Last Waffle House, Adam thinks. He's holding the door for Alli, halfway between the air conditioning inside and the wall of late summer heat in the parking lot. The sun glints off the cars parked between the door and the buses. Adam squints, wishes for his sunglasses. "Heat wave," Allison sings, ducking under Adam's arm. "Something something HEAT WAVE." She's still wearing her pajamas, which are pink and have a giant silk screened portrait of No Doubt on them, and when Adam doesn't immediately follow her, she stops and grabs his wrist and pulls him along in her wake.
Last time brushing my teeth in the tour bus, he thinks a little while later, spitting into the tiny sink. It's actually kind of hard to believe that. He frowns at his reflection in the mirror above the sink, feeling surreal, until Matt pulls the door open and sticks his head in. "Crazy eight countdown starting in five," he says. "You want in?"
Adam dries his face on the edge of his towel. "Hell yeah," he says. Everybody else is already at the table when he gets there, but Kris shifts down the bench to make room for him and Mike slides over a pile of cards. Adam has a pair of aces, a one-eyed jack, a pair of twos. He arranges them in a fan, waiting for his turn, and Kris nudges him with an elbow. "Not bad," he says, nodding admiringly.
Adam lifts an eyebrow. "Cheating," he points out.
Kris smiles at him, all innocence, and lays some cards that deliberately change the suit. Adam shakes his head. "Fucking ruthless, too," he says. He draws a card instead of leaving some, but the grin won't leave his face. And that's the last game of crazy eights.
Last hotel check-in. Last shitty hotel gym. Last awesome hotel shower. Last press conference.
"I'm really excited to get some sleep," he tells Fox First at Five. "And I'm really excited to see my friends and family back home, but to be honest, I'm going to miss these guys a lot." Anoop is hanging around just outside the shot, waiting for his turn, but he leans in when Adam says that, claps Adam on the back a couple of times and gives him a half-hug before he steps away again. Adam laughs. "See what I mean?" he tells the camera. "We're kind of like a family, too. I wish we could all just stay in L.A. together."
"Oh, but I'm sure you'll keep in touch, won't you?" Adam's reporter guy says. "And this way you all have somewhere to stay when you're traveling." Adam nods and opens his mouth to agree, but somebody laughs really loudly across the room and he gets distracted. It's another reporter, the one Kris is talking to. She looks a little embarrassed now. She's got one hand pressed to her mouth. Kris looks smug, his arms crossed over his chest, a smirk on his face. Adam huffs a laugh and Kris looks up and catches Adam watching, lets his grin get a little wider. Adam rolls his eyes, pulls his attention back to the camera. "Yeah," he says. "Oh yeah, of course we'll stay in touch. But, you know. It won't quite be the same."
After press, he has to conference call with 19 and the graphic design people to get the liner notes straightened out so he misses The Last Trip to The Coffee Bean. Lil gets him the huge non-fat vanilla latte he would've ordered anyway, though, which is why Lil is Adam's favourite. "You are my favourite," he tells Lil, just to make sure she knows this. She pats his cheek. "Of course I am, sweetie," she says.
Last soundcheck and last greenroom and last pre-show bubbletweet to get everybody hyped. "It's an end of an era, you guys," he tells the camera. "I don't even know what to feel right now. I love you all." Kris leans over from his spot on the couch next to Adam, points at the camera. "And I love you, too," he says sternly.
Adam grins. "And Kris loves you, too," he says.
Kris nods, still stern. "Don't forget it."
After the recording's finished, Kris pats Adam's shoulder and leans back into the couch, his feet propped on the coffee table. "You are such a camwhore," he says, frowning at his iphone. "It's adorable." He touches into his email, taps refresh. When Adam shoves his shoulder, hard, he pretends not to feel it, but Adam sees the tiny smile on his face.
Last pre-show nerves. Last stretching session in the wings. Last show.
He's going to have at least four days to recover from this so he doesn't hold anything back. It feels fucking fantastic to let his voice loose, to hear it fill the arena and feel that energy come back to him, magnified by the crowd. A couple of times he catches glimpses of people watching from the wings, sticking around for a verse or a song or two. Kris shows up during "Starlight" and stays almost all the way to the end of Adam's set. Mostly he just watches, smiling sometimes, but it's the first time he's had a chance to do that, and it's cool.
