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Winner Takes All

by astolat

Things started to get incredibly weird after Mad World, which was appropriate maybe but comfortable not so much. It wasn't the sudden volume hike in the screaming, or the way he was all over the papers and the betting sites as a sure thing to win, or even the New York Times piece or Bill O'Reilly or the Star putting out photos of him. Adam could totally handle all of that without batting an eye. People all over the country talking about him? There was no bad there.

It was the stuff happening inside him that was giving him issues. He knew his parents were a little afraid he was going to go nuts with the attention and turn into a Hollywood Story, but he wasn't tempted even a little to be a jerk. He was just so fucking happy, it was out of control. There wasn't any room for anything else while he was going around with this crazy feeling bubbling up inside him all the time. He couldn't be nervous or scared, or mad, or anything but joyful.

No problem there either, right? Except apparently there was. He came off the stage right after the results night and got stuck in a room to do a quick interview, and it was that same L.A. entertainment reporter he'd been watching on the local Fox channel the last ten years—here to interview him

He burst out laughing and had to tell her why, and she kept smiling at him the whole interview and then at the end of it she paused and said, "Okay, this is going to be completely inappropriate for about two dozen reasons, and I promise you I am going to write the same exact article either way—" and he was expecting the gay question, but no, what she asked was, "— but would you like a blowjob? Because I would really love to give you one right now, zero strings attached."

And—okay, so it was weird, but that was still not what Adam would ever have called a challenging question. So he got a truly ludicrous blowjob, leaning up against the wall of the room with his hands buried in her fantastic silky hair while she went to town on him. And he hadn't been raised in a barn, so obviously he went to take care of her afterwards, but she just came pretty much the second he'd slid his fingers between her legs—in a tight-clenching jerk, low hiccuping whimper in the back of her throat, the kind you couldn't fake.

She was clutching at his shoulders and trembling, and it hit him that she'd gotten all the way there only from doing him, like he was just that hot, and that was such a turn-on that Adam ended up scrabbling for the emergency condom that was always in his back pocket and fucking her against the wall while she licked his neck and scratched at his back and wrapped her amazing legs around his waist and whimpered and came some more.

"Oh my god," she said drunkenly, after the third time he brought her off. "You are going to be so fucking huge," which took him straight over the edge, and then he got the extra kick of coming out of the room together with her, her lipstick on his neck and her skirt and blouse completely crumpled, and seeing ten people double-take at them, which was never not fun.

Three days later, there was a completely obvious blind item about it online, and things went downhill from there. Or uphill, depending on how you saw it. Deere, the cute lighting guy who'd busted his ass setting up the blue spotlights for Mad World, said to him a little hurt, "So you're not, huh," and Adam laughed and said, "Because of Gawker? Do you want me to prove it?" and Deere swallowed and stared at him, even though Deere had an extremely hot boyfriend in the sound department.

It turned out, though, Josh was totally up for it as long as he was included, and also he had condoms on him, which was good since Adam hadn't had a chance to replace his.

A few weeks later, and Adam was starting to think maybe he was headed for the E! network after all. He had racked up twenty-three offers of sex out of nowhere, and not from groupies, either: a bunch of people from the crew, a few guys in the band, one of the backup singers. He'd never had a hard time getting some, but this was getting a little ridiculous.

It occurred to him belatedly that maybe he should've been saying no once in a while, but at this point he felt bad—obviously word had gotten around, so now if he turned somebody down, they'd feel like it was them specifically, which just seemed so mean. Like, how much of a hardship really was it to let someone jerk him off? Also, a lot of the offers tended to come right after he got off stage on performance night, and Adam could not personally name anything in the world that beat getting a blowjob five minutes after singing for twenty-five million people.

Then Saturday, they had the gigantic mentoring session for Rock week at the Roxy: Slash (oh my god Slash), the bodyguards, the producers and the lighting director and the band all there, four or five conversations going on and people busy setting up, and when he walked out onto the stage with Danny and Kris and Allison, everything just sort of—slowed down. The conversations trailed off and heads turned to look at him, and Adam had a sort of weird moment where he realized hey, he'd slept with about nine of the people in the room at that moment, and most of them were looking at him like they were absolutely up for a repeat performance.

