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Black Belt

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It took Kris quite a few days to find out that Adam had acquired a tail.

Not some kind of weirdly plush black belt. An actual attached-to-Adam tail.

In hindsight the clues had been there in Adam's new and even weirder than normal behaviour, but Kris thought he could be forgiven for not leaping to the "tail" conclusion.

The first time he noticed the new belt, he dismissed it as...well, a belt. Adam's fashion choices were pretty amazing to begin with, and Kris assumed that plush belts were something that Fabulous People got away with. It had a kind of soft, luxurious vibe which contrasted with the harsh shiny silver buckles and studs, and Kris was distubed enough that he was thinking so much about belts that he just moved on to practising his songs for the next show, and it was business as usual.

Except Kris noticed that Adam was wearing the belt all the time. New favourite accessory was one thing, but surely even Adam didn't feel the need to add pizazz to his pajamas?

Then there were the short black hairs in the shower and Kris ignored those really, really hard, but man, there were lots of them. Ew.

And then the time they were late to head down to rehearsal. Kris was standing next to the door, guitar in hand, waiting for Adam to finish in the bathroom. "Dude, you've got two more minutes, and then you're on your own!" called Kris.

"I'm coming, I'm coming," Adam replied, tripping out of the bathroom and grabbing jacket, water bottle and phone and hurrying past Kris. A sharp chemical smell rose off him and from the bathroom.

"Were you just dyeing your hair? The stylists are going to kill you, it's probably going to react horribly with whatever dye they use and then you'll be bald on national television!"

Adam rolled his eyes dramatically. "My worst nightmare, as if I don't know exactly what chemicals are in any product I use. I'm not going to risk my hair, don't you know me at all?"

Kris laughed, and started teasing Adam about his impending baldness, but he noticed that Adam's newly dyed hair was actually dry and styled exactly the same as it had been that morning. Weird.

The dye smell was explained two days later when Kris walked in on Adam in the bathroom (the door wasn't even properly closed, let alone locked! Totally not his fault!) Adam was shirtless and his black jeans were unbuttoned and allowed to sag down at the back around the base of the tail, which Adam was awkwardly twisting in the mirror to look at while wielding a brush with black dye.

When Kris burst in then stopped, shocked and jaw literally dropping, Adam froze, meeting Kris' shocked eyes in the mirror. The very tip of the tail twitched.

"...." said Kris.

"I can explain!" said Adam, dragging up a sickly smile.

"!!!!" replied Kris. He backed out of the bathroom slowly, pulling the door closed, and kept walking backwards until he hit the edge of the closest bed, and sat down abruptly. He thought about calling Katy, but he wasn't sure how he'd work tails into the conversation. Oh, God. Tails. As in, Adam had one. How would that go? "Oh, you know that guy I kind of admitted I might have a small crush on? Well, guess what I saw today!" Nooo, not good.

Kris had seen some pretty awesome stage costumes and make up and prosthetics, but there was something ineffably real about the tail and the way it twitched that led him to accept that it was real fairly easily. And if anyone was going to have a tail it was Adam. But it was still really, really weird.

Kris heard Adam's emphatic swearing through the bathroom door before Adam cautiously opened it and poked his head out. "Are you freaking out?" he asked.

Kris managed a glare. "Yes. Surprisingly enough, there is a bit of freaking out here. You have a TAIL."

A blush rose in Adam's cheeks, and he shuffled out a little further. The tail was wrapped around his waist, but now Kris knew what it was he couldn't mistake it for a belt any more. Since Adam still wasn't wearing a shirt he could see the uncomfortable-looking way the waistband of his jeans was pulled to make room for the tail at the base of Adam's spine. "It's...a fairly recent development," Adam explained hopefully, when Kris couldn't maintain is glare in the face of his curiosity. "I think it's a family thing? At least, when it happened I called Mom, who said she'd get Dad to call me, and then I called Neil and he just laughed a lot. So."

Kris was just staring at it now. He felt a bit rude, like you weren't meant to stare when people had something different, he knew that, and his Mom had raised him better. But Adam didn't seem to mind, and the tail was loosening slightly from around Adam's hips.

Adam stepped closer, watching Kris' reaction as the tail uncurled and the tip twitched towards Kris. He jumped, but found himself reaching forward. It did look very soft... Although Adam was holding himself rigidly still, the tail was moving more quickly and fluidly, switching downwards and back and forth like an uncertain cat, before curling up to meet Kris' hand.

Kris jumped again when the soft fur touched his fingers, but it was because it was so soft and tentative it was ticklish, rather than from surprise. Adam caught the tail halfway along its length to hold it still, and sheepishly grinned. "I have issues with it sometimes, like it's got a mind of its own." Kris raised an eyebrow, and Adam hastened to explain, "It's not an evil left hand or anything, it's just excitable!"

To underscore this the tail twitched toward Kris's hand again, and he found himself stroking it like he would a cat. The comparison was apt - although from what he could tell the tail had the flexibility of, say, a monkey's tail, the fur had the soft, shiny quality of car fur.

Kris found the stroking to be almost hypnotising, but he pulled his hand back quickly when Adam made a sound. "Nooo, don't stop," Adam whined. "It's good!"

Kris felt he cheeks heat, but he focussed again on the tail, letting his hand travel further and slower. The tail was relaxing and Kris experimentally wrapped his hand around it; it felt thick and strong and soft Adam's squeak he let go quickly and shoved his hand under his thigh to stop it reaching out again. If Adam was finding his tail to be independently excitable, Kris thought it might be catching.

"So," Kris said loudly, breaking the mood. "What were you doing with the brush and stuff?"

Adam, his face a bit pink under his freckles, gathered the tail in his hands and guided it to wrap around his waist again. He crawled up to lie on the bed, and Kris turned to prop himself on the pillows facing Adam. "I can't get the dye to fix properly!" complained Adam. "I mean, it's not black any more than my hair is naturally, it's kind of ginger and stripey like a cat-" (Kris tried to imagine this, and only succeeded in imagining a tail with a cute white tip like the neighbour's cat when he was a kid.) "-and if I keep it black then I can hide it better, but the dye keeps washing out in patches and have you ever tried to do precision dyeing on something attached to your butt? Let me tell you, it's a bitch."

"I can imagine," Kris said politely before snorting at Adam's skeptical expression. "Okay, I really can't. But I could help you if you like?"

Adam smiled, a wide, genuine grin. Kris loved Adam's real smile, the one that was just a little wider and a little more lopsided than the fixed smile that could be held for cameras for hours. He was about to smile back sappily (which would have been embarrassing, except for the part where he could see Adam's eyes drop to look at his lips), when something brushed against the back of his knee and he jumped, not squealing girlishly at all.

"I'm sorry!" laughed Adam. "My tail just really likes you!"

Kris didn't jump when the tail wrapped around his wrist, and settled there. He could almost imagine he felt it radiating satisfaction. "I guess I like it too."

(Kris and Adam and Adam's tail lived happily ever after. Katy understood completely because hey! It's a tail! And also she thought it was really cute. Adam inspired a short-lived craze for plush accessories, and as trends moved on fashion media praised him for his commitment to such a unique signature piece. He eventually learned to control it's excitability better, except when Adam was listening to the Beatles, when he couldn't stop it keeping the beat. Six years later Kris started shaking out feathers that were appearing in his shirts. When he figured out why, he thought Adam could have been much more sympathetic. The laughter was really just unkind and not at all necessary. Although the wings were totally was more awesome than a tail.)