blue_soaring: (adam/tommy)
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"I don't like, have my own room," Tommy says, and winces. The phone's hot against his ear from being on it so long, and he doesn't mean to sound like he doesn't want Delmy to come to the show. He's wondering why she's showing an interest now after radio silence for so long, but that's no reason to be a dick. They had some good times when they were together.

She laughs, says, "I remember how this works. I can book my own room if you're sharing with the band."

Tommy glances up at Adam flaked out in the sun by the casino's pool. Sharing with the band, right. The rest of the band that isn't going to be here until tomorrow.

"Yeah," Tommy says. Feeling Tommy's gaze, Adam sits up slightly, sunglasses sliding down his nose so he can peer at Tommy over the rims. Tommy's stomach clenches. "That'd be good. So, um, when do you think you'll get here? I'll meet you or something."

Sounding happy, she fills him in on the details. He hopes she does that thing she used to do where she assumes he's not paying one bit of attention to her and texts him all the important parts, because for once, he kinda isn't. Adam's in the middle of chasing after the straw in his ridiculously large cocktail with his tongue, and Tommy's feeling a little distracted.

"Okay," he says when it sounds like she's winding down. "Great. See you tomorrow."

"This is great," she says, "I've really missed you," and Tommy winces again, mumbles something about missing hanging out at Tallyrand with her, and thumbs disconnect. He is the world's biggest asshole.

"You look like someone told you your dog just died," Adam says as Tommy shuffles his way in Adam's oversized flipflops back to the loungers. He drops down on one and flings both arms over his face. "Oh god, you don't have a dog, do you?"

"Don't got a fucking dog," Tommy says, muffled. "Dude, you've been to my place."

"He could live with your mom!"

Tommy drops his arms. "My ex is coming to the show."

"Oh," Adam says, frowning. "That's good?"

"I think she's thinking that maybe we could, y'know." Tommy waves vaguely. "Like it wouldn't be fucking disastrous."

Adam sips at his drink, forehead crinkled in thought. About a minute later, he holds it out to Tommy.

"Yes fucking please," Tommy says, bypassing the straw to gulp down a couple giant mouthfuls. Then a few more, and just one more, and muffles a burp in the crook of his elbow.

"You're so sexy," Adam deadpans.

"She's gonna want me to stay in her room."

Taking back his empty glass, Adam eyeballs it and sets it aside on a low table. "Do you have that type of relationship with her?"

"No," Tommy says, then remembers the time they both got drunk at one of Anderson's parties and ended up boning in the laundry room. He doesn't think it was anything aside from a one-time thing. But then, they didn't say it wasn't, either. They really didn't say much. "Maybe?"

Adam looks doubtful. "You should probably talk."

"Yeah," Tommy grumbles. "Maybe. 'Cause I don't, like, it'd be great it something just happened, right? Fell into my lap kinda thing. But I'm not looking for what she's maybe looking for? Not like, looking for it."

Adam nods. Then says, "I have no idea what you just said."

"Fuck you," Tommy says, puffing a laugh as he rolls over onto his belly, cheek pillowed on his hands. "Wanna go upstairs?"

"It's gorgeous out," Adam says, and points at the pool. "Look at that water sparkle. We should swim."

Tommy looks a the water, then back to Adam. He knows damn well which one he'd rather dive into. "Gonna get kicked out if I blow you in the pool."

Adam's mouth snaps shut with an audible click. "Oh. That kind of go upstairs."

"S'cool if you're not in the mood." Tommy can't remember a single occasion when Adam hasn't been in the mood, but maybe this whole ex-girlfriend thing is bothering him. Tommy gnaws on the inside of his cheek. "You're, uh. You're still cool with me sharing your room?"

"Yes," Adam says, way too fast. "Of course. I invited you here early, of course it's alright."

"'Kay," Tommy says, resisting the urge to poke at the tiny hole in the seam of his lounger's cushion.

"If you want to move your things later, that's okay too. Not that you have to," Adam says, scratching at his scalp. "I mean it doesn't matter to me. Either way. Whatever you like."

Right. Tommy swings his legs over and stands up. "C'mon."

Perplexed, Adam asks, "What, where?"

"Upstairs," Tommy says, grabbing Adam's wrist to haul him up. "You're bein' all weird and shit, so I'm gonna suck your dick until you quit it."

Adam says, "Oh," again, his gaze sliding down to Tommy's mouth. His eyes go dark. "Okay."

During the elevator ride up, Adam's careful to keep no less than five inches between them at all times. He leads the way down the hall, keying open the lock, and slips inside before Tommy's made it to the door. When Tommy finally gets inside the room, he's relieved to find that Adam's already got his shirt off and is picking at the knot on his swim trunks.

"Good," Tommy says, pushing Adam's hands aside to take over. "Thought you were gonna be weird about this or something."

"What's there to be weird about?" Adam says, his hand sliding into Tommy's hair as Tommy goes to his knees beside the bed, tugging harder at the knot. "Your ex-girlfriend's coming to the show hoping to get back together with you and you're about to suck me off, there's nothing weird there."

"I told you," Tommy says, yanking the string so hard it finally gives up the ghost. He shoves Adam's trunks down and spits in his palm, takes hold of Adam's semi-soft cock to jack it thick and full. "I don't wanna get back together with her. I want you to fuck my mouth for me and blow your load down my throat."

A hot rush of blood makes Adam's dick jerk in Tommy's grasp. "God, okay," Adam says, his grip in Tommy's hair going tight as Tommy rubs wet lips over the head, wanting to take a quick moment to remember all the shit he loves about sucking Adam off, everything down to the texture of Adam's cock on his tongue to the way it fills up his mouth, makes him doubt he's ever going to manage cramming the entire thing in. He sucks hard right from the start, keeping his teeth out of it and making sure he gives lots of tongue, 'cause Adam's knees almost give out on him every time he pays a lot of attention to the ridge. For a straight guy, Tommy's gotten pretty fucking good at the whole cocksucking thing.

Less good at taking it when Adam's fingers curve under the hinge of his jaw and Adam fucks in, cock grazing too close to the back of his throat and making him want to gag. He fights the urge, trying to stay loose and relaxed and keep breathing like Adam's told him a zillion times. Like Adam's telling him right now, petting his hair and his face, saying it's good, he's doing so good. He clutches at the back of Adam's thighs, shivering when his cock rubs wetly against the inside of his shorts.

"I love that this gets you hard," Adam says, voice rough, heavy, as he fucks in again, and again, slow, steady strokes rubbing Tommy's lips red and thick-feeling. Not raw yet, but if Adam went harder, faster, or keeps it up for longer than the few more minutes it seems he's going to last, they will be.

Pulling off, Tommy licks his lips. The taste of salt-sweat and Adam explodes fresh onto his tongue. "Changed my mind," Tommy says, yanking off his tank. "Jerk off on me." Adam's eyes flash wide, then slide slowly shut as he backs up the few steps he needs to sit on the edge of the bed. Tommy crawls after him, shouldering his knees wide to settle between them, and palms his cock through his shorts. "I mean it, c'mon. Jerk off on me and then blow me while I'm covered in it."

"You are so fucking dirty," Adam says, one hand wrapped around his cock, the other catching Tommy by the chin, pulling him in so Adam's cockhead grazes his lips on every other stroke. He sticks his tongue out, licking at Adam's dick every now and then, but mostly letting Adam rub on it. When Adam really goes for it, Tommy can't look away from Adam's hands on his junk, like he's never fucking seen the guy jack it before, and he ends up having to grab onto Adam's legs to keep from hauling his dick out and jerking off onto the carpet.

"Baby," Adam says, strangled low in his throat, his hand on Tommy's face asking him to stay right where he is and take it. Fingertips digging into Adam's thighs, Tommy shuts his eyes tight, breathes heavy and fast through his nose waiting for it. He jerks when come streaks warm across his cheek and he tries shuffling down lower on his knees, keeping his face tilted up. The next shot takes him across the mouth, some of it spattering his tongue, and he swallows before he thinks about it, how maybe Adam wanted to see it there. He opens his mouth up again just in case, but the rest ends up on his throat, dripping slowly down to his collarbone as Adam's cock rubs over his lips again, pushes a fraction inside. Tommy sucks hard, so hard Adam whines.

"Get your hands on me," Tommy says, shoving Adam back, crawling up on top of him on the bed. "Fuckin' Christ, Adam, c'mon, I'm gonna fucking--"

"God," Adam says, "Tommy," and stuffs both hands down the front of Tommy's trunks, balls cupped in one palm and the other rubbing over the head of Tommy's dick. Tommy pushes at his clothes, getting them as far down as he can while he's straddling Adam, and fucks into the hand Adam wraps tight around him, a little too dry and a little too rough but so fucking good. Braced on one hand, Tommy scrubs the other over the mess on his face, pushing it into his skin, not even giving a shit what the fuck's going on now as long as he gets to come.

"Wait," Adam says, trying to slow him down, "wait, c'mere, I want it in my mouth."

Tommy scrambles up, kicking his shorts the rest of the way off. Sitting on Adam's chest, hand cupping the back of Adam's neck to help support him, Tommy pushes his dick in, fucks Adam's mouth fast and shallow. But Adam keeps pulling on his hips, fucking with his rhythm trying to get him to kneel up. He gives in, and Adam falls back flat to the bed, fingers digging into Tommy's ass as he fucks down, his cock hitting the back of Adam's throat, wedging in.

A whole slew of filthy curses come pouring out of Tommy, and Adam only moans, choked-sounding, and urges him in deeper. Figuring if he's gonna die right this second, might as well die happy, Tommy does what Adam wants, fucking jams his cock so far down Adam's throat he can't possibly be able to breathe. Tommy can't fucking breathe, slick, wet muscles squeezing his cock so fucking tightly, working him over as Adam swallows and swallows, and he maybe manages to whine a warning before his balls draw up tight and the heat that's built and built and fucking built in his belly bursts free to pour straight down Adam's throat.

"Jesus, fuck, Jesusfuck," Tommy spits, rolling off the second he can fucking move. "Adam, fuck, your fucking throat, what the fuck," and Adam rolls right over on top of him, crushing him to the bed and sticking his tongue in Tommy's mouth. Adam's tastes like come, and cock, and fuck, he'd taken it all, fucking all of it, Tommy's cock shoved straight in him to the root.