Everyone went back to what they were doing, but that was enough to give Adam a serious buzz and leave him restless in his skin. He fought it down and fought it down while Slash (Slash, he was seriously right there) talked about how rock had to come from a place of fearlessness, not being afraid to run with a riff and trusting the other people on stage to keep up, and other really cool things.

And then Adam had to wait until everyone else had their sessions, jittering the whole time, until finally it was his turn: they gave him the mike, Slash hit the opening chords, and they were off and flying, just burning down the whole fucking song. Adam let all the energy pour straight out of him into the music, all the way to the end, and when he lowered the mike and everyone in the room started cheering, it was as good as any orgasm he'd ever had in his life.

Although the one where Slash fucked his brains out in the dressing room after the session had to be seriously close in the running.

Adam staggered out the back door and into the idling limo half an hour late, still completely dazed with the combination of afterglow and holy shit I just had sex with Slash, and collapsed limply over the back seat. "I am so sorry, please forgive me," he said, "and can someone please give me a bottled water?"

"What the hell took so long, man?" Danny said, handing him one from the icebox as the limo pulled out.

Allison made a small squeaking noise and Kris coughed a couple times, choking. Danny looked at them and said, "What?" and Adam cracked up weakly and patted Danny on the leg.

"You're happier not knowing," Adam said, and poured half the bottle straight down his throat because he could so not muster up the energy to get himself up into a sitting position. Swallow, swallow, swallow, and he capped the bottle and let his arm flop down to the floor of the limo and sighed deeply.

"You did not," Danny said in a faintly strangled voice.

"Oh, I did," Adam said peacefully, and tilted his head back to beam at him, because no one could possibly blame him for gloating just the tiniest bit under the circumstances.

Danny totally missed the point, though, because he just stared back confused and said, "Wait, with who?"

"Oh my god, Danny!" Allison burst out abruptly. "With Slash, duh."

"What?" Danny said, hilariously incredulous, and then was all, "Wait, Slash is gay?" and Adam was laughing so hard he was wheezing even though he felt weak, and then Danny said, "Uh, so Slash isn't gay, but—"

"Danny," Adam said lovingly, catching his breath, "it's not like I administer a quiz beforehand."

"Oh," Danny said, and then he said, "Oh," and stared at Adam in a completely different way, as if it had only just occurred to him that there wasn't actually a physical reason straight guys couldn't have sex with gay guys, and oh wow, that was trouble on the horizon, possibly in allcaps with exclamation points.

Adam looked hurriedly over at Kris and Allison for help, except Kris was staring hard out of the back window with this actually kind of adorable pink flush creeping all the way up the back of his neck, and Allison was staring down at her hands with her lip pushed out a little.

Okay—he was totally misreading the signals here. Adam started to drag himself up sitting, trying to think of some way to change the subject, except as he propped himself up on his elbows and put a leg down on the ground to push up, it was like he'd pulled on a bunch of puppet strings, because Allison's head came up, Kris's head turned around, and now all three of them were staring at him in a kind of helpless, vaguely hungry way, and this was really, really not good.

So. Adam didn't actually know what to do about this. There wasn't an etiquette guide for what to do when you had unintentionally seduced your three completely ineligible housemates that you were also trying to beat out to win American Idol.

Danny was the worst off. That whole afternoon and into the next morning, he just could not even be in the same room as Adam without getting completely turned around. It made Adam feel really bad, because Danny was so off his game. It was absolutely going to get to his performance, and Adam wondered a little helplessly if he should actually offer?

He just wasn't sure; sometimes he thought Danny was in the absolutely longest manic phase Adam had ever seen, sustained by Idol-generated adrenaline and sleep deprivation, and was on schedule to crash into a matching giant fiery wreck of depression about three minutes after the end of the season, in which case Adam did not think a few rounds of sex on the other side of the fence was the best thing to throw into the mix.

Either that, or Danny's emotional depth was two inches, max, and would be right back to Tiggering around happily as soon as he had gotten his ass laid and gotten over it, in which case it seemed like it would be only fair play for Adam to give him what he needed.

