Here Where We Are

Many thanks to Brynnmck for beta!

The characters are real people, but this is a work of fiction.

They have an early call the next morning but Adam is way too hyped to sleep. He wanders out onto his balcony and sees Megan on hers, smoking and talking with Matt and Anoop, her bare feet curled against Anoop's thigh. "Hey, sexy," she calls softly, when she sees Adam.

Adam pushes a hand up the front of his shapeless sleeping t-shirt and purses his lips at her, pornstar. She laughs. "You should come over," she says. "Matt's making booze slurpees." Matt lifts the blender, half full of slush, and gives it a shake.

Adam makes a face. "We're supposed to be up in six hours," he says.

"You can sleep on the bus," Anoop says, and this is true. Adam nods and puts a hand on the balcony door. "Bring ice!" Matt calls.


At the ice machine, he has to pause for a few seconds, scratching the back of his ankle with the toe of his flip-flop, trying to figure out how to make the ice happen. Ice machines are not supposed to be complicated. You're supposed to have a button which you push and then the ice falls down, right? Except this one seems to have two buttons, and one of them has absolutely no effect whatsoever, and the second one makes the machine growl loudly and vibrate like it's possessed, even after he snatches his finger away and grimaces at it, shushing it frantically with one hand. The noise is so huge it echoes a little in the quiet hallway and it's after midnight and he has no idea how to shut the fucking thing up. But before he has to go get help, someone reaches past him and hits the first button again, making the machine go quiet.

"So, ice machines? Not usually so great at reading hand signals." Kris grins up at him and takes the bucket from Adam's hands, sticks it in the machine and pulls some lever Adam hadn't even spotted, which of course fills the bucket with ice. "Ta da."

"Smugness is sooo unattractive," Adam says.

Kris winks at him and hands him the bucket, then crosses his arms over his chest. "What are you doing up, anyway?" he says. "We have call in, like, five and a half hours." His hair is sticking up on one side of his head, three or four separate little whorls and spikes. He has his glasses on, which probably means he was trying to fall asleep reading.

Adam curls his fingers into the side of his bucket. He sighs. "Yeah," he says. "But Matt's making booze slurpees, so."

Kris nods. He reaches into the bucket and fishes out a piece of ice, which he sticks into his mouth and sucks on. His shirt's sleeves are too long. The cuffs brush his knuckles, pool around his wrists whenever he lifts his hands. "You should come," Adam says. "If you want. I mean, we can always sleep on the bus."

Kris pokes the piece of ice to one side of his mouth and swallows. He nods, thoughtfully. "This is true," he says.


Megan's room is smaller than Adam's but there's plenty of room on the floor, which is where everybody ends up after the first round of booze slurpees. They're playing truth or dare, but only half-assedly. They keep letting themselves get distracted by the kind of strange tangents only punchdrunk exhaustion combined with actual drunkenness can bring on: Bessie Smith and genetically engineered watermelons and Spongebob Squarepants's strangely blatant gayness for Patrick. "It's a little disturbing, though," Matt says. "Because I think Patrick is sort of mentally disabled? So. Is that really ethical, is all I'm saying."

And Megan and Anoop are clearly ahead of Adam in the drunkenness department because they seem to be giving this some serious thought. Adam catches Kris's gaze, widens his eyes. Kris presses his lips together but then laughs anyway, hiding his grin behind his fist.

Adam smiles. "On the other hand," he says. "I believe it's my turn. And because I say so, there will be no truth, only dare." He frowns at each of them, thinking, and finally settles on Megan. "Megan," he says, as dramatically as possible without sitting up straight. "I dare you to kiss Anoop." He leans back on one elbow and waves the other hand in Anoop's direction, going for lofty.

Anoop goes very still. Megan smacks Adam's shoulder with the back of her hand, and she's mad for real because it actually hurts, but she's laughing too. She leans forward on one hand and both knees and uses the other hand to grab the front of Anoop's t-shirt, which she uses to tug him forward, too. "C'mere, cutie," she says, and Anoop swallows audibly, huffs a laugh. Megan's smile gets a little bigger, but she kisses him really sweetly, sucking at his lower lip before she pulls away. He keeps his eyes closed for a second or two. She pats his cheek and winks at him when he looks at her, making him grin. Then she sits back, flushed and still smiling herself, and dusts her hands on her knees. "That was awesome," she says. "But do you know what's even more awesome, Adam?"

He frowns, because he's stupid and he still has no idea where she's going with this. And then she turns to Kris.

Kris blinks at her, sleepy and half-drunk and only sort of paying attention. "Kris," she says, and Adam stops breathing, "I dare you to kiss Adam." She meets Adam's eyes, lifts her eyebrows: yeah, that's right, I did that.

Adam has about three seconds in which to loathe her to the depths of her being, and then Kris pushes himself up on his knees and shuffles across the carpet on them, closing the space between them. He stops in front of Adam and Adam's sort of afraid to look but he also kind of has to look, and so he does, lifting his gaze from the middle of Kris's chest to Kris's face.

Kris is flushed and smiling uncertainly. He puts his head on one side, lifts his eyebrows at Adam. Adam thinks that this is a terrible idea and he really should put his foot down, insist on those boundaries he's always been so careful about upholding, but what happens instead is that he licks his lips and leans up on one hand, holding Kris's gaze.

Kris takes a breath and puts his hand on Adam's face, fingertips tracing Adam's jaw before his palm covers it. His smile falls away right before his lips brush Adam's, warm and dry, their noses bumping. Adam breathes out, half a laugh, and Kris pulls back enough that Adam can see his smile, but he doesn't take his hand away from Adam's face.

They look at each other. Kris strokes Adam's cheek with his thumb. Adam closes his eyes. Kris kisses him again, for real this time, his lips cool for a second before they're warm, his tongue stroking tentative at Adam's bottom lip. Adam breathes in and puts his hand on Kris's where it's still cradling his face, slides it down to Kris's wrist and strokes a thumb over the sharp knob of bone at the joint. Kris smells like sleep and laundry soap and that stuff he uses in the shower. He tastes like liquor, and then like himself. On the other side of the room, Matt and Anoop are laughing their asses off and Megan's woohooing like a dude at a strip club. But over here they're in a bubble, separate from the hotel room and the tour and their real lives, a couple of seconds stolen from some other universe where this thing between them actually has a chance.

Eventually, Kris pulls back a little and smiles at Adam, warm and sweet, his eyebrows raised in a whole different way. "Damn," he says.

Adam breathes out a laugh. Kris lowers his hand but they keep grinning at each other, flushed and kind of stupid, until Matt says "well," and Megan clears her throat and the world they're in is their own again. Adam blinks and looks away.

Anoop is talking now, telling some story about this girl he knew in college. Adam can feel Kris looking at him still but he can't make himself look back. He closes his eyes instead, lies flat on his back on the hotel carpet. After a moment, he hears Kris shift and take a breath as though he's going to speak. But then it doesn't happen. Kris just puts a hand on Adam's shin, warm through the thin cotton of Adam's pajama pants, and he leans back against the side of Megan's bed, getting comfortable, his legs stretched out so his feet are next to Adam's stomach. Adam swallows. He thinks he should get up, go to back to his room, get at least a few hours of sleep before they have to be awake again, buy himself at least a little bit of space.

Instead, he puts a hand over Kris's nearest ankle and strokes the top of Kris's foot with his thumb, keeps his eyes closed and his breathing even, letting the night wind down around him.