samanthahirr: (Diptych)
[personal profile] samanthahirr
Title: Diptych
Pairing: Kris Allen/Adam Lambert
Genre: Romance, Action, Criminal AU
Word Count: 42,000
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: stalking, violence, language

Chapter  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

He was floating in darkness, faint whorls of color drifting around him like Van Gogh's Starry Night. He tried to focus on them as they moved past, track them with his eyes, but a burst of light caught him by surprise, and when the darkness returned it was shot through with bright pinpricks, and his eyes hurt.

Adam forced his eyelids open again and squinted against the light until it resolved into windows, thin blinds, and daylight, grey and overcast.

"Trgpth," he said around the cotton wool in his mouth. He tried to lick his lips and start again, but a hand was suddenly on his knee, and a face was moving over him. Brad's big brown eyes slowly came into focus, followed by his pretty little mouth and cute nose, and Adam smiled.

"Are you smiling?" Brad said. "Because if you are, don't. Really. It's horrifying."

Brad was okay; he was safe. Adam smiled harder and tried to reach for Brad's face. He was pretty sure he managed to twitch his fingers, at least.

His eyes started to sag shut, and Brad laughed, "Glad one of us is allowed to sleep."

He opened his eyes again, knowing there was something he should ask, something that was missing, but Brad smiled and said, "Go to sleep, sweetheart," and Adam did.

The next time he woke up, he was still floating, but the light wasn't as bright, and when he opened his mouth, an ice chip slid in.

"Look who's up," Brad murmured, and Adam smiled again, because he loved it when Brad took care of him. He'd caught the flu his first two winters in New York, and Brad had stayed by his side each time, feeding him Gatorade and saltines and babbling up a storm.

"Hi," Adam said around the melting ice chip, and was proud when the word came out clearly.

"Guess what."


"You're gonna live."

"I am?" Adam asked, and gave his surroundings a hard look. "I'm in a hospital," he said slowly. "I got shot." Funny, he didn't feel like he'd been shot. He felt pretty awesome.

"Yeah, you did," Brad said, and poked at the right side of his chest.

Adam tried to lift his head to see, but he couldn't seem to control his neck very well. "I'm okay?" he said hopefully.

"Well, now you are. You were in surgery for hours; Kris screamed at three different nurses and was almost removed by security. But they said you're out of the woods."

"Kris," Adam said, and tried to sit up. Kris wasn't here; he should be here. Sitting up proved even more impossible than lifting his head, and after a moment he gave up and panted, "Where is he?"

"He's taking care of things," Brad said, and Adam recognized Brad's would-I-lie-to-you? smile.

"What happened?" Adam demanded, still out of breath. His chest was starting to ache from his efforts, and there was a twinge inside, where he'd never felt anything twinge before. What the hell was that? He tried to stay focused on Brad's face.

"I'm kind of foggy on the details, but I remember you saving my ass. And then I was sitting in a car, there were gunshots, and the Feds showed up. One of 'em gave me her jacket." Brad stood and held a dark blue windbreaker with yellow lettering against his chest, modeling it like a new Belstaff jacket. "I am so keeping this. Hey, are you feeling okay?"

He wasn't. The ache was becoming a throb, and tears sprang up behind Adam's eyes. "What happened to Kris?" Adam insisted.

"Hold on," Brad said, and leaned over him. "I'm gonna give you another hit of morphine, okay?" He straightened up again and stroked a hand through Adam's hair.

"Kris," Adam said again.

"He's fine. He's making sure we don't all go to jail," Brad said.

The pain eased like a knot unraveling, and Adam breathed easier as the loose, drifting sensation came back.

"How's he doing that?" Adam asked, even as his eyelids fluttered heavily.

"I could tell you, but it looks like you're gonna pass out on me any second."

"I'm not. Tell me."

"Don't worry about it right now, doll."

"Brad," Adam said sternly, only it came out a whine. His eyes were closed now, but he could still listen. There was nothing wrong with his ears, damn it.

"Fine. He's trying to make a deal with—"

Adam fell asleep.

He was pretty sure he was awake. The room was dim, lit by a single lamp next to the bed, and Kris was holding his hand. Adam twitched his fingers and yawned just as Kris opened his eyes.

Kris was kissing him before he'd even gotten his eyes open again, soft lips brushing his chapped ones and then nuzzling over his eyelids and into his hair, and it was so wonderful, so exactly what he needed, that he decided it must be a dream. He smiled and let himself drift again.

He woke to a nurse changing his IV bag on what turned out to be Thursday. She smiled kindly and declined to answer any of his questions, but a doctor came in a few minutes later, and Adam was finally able to get some answers. Each answer led to another question—the bullet wound, the blood loss, the surgery, the stitches, the pain meds, and his prognosis. It was pretty sobering stuff, and as he listened, left hand white-knuckling the side of his bed, he wished someone was there to hold his hand.