Adam really wanted to ask Kris what he thought, except now that was obviously off the table. And that, he wanted to inform the universe, was seriously unfair. It had been bad enough walking into the Top 36 and being informed hey, you are not allowed to leave the house after ten at night anymore; now here is your roommate, who is the nicest human being in the world and cute as a button and just the right size that you could lift him and wrap his legs around your waist and fuck him standing up. Oh, and by the way he is a straight born-again church singer and here is his adorable wife who is also ridiculously sweet, so you cannot even try to flip him.

But how was he supposed to resist temptation when Kris was practically wearing a neon sign saying TAKE ME ADAM TAKE ME NOW? Except for the fact that it would totally destroy him and Katy, and Adam would not in a million years go there, but he could still feel completely sorry for himself over it, and now he couldn't even talk to Kris about what the hell to do with Danny.

Or for that matter with Allison, which should have been the easiest thing to deal with because hello, hands off the jailbait, except that Allison was sort of dragging around and kept looking at herself in the mirror and poking at her hair and then slumping, and curling up in the common room hugging a pillow and staring at him with a sadface expression that somehow managed to make Adam feel like a jerk for not.

He was pretending as absolutely hard as he could that he had no idea what was going on in her head, except then the next day at lunch he caught her actually standing there letting an utter sleazebag of a PR exec flirt with her, and then the guy put a hand on her shoulder, and instead of slapping him upside and down, she got up to go into a trailer with him. (!!!!)

Adam intercepted and dragged her safely out of the zone of contamination and yelled at her, but that worked about as well for him as it did for Simon. First Allison just stood there looking more and more unhappy the longer he went, so he felt like a complete ass. He made himself keep going anyway, and then all of a sudden she jerked loose and went mulish and said, "If you are not interested," dragging the you out long and low, "then you can butt out." And then she gave him a big, sunny, deadly smile and trotted off back to the lunch tables with her head held up high.

And then she spent all afternoon during the video shoot flirting hard with Danny. Adam blew his lines five hundred times because he could not speak for horror, and the only saving grace was that Danny clearly hadn't figured out it was flirting. But after about three hours of work on Allison's part, it suddenly dawned on him, and he gawked at her for about five minutes straight—before he switched over to staring at her breasts in a kind of excitedly hopeful way.

"Oh my God," Adam said, collaring Danny before anything else absolutely nightmarish could happen before his comparatively innocent eyes, and hauled him away into one of the deserted trailers. "Okay, so clearly the answer is, two inches deep."

"Huh?" Danny said, and then he said, "Oh, hey," as Adam got his pants open and turned him around to face the wall of the trailer.

"All right, brace yourself," Adam said.

"Adam, I'm not up for, um, you know," Danny said, trying to turn back around. "You could, uh—?"

"No, I could not," Adam said, because he was not letting Danny's teeth anywhere near his dick, and he drew the line at servicing. He nudged Danny back around. "Trust me, you are absolutely up for this."

"I really don't think I am," Danny said, and kept explaining how it wasn't his thing while Adam condomed up, and then he started jerking Danny's cock and pushing in. Danny said, "Oh. Oh. Oh, hey." and kept going like that with each little thrust, until Adam was all the way in, and then Danny said, "Wow, that feels great," sounding deeply surprised.

Adam laughed, because only Danny, and then he put Danny's hands on the wall of the trailer and started fucking him, and Danny was totally enthusiastic and actually kind of a turn-on once he started really groaning and begging for it in his gorgeous low raspy voice. Adam had to grab his hips a few times to keep him from trying to grind back into it, and had to keep putting Danny's hands back on the wall to stop him jerking himself off too soon, but that was totally manageable, and kind of worth it when he finally did take Danny over the edge and Danny sort of dissolved into incoherent hoarse gasps of "Oh my God," over and over.

Unfortunately, the plan didn't exactly work out otherwise. Danny wandered around the rest of the day in a happy dazed glow, occasionally walking into things and tripping over cables while Adam winced and hoped Danny didn't kill himself, and meanwhile Allison kept glaring at him vengefully and Kris just avoided him completely, sigh. Plus the next day, they went into rehearsal and Danny's version of We Will Rock You came out sounding more like We Will Relax You Into A Coma, and Danny kept smiling inappropriately through the whole thing, so Allison had been saved, but it had otherwise been one hundred percent counterproductive.

