been very good at playing normal human.
"Thanks, I think."
"It was definitely supposed to be a compliment," Kris replied and then managed to touch between his wings in such a way that he had no choice but to let out the low moan that rose in his chest. "Sorry," Kris apologised immediately.
"It's me who should be apologising," Adam said, "I don't seem to be able to control myself very well tonight."
Kris didn't reply, but kept on dabbing and Adam just went with it and started biting his lip to make sure he didn't slip up again. The last thing he wanted was for Kris to be uncomfortable around him.
"There," Kris said eventually, "I think you're done. What next?"
"Now we wait," Adam said and turned slightly to give his friend a grateful smile, "thanks. I should be able to use the new spell soon and then we can get back to normal."
The way Kris was looking at him was very thoughtful.
"You don't have to hide anymore," Kris told him, "not from me. You should go back to transforming weekly. I hate to think what it would have been like for you if you'd gone the whole of Idol without transforming."
Adam hadn't been looking forward to that either, but it had been one of the things he had been willing to go through to try for his dream.
"Are you sure?" he asked, because he was paranoid like that. "I know some people find, well, this," he indicated his appearance, "unsettling."
"More like beautiful," Kris said and then seemed to catch up with what he had said and blushed again.
Adam smiled; Kris really was adorable.
"Sometimes the world is so unfair," he grumbled with a light hearted shake of his head.
"Why now?" Kris asked, smiling as well. "Not that I don't agree."
"The universe has no business making straight southern boys so cute," he replied.
Just for a moment Kris looked confused and then surprised.
"Me? I'm not cute. I have a wonky smile and my hair is hopeless and my dress sense is about five decades out of date."
"Oh, Kris," Adam said in his best fond tone, "it's the imperfections that add up to perfection."
He expected Kris to laugh at that, joke about like they always did, but instead a thoughtful little frown marred that adorable face.
"You actually think I'm attractive?" Kris asked and Adam was not sure why his friend was asking.
Somehow they were having a very serious conversation.
"Yes," he replied truthfully; he was not about to lie, "but, Kris, you don't have to worry; I'm not one of those guys who sets out to convert the straight guy just because they fancy him."
Kris still looked very pensive.
"What if the straight guy wasn't so straight?" was the eventual, hesitant question.
Nothing could have surprised Adam more.
"What are you trying to tell me, Kris?" he asked gently, because he could tell his friend was unsure.
"I think I might be gay," Kris said very quietly.
Adam was pretty sure anyone could have knocked him over with a feather at that moment.
"Why?" he asked very carefully.
"Back in Conway I never thought about it," Kris confessed and it sounded to Adam like the need had been building for a while, "it never even occurred to me. There was me and Katie and we were going to get married and even when we weren't it was okay, because we were still friends and everything was fine. Then I came to L.A. and there was you and I started thinking things I'd never even thought of before and, yeah, well, I think I might be gay."
It was so not what Adam had expected to hear.
"Oh, honey," he said, reaching out to take one of Kris' hands, "and you've been dealing with this and all the shit that comes with Idol at the same time. Come here, you need a hug."
Given the confession and how awkward it could have been, it said a lot how much Kris did need a hug by how fast Kris moved into it. Adam spread his arms and Kris was there and face planted into his shoulder just like normal. They didn't break apart for some time.
"You okay?" Adam asked when they finally did and Kris nodded.
It was all so complicated and now there were a thousand possibilities there in front of Adam that he hadn't considered before; he could also see how perilous it was as well.
"Just so we're clear," he said, "I have a crush on you the size of Texas, okay, but there is no way in hell I am making a move in this mansion. The last thing we need is for you to have a big gay freak out in front of the cameras, and believe me, it will happen. This is your advance warning that once all this craziness is over, unless you tell me no, I'm making a play for you."
Kris smiled and laughed just a little at that.
"Good, now that that's settled, let's get me back to human before I do something we will both have trouble explaining away."
His daemon half was doing somersaults of joy in his brain and his human half was fully in agreement. His little southern boy was gay; it was fabulous news. It was going to be more than complicated, but he didn't care. Kris had 'keeper' tattooed on his forehead in big red letters as far as Adam was concerned and everything else was irrelevant. Just sometimes the universe was on his side.