Pushing Tommy's hair out of the way, Adam bites at his chin. Then his jaw. Then his mouth again, half-kisses, trailing down to lick at Tommy's throat, with a groan he realises Adam's tasting jizz on Tommy's face.

"Fuckin' kinky bitch," Tommy mutters, patting clumsily at Adam's hair.

"You got me to come on you," Adam rasps. "On your face, Tommy."

"You fucking deepthroated me," Tommy tosses back. "The day before a concert!"

Adam's smile is slow and wicked. "And you loved it."

"Came so hard think I fucking pulled something." Tommy flops back, his arms loose on Adam's shoulders. They're both warm and sticky, but it feels so good to have Adam on him again, so much naked skin pressed to his, that he doesn't really care. He cuddles in close, breathing deep the smell of skin and sweat and sex. "Better make some of that stinky tea stuff."

"Can't," Adam mumbles. "Pretty boy sucked my brains out."

"Pretty boy's getting squished," Tommy says, pushing at Adam's shoulder. "C'mon, before your throat gets too sore."

"Can't," Adam whines, burrowing closer. "You do it."

"Can't," Tommy drawls, "there's this gorgeous rock star flaked out on top of me."

Adam's head comes up so fast he almost clocks Tommy in the chin. He smiles big and wide and dazzling. "Aw, you called me gorgeous."

"Yeah, deal with it," Tommy says, managing to get enough leverage to roll Adam off. "And go make your fuckin' tea."

Adam says, "And a rock star," like a great big dork.

"Oh Jesus," Tommy mutters. "Never mind, I'll fucking make it," and Adam says, "Yay!" all raspy and sweet.

*


Fantasy Springs is big, bright and beautiful in the way a lot of Los Angeles is, only a lot less in your face about it. For a casino, it's downright relaxing. Sitting under a palm tree with Delmy beside him on the lounger isn't. Adam had stopped by to say hello about an hour ago, after Tommy sent him a text that was supposed to be his cue to get Tommy the fuck outta here, but Adam's sometimes slack on the guy code. Aside from that whole bit where Delmy coolly and calmly assessed Adam and came up with a long, pointed look aimed Tommy's way, she'd been pretty good meeting him. No star-stuck flailing, no gushing. She'd been nothing but polite. Adam totally got the silent hint she dropped and got lost so fast there were tiny puffs of dirt in his wake.

"I'm only saying it's maybe a little weird," Delmy says, sipping her drink.

"I remember you saying that a lot," Tommy says, wondering if she'd give him that look again if he went for another beer.

"I saw the kiss, Tommy."

"Everybody saw the fucking kiss. It was on television. It's on YouTube."

"Nobody was really surprised," she goes on, the same as if Tommy hadn't spoken. "You've always been really easy-going, though. It's one of the things that's great about you."

Maybe if he weren't so easy-going, he'd tell Delmy to shut up. But she hasn't really done anything. That doesn't mean much to the unsettled, angry feeling brewing in his gut.

"But sometimes you're too easy-going."

"Fuckin' tell me about it." Getting up, Tommy says, "Back in a minute," and heads for the cabana bar set up poolside, his phone in hand. To Adam he texts, thnx a fucking lot.

what'd I do? comes back immediately.

left me with her. Tommy digs a ten out of his wallet and slaps it down on the bar.

don't be an ass,, Adam writes. talk to her.

"Some fucking help you are," Tommy mutters, and ignores the weird look the bartender gives him to say thanks for his beer. He shuffles back to the loungers, and Delmy, and this way leads to certain doom.

Delmy jumps right back in with, "Your mom worries about you, you know," like he'd hit pause or something.

"I'm living my fucking dream," Tommy says. "I mean, shit, look around. We're doing international promo next. There's gonna be a tour."

"You don't like travelling," Delmy points out.

"I don't get it. Are you trying to talk me outta doing this or something? Seriously." He drags a hand back through his hair, fluffs it up. His lips are dry, and he wants to dig out his gloss, but Delmy's giving him that look again. The one that makes him feel like he's five years old caught doing something he shouldn't.

She leans against his shoulder. "I'm just worried that maybe you could end up doing something you don't want to do because you feel pressured."

Tommy drags in a slow breath. There are tons of good things about Delmy. Right now, he can't remember a single fucking one. "I'm not, okay? Quit worrying. Don't like, harsh the bassist's mellow a couple hours before showtime."

"You're not a bassist," she says. "You're a guitarist. You're a really amazing blues guitarist, and this is a stepping stone for you."

The second Tommy says, "It's not," he realises he means it. This isn't a stop on the road for him. If it leads to other side projects, maybe the chance to play in a real blues band, to play lead guitar once or twice, that would be awesome. But he wants to do this. He wants to play with Adam, and tour the world, and perform music that changes people's lives. Adam's music. "Seriously. This is it. I'm gonna do this for as long as Adam wants me."

"I thought you wanted a family."

"I do," Tommy says, and he means that too. "There some reason I can't have both?" Delmy's gaze cuts down and to the side, her mouth going thin. He sits up straighter. "What the fuck's that supposed to mean?"

"Your friends joke about it all the time, and it's never bothered you. I've always thought that was incredibly open-minded," Delmy says carefully. "A lot of guys would get upset."

"You're not fucking serious."

Delmy shrugs one shoulder. "Your mom wants grandkids."

"Jesus," Tommy says, and laughs sharply. "Wow."

"What?" Delmy says. She pushes at Tommy's shoulder. "I'm being completely honest with you. You could do the same."

Tommy can't fucking believe this shit. "You're seriously sitting there asking me if I'm letting Adam fucking Lambert stick it to me in exchange for a shot at the big time."

"No," she quickly says. "No, that's not what I'm asking, Tommy, god. Why do you have to be so crude?"

"So what are you asking?"

"I'm not asking anything! I'm saying," she says, much more evenly, "that a lot of people that might be interested in you for you might be discouraged because of some of the things you do on stage. They might think you're not available, or not interested anymore."

"This is all really abstract, like, double-speak shit." Standing up, Tommy digs out his phone again. "I'm glad you're here to see the show and all, and I hope you enjoy it 'cause Adam's a fucking kickass singer, but I don't want to talk about crap like this. Because it is crap. Total bullshit."

"It wouldn't be so off-putting if he didn't keep saying how straight you are," Delmy says, standing up to stay eye-level with him, "and then grope you in front of thousands of people."

"Hey," Tommy says into the phone when his call connects. "I'm coming up, that okay?"

"What?" Adam says. "Already? What happened, are you--"

"Be there in a few," Tommy tells Adam, then, with Adam babbling questions in his ear, says to Delmy, "There are worse fucking things than being groped by Adam Lambert, okay?" which shuts Adam up faster than Tommy's dick stuck in his mouth.

"This is what broke us up both times," Delmy says. "You and Mike, and you and Anderson, and now you and him."

"Oh my god," Adam says quietly.

"We're not together," Tommy says. "We didn't even talk about getting back together. We tried being friends, we hooked up, then we didn't talk for like, months."

Delmy's mouth thins down to a tight, unhappy line. "This isn't how I meant for the conversation to go."

"Well, just, think about what the hell you wanted it to go like, okay? I gotta go get ready for the show."

"Tommy," Delmy says, at the exact same time Adam does, and Tommy grits his teeth. Even softer than before, Adam says, "I'm sorry."

"Fuckin' right you are," Tommy says, and sighs. He doesn't look back to see if Delmy's watching, or thinking about following, as he heads for the bank of elevators inside. "That was fucking brutal."

"She sounds like she loves you," Adam says.

"She loves this idea she's got of me." Tommy jabs the call button for the elevator. "But there's too much about me she wants to change, man. Which fucking sucks, because she's gorgeous, and she can be sweet and amazing, but only when I'm not being, like, me."

"What she said about Mike," Adam says cautiously, leaving it hanging.

"Me and Mike never did fucking anything." Tommy slumps against the railing inside the car, shivering in the overconditioned air. He didn't even want to do anything with Mike. Maybe be his platonic heterosexual lifemate or something, but not like, suck his dick. Not that he didn't considering it a time or two, just not in any way like he considers sucking Adam's dick. With the getting hard and stuff. And then actually doing it.

"Ah," Adam says.

"What's 'ah'?" Tommy grumbles, watching the numbers count up.

"You told her about us."

Tommy gnaws on the inside of his lip. The elevator chimes, doors swooshing open, before he's got an answer. "I'm like, down the hall. See you in a few." He thumbs disconnect.

Adam meets him at the door. "That was bitchy."

"Didn't wanna talk about it in the hallway," Tommy says, waiting until Adam steps back to let him inside. Shutting the door, he leans against it, scrubbing a hand through his hair again. "I didn't say anything about us. Not really something she's gotta know, y'know?"

"She really didn't want me around," Adam says, pulling Tommy's hand from his hair. "Stop tugging on it, you'll give yourself a headache."

Tommy knuckles hard at one eye. "Already got one. She was, fuck. Making this whole big deal out of the stuff we pull on stage. Like I'm up there actually rubbing one off on you."

Heading for the minibar, Adam cracks it open, pulling out a small, single-serving size of vodka and tequila each. "Here," he says, opening the vodka and holding it out. "Shooting booze seems to be your preferred coping mechanism."

"Makes me think I'm cool like the Duke," Tommy mumbles, and knocks it back. He raises an eyebrow at the tequila Adam holds out, shocked there's no salt and a slice of lime to make it proper because that's the way Adam rolls, but he takes it anyway. It burns all the way down and hits his stomach like lava.

"Better?"

"Yeah." Hauling off his shirt, Tommy rubs cooling sweat off the back of his neck and lets it drop to the floor. He heads for the bed. "C'mon."

"While I think sex is a very healthy alternative to shots--"

"Shut up." Tommy flops down on his back. "Crawl on up and cuddle like you're fucking supposed to after my ex rakes my ass over the coals."

"Oh baby," Adam says, already on his way. He pauses long enough to strip off his shirt when Tommy complains, then stretches out halfway on top of him, knee tucked between his calves and head pillowed on his chest. "I thought maybe this would be good for you."

In middle of twining Adam's hair around his fingers, Tommy pauses to snort a laugh. "She dumped my ass twice."

"I'm sorry," Adam repeats.