The actual live performance was just as bad, and Simon ripped Danny for giving "possibly the most soporific rock performance ever," which stood its ground as the harshest critique of the night until Adam went out with Kris to do Under Pressure, which came out fantastic—Kris had come up with a killer arrangement, all cool harmonies and this really neat back and forth flow between their voices—and Randy and Kara and Paula ♥ all loved it, and then Simon said, "Right, look; I agree, the performance was good—"

Adam traded a quick oh boy glance with Kris, wondering what the hell Simon's problem was, and then Simon was going on, "—and this is going to make things a bit uncomfortable here, but I think it needs to be said. Because, Kris," and Adam had one horrified moment to realize Simon was about to do some really awful comparison thing, and then it got a million times worse, because what Simon said was, "I'm afraid you just made me like you a good deal less. Because that was an extremely selfish arrangement."

Adam felt Kris start to freeze up even before Simon went yapping on about how Kris had arranged the whole song to keep it in his own range, and hadn't given Adam some giant glory note, and how Kris had clearly done it as this big strategic move to make it look like he had as good a voice as Adam, and he'd taken advantage of Adam being too nice to insist, and one horrible, cruel, unfair thing after another, and then he finally shut the hell up, and Ryan was walking over to them and asking Kris, "Kris, you feel like saying anything to that?"

And Kris—Kris looked like someone had just kicked him in the stomach ten times in a row, and he said, "I—" and stopped, and Adam could not stand here and see this, Simon sitting there with this cold, satisfied look on his face, so he straightened up and pulled in a breath straight to the diaphragm and aimed his mouth right at Kris's mike and projected as hard as he could, "Ryan, I have something to say."

"Mike is live," the producer's whisper came in his ear almost immediately, because they totally smelled blood, and Adam spared one second to hope it wasn't going to be too much of his, and then he said, "I completely respect if Simon didn't like the performance, I just need to say, I'm not a doormat, and Kris is not Machiavelli or anything. We both came up with that arrangement together—"

He was ready to keep babbling, but the whole audience started cheering, and Paula stood up and applauded, so he took that as a sign and shut up and put his hand on Kris's shoulder, which was trembling a little bit.

At the end of the episode, after Ryan took them out and the cameras turned off, Katy got up and marched up onto the stage, shoving a security guard out of the way, came straight for Adam and hugged him about as tight as anyone her size possibly could. Then she kissed him on the cheek and whispered fiercely, "So's you know, you just earned a free pass anytime you want, and I mean that," and kissed him on the cheek again before she walked over to Kris.

She kissed him and whispered something to him quietly, too, before she turned and stepped down off the stage, and Kris bugged out a little bit before staring over at Adam helplessly, going pink all the way up again.

And, okay, Adam felt he totally did deserve a reward, because that had been possibly the scariest thing he had done on this show, so he indulged himself and shot Kris a quick smile, just a little I am so taking her up on that promise, and Kris turned even more pink and swallowed visibly.

Kris spent the whole next day fleeing like a rabbit anytime he and Adam might possibly have ended up in the same room, but that was okay, because he kept looking back around as he edged out of the room and gulping. Adam just beamed at him and let Kris process.

Anyway, Danny came and found him a little while before they had to head over to the theater to get set for the results show, and Adam couldn't really say no when he already felt responsible, so he took Danny upstairs and gave him a pounding thorough enough to keep Danny muzzy and smiling all the way through his elimination. We Will Rock You was even less plausible the second time around, but Danny bopped around the stage energetically and waved his arms a lot and didn't seem to care, and by the end of it the whole audience was cheering and into it with him.

Danny got whisked off to press right after the show, and Adam barely had a chance to wave to Kris and Allison before they were all being dragged off to get ready for homecoming day.

Which was insane. Adam staggered back into the mansion the next day around eight pm, half-conscious, sore, and crashing hard, and he kicked off his boots and dropped most of his clothes one piece after another on the floor on his way across the bedroom before collapsing face-down on the bed in his t-shirt and boxer-briefs.

"Adam?" he heard Allison calling, and he made enough of a vague noise that she found him and came to poke him in the shoulder. "You had a streaker!"

"Oh my God, it was hilarious," Adam said muffledly into the pillows, and then he managed with a valiant effort to roll himself over onto his side. Allison beamed down at him and sat down on the bed next to him, tucking herself against the curve of his body. "Did you have a good time, baby?"