They unhooked the morphine drip and gave him Percocet to take as needed, and even gave him the code to use the in-room phone, and privacy to call his loved ones.

Adam reached for the phone eagerly and then froze when he realized he didn't know Kris's number. He clenched his fist and dialed Brad's number, hoping he would know how to get in touch with Kris.

It went straight to voice mail, and it took Adam a minute to remember that the last person who'd had Brad's phone was the asshole Russian kidnapper.

He was just beginning to despair—and seriously consider calling Lou, even though he shouldn't involve her when the heat was so high—when there was a commotion at the door.

"It's Louis Vuitton," Brad was saying haughtily, and Adam could hear the sneer in his voice even through the closed door. "You wanna search it? Fine, go ahead! Like I'm seriously gonna pack a gun in couture. Whatever."

Adam grinned and played with his ID bracelet, waiting for Brad to finish taunting whoever was outside.

A couple minutes later the door opened, Brad said, "Kisses," to a man in a black suit standing right outside Adam's room and closed the door after him. "Ah, there's my Sleeping Beauty," Brad said, grinning at Adam and hurrying over to kiss him. "How're you feeling?"

Adam shrugged with his left shoulder—he was going to follow the doctor's orders and keep his right side as still as possible for the next two weeks. "A little worse. They took away the morphine."

"If this means you won't fall asleep on me," Brad teased, "I approve."

"How're you?" Adam asked, trying to see any bruises or cuts on his friend's skin.

"I'm good, I'm good. Had a concussion for a couple days, and they kept waking me up every two hours to ask me who the president was, but they finally cleared me for actual sleep last night. Ugh, I've never been so tired in my life. My eyes were starting to match Kris's…but that's what makeup's for. Speaking of which…." He swung the Louis Vuitton satchel onto Adam's thighs and unzipped it. "I thought you could use a little pampering."

Adam's fingers twitched, eager to grab the bag and dump it out on the blanket. "You brought me my makeup?"

"Of course! What kind of friend would I be to let you languish here with clogged pores and fallen mascara?"

Adam lifted his left hand and shakily rubbed under his eyes.

"Don't you worry about that," Brad said, pushing his hand back down to the sheets. "I promise, no mirrors until you're your stunning, gorgeous self again. Now, let's get you propped up so I can see what I'm doing."

Adam could have kissed Brad, could have cried as Brad pulled out tissues and cold cream and wiped away the traces of Tuesday's makeup. The morphine had left him too blissed out to care about his appearance yesterday, but not knowing what he looked like, what people saw when they looked at him, was a terrifying prospect. Brad understood that; he knew what it meant to Adam.

Adam stayed still while Brad shaved him, waiting until Brad pulled out the spray foundation and a sponge to ask, "Is Justin okay? I mean…what happened Monday?"

"I never made it to Justin's. I never even made it past 69th. I'd gotten in a cab, we'd gone about a block, and then a big van pulled alongside at a red light and some guys dragged me out. Next thing I knew, I was in that warehouse with Thomas and his friends, and they're trying to get me to tell them where you stashed the diptych. I told them I didn't know, and they didn't like that very much."

"I'm sorry," Adam said, watching Brad's face as Brad concentrated on blending the makeup down Adam's neck.

"It's not your fault," Brad snorted.

"I know. But also about…. I'm gonna show you my storage locker."

"Oo, gonna show me all your loot? Careful, I might decide to hock it all and run off to Zimbabwe for New Year's." Brad was grinning, but Adam caught the way his nose scrunched up—one of Brad's few tells.

"How about I just give you half for Christmas? That should get you to Marrakesh, at least."

Brad finally met his eyes with a nervous smile. "You don't have to do that. I knew why you didn't tell me, before. Okay? I got it."

Adam shook his head. He needed Brad to understand how much he regretted everything he'd done—the crap way he'd treated him. But he didn't get a chance to explain, because Brad started swiping the sponge over his cheeks with fast, agitated strokes.

"I don't want any more grand gestures out of you, okay? I heard what you did for me. And you're not allowed to do anything that stupid ever again. Leave the heroics to Kris from now on. That's what he's there for."

"It wasn't stupid—" Adam protested.

"Yes it was! Trading yourself for me? Taking a bullet for Kris? Christ, Adam, you did everything you could to not make it outta there alive! We're lucky you had Pocket Rambo in there with you."

Adam blinked. "Okay, what?"

"Oh, didn't you hear? Kris killed everybody." Brad stopped attacking his skin with the sponge and shook it at him instead. "That's what happens when you get hurt: Kris goes crazy and starts killing people. So maybe don't get shot next time." He ignored Adam's gaping mouth and started covering his forehead, muttering, "It's a good thing somebody's trained to watch your back. I wonder if he'd teach me how to shoot…."