"We tried the whole friends thing." Tommy's not so sure Adam wants to hear this shit. While Adam's his friend, he's also Tommy's boss, and on top of that, the guy Tommy's doing. Messy all the way around. "But like. Some of the shit she was saying, man. As if playing your fucking sex kitten on stage is gonna ruin me for life, and marriage, and kids and a place in suburbia and all that, Jesus."

Adam's voice hums through Tommy's chest when he speaks. "You'd be great with kids."

"Right? Like you. Kids fucking love you." Rubbing a hand over his face, Tommy shoves his fingers back through his hair one last time and tucks his arm under his head. "I don't even fucking know what she was trying to get at."

"Touring will be tough," Adam says. "I don't know if I'd be able to be with someone and not be able to bring them along for the ride."

Tommy's mouth goes dry. He works his tongue around a bit and swallows. "Someone you got your eye on courting, Mr. Lambert?"

Laughing, Adam looks up, his chin propped on the back of one hand. "No. But I've got you, and I'm going to bring as many friends with me as I can. You're my plus-one for when I can't get a date, right?"

"Long as I don't gotta wear a tie."

"Hey," Adam says, rising up on his hands and knees to crawl up close enough to kiss, "you look really good in a skinny tie, all buttoned up."

"You just want something else to haul me around by." Palming the back of Adam's head, Tommy drags him in to make good on that kiss his eyes are promising.

"Do not," Adam says, their lips brushing, "like your hair just fine," and then nobody's talking at all anymore.

*


That night during the show, there's sometimes this weird vibe like Adam's thinking about playing around with him but doesn't, and then a couple other times when Adam's got that stubborn look he gets when people are trying to tell him what to do and he goes for it in spades. Maybe it's their families in the audience. Maybe it's Tommy's ex down there with his parents--his dad, who shouldn't be out of the fucking hospital but try stopping him--and that conversation hanging over their heads. Either way, Adam's on fucking fire, and he looks awesome in all those shiny blue-black feathers matching his hair, the hat that makes him look slick as a conman, and his legs are fucking amazing in those pants. Halfway through the set, Tommy gets hit with a crystal-fucking-clear memory of those legs wrapped around his hips, Adam stretched out beneath him, and in five seconds flat he's hard enough to pound fucking nails.

He'd totally rather pound Adam.

An eternity later, the show's over, no encore thank fuck. Tommy hurries to pack his shit away, thinking about their make-out session earlier that afternoon that didn't have a chance to get past some really amazing heavy petting. He shoots Adam a text asking if he's planning on crashing in his room, and if he's up for some company, as he heads out of the theatre.

"Tommy," somebody calls.

Slowing, he turns around, ready to offer up some autographs and a few pictures if they'll let him slip off quickly. Instead of fans, he finds Delmy, and further back by a potted palm, attempting to give them some space, the ragtag collection of significant others of some of his bandmates.

"The show was incredible," she says.

He smiles, gut-reaction to the compliment, and turns his phone over in his hands. "Thanks."

Taking a deep breath, she goes on. "I wanted to apologise about this afternoon. I wasn't expressing myself very clearly."

"S'okay," Tommy says. "Kinda used to it with me and you, y'know?"

Delmy's smile falters. "I was hoping maybe we could give being friends another shot? Without the rest of it getting in the way."

"Friends, yeah," Tommy says. "I mean, maybe we should. Adam's always talking about how he and his ex are really awesome friends now, and he's glad they tried."

There's a flicker in Delmy's expression, something that makes Tommy think maybe friends isn't where she was hoping it would stop. He backs up half a step. "I should like, with the band."

"The band," she asks, eyebrows raised, "or Adam?"

"That isn't--"

"It is," she says, thankfully soft enough the people milling around probably can't overhear. "I think the sooner you're ready to admit that, the better for you both it'll be."

This time, Delmy's the one making the smooth exit while Tommy's standing there like an idiot. It takes him a couple seconds to realise his phone's chiming. Flipping it over, he finds a text from Adam.

y. so much, baby. get here quick.

Tommy goes.

*


"You're pining," Mike says.

"What the fuck is up with that word." Tommy throws his controller down on the couch, collapsing back with his hands over his face. "People keep using that word."

"And it means exactly what you think it means."

"Shut up."

Mike sighs. "You've been stuck in the house all week."

"Doin' my thing," Tommy mumbles. "Y'know, that thing I do. Where I don't go out."

Dryly, Mike says, "Yes. Moping."

"I'm not fucking moping!"

"You've checked your phone seventeen times in the last ten minutes, you're fucking moping. Either call him, or go cuddle one of his sweaty shirts, or fucking something." Mike shoves his shoulder. "Sex him up over the phone if you've got to, I don't care. Just do it."

"Fine, okay, fuck," Tommy says, and throws on his jacket, grabs his boots and Mike's keys. "I'm borrowing your fucking car, asshole."

"Bring it back in one piece this time!"

"Fuck you," Tommy mutters, stomping down the stairs.

Way too long later, he pulls into Adam's driveway. Sitting there with the engine idling, he wonders if he's seriously pathetic enough to do this shit.

He totally is.

Inside Adam's place feels lonely. Dropping his keys onto the table in the hall, he quickly punches in the code to the alarm. He's not sure who gets the call when Adam's out of the country, but whoever it is, he doesn't want them wondering what Tommy's doing over here while Adam's gone. Adam turned him down when he offered to housesit again. Said it wasn't fair for Tommy to be stuck watching his place while he was gone for so long.

"I'm fucking crazy," Tommy tells the empty kitchen. Predictably, it doesn't have an opinion.

Shedding his jacket and leaving it slung over a chair, Tommy heads for the bedroom. If he's going to do this, he's doing it all the fucking way. His boots he leaves in the hall, and his sweater at the foot of the bed. The rest of his clothes he leaves on as he crawls under cool sheets and shoves his face into Adam's pillow. It smells way too clean. Adam's mom must've been over to tidy up for him, and thrown them into the wash.

He's not gonna cry. He's fucking not.

Digging his phone out of his pocket, he goes to open up the last round of texts he and Adam exchanged. Total random shit that shouldn't make him feel better but does. When his phone starts ringing, he almost drops the fucking thing.

"Hi, hey," Tommy says in a rush, jamming the phone to his ear.

Adam's laugh is pure warmth flowing across the airwaves. "Hi. Did I interrupt something?"

"No." Burrowing all the way under Adam's blankets, Tommy closes his eyes. It almost feels like being back in Cabo, the air hot and close. "I was just like, it's weird. I was thinking 'bout you."

"Yeah?" Adam says, quiet and intimate under the sheets, happy. "It's amazing here. Every five minutes there's something else I want to show you."

"Like what, spill," Tommy says, and Adam starts talking about, like, fucking everything, from this barista in Australia who made a latte for him a half hour before the store was open, to this squatting statue in the middle of some fountain that he thought Tommy would find hilarious, to how every single treat in a Japanese vending machine was plastered with smiles, like eating pounded rice cake would be the best thing to ever happen to you (Adam pauses to say it is pretty tasty), to accents to fans to things Tommy isn't even sure exist because he's falling asleep while Adam talks, and bits and pieces of dreams are horning in on the conversation.

And then it's morning. Sunlight streams in through the half-open blinds. Tommy rolls over, wincing at the ache of the phone imprinted on the side of his face. He's sticky-warm under the blankets, his clothes clinging uncomfortably from being slept in.

"Good morning," comes a woman's voice from the doorway.

"Oh shit," Tommy says. Leila waggles her fingers in a little wave, smiling. "Uh."

"Would you like some breakfast?" she asks.

Not really what Tommy expected, considering he broke into her son's house to sleep in his bed. Well, he has a key, but still. "Um, sure?"

"Good," she says, and pushes away from the doorframe. "Wash up and brush your teeth. I'll drive."

Tommy grabs up his phone and stumbles to the bathroom. Before he does anything, even breathe, he types out, dude ur mom caught me in ur bed. am i gonna die?and sends it off. Like Adam, Leila doesn't really seem the murderous type. But also like Adam, she seems fiercely protective, and he wouldn't want to put money down on which one'll win out when it comes to family.

By the time he's done taking a leak and cleaning up, Adam still hasn't replied. It's probably like, four in the morning where Adam is. Staring into the mirror, Tommy fluffs his hair, thinks about the last time somebody's parents gave him The Talk, and, shoulders hunched, shuffles off to face the music.

In the car, Leila's conversation is simple, mostly safe. She asks about jamming with the band, how long Tommy's been playing, if he always wanted to be a musician. Partly out of self-defence, and partly because once Tommy gets started on the whole music thing it's kinda hard to shut him up, he tells her about the beat-up acoustic he bribed his mom into buying for him with the promise of doing all the chores for six months (which he mostly made good on), and a couple bands he's been in (all of them pretty awesome dudes but not as awesome as Adam's dudes), and how he got shit for not having a backup plan for when music failed him.

"You sound just like him," Leila says, smiling with Mona Lisa's mouth.

Tommy realises they're in a parking lot already, stopped. "We, um, share a lot of ideas," he says, hand on the door. There's a big sign in the window of the building in front of them with a pancake flatter than his ass pictured on it. He should've known Adam's mom wouldn't bring him to somewhere like IHOP. "This is it?"

"Mmhm," she hums, sliding out into the sunlight. "Adam prefers American pancakes, but I've always loved Dutch style."

Tommy says, "Awesome," and follows her out. He's up for trying something new. Skipping ahead a few steps, he grabs the door to hold it open for her, belatedly realising she might think he's sucking up. She doesn't seem bothered, though, smiling that same, bemused smile at him that Adam sometimes does. Adam is so his mother's son.

Once they're seated, and Tommy gets a good look at the menu, the churning in his stomach turns to a hungry growl. "Oh man," he says, "it's like, they put bacon in the pancake."

Menu on the table, hands folded in front of her chin, Leila says, "Adam said you don't have a sweet tooth like he does."

Salty pancakes. Tommy's gonna eat seven of them to make up for the travesty that was living his life not knowing about the existence of Dutch pancakes. There are ones on the menu that come with fruit and stuff, so he figures they're a lot like crepes, but whatever. Bacon. In his pancakes.

Placing his order, he's pretty sure the poor waitress thinks he's high. He mentally promises her the best tip ever.

Leila's laugh drags his gaze away from where the server vanishes into the kitchen. "I see why he likes you," she says.

Nervously shoving his hair back behind his ears, Tommy tries, "Because I might eat his food before he can?"