"Yeah, it was so weird, though!" she said, and they traded stories and then looked incredulously on their iphones at photos of the ridiculous crowds Kris had drawn and texted him silly messages about how he was clearly the most exciting thing in Arkansas EVER.

"So, um," Allison said, after that, just as Adam was setting into a really comfortable state of zen drowsiness, "what do you think of these?"

He levered his eyes open and looked: she was showing him pictures of boys. He took the phone and flipped through them. "Cute, cute, not cute, cute, oh no, cute," Adam said. "Did you get marriage proposals?"

"I got their numbers," Allison said. "They're all in driving distance, so—"

"Um," Adam said warily. "Alli—"

"I know I'm not, you know, whatever enough for you—" Allison said.

"Legal!" Adam said. "Not legal enough!"

Allison edged a little further onto the bed. "It's not like I'm going to tell," she said, wheedling.

"So not happening," Adam said.

"Fine," Allison said, taking back the phone and turning away. "Then I will just have to call up one of my boys—"

"No, no, no. Honey, trust me on this, no guy under eighteen knows how to give head yet," Adam said.

"I don't care!" Allison said. "I am done being a virgin."

Adam pushed himself up and caught her shoulders. "Hey, what is that about? You want it to be fun, okay? You need to want it for real."

"I do!" Allison said, her voice breaking. "I do—like, I can't sleep and stuff. I keep getting all—" she waved her hands wildly, "— and it hurts sometimes, and it doesn't go away because you're just, you're there—" She stopped and gulped, hard, and looked away with tears starting to leak out, her arms folded across her chest.

"Oh God," Adam said, weakening just a little, because wow, did he remember feeling that way and oh had it sucked. "Baby, listen, it would be so wrong—"

Except apparently that was giving the last inch Alli needed, because he didn't get a chance to finish the sentence before she was shoving him back down flat on the bed and pouncing. "Mmpgm!" Adam said half-admiringly, half-horrified. He did not remember being this toppy at seventeen.

Then Allison pulled off her belt and started wrapping it around his wrists, and Adam revised that. Oh my god, Slash hadn't been this toppy. He whimpered a little as she belted his wrists to the headboard.

"Okay, wait," he said, panting, "if we do this, I get veto rights on anyone you date for the next two years—"

"Yes, awesome!" Allison said gleefully, and pulled like six condoms out of her pocket and tossed them on the bed before she took her shirt off.

Adam spent the next week hiding a lot and kicking himself for forgetting exactly how much sex a seventeen year old would go for when given the least opportunity. "You have to rehearse!" he squeaked, as Allison pushed him into a supply closet—ironic if you thought about it. "You're going to miss your—mmph—"

Allison shoved him down on the bench and climbed on to make it clear how much she totally did not care.

Adam slinked ashamedly out afterwards—Alli had already bounced off with a blissful expression—and went to his own rehearsal slot. He was horribly distracted and everything was going wrong this week, what with having to swap both songs at the last minute and the continuing fog of sleep deprivation thanks to the double-whammy of homecoming and Allison, and he was morbidly sure he was going to get his ass voted off the show. And the worst part was he was going to totally deserve it, too, god.

Except then on the night, Alli completely fell off from the band on her first song and flubbed three lines of lyrics on the second, and after Simon snarked at her for it, she lit right into him, while backstage Adam stared open-mouthed and flailed helplessly at the monitor, like he could make her take it back.

But Allison came off the stage with her head high and said, "I don't care!" and dragged Adam away into a dressing room for consolation, like sex with him was worth getting voted off American Idol for.

"Well," Allison said, shrugging, and Adam covered his face with his hands.

Okay, so if Adam hadn't already felt guilty enough before, that had certainly been taken care of now. He couldn't even feel all that happy about making top two—okay, fine, that was a total lie, he was ecstatic about making top two! Top two! He was going to get to make an album! Thirty million people were going to be watching him next week! He could even win!—but it did take some of the fun out of it, watching Alli do her sing-out with the awful sinking feeling that this was all his fault.

He and Kris got hauled right off for interviews and whatever after the show, and then it was run, run, run until that night when they got shuttled to the hotel and dumped into their new private suites. Adam sat a little limply down on the couch and just stared at the turned-off plasma tv for a while, until a knock got him up to get the door.