After the show, they do one last meet and greet and then the official post-show party and then the unofficial one, the one that happens in Matt's hotel room, the one where Danny gets drunk and emotional and makes this halting speech about how they, how they changed his life and he'll never forget it and even though Adam's half sure the tears are fake, he still gives Danny a hug that ends up being at the middle of a pile-on, Alli under one of his arms and Scott's blond fro tickling his nose, Megan warm and nice-smelling on his other side. It's officially a love-in after that, everybody hugging and crying and telling stories about each other, and eventually Adam finds himself propped against a wall with Alli's head in his lap and Kris's shoulder pressed against his, the party slowly dying out around them. Someone turned off most of the lights a while ago; it has to be nearly four a.m.. Kris pushes his head into Adam's shoulder, briefly, then slaps his own thigh. "We should probably get her to bed," he says, nodding toward Allison.
Adam sighs. "Help me get her up?" he says, and Kris stands, only a little unsteady. Between the two of them, they get Allison on her feet, mostly still asleep. Adam wraps an arm around her to keep her from sliding back down to the floor, which she seems to want to do. Kris gets the door. "Come on, baby," Adam says, and it's a good thing Alli's room is right next door because he ends up having to mostly carry her there. They put Alli on the empty bed next to her sleeping mom's. Her feet are already bare -- god knows what she did with her shoes -- so they just pull a blanket over her and tiptoe back out.
The hallway is quiet, just a faint hum from whatever it is that makes hotel hallways hum. The window by the elevators shows a piece of sky that's already starting to turn pink. They stand there outside Alli's door for a while, not saying anything. Kris is looking at the floor, his face flushed and serious, and Adam has to swallow twice before he can speak. "When's your flight?" he manages finally.
Kris's shoulders move. "Nine a.m.," he says. "Adam."
Adam reaches for Kris but he isn't sure what he wants to do when he gets there so he ends up just brushing Kris's shoulder with the backs of his fingers, awkward and strange, feeling like a freak. "I'm going to miss the fuck out of you," he says. Kris huffs a laugh, pushes the heel of one hand against his eye, then shakes his head and grabs Adam's wrist instead. He keeps his head down so Adam can't see his face and he presses a kiss onto Adam's knuckles. Adam takes a breath. Kris twists the fingers of his other hand into Adam's t-shirt, just above his right hip. He shifts his grip on Adam's arm, turns it so he can press a kiss to the inside of Adam's wrist, his face soft and intent. Adam pushes his fingertips into the hair over Kris's ear because it's what he can reach right now, touches the tired lines at the corner of Kris's eye with his thumb. Kris lifts his face and meets Adam's eyes. The hallway hums its machine hum, deep and quiet, and Adam can hear Kris's breaths and his own speeding up between them. He bends his head. Kris slides his hand to Adam's shoulder and leans up, presses their mouths together.
It's sweet at first, kind of clumsy and off-centre, but then Kris tilts his head a little more and leans in, one hand moving to cup the side of Adam's face, keeping him close. Adam breathes out and closes his eyes. Kris is warm under his hands, against his chest, and his shirt feels soft with washing under Adam's palms and his mouth is open and desperate and wet. It's pretty much as mind-blowing as Adam had expected, and it's pretty much as unbearable, too. He pulls his mouth away from Kris's, presses their foreheads together instead, pushing one hand into the thicker hair at the back of Kris's head. Kris is breathing hard, his eyes on Adam's collarbone. His hand is hot on Adam's cheek, on his neck, thumb sliding along his jaw. Adam kisses his forehead and then his cheek and then his lips one last time, soft and close-mouthed and sweet, and then Kris buries his face in Adam's shoulder.
"I'll see you in L.A. in, like, a month," Adam says, muffledly.
"Not even," Kris says. "Three weeks."
Adam nods, his face pressed into Kris's neck, but they stand there for a long time anyway, hanging onto each other, wrapped up in each other, neither of them ready to let go.