"No," she says, and sips at the cup of tea the server brought along unasked when coming to take their order. "You enjoy things. Music and movies, pancakes with bacon. You love life the way he does."

Tommy can't help a snorting laugh. "No way, I'm a total hermit. Not really big on parties and crowds and stuff."

"I didn't say that," Leila says, putting her cup down. "Whatever you do, you love doing it. So does he."

Tommy tugs at the sleeve of his jacket. The server shows up then with his coffee, and he's so beyond grateful for something to do with his hands that he bumps her tip up another ten percent. It totally feels like he's being vetted here. Adam wouldn't tell his mom they were like, sleeping together, though. Not with it being so casual.

But maybe she knows anyway. In that way where moms always know. Somehow, Tommy's mom knows something is up. She hasn't asked, but with the way she's hollering at Dr. Phil over Twitter every five minutes, she's gotta. Tommy's not really impressed with her coping method, so he hasn't brought it up. Safer that way.

Leila's still watching him, as calm and patient as a predator waiting to pounce. Not that he thinks she's gonna tear him to pieces or anything, it's just disconcerting, that's all. He clears his throat and gulps another mouthful of too-hot coffee. "We're not dating. I mean, if you thought we maybe were. I needed a place to crash last night."

She doesn't look like she buys it. But instead of giving him the third degree about it, she asks, "Housemate troubles, or girlfriend troubles?"

"Neither," Tommy says, and works hard to hide a wince. He so sucks at this subterfuge shit. "My housemates are cool, and I don't have a girlfriend. Tough to find somewhere to be alone when you share a house, though, and I kinda needed to be. Think I forgot to tell Adam where I was when we were talking last night, but I think he's okay with it?"

There's something in the look Leila's giving him that he can't nail down. Not angry or annoyed, that's for sure, but not really happy, either. "I must've misunderstood," she says. "I thought he pointed out a girl named Delmy at the casino."

"No," Tommy says, way too fast, making Leila's eyebrows wing up in a look just like the one Adam gave him. He almost chokes on his tongue trying to get the next words out, then has to swallow them back down again and work up a smile for the server that brings their food out. Tommy's looks absolutely fucking amazing. He wonders if he's gonna be able to eat it. "She was. A long, long time ago. And she was maybe hoping to give it another shot, but I'm not, I mean, she's a really awesome person and all, but we don't click. Not where we'd be good for one another." He scrubs a hand over his face and gives a weird barking laugh. "We kinda make each other crazy in really not awesome ways."

"Strange that Adam thought you were together," she says, perfectly evenly, not one bit accusatory. It's impressive.

"I think he thought maybe we would give it a shot?" Picking up a fork, Tommy starts rolling his pancake up like a rug and cuts off a big chunk. "Or that maybe we'd be friends like him and Brad. But, um."

"You don't think so," she says, spooning some mixed fruit and cream onto her pancake.

Tommy says, "Friends would be cool," and quickly stuffs his mouth full. Bacon or something gets stuck in his throat when he tries to swallow, and he gulps coffee to get it down. As soon as the lump hits his belly, he forks up another even bigger chunk.

Leila reaches across the table, hand laid on Tommy's arm. "I'm not interrogating you, Tommy. I'm wondering why I found you in Adam's bed, drooling on your phone, while he's halfway around the world, but I'm not going to make you tell me."

Keeping his mouth shut right now would be the very best thing he could do. Instead of playing it smart--he never fucking plays it smart--he says, "I was lonely. Adam's place is cool, and I've got some good memories there, so I figured, why not." Leila nods, and glances down at his breakfast. Far less frantic than before, he takes another bite. When she doesn't say anything else, spooning up a strawberry from her own plate, he relaxes another tiny fraction. "The girlfriend thing is stressing me out. My mom's worried I'm gonna end up alone or something."

"Moms worry about those sorts of things," Leila says.

"Yeah, but. It's not like I got an expiration date. I don't wanna be with someone for the sake of being with someone. That's just." He waves his hand vaguely. He doesn't want to say dumb, even if he thinks it is, because some people really do want that out of life. "I want someone I wanna be with. Someone that's not looking for anything more than just being with me."

For a minute, Tommy thinks he's maybe said too much. This is his boss's mom he's out to breakfast with, for fuck's sake. But Leila gives him another smile, and taps a finger against her cup. "I could use more tea. More coffee for you?"

Tommy doesn't even look into his mug to see if it's empty. "Yes, please."

*


"I don't care if you're not in the budget," Adam's saying, grabbing onto the bar above Tommy's head as the SkyTrain, Vancouver's answer to the problem of building a subway in a city that doesn't really have much in the way of stable underground, sails around a curve in the track, "next time, you're coming with me. I'll pack you myself if I have to."

Tommy laughs and clings harder to the pole in front of him. It's close to the last train of the night, but headed from Davie Street back out to Richmond, there are plenty of seats open. Despite that, Adam's drunk enough that he thinks standing is a good idea, and if Tommy sits down, he'll lose Adam pressed against his back, and that would be like, fucking disastrous. Plus, Tommy's pretty sure he's the only thing holding Adam up.

"Said it was cool," Tommy says, tilting his head back so he can look up at Adam. Not that he sees much beside the bottom of Adam's chin, and maybe a sliver of nose. "I hung out with your mom, and used up all your fancy-ass shampoo. It was a good time."

"God," Adam says, and rubs his cheek against the hair buzzed short on one side of Tommy's head. "My place is always so cold and empty when I'm gone for awhile. Coming home to find you there was amazing."

For the maybe dozenth time, Tommy says, "Sorry I just, like, moved in."

"No," Adam squawks, grabbing onto Tommy around the waist like he thinks Tommy's going anywhere while they're rattling along at sixty miles an hour a couple dozen yards above the ground. "No, I loved it. I'd make you do it next time except you're not staying behind ever again."

"You said that like, five times already," Tommy says, "you gonna handcuff me to your luggage or something?" and Adam growls, "Don't tempt me," in Tommy's ear, hot and kinda drunkenly, and like he absolutely means it.

Busy digging up a reply, Tommy's one step behind as Adam swings around to fall easily into one of the seats. "C'mere," Adam says, and drags Tommy down, Tommy tripping over his own feet and then Adam's knees, and though he started out with his back to Adam, somehow he ends up straddling Adam's lap face to face, his knees on the seat. Adam sinks lower, grip settling on Tommy's hips to steady him as the train rocks.

"Just gonna look at me," Tommy asks, "or you gonna kiss me?"

"Gonna kiss you so much," Adam says, smiling widely, but he makes no move to do it. Tommy thinks about the others left behind, maybe still partying, or maybe already in a cab on their way back to the hotel. He hadn't really put two and two together when Adam had dragged him out into the street, too much alcohol in his veins and the night air so fucking freezing he burrowed into Adam's side, not caring where they were going as long as it was somewhere warm. Looking down at Adam now, he knows exactly what Adam wants.

As Adam's hands slide down to cup his ass, the next stop is announced and the train slows. Tommy doesn't get it until the door swoosh open, then he's scrambling up, hauling on Adam saying, "S'our stop, c'mon, shit, c'mon," not sure why the fuck he's in a panic. They stumble out onto the platform, Adam laughing and Tommy panting like he ran a fucking marathon.

"C'mon, baby," Adam says, and, lacing their fingers together, drags Tommy into the River Rock Casino, making a beeline for the elevators and from there, Adam's room. The door slams shut behind them with Tommy's brain still on the SkyTrain heading for the airport. Adam nudges him back against the wall, hands sliding over Tommy's jaw up into his hair.

Tommy gets as far as, "Adam," before Adam's tongue is in his mouth, tasting of booze and salty peanuts, and Tommy tries going with it like he usually does, letting Adam lead since that's what gets Adam off. But he can't relax, all wound up, and he fists his hands in the front of Adam's shirt, shoves him back.

"What," Adam starts, and then he's the one swallowing words as Tommy yanks him down for more kisses, pushing him back step by slow step to the bed. He stumbles when he hits the side of the mattress, and Tommy gives him another rough push. Hitting it flat on his back, he scrambles up on his elbows, mouth slack and, "Oh god yes," tumbling out of it as Tommy climbs on top of him, tearing his fly open to get a hand inside.

"Wanna watch you fuck it," Tommy says, pushing Adam's shirt out of the way and spitting in his palm to make it slick and easy. Still not easy enough, though. He really wants to see Adam go for it. Listing sideways, he scrabbles at Adam's bag still on the bed, hooking the strap with his fingertips to drag it closer. Adam always puts the lube in the same pocket, so it's a quick find. He rubs a big dollop of it between his hands and gets both back on Adam's junk before Adam's managed to do much more than blink.

Adam says, "Oh my god," again when Tommy tugs at his balls, rolls them in one hand while the other's wrapped loose around his dick. Playing with them keeps Adam squirming instead of fucking, these high, squeaky noises caught in his throat as Tommy starts jacking, his eyes wide open like it's just too fucking much to handle. Tommy's not even sure what the fuck he's doing, feeling Adam up, groping him everywhere, and when Adam's knee bumps his lower back, he shoves his hand down further, the teeth of Adam's zip scraping up the back of his wrist as he gets a few fingers snugged against Adam's hole.

"I wanted," Adam says, breath catching as he falls back flat to the bed again, clutching one-handed at the duvet, "god, Tommy, I wanted to fuck you, please, it was so good."

"Yeah, well, you're gonna fuck my hand for me instead." Scooting back, Tommy sits down on Adam's legs, pinning him. "Both of 'em. Fuck 'em and ride 'em, babyboy. That work for you?"

Adam makes a noise that sure as fuck sounds like okay to Tommy, and he crooks his wrist, lets the restless, desperate push of Adam trying to fuck up into Tommy's grip rock him down onto Tommy's fingers, too. It works like a fucking dream. Like the best motherfucking dream ever. Adam settles into a sweet, rolling rhythm, dick hot in Tommy's hand, his body even hotter clenching tight around Tommy's fingers. Adam's head is tipped way back, his mouth moving like he's still trying to talk, or maybe just trying to breathe.