"Uh, hey," Kris said, standing in the doorway. He had a couple of beers in his hand and an opener. "You up for—"

"Yes, absolutely," Adam said, and let him in. "My God, how weird is this."

"Yeah," Kris said, and popped off the bottle caps. They clinked bottles and slumped down on the couch, and Adam flipped through channels until he found an HD special on coral reefs and put it on mute. They both sat there watching the brightly colored fish swimming around for a while, and then Kris took a deep breath, tilted back the rest of his bottle, and turned towards Adam.

"Oh, yes," Adam said, heartfelt, put his bottle down on the table, cupped Kris's face in his hands, leaned in, and then jerked back hard just in time. "Wait, wait, wait, no!"

Kris opened his eyes and stared at Adam. "Uh—"

"I can't!" Adam said, standing up, the better to get himself the fuck away from irresistible temptation. Kris was still in his rumpled t-shirt and jeans from the show, his hair all spiked-up and begging to be crunched soft, his mouth open just a little, startled. Adam swallowed hard. "Oh my God, don't look at me like that or I am going to nail you in thirty seconds."

Kris coughed a little, and said, stifled, "That was kind of the idea—" He turned half away, flush creeping from the back of his neck, a faint pink line Adam could've nibbled on all the way from his jaw down to his collarbone.

Adam stared at it and said weakly, "It wouldn't be fair."

"...what?" Kris said.

"I slept with Danny and Allison and they both got voted off!" Adam said.

"You what?" Kris said. "Allison?"

"I know, I'm going to hell, don't get me started," Adam said. "In my defense I was tied up most of the time." He paused. "Was that too much information?"

"Yeah, a little," Kris said. "You think if you sleep with me—"

"I realize I'm sounding like a raging egomaniac here, but I'm saying, it seems to be kind of a distraction," Adam said.

"Distraction sounds pretty good to me right now," Kris said.

"Better than winning?"

Kris started laughing. "I'm not going to throw the competition just because you sleep with me!" He got up.

"Not deliberately you're not!" Adam said. "No, don't," he added, backing away. "I can't. I feel bad enough about Alli! I am not going to fuck my way to being the next American Idol!"

Kris paused and said, "Okay, Adam, this is bullshit, you get that, right?"

"It's only six more days," Adam said. "We can have sex right after the final performance! Come on, that will be ridiculously hot."

"We can have sex then, too," Kris said, which Adam had to admit was an extremely compelling argument, especially with Kris gone even more pink and grinning at him sideways, sheepishly, like he couldn't quite believe he'd just said that. Adam wavered, and Kris stepped a little closer and was right there, his face turning up, mouth warm and waiting. Adam shut his eyes and bent his head a little, just let himself lick over Kris's lips, taste into his mouth, one long slow suck on his lower lip—

Kris shivered so hard Adam could feel it on his body even though they weren't touching anywhere else.

Adam wrenched himself away and ran into the bedroom and shut the door and sat down with his back against it. "Go away!" he yelled. "Go work on some—some brilliant arrangement or something!"

"Adam, I am going to kick your ass," Kris yelled through the door. He rattled the doorknob, trying it.

"Right!" Adam yelled back, bracing his legs against the floor. "That's the spirit!"

Kris groaned audibly, and there was a thump like he'd sat down against the door on the other side. "Adam, come on," he said.

"No!" Adam said.

Kris paused, and then he cleared his throat and said, "You can't tell me you don't want to—" He stopped, gulped, and said, "—fuck me."

Adam shut his eyes and let his head fall back against the door. "Of course I want to fuck you," he said miserably, thinking about how unbelievably fabulous it would be to have Kris in his lap right now, rolling their hips together—

"You could—you could be having me right now," Kris said, his voice wobbling, and holy fuck Kris was talking dirty to him. "You could just—put me on the bed and—"

Adam unbuttoned his jeans and slid his hand inside. This totally didn't count. "I'd be so good to you," he said, low, turning his head towards the edge of the door. "Kris, I'd open you up so slow—I'd use my tongue on you—"

Kris groaned. "Adam, you're killing me, open the door."

Adam whimpered deep in his throat and took his hand out of his pants. "I am not opening the door!" he said. "Six days!"

Kris thumped his head back against the door. "Man, I hate you," he said.