Adam finally caught his breath and managed to gasp, "Is he—is he okay? Are they pressing charges? Did he get away?" They'd committed so many crimes just trying to get Brad back, and then to add three bodies on top of everything…. Adam refused to accept that he might never see Kris again. If Kris went to prison, Adam would hire lawyers, or someone to break him out. If he had to flee the country, Adam would go with him.

"He's fine. Better than fine, actually. From what he said last night, he's winning."


"I tried to tell you yesterday; he's making a deal. A couple deals, actually. Your guard out there's one of the concessions." Brad jerked his thumb toward the door, and Adam remembered the man in the suit.

"FBI?" he guessed. "Does that mean I'm under arrest, too?"

"Nope. CIA. Kris says it's a jurisdictional mess, and he's conning the system in our favor. The kid's got promise."

"He's a year older than you," Adam said, correcting the nickname.

"And I have a thing for older men," Brad agreed breezily. He finished covering Adam's nose and leaned back, licking his thumb and holding it in front of Adam's face like a painter critiquing a work in progress. "What do you think, smoky eye or jewel tones?"

By the time Brad finally gave him a mirror, Adam looked and felt like himself again. His hair was greasy, but Brad had pushed it back with gel, dabbed his neck with cologne, and even rubbed glitter moisturizer into Adam's arms and hands. He looked good, like somebody someone would want to date, and Adam handed back the mirror and dragged Brad down for a chaste kiss.

The Percocet dulled the pain to a mild discomfort and left the world a little fuzzy, but he managed to stay awake a full two hours after Brad left before succumbing to a nap.

He awoke to a kiss and blinked his eyes open to find Kris leaning over him. For a split second he forgot about Brad's makeover and almost pushed Kris away, but that was C-Thru lipglass slick between their lips, and the familiar scent of his cologne, and Adam closed his eyes and tilted his face up for more. His hand found Kris's t-shirt, clean and soft, and he tugged on it, wanting Kris as close as he could get him.

Kris's knee pressed into the mattress, and Adam tugged again and said, "C'mere," into Kris's mouth.

Kris climbed gingerly onto the mattress and lowered himself down along Adam's left side. "This okay?" he asked between kisses, his fingers gentle under Adam's chin. "How do you feel?"

"Better now you're here," Adam said, and brushed their noses together in an Eskimo kiss. He remembered what Brad had said about Kris taking it badly when he got hurt and added, "Sorry I got shot."

Kris made an indignant noise and grabbed his hand. "Shut up. And don't ever do that again."

"I promise," Adam said. "No more heroics."

"Good. I couldn't…. Good," he repeated, squeezing hard on Adam's hand.

"Are you okay?" Adam asked. "Safe? Brad said you're making deals." He held back his growl at the memory of Kris's last deal with the FBI.

"It's almost done. I'm getting you a citizen's commendation."

"What?" Adam laughed, surprised.

"You helped stop a team of foreign mercenaries killing Americans on American soil. You're a hero."

"That's ridiculous."

"Not to the CIA," Kris said, and glanced toward the door. "They're making the FBI play ball. Are you okay with being on record as a confidential informant? I promise your name won't leak."

"I'm okay with anything, as long as we don't go to jail. Now kiss me again."

Kris complied, his hip pressed against Adam's and his fingers carding through his hair, his tongue teasing and sweet. "You're gonna be okay," Kris whispered.

"I missed you," Adam whispered back, his left arm squeezing Kris's waist. "They said I could use the phone, but I didn't know your number."

"Oh," Kris said, and leaned over him to get to the bedside table. He found a pen and picked up Adam's right hand to write across his palm, repeating each number aloud, "201-555-6263."

"Thanks," Adam said, and closed his fist around the number, keeping it safe. "You know, if you'd given me this number back at the coffee shop that first day, I totally would've asked out a federal agent. Talk about embarrassing."

Kris buried his face in Adam's good shoulder and huffed out a laugh.

"So this means I could ask you out sometime, right? I'm stuck in here another two days, but maybe Saturday I could take you…." Adam frowned and glanced down at the gauze bandages on his chest, stacked so thick they made a lump under the hospital gown. "Okay, I can't take you anywhere for a couple weeks. You could come over, though. For dinner? Or just coffee?"

Kris leaned up and kissed his nose. "I'd love to. But I already have plans for Saturday." He grinned and waggled his eyebrows, "It's Brad and Justin's two month anniversary, and I'm the uninvited guest."

Adam blinked and replayed the comment in his head twice, because obviously the Percocet was confusing him. It sounded like he'd said… "What?"

"Brad hired me to be his Emilio. He says I'm short, but my 'skills' more than make up for it."

"But…." There were multiple things wrong with this new development, and Adam had a hard time picking one to start with. "But it's a con. You're not a criminal…."