"Come on, baby, c'mon," Tommy says, pushing against Adam's insides, getting him to rock up harder, pause shuddering at the peak. "Give it up for me, I wanna see you fuck, wanna see you move, wanna see you come so fucking hard for me, make you pass out it's so good." Adam's palm smacks against Tommy's forearm. He grabs on like he's about to fall off the side of a cliff, nails close to cutting into Tommy's ink. Tommy doesn't even think about shaking him off, just says, "Harder, fucking do it harder, know you can, fucking felt you giving it to me."

Adam twists, gasps out something like a warning. Tommy gets a hand covering the head of Adam's cock just in time so come spills all over his fingers, so he can feel the push of it, the way Adam's dick throbs when he presses hard against Adam's prostate. He keeps stroking the sweet little spot, leaving his other hand still, coaxing every last bit out of Adam until he starts shuddering, moaning like it hurts but he doesn't want it to stop.

Almost as reluctant as he is desperate, Tommy drags his hand out of Adam's pants, carelessly wiping lube off on Adam's shorts to open up his own jeans. With his other hand, the one absolutely fucking covered in Adam's come, he hauls his cock out, jacks it rough and fast staring down at Adam flaked out on the bed, all in a mess with his shirt rucked up, junk glistening in the low light with come and spit and lube.

One of Adam's eyes cracks open. He says, "Shit," like it's a fucking shock that Tommy would want to get off after that, and pulls out some fancy, unbelievable bucking roll thing that knocks Tommy off his perch. Tommy hits the bed on his side, head spinning, and Adam doesn't even bother to roll him over before sucking him in. It's wet and sloppy and a fucking mess, and Tommy's seriously impressed he lasts twenty fucking seconds before he goes off.

Long, long minutes later, Tommy starting to shiver because he's lying here with his junk wet, Adam says, "Okay. That was good too."

"Fuck you, good," Tommy says, aiming to smear the mess on his hand across Adam's face. "S'fucking awesome."

Adam says, "Ew, no come-swapping games when it's cold," and flails vaguely at Tommy's arm, managing to knock it far enough off-course his face is out of immediate danger, even though his neck isn't. Tommy manages to get a hand-hold on the hair at Adam's nape, making sure he takes the time to really rub it in. Rolling his face against Tommy's belly, Adam mumbles, "Brat."

"But I put out, so it's cool."

"Jizz in your hair next time," Adam threatens.

"Been there, done that."

"M'gonna pass out." Heaving a sigh, Adam tries sitting up. He doesn't get far. "Gonna pass out, and this is gonna be gross tomorrow."

Ever practical, Tommy says, "Worry 'bout it then," and Adam grunts, managing to clamber up enough that it's not so cold cuddling together.

Three hours later when they wake up, it's totally disgusting. Tommy bitches and Adam laughs and they wash up. They write the duvet off as a lost cause until housekeeping can rescue it, and crawl back into bed, Adam tucking Tommy into the curve of his body, keeping him warm.

The mess was so worth it.

*


April slips into May, into June, and they're on fucking tour. A real, vaguely schizophrenic with the way it zigzags all over the damn place, cross-country tour. He's on a tour bus. His own god damn motherfucking tour bus.

His head's gonna explode.

"I know, right?" Allison says, bounding by to fling her stuff into her bunk. She flings herself in after it and starts tearing through it, turning her tiny living space into an excellent replica of a teenaged girl's domain in ten seconds flat. "Bet you're glad we're not flying."

"Can't tour by airplane," Dave puts in, carefully stowing his guitar. "Man, this is something. Opening for Adam Lambert on a national tour."

Allison sticks her tongue out. "Newbie."

"Can't all be American Idols, either, squirt," Tommy adds. And like, speaking of. He knocks his fist against the side of Allison's bunk. "Gonna go find boss man. Back in a few."

"Ooh," Allison says. "Boss man. Adam must like that."

Halfway down the stairs into the sunlight, Tommy flips her off. Outside is bustling, everybody busy setting up the venue to pull off one last rehearsal before opening night. He's nervous, and excited, and it doesn't seem to matter he's been playing shows for months already with these guys. It's gotta be perfect. He's gonna give it everything he's got.

He finds Adam inside the Kirby Centre surrounded by a circle of techs. How the first stop on Adam's Glam Nation turned out to be Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Tommy doesn't even want to know. Picking a path through the cords strewn all over the place, he heads over to Adam, catching snippets of conversation but more than that, the stress in Adam's voice. He doesn't know what it's about, but he doesn't need to. When he bumps into Adam's side, Adam's arm goes around his waist. He stands there, not really listening anymore, as Adam's voice gradually modulates, and somebody says something that makes Adam smile.

"Oh thank god," Adam says, people bustling off, breaking into their own groups to do whatever the hell they all just decided on. He kisses the side of Tommy's head and mumbles, "How'd you know I needed a hug?"

"Psychic vampire powers," Tommy says. "Gimme the code to your bus. I wanna see this bed Sutan's bragging about."

"It's not Sutan's bed," Adam says, and turns them around, his arm still on Tommy's waist, to head back outside. "It's my bed. And if I find anybody in it that's not invited, I'm gonna expect sexual favours as payment."

"Better make sure Allison knows that."

Adam cringes. "Oh god, way to destroy all my sexy fantasies."

"God giveth boners," Tommy intones, "and god taketh boners away."

Adam rolls his eyes and totally fails at fighting off a giggle.

At the bus, Adam tells him the code, and lets him head on up first. It looks less like a band bus and more like a motorhome with mansion aspirations. Making noises like he's not impressed, Tommy heads for Adam's room in the back past the bunks that look as tiny and cramped as the ones on his bus. The door's already open, and Tommy steps inside, lips pursed in a low whistle. "Fuckin' hotel room on wheels," he says, crossing over to give the bed a curious poke. It moulds around his hand soft as a squished marshmallow. He flops down onto the sheets in a careless sprawl, eyes closing as he heaves a satisfied sigh. "Cool. You can go back to work now, wake me when it's showtime."

The door snicks shut. "What did I tell you about crawling into my bed uninvited?"

Keeping his eyes closed, Tommy says, "Not uninvited. Totally gave me the code."

"I don't think it works that way."

Adam's shadow falls dark over Tommy's face. He grins, and wiggles deeper into the bed, getting comfy. "Nap time. Check back later."

"Oh, I really don't think so," Adam says, mostly a fucking growl, and grabs onto Tommy's junk through his jeans. Tommy barely bites back a yelp, honestly not expecting that shit right off the bat, his eyes flying wide open. The first thing he sees is Adam's hand on him, squeezing gently, and then his gaze shoots up, lands on Adam's wicked grin. "If you're in my bed, I get to play with you."

Swallowing hard, Tommy says, "'Kay."

Adam's eyebrows shoot up. "Okay?" he echoes dumbly.

"Yeah." Totally calling Adam's bluff, 'cause absolutely fucking anybody could walk onto the bus looking for them, Tommy tucks his arms beneath his head and spreads his thighs wider. "What're you gonna do? Gonna just like, feel me up or what?"

Indecision flickers across Adam's face, then his eyes narrow. "Yes," he says, and, taking hold of Tommy's shirt at the hem, shoves it all the way up under Tommy's armpits. He tears open Tommy's fly next, and Tommy flashes back to the very first time they did this, him crammed onto a vanity in the refurbed Alexandria hotel and Adam above him in leather and spikes, Adam getting off on just looking at him. His heartbeat stutters to a split-second stop and almost doesn't start again.

Wriggling around, Tommy shoves his jeans down just far enough to make sure Adam can see it all, then grabs onto his shirt, thinking about hauling it off, and remembers at the last second he'd only held it up out of the way that first time. So that's what he does this time, breathing hard and heavy while Adam looks down at him, so much heat in Adam's eyes Tommy wonders if he's gonna end up sunburnt.

"Baby," Adam says, soft and weirdly reverent as his hand strokes up Tommy's side. He swings a leg over to straddle Tommy's thighs and gets his other hand involved, fingers curved over Tommy's pecs, the curve of both thumbs and forefingers framing Tommy's nipples. He gives a small squeeze like Tommy's got tits or something, then rubs his palms up over them, and nerves spark like maybe he's onto something. A little nipple action's never been a bad thing, but it's not like Tommy's had somebody focused on them before like Adam's focusing now.

Adam says, "Hold onto your dick, baby," thumbs rubbing back and forth, and back and forth, "just hold it for me, don't play with it."

Licking his lips wet, Tommy wraps a hand lightly around his cock. He's getting hard already, what the fuck. "Thought you were gonna play with it for me."

"I'm so going to play with you," Adam says, and scoots down, tee catching on Tommy's damp cockhead. Fingers spread wide around Tommy's nipple, Adam licks it wet, faint, ticklish pleasure tripping down Tommy's nerves, then rubs it with his fingers, his lips, making sure it's good and sensitive for when he gives it a rough suck.

Tommy's spine bows. "Holy fuck," he spits, because seriously, what the fuck. That took him from mostly there to so hard he's aching, and Adam grins, tongues at his nipple again, winding up the tension in Tommy's belly so tight it feels like a string about to snap. And then Adam bites, fucking bites, and sucks, and strokes fingertips up Tommy's sides so lightly he knows it's gotta tickle like a son of a bitch. A noise wedges in Tommy's throat, stuck halfway between a gasp and a giggle, and Adam nips his way up to lick at the curve of Tommy's arm. That fucking tickles straight up, but Adam fucking pinches his nipple at the same time, and that messes it all up so bad Tommy's not sure if it's awesome or terrible or both.

"Beautiful," Adam says, leaning up to kiss Tommy's mouth. But that's no reprieve, Adam's fingers rubbing at wet skin, stuttering dry on their way over to gently pinch at Tommy's other nipple, wake up more buzzing nerves. Tommy twists away with a grunt and Adam's hands skid up his sides, grabbing onto him under the arms, thumbs right there to dig in while Adam licks at his chest, nibbles and bites and sucks and seriously drives him fucking insane with the crazy, manic buzzing nailing him straight to the bone.

And then Adam says, "Oh my god, I want to fuck you so bad," and Tommy's stomach lurches. "So, so gorgeous, baby, I love it," is a smear of words against Tommy's throat, "can't ever stop squirming, can you, gonna find a way to do it one day, wear you out so much you can't even move," and Adam kisses him, kisses him so hard his lips sting and he thinks about doing it, letting Adam inside him again.