"Fine!" Adam said. "Go tell the Enquirer! We'll get better ratings!"

Over the next six days, Adam made sure never to be alone with Kris. Kris glared at him from across the room a lot and texted him things like, jfc lambert gtfover urself and tried to lure Adam into supply closets and things, except Adam put his well-honed evasive maneuvers from Allison to good use and dodged the attempts. Anyway they basically had zero time for breathing, much less sex; not that Adam didn't find enough opportunities to fantasize about how he could be bending Kris over the yoga ball right now while they worked on choreography, or to wonder what Kris's voice would sound like after Adam taught him how to give blowjobs.

Adam came out of that last one feeling kind of dreamy and guilty at the same time, just imagining his cock sliding slowly in and out of Kris's mouth, looking down at Kris's lashes dark against his cheeks and Kris gripping onto his hips for balance. Adam sighed and looked across the room, and Kris was staring at him like he knew what Adam was thinking, and then he licked his lips like no, he really knew what Adam was thinking, and was absolutely okay with it, and Adam had to pretend to be desperately thirsty and run out of the room before he threw Kris down on the floor in front of Rickey Minor and two P.A.s.

The press actually did run a couple of rumors about them fighting, people saying how they'd stopped hugging and hanging out together, but Adam put his head down and ignored those along with all the other crazy stuff—TMZ had come up with more photos of him, and Bill O'Reilly was doing yet another will America really elect a gay Idol! piece—and just focused on practice, practice, practice.

And then all of a sudden it was Tuesday night, and dress rehearsal was over, and the harried P.A. hauled them into a dressing room backstage at the Nokia, pointed them at the couch and said, "Stay right here until your cue!" and shut the door on them.

Adam stared after her, and then very carefully didn't look over at Kris and said, "So—just a couple more hours."

"Yeah," Kris said, in a tight, clenched-up voice that made Adam look after all. Kris was staring at the ground and had his hands locked into fists, resting on his thighs.

"Hey," Adam said. "It's going to be okay, you know? Either way, it's going to be amazing."

"Yeah," Kris said, in exactly the same tone.

Adam reached over and met him halfway, and God he had missed Kris's hugs the last few days, just wrapping up around him tight and getting hugged back as fiercely, letting his forehead rest against Kris's like together they could block the whole crazy world out for a little bit no matter how many people were staring at them. It was so good, opening up just a little bit of room in his chest to breathe, both of them shifting to get closer, and then Kris was saying softly against his mouth, pleading, "Adam— Adam—"

Adam moaned a little and tilted in, and Kris's mouth tasted like the cool mint lozenges they'd been using all day, and his hands were shaking where they were gripping tight on Adam's leather jacket. Adam carefully cupped the back of his head, making sure not to wreck the hair, and started to kiss him for real—deep slow kisses, teasing out Kris's tongue, then holding back to make Kris strain just a little bit to reach him.

"Jesus, Adam," Kris said, trying to grind against him. "Come on, man, don't—don't—" His voice was cracking.

"Okay," Adam said, a little high and breathless. "Okay, baby, hang on. Here—" and he lowered Kris down and coaxed him over onto his side, facing the back of the couch. "Like this," he said, murmuring against the back of Kris's neck, nuzzling behind his ear. Kris groaned and tipped his head back, reaching back to grip Adam's thigh.

"I am so glad you did not listen to me about the tight jeans," Adam said devoutly, popping Kris's button-fly open and sliding the Levis and the boxers down. Kris shivered again and his hips jerked as Adam cupped his cock.

"Adam, you've got about—five minutes to work with here," Kris said, and gave another choked noise as Adam rubbed his thumb over the slick, snub head, hood slipping back easily.

"Mm," Adam murmured, a little regretfully, and got his pants open—they were not getting pushed down so much as an inch without a lot more time than he was prepared to spend right now on anything not totally essential, and he was absolutely going to manage just like this. He was so glad he'd tucked in that extra packet of Wet with the condom.

"Jesus fuck," Kris said on an explosive breath, when Adam started to nudge into him.

"Yes, absolutely," Adam said, and nipped at Kris's ear. "Breathe deep; relax for me, baby."

"Yeah," Kris said, "yeah," and Adam gave him a little more, and then a little more, rolling his hips, and then Kris jerked and said in a totally calm, level voice, "Holy shit."