"Hey, a man's gotta earn a living," Kris shrugged, and then cupped Adam's cheek, espresso-brown eyes blinking down at him fondly. "What, you didn't think I was gonna make you two go straight, did you?"

Adam decided to stop worrying and smiled back, feeling dizzy from more than the drugs. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em?" he asked.

"Something like that," Kris agreed, and kissed him again.

Mrs. Sarah Siddons was a stunning woman, but a real pain in Adam's ass. She'd crossed his path just before Christmas, the introduction made by a friend of a friend, and she'd been staying in Adam and Kris's bedroom ever since, refusing to be moved. It wasn't that she was undesirable—Adam had any number of clients who might love to take her home—but she had a bit of a reputation. No one knew where she'd been hiding for the last 26 years, and his legitimate clientele would never consider a painting of such dubious provenance.

Adam glared at the Gainsborough portrait in the mirror's reflection as he snapped the button covers onto the front of his black tuxedo shirt.

"What do you think?" Kris asked, stepping into the reflection with him. "Is tonight gonna be her lucky night?"

Adam looked up and took a moment to admire the picture they made, standing side by side. Kris looked confident and handsome with his slicked-back hair, his new tuxedo custom-tailored to fit his muscular frame. The classic black and white Paul Smith tux was a contrast to Adam's more modern black-on-black ensemble. Adam's satin shawl collar would pick up the pomade shine in his black hair, and gray eyeliner enhanced the blue of his eyes, making them glow. But what completed their ensembles was the familiar way their bodies angled toward each other, heads tipped slightly inward and arms brushing, even when they stood in companionable silence. They looked phenomenal together; they would be the envy of the party, especially among a crowd trained to appreciate beauty.

Kris elbowed him in the ribs good naturedly, and Adam remembered he'd asked a question.

He quirked a freshly waxed eyebrow and sniffed, "If Brad wants to earn 20 percent, it'd better be."

It had been an act of last resort, cutting Brad in, but none of Adam's black market collectors were interested in British Regency portraiture. He had reluctantly admitted that he needed Brad's wider network to make the sale. Mrs. Siddons had been a serious miscalculation, crowning a year of bad acquisitions, and he just wanted her out of the house once and for all.

"Oh, I'll sell her," Brad said, slouching in the doorway in a midnight blue tuxedo and black silk scarf. "I've got at least three contacts attending the Guggenheim fundraiser tonight. And what better time to strike than when the checkbooks are already out? While you two mingle with the above-board crowd, I'll be making deals in the cigar lounge."

"You're talking a good game, but I'll believe it when you show me the check," Adam said.

"Kris, do you hear this? This is what our friendship's come to."

Kris ignored the bait and said, "Hey, your tux isn't black," eyeing Brad's outfit and looking down at his own one-button mohair tuxedo.

"Because I'm a rebel!" Brad preened.

Adam rolled his eyes. "Or he never learned what 'black tie' meant."

"Oh, the tie's black," Brad said airily. He pulled his bow tie from a pocket, waved it around, and then shoved it away again. "Now, let's see how you turned out." He joined the two of them in the mirror, giving Kris a once over. Brad reached around and tweaked Kris's bow tie, tugged his jacket straight, and checked the shine on Kris's patent leather shoes. "Very nice," he said, and gave a final approving nod to the watch on Kris's wrist—a Vacheron Constantin Brad had given Kris for Christmas.

"Not too bad, yourself," Adam grinned, and smoothed down a stray bit of Brad's hair that was acting up in the back.

"Hey, don't touch the hair," Brad fussed, and batted his hand away. His eyes suddenly narrowed and he grabbed Kris's arm, lifting it up to inspect his cuff. "Honey, no! Who gave you these cuff links?"

Brad shot an accusatory look at Adam, who shook his head and leaned closer to see the plain silver squares on Kris's cuffs.

Kris shrugged. "My folks, when I graduated from the academy."

"They're…fine," Adam hedged, and gave Kris a supportive smile.

"I don't think so," Brad huffed, and dragged Kris off to his bedroom. "Come on, honey, we can do so much better for you."

Kris shot Adam a bemused smile and let himself be towed. "Love you," he mouthed at Adam, and Adam mouthed back, "Love you."

Yeah, he mused as he fastened his own platinum and diamond cufflinks, it had been a year of bad acquisitions, except for one. He would take a lifetime of years like the last one just to have Kris with him like this. He raised his arms to slide on his jacket and felt a twinge that traveled from the center of his chest to his right shoulder. He'd maybe pushed the physical therapy a little too hard since New Year's; he would have to ease off for a few weeks.

Kris shouted from the other side of the condo, "Adam, he wants me to wear a shoulder holster!"

"Holsters are the new suspenders! You'll be so James Bond!"

Adam grinned, stuffed his bow tie in his pocket, and headed to Brad's room to rescue his boyfriend.

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October 2014


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