With a grunt, Adam flops down beside him on the bed, curling a hand possessively over Tommy's still clutching at his junk. "If we didn't have a show to do tonight," Adam says, leaving it hanging. He moves his hand lazily, hardly jacking Tommy at all, but Tommy's insides light up like the New York skyline at midnight. "Come on, baby," he says, mouthing in under Tommy's jaw, "nice and slow for me."

When Tommy comes five minutes later, Adam's voice quiet and sweet in his ear, Adam's hands big and warm on his skin, gently coaxing, he's so twisted up inside he can't think.

*


By the time Tommy hits the stage that night, his head's not straightened out at all. The crowd is going nuts. It's like he's high, and drunk, and he's maybe a little turned on, and his fingers are fucking itching to play.

Then Adam's silhouette appears, and the frenzied thrumming in his bones does an about-face, slamming into him so hard he takes a few quick, stumbling steps closer to the stairs. He wants Adam's hands on him. He wants Adam's hands, and his mouth, and his fucking dick. Tommy doesn't even fucking care if it hurts again, he wants that connection.

Three lines into the first fucking song, Adam's singing to him. Maybe Adam's a little mixed up with the lyrics, because Tommy's got no illusions about who's the hunter and who's the prey in this scenario. He makes it past the bass solo, barely, and then Adam's pressed against him, hand dragging up his chest, sparking the fresh, thrilling sting of skin teased sore. Breathing hard through his mouth, he pulls away, concentrating like fuck on getting his fingers to do what they need to do on the strings.

The whole fucking concert ends up like a game of cat and mouse. Adam struts and sings his soul raw and everybody screams for him like Tommy wishes he could. Like moth to flame, lightning to ground, Tommy's drawn to him, heat flaring low in Tommy's belly every time they touch. Every time Adam fucking looks at him, and Tommy knows what he's thinking, imagining, wanting.

When it's over, Tommy's even more of a fucking mess than he started out. And that is seriously fucking saying something. The next venue's only a three-hour drive away, so they do their thing outside the buses, then pile on, heading out the few miles to their hotel. Inside the lobby, Adam says, "We'll have enough nights crammed into those bunks," while Lane hands out room keys. "Tonight, bitches, we party!" The crew whoops, Adam beams, and the concierge looks like he's about to eat his tie.

The following morning, Tommy wakes up in Adam's bed with the worst dry mouth he's had since Mike's twenty-fifth birthday, and a whole lotta come crusted in his pubic hair. He rolls over with a groan, burying his head under the pillows.

"Oh god," Adam moans, "baby, don't rock the boat."

And that pretty much sums up Tommy's life for the next three and a half weeks.

*


Wherever the fuck they are in Virginia, at the end of July, summer's kicked it into high gear. Tommy stumbles off stage absolutely fucking soaked in sweat, and it's so gross he's cringing as he peels off his clothes to dive into the venue's shower. He's so into the rush of cool water pounding against his back that he doesn't notice the door opening, or Adam climbing in behind him until warm hands settle onto his waist. He yelps, whipping around so fast his wet hair smacks Adam in the face.

"S'what you get," Tommy says, grinning.

"Holy shit," Adam says, reaching for the taps, "your balls are going to crawl up into your throat," and turns on the hot, dialling Tommy's sub-arctic dip up to a pleasant North Atlantic wallow. "You're chilled already."

"Man, it was hot up there. And like, what're you doin' in my shower, anyway? Don't you got your own, rock star?"

Adam lathers up the giant CostCo bar of soap Tommy picked up for the trip. He doesn't even bitch about it, because hey, that's pure organic olive oil soap, thanks very fucking much. It's good shit. "I do have my own. But it doesn't come with one of you."

"Don't think this means I'm washing your back," Tommy says as Adam soaps him down with bare hands, not one bit shy about making sure he gets right in Tommy's armpits, or the crack of his ass, or even between his fucking toes. Adam spends enough time soaping Tommy's balls he's sure he's about to get some before Adam moves on, leaving him grumbling and clinging to Adam's shoulder.

Tommy totally ends up returning the favour. He also totally expects Adam to do something about the wood he sprouted ten fucking minutes ago.

"There's a hot tub," Adam says.

"What's that got to do with my freakin' boner?"

Grinning, Adam crowds Tommy against the tiles. They've been in here way too long. Somebody's gonna start wondering soon. "There's also weed."

"Dude, there's always fucking weed," Tommy says, shifting around trying to get Adam to pay attention to his dick. "Don't have to boil my balls to get it, either."

"But I wanna sit in the hot tub with you, and watch you toke up, and grope you where no one can see."

Tommy squints through the spray. "You totally already hit it."

Adam's grin goes incandescent.

"Fucker," Tommy mutters, and lets Adam drag him out to put on some fucking shorts.

It turns out there are actually other people in the hot tub, Taylor and Terrance and a couple girls and another guy Tommy doesn't recognise. Tommy's first mistake is thinking this means Adam's groping plan is out the window. His second mistake is assuming that means it's safe to sit next to Adam when Adam pats the seat. His third one, and he's starting to see a trend here, is taking the joint Adam lights up for him.

Halfway through his first hit, Adam's arm is around his shoulders, and by the time he surfaces from the third--or fourth, who's really counting here--Adam's arm has slid down and he's totally feeling up Tommy's ass underwater. The jets are on high, churning the water up, so Tommy's pretty sure nobody knows Adam's fingers are inching under the band of his shorts. Really pretty sure. Almost totally sure.

Terrance is staring straight at him. "Are you planning on giving that a suck, or just holding it?"

Tommy chokes. Everybody cracks up. It's totally hilarious, except Adam hand is all the way in his shorts and he's maybe holding Tommy's dick a little. Just like, a bit. If there's any such thing as Adam Lambert doing anything small when it comes to dicks, anyway. Purely out of self-defence, he sticks the joint in his mouth, breathes in deep and holds the hit for the slow count of five before letting it slink free. Licking smoke off his lips, he asks, "How's that?"

Sinking lower into the water, Terrance fans at his face. One of the girls and the guy applauds. Adam, all dark eyes, liner still smudged around his lashes, looks like he's giving serious consideration to stealth-jerking Tommy right here in front of everybody. Except there's no way that's gonna stay stealth for more than fifteen seconds. Tommy knows he's loud, and he squirms. While he's at peace with his hot twink porn tendencies, he'd mostly rather not have an audience.

"I'm gonna," Tommy starts, at the same time Terrance claps his hands together and says, "Party bus!"

Taylor whoops, scrambling out of the tub. Everybody else surges after him in a chaotic rush, water splashing everywhere while Tommy desperately tries to protect the pot. He's still in the middle of figuring out how the fuck he's gonna stand up without losing his shorts, and if he manages that, how he's gonna hide his wood, by the time he notices they've left him and Adam behind.

Adam sighs, and scoots in, Tommy sitting low enough in the water he can sling an arm around Tommy shoulders, hauling him in so tight the jets almost rock Tommy into his lap. "Better smoke that," he says.

"Think I'm high enough." But Tommy's barely feeling it, way too much of his attention his dick, so he takes another slow draw.

Head tipped back, eyes closed, Adam says, "This is it."

"S'what?"

"What I've always wanted. This is my dream."

Tommy would say he's got his doubts Adam's dream involved a half-naked bandmate toking up in a hot tub, but this is Adam, so maybe it totally did. Maybe all of it's falling exactly into place. All they gotta do is have the guts to keep going.

"Holy shit," Tommy says, eyeing the spliff. "That hit me like, all of a fucking sudden."

"Finally. Sit in my fucking lap already, I want to cuddle."

"Fuckin' pervert," Tommy says, laughing as he clambers up. His perch isn't all the comfy until Adam's arms wrap around his waist, holding him steady, and then he's able to sink back, enjoy the swirling water, the cool prickle of skin dried by the soft breeze, the way Adam's humming softly in his throat, happiness bubbling up in sound. Tommy could stay here forever, mellow in Adam's arms, in Adam's life. For fucking ever. "Thought you were gonna grope me?"

"Nah," Adam says, sounding like he's both miles away and inside Tommy's head. "Just wanna hold you."

Tommy says, "'Kay," and takes another hit, watching as the smoke curls through the stars.

*


A week later, they're in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Adam's sitting on the table in the bus's lounge, trashiest cowboy hat Tommy's ever fucking seen perched at a rakish angle on his head, his laptop open and tinny camera phone audio blasting. Somebody's spliced the first ten to fifteen seconds of every single fucking time they've performed to make a video tribute to the evolution of Fever. It's fucking ridiculous, and hot, and he's kinda embarrassed to see what a total moonstruck moron he is up there sometimes.

"This is so amazing," Adam says, rewinding about half a minute. "Wow, Tommy."

Tommy risks a peek over Adam's knee. It's the Washington show again. It's been the Washington show for the past five fucking minutes. He'd say he's getting tired of seeing Adam grab him, but it takes him straight back to filming the For Your Entertainment video every single fucking time. He rubs absently at his throat, stubble rasping, as on-screen Adam's hand closes around it again. Phantom pressure sends a shiver whispering under his skin.

"C'mon," he says, slapping Adam's thigh. "Thought you wanted to go like, shopping or some shit."

Adam glances up, startled. He hits pause on YouTube, then closes his laptop, setting it aside. "This doesn't bother you, does it?"

"That hat kinda offends me on a primal level."

"Hey, don't knock the hat." Reaching up, Adam tilts it further away from his eyes so he can keep his gaze steady on Tommy's. "I know it's been ramping up on stage lately. Since New York, really."

"It's been fucking awesome. If it bugged me, you know I'd say so." Takes a lot of shit to get under Tommy's skin, anyway, and besides that, it's not like some on-stage PDA is gonna do it.

"I know," Adam says, waving his hands. "I know, I know." Scooting off the table, he grabs up his knapsack, pats down his pockets for his wallet. "And I know I'm prone to getting carried away. I just wanted to make sure."

"Quit worrying," Tommy says, heading for the door. "People are gonna say shit. Didn't care at the AMAs, don't care now." Outside, the sun is blazing bright. Tommy unhooks his sunglasses from the collar of his tee and slides them on. "So where're we going?"

"Not far." Adam slings his backpack over one shoulder, angling his hat back down to shield his eyes. "I'm almost afraid to make you walk more than twenty feet in those things."

"Hey, I like being taller."

"Well, I like you small," Adam says, arm settling around Tommy's shoulders as they head north from the theatre's back lot. "Are you going to let me buy you something this time?"