"Yeah?" Adam said, and gave an experimental thrust. Kris's hand clenched down hard on Adam's thigh, but the rest of his whole body was going all amazingly melty. Adam sighed happily and pressed in the rest of the way while Kris gasped in short, sharp pants, his cock hard and wet in Adam's hand.

And then they were rocking together, working up from slow to quick. Kris was almost sobbing low in his throat, clutching at the back of the couch and pushing back to meet Adam on each stroke, and Adam deliriously dropped biting kisses all over the back of his neck, fighting to hang on long enough to bring it home, even though Kris was so amazingly good, and tight, and so sweet in his arms.

"Harder, man, come on," Kris panted. Adam moaned and made a desperate effort, and then Kris's cock jerked in his hand and Adam let go at the same time, lazily stroking Kris through the aftershocks as they both went limp.

"Oh my fucking lord," Kris said dazedly, and then added, "yow," as Adam slid carefully out.

"That was amazing," Adam said dreamily, and nuzzled at Kris's neck again. He licked his fingers clean and wondered if maybe he could find another condom somewhere—

"Twenty minutes to live," the loudspeaker said. "Finalists to backstage mark."

"What?" Adam said, craning his head to stare up at the loudspeaker.

"You have got to be kidding me," Kris said, with a moan.

"What did you do to your makeup!" Mezhgan screamed faintly when she saw them, and then the stylists freaked out over their clothes. Adam spent the next twenty minutes floating in a cloud of hot lights and powder brushes and afterglow, and then someone pushed him out on stage and there was some sort of strange bantery thing with Ryan, and Kris was there looking disheveled and also still dazed, which was extremely distracting, but fortunately Adam didn't really have to engage his brain because the teleprompter had his lines.

But then Kris and Ryan were moving away and the stage was going dark and oh my God there were seven thousand people out there! Adam had one blank moment of what the fuck am I supposed to be doing? but then a roadie came out and handed him a microphone, and then the band started playing his reprise as the blazing spotlights came up around him, and Adam realized he was seriously happier than he'd ever been in his entire life, and in the guitar solo he threw his head back and just laughed his ass off.

Then he was diving back into the song, loving all over the microphone and letting all the heat still curling in his belly go pouring out into it, promising the audience everything he had, giving everything he had, and the last climbing note felt like flying, flying, and the drums slammed it all home as the lights came up, and everyone was screaming, a wave of love roaring right back at him.

The judges were waiting at the table, Paula beaming and even Simon smiling incredulously; his family in the rows behind the table with Allison and Danny and everyone else from the top thirteen, and off in the wings Adam could see Kris with his guitar grinning at him and giving him the thumbs-up, everyone still yelling and clapping, and Adam staggered over to his mark, wobbly and happy.

Randy was on his feet yelling at him, "Dude! Dude that was blazing! That was hot! What?" like he always did, except he sounded so surprised it was like he really meant it this time, and meanwhile Kara was just staring at him open-mouthed, and instead of talking she just opened and shut her mouth a couple of times, waved her hands incoherently, and then gave up.

"Adam," Paula said, bright-eyed, "that was even better than the first time you did it. I loved the riffing you did in your lower register in the bridge, I think it made the song your own, and the perfect clarity of the high A you hit at the end was incredible, just so well sustained and beautiful."

Adam beamed at her, and then looked at Simon, who had paused to stare at Paula like she'd grown a second head, and then he popped his eyebrows and turned to Adam and said, "Adam—look, that was amazing start to finish, but I'm not entirely certain it was appropriate for family television."

Adam started laughing all over again, because how ridiculous was his life, and he blew a kiss to the whole yelling audience, the seven thousand of them in the theater and the millions on the other side of the camera, and let Ryan mostly steer him off the stage, because he was too dazzled with the lights to see all that well.

He stepped gratefully into the cool dark wings of the stage, the roar of the audience muffled. "So, uh, Adam," Ryan said, after their mikes went off, "are you going to have any time right after the show?"

Adam paused and slanted a look over at Kris, who looked away fast, an embarrassed sideways grin trying to break out on his face. "You know," Adam said, "I think I'm booked."

= End =

With heaps of thanks to Julad and Mia and Merry and Ces! <3

All feedback much appreciated!

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