"What d'you mean, 'let you'?" Adam's long, leggy gait doesn't work so well when they're both sober. Ducking out from under Adam's arm, Tommy catches his wrist instead, poking at his palm until he gets with the program and laces their fingers together. "You can buy me all the shit you want. I totally need new socks."

Sounding mortally offended, Adam says, "I'm not buying you socks."

"I love socks. Socks keep my toes warm."

"Oh honey, they really don't."

"Fuck off," Tommy says, and bumps Adam's shoulder. "Think how fucking bad it'd be if I didn't have socks."

"Like sleeping with a penguin."

"Man, you ever seen penguins fuck? It's total trippy shit. All this crazy wing flapping." Feeling Adam's gaze on him, Tommy arches an eyebrow. "Dude, what? The wing thing's true. Discovery Channel."

"I don't doubt it. And I'm not really shocked it's something your brain filed away as important to remember." Waiting for the light at the crosswalk, Adam tightens his grip on Tommy's hand. His thumb stroking along Tommy's knuckles really shouldn't take up as much of Tommy's attention as it does. "Almost there, by the way. That's the market up there."

Tommy squints at the jumble of canvas roofs strung between a sprinkling of buildings. "A farmer's market, seriously?"

"Yes, a farmer's market," Adam says, pulling Tommy across the road when the light changes. He's smiling so wide Tommy can count all eleven freckles on his lips. "Seriously."

"Oh man." Tommy picks up the pace, angling for one of the canvas booths. "Do you think they've got cranberries? I fucking love cranberries."

A rough yank on Tommy's arm has him wheeling around, almost slamming into Adam's chest. He puts up his hand at the last second. Aside from a slight grunt at the impact, Adam doesn't even seem to notice. "Stay still," Adam says, "I'm going to kiss you," and Tommy does, even though he thinks maybe a sidewalk in the middle of downtown Knoxville isn't the best place for it, while Adam goes ahead and plants one on him, quick and happy with a tiny flicker of tongue. "I thought you were disappointed it wasn't, I don't know, a hole in the wall pub with stuffed animal heads on the walls and some guy named Handsome Bob serving up beer out of casks he cracks open with his head."

"Yeah, that'd be pretty cool too," Tommy says, "and also kinda terrifying, but this works. I bet some farmer's totally got big fuzzy socks his wife knits for him to sell."

Beaming, Adam gives him another quick peck. "Let's shop."

It turns out nobody has cranberries, but Adam finds one guy with some scraggly-looking kiwis that are so perfectly tart Tommy goes back to buy three more. Adam stares, fascinated, as Tommy gives another one a quick rinse in a drinking fountain and eats it like an apple. "Doesn't it bother you?" Adam asks.

"The skin? Nah." Taking another big bite, Tommy licks juice off his fingers. "S'only a bit of fuzz." Like ball fuzz, he doesn't say.

"Right," Adam says, "speaking of fuzz," and they're off again on a slightly less-focused search for fuzzy socks, which is more like what Tommy imagined shopping with Adam in a sprawling market would be. Apparently shopping for something Tommy wants to eat takes precedence over stopping for a quick second to check out the antique watches someone repairs and sells.

There's a consignment store near the far end of the square, mostly women's fashions in the window, but Adam ducks inside anyway to check out the costume jewellery. He manages to find a oversized, blue-black stone ring with iridescent swirls through it that fits on his pinky. "Find bling in a fucking haystack, man," Tommy says as they walk back out into the sun, Adam with his hand up to admire how the light hits his prize.

"Since it sparkles, I'm not sure that'd be hard." Pausing near a telephone pole jammed right in the middle of the walking path, Adam glances around. "Are you hungry? Looks like a food court up ahead."

"I just ate, like, a dozen kiwis."

Adam rolls his eyes. "I meant for something with a bit of protein to it." Decisively, he takes Tommy's hand. "Let's get some meat into you."

Biting hard on his bottom lip, Tommy grins.

"Don't even."

"Didn't say nothing."

"Because that's terrible."

"Didn't even laugh!"

"You didn't have to." Not content with holding Tommy's hand, Adam drags him in for a one-armed hug like a threat. "I know how your mind works."

"Yeah, 'cause that's not where yours went two seconds before you said it."

"Regardless," Adam says, and marches Tommy up to a grill twice his size to order a couple of steak kebabs to go. Unhelpfully, Tommy's stomach growls.

"Shut up," Tommy mutters, and eats his freaking amazing kebab, the veggies still crunchy and fresh and the steak blushing pink in the centre, so good it melts on his tongue.

As they're wandering through the stalls, some of Adam's manic shopping energy bled out for now, Tommy catches a few sidelong glances aimed their way. It's probably because people recognise Adam, but Tommy can't help wondering if they're wondering the same thing he's been trying figure out for the last two hours. He and Adam have gone shopping loads of times before. Usually with a group, sure, but sometimes only the two of them. Actually, a lot of times only the two of them. Whatever. It's never felt like a date before.

This isn't a date. He knows it's not a date. But it feels like a date.

Maybe he kinda wants it to be a date.

"Shit," Tommy says.

Busy wrangling up the cherry tomato about to fall of his kebab, Adam says, "Hm?"

"Nothing," Tommy says, slightly too fast if the way Adam's eyebrow wings up is anything to go by. "Dropped a veggie."

Adam says, "Aw, baby, can't take you anywhere," and slows down, holding up his tomato. "Here."

Tommy doesn't think. Doesn't even consider thinking, just holds onto Adam's wrist to steady it and plucks the tomato from between Adam's fingers with his teeth. Adam's eyes go a little heavy, maybe a little dark, and Tommy so shouldn't have done that. And he so totally shouldn't dart back in to lick up a seed clinging to the side of Adam's thumb, but he does anyway. It feels dangerous and thrilling for no good reason at all.

"Tommy Joe," Adam says, very slowly, "you're not trying to tease me in public, are you?"

Tommy makes sure his eyes are nice and round. "Nope."

"Because if you were," Adam says, and leaves it hanging.

Tommy bumps Adam's shoulder with his again, like they're fucking teenagers or something. "Yeah? If I am, what?"

Taking a quick look around, Adam heads for the central square, and the bigger building beside it that houses on-site administration. Gnawing on the inside of his cheek, Tommy follows along. Every now and then, he flicks a glance Adam's way. Adam's gaze is set resolutely forward.

"Shit, man," Tommy says, hot on Adam's heels as Adam ducks inside the building, takes a quick left down a blank hall. "Feel like you're gonna whack me or something." Three seconds before Adam shoves a door open, Tommy catches sight of the washroom sign bolted to the front of it. He stumbles over the threshold, nerves in knots and a shaky laugh caught in his throat. "No way, seriously?"

Pulling Tommy away from the door, Adam pushes it shut, pushes Tommy up against it. The sound of a lock clicking into place ratchets up Tommy's spine. "You did ask what if."

"Like, here?" It's a pretty small bathroom, only a toilet with a couple metal bars bolted to the walls around it, and a sink and a mirror directly opposite the door. Tommy's staring right at his own startled expression. "You want a bathroom fuck?"

"You can tell me no." Yeah, right. Like Tommy actually fucking could. Like Tommy would fucking want to. Everything Adam's done, even the stuff that scares the shit out of him, isn't anything Tommy wants to go without. Instead of an answer, Tommy shuffles his feet further apart, making space for Adam to settle between his legs, and Adam groans, "God, why can't I keep my hands off you?" It doesn't sound like Adam's really asking. More like it's fucking killing him.

"Dunno," Tommy says, letting the stroke of Adam's knuckles along his jaw tilt his head back. "There some reason you'd want to?"

Adam's fingers push into Tommy's hair, fisting it tight. Pulse tripping at the echo of footsteps in the hall, Tommy tightens his grip on Adam's arm. Tommy would do it. He'd fuck Adam in here, right now. He'd go to his knees on the dirt-scuffed tile if Adam wanted, let Adam put him on his belly again. It's so fucking crazy how much he wants to give Adam absolutely anything.

Everything that's in his head must be showing on his face. About to kiss him, Adam stops and stares. Dick going stiff in his shorts, Tommy squirms a bit, trying to work it out of the crook of his thigh without letting Adam go.

Totally out of the blue, Adam says, "Tell me no."

"What?" Tommy asks, voice hitching.

"Tell me no."

"Are we doing kinky sex games now?" Tugging on Adam's belt, Tommy tries to get him pressing in close. "'Cause you gotta warn me first if you want me to play hard to get or whatever." Serious roleplay's not really currently in Tommy's sexual repertoire, but hey, neither was cocksucking. He learns fast.

"We're in a fucking bathroom," Adam says, rough all around the edges. "There are people outside. They could hear. They'll see us after, and they'll know."

Tommy starts to say he doesn't give a flying fuck, because he doesn't, and stops. Maybe Adam cares. Maybe all the buzz about them being an item is seriously cutting into Adam's dating pool. Not that he's said anything about wanting to date, and he's getting laid pretty regularly, which is doing just fine for Tommy, but maybe Adam wants more. Maybe Adam's done fucking around, this whole thing was him trying to do some buddy shit, and Tommy had to go and fuck it up.

"Yeah," Tommy says, and licks his lips, ignoring the sharp twist in his chest. "Yeah, like, maybe we shouldn't."

Adam drags in a breath so deep he shudders with it, almost like he's settling back into his skin. He lets up on Tommy's hair, and Tommy rubs absently at his scalp. There's not much to do about the boner in his jeans except give it a couple minutes.

"I'm sorry," Adam says.

"Dude, whatever." When Adam eases off, Tommy straightens up, tugs his shirt back into place. "S'okay."

Waiting for Tommy's go ahead to open the door, Adam doesn't really look like it is.

*


The weird vibe lasts all through the show that night and into the morning, and then into the day after, and the one after that. It's seriously driving Tommy nuts. Everything else aside, because it's not like he hasn't gone three days without a fuck, he's aching for a hug. Sasha gives great hugs, and so does Neil, strangely fucking enough--or maybe not considering how he's a Lambert and all--but they're not the fucking hugs he wants. Sunday night, after the show in Louisville where Adam fucking kissed him on stage again after a couple weeks of teasing licks, he marches his skinny ass onto Adam's bus, straight down the hall to Adam's room, and does something he's never done before. Adam's room is Adam's space, and Tommy's got no claim on it. He barges right the fuck in anyway.

Adam jolts upright, the book he was reading tumbling to the floor. "Tommy?" he asks, tight and worried. "Tommy, what is it, is everything okay at home, what-"

"I want a fucking hug."

Adam's mouth works silently a few times before he gets out another, "What?"

Just in case somebody gets it in their head to follow, and Tommy's mainly thinking Neil here, Tommy makes sure the door is closed tight. He got enough sideways, knowing looks on his way back here, the gang doesn't need to see more. "I miss you, and I want a hug, and you've been weird for like, days, and next time we're fucking in the god damn bathroom."

Adam scoots to the edge of the bed. "I don't think-"

"Unless you really didn't want to. And if that's the case, then like, I don't know, don't drag me into one next time and give me sex face and everything."

Blinking, Adam says, "Sex face?"

"Yeah. You know." Tommy waves a hand vaguely in front of his face. "That look you get when you're horny."

"According to the internet, I'm always horny," Adam says, wry.

"They're not wrong."

"I'm not exactly turned on right now."

Tommy winces. "Sorry. I didn't mean, well, I kinda did, but, like. I hate it when shit's weird. If you wanna cool it for awhile, s'okay."

"Just like that," Adam says.

"Casual's the thing, right?" It doesn't sound like a hell of a good time to Tommy, but then, he's been too close for way too long. If Adam needs him to back off, he can back the fuck off. "I'm not gonna go totally nuts and throw shit, and like, shank you in your sleep or something if you need some space."

Propping his elbows on his knees, Adam drops his head into his hands. "God," he says, staring at the floor. "I didn't think tour would stress me out so fast. On Idols, it was so easy."

Tommy takes a few steps away from the door. "It's different when you're the one running the show. We all got your back. You know we do."

Adam doesn't look up, doesn't say anything at all, but somewhere in there is Tommy's cue. He moves over on instinct, and Adam's arms come up, wrap around his scrawny hips to hug tight, Adam's face pressed into his middle. Combing fingers gently through Adam's messy hair, Tommy says, "Told you from day one, whatever the fuck you need."

"Don't need space," Adam mumbles, pressing in harder, probably close to suffocating himself in Tommy's belly. Tommy keeps petting his hair, his shoulders, seriously hoping there's no waterworks in the plan. If Adam breaks down like that, Tommy's gonna tear the world apart until he finds a way to make it better.

Finally needing more than a stale breath of air, Adam eases up a fraction. "If I'm so tired of people needing things from me already, what am I going to do? This is my life. People are always going to need things."

"They're gonna want things," Tommy says. "There's a difference. People want shit, you're allowed to say no. Only time somebody's gonna need something from you is when you let them need it."

Adam gives a quiet, bitter laugh. "Oh, sure, make it sound so logical and simple."

"Just easier to see from where I'm standing."

The noise of people moving around out front brings Adam's head up. Reaching for his phone without letting Tommy go, he flicks at the screen. "Almost time to head out. Are you going back to your bus?"

Busy trying to flatten out an unruly chunk of Adam's hair, Tommy asks, "Need me to stay?"

"Yeah," Adam says, voice thick in his throat, "yeah, I'll text Monte in a bit, tell him you're staying over here," and he's got his phone in his hand, he could do it right now, but Tommy's already on his knees, face tilted up, lips parted, heart on his motherfucking sleeve.

*


It's half past three in the morning. Hotel rooms are cheap in Hollis, Oklahoma, so he's alone. The window's wide open, but outside is dead quiet. The hallway when he steps out into it is filled with white noise from the air conditioning. Shivering, he shuffles past the doors one by one, waiting until one of the numbers sticks with him. He leans against it for a moment before remembering he needs to knock if he wants anybody to know he's out here. From inside comes the sound of a bed creaking. Tommy closes his eyes and knocks again, and again, and again.

Tommy sways when the door swings open, blinking into the dark and staring hard at Adam's face. "Baby?" Adam asks, reaching out. Looking straight into Adam's eyes, Tommy sees the moment it hits him like it hasn't managed to hit Tommy yet. "Oh baby," Adam says, gathering him in close, Adam's skin warm from the bed, smelling soft like sleep, "baby, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

"I need to go home." Tommy remembers saying that into the phone after the line had gone dead. His mom said for him to come home.

"Don't worry about it," Adam says, rocking him slowly. Adam's bare toes make deep dents in the plush carpet. The threshold is cold against the bottoms of Tommy's feet. Adam's got his toenails painted again, and Tommy wonders why he never bothers to paint his. It looks pretty cool. "I'll take care of it. Lane'll take care of it. There's an airport right next door."

"I can't," Tommy says, and Adam shushes him, says, "You don't have to do anything," so Tommy lets Adam hold him, his cheek resting on Adam's shoulder, and blinks too-dry eyes as Adam starts to hum quietly. He can't stop shivering, even though he's warm where he's tucked against Adam, Adam's hands rubbing more warmth into his back, but Adam doesn't seem to mind.

When the melody starts to repeat, Tommy asks, "What're you singing?"

"I don't know. Can you come inside? You're freezing, baby."

Tommy glances down. He forgot to put on a shirt, and his feet are bare. He's not sure if he put on track pants when he left his room, or if he'd woken up wearing them. Maybe he slept in them, but then, he usually sleeps in a shirt, too.

"Don't worry about what you're wearing," Adam says, an arm around Tommy's waist pulling him into the room. When the door closes, it goes pitch black. "Just come get under the blankets."

Shuffling across the room, face tucked close to Adam's neck, Tommy says, "Don't turn on a light."

"I won't, baby. Wait a second." There's a rustle of cotton, then Adam's hands are back, guiding Tommy down. "Scoot in, okay? Into the warm spot." There's not much of a warm spot left that Tommy can find, but he shuffles back anyway, stopping when the mattress dips, as Adam climbs in after him. The dark's not so dark anymore, and he can make out the lighter slope of Adam's shoulder, the white cotton blankets Adam pulls up around them. "I'm so sorry, baby."

"I knew it was gonna happen," Tommy says. Around his middle, Adam's arm tightens. Adam's breath is warm in his hair, Adam's heartbeat strong against his back. "They told me chances weren't good. But he was doing better."

Adam doesn't say anything. There's nothing he really can say. There's nothing Tommy can say, or do, either, but the words come tumbling out anyway. He'd really hoped. He's glad his dad got to see him on stage, got to know that he'd finally done it, taken hold of his dream, but he'd hoped. He'd thought about praying to a god he doesn't believe in for his dad to see it again.

"It's not your fault, baby," Adam says. "It's no one's fault."

"I know," Tommy says, heat prickling at his eyes, burning dry. "I know that."

Softly, Adam strokes his belly. Adam's done that for him before, giving comfort when he's caught colds, easing the soreness in his tummy when he'd gotten sick on food that had gone off in the bus's fridge, and sometimes, maybe only once or twice, before Adam's hand slid down to cup his cock. Tommy's never really noticed before that where Adam touches him as much as the way Adam touches him depends on what Adam's trying to offer. He's never really noticed a lot of things about the way Adam reacts to him.

Swallowing the weird thickness lingering on the back of his tongue, Tommy rests his hand over the back of Adam's and pushes it decisively down. Adam immediately goes tense. "Baby?"

"Please," Tommy says, curling his fingers tighter over Adam's. He's not even close to hard. He doesn't even know if he'll get there, but there's a terrible hot churn in his gut, and he needs to feel something, anything, else. "If you can do it, please."

Still, Adam hesitates. Tommy can't blame him. Tommy's probably completely insane, he can't even cry. "I need to know what you're asking me to do."

Talking's too hard, and it'll take too long, and it means giving Adam the chance to convince him this isn't what he wants or needs right now. Trying to swallow down that weird metallic burn at the back of his throat, Tommy shoves at the waistband of his pants, kicking his legs under the blankets to get them off. When he rolls back against Adam, Adam's hand settles on his bare hip, and he pushes it down again, towards his ass this time.

"I don't," Adam starts, trying to talk him out of it anyway.

"Don't have to," Tommy says, pushing Adam's fingers into the crack of his ass, holding them there as long as Adam isn't fighting him. "Don't even have to want to."

Cool air rushes in as Adam moves away. Tommy tries to bite back the noise that wants to come spilling out of him, getting it for the most part, but enough leaks free that Adam hears. "I'm not leaving you," Adam says, his breath warm on Tommy's shoulder. "If you want me to do this, I need things."

Not even trying to force his voice even, Tommy says, "Okay."

Lying there listening to Adam move in the dark, Tommy starts to shake again. It doesn't really make much sense. He does really well on his own. Most times, that's when he's at his best. In the few minutes before the bed dips again, and Adam slides back in behind him, he decides he never wants to be alone again.

Warm fingers brush Tommy's cheek. "Can I kiss you?"

Staying on his side, Tommy twists around enough for Adam to reach his mouth. He tries kissing back as best he can, knowing he's asking for a lot here, and if he were in Adam's place, he's not sure he could do it. But everything feels like it's moving either too slow or too fast for him, making his kisses clumsy, sloppy, probably not very good at all. It's worse when he hears the snap of the lube opened, the quiet thump of it against the pillow as Adam drops the bottle, smoothes the back of his slicked hand over Tommy's hip.

Afraid Adam's going to hesitate again, that he's not going to go through with it, Tommy says, "Adam, please."

"It's okay," Adam says, forehead resting on Tommy's, "I'm not leaving you, baby, I'm right here," and eases a finger inside. The same as before, it doesn't feel much of anything, not bad, not good, definitely not enough to make the churning stop. Some sort of urgent noise bubbles up through Tommy's chest, and Adam kisses his shoulder. "Just breathe, and let me do this."

Biting down on his lip, Tommy nods.

The dull ache grows as Adam presses deeper, not yet trying to loosen Tommy up like he did the first time. There's more pressure, a sharper spike of it that mellows fast as Tommy's breath hisses in through his teeth. "That's it, baby," Adam says, drawing free to slide in with a thicker bunch of his fingers, easily finding the same spot again, rocking steadily against it. "Move with me."

Searching for something solid to hold onto, Tommy reaches up, grabs onto the back of Adam's neck. It's not enough yet, but it will be. Once Adam's really inside him.

"Easy," Adam says, and Tommy thinks maybe any other time, he'd tell Adam to fuck off with the easy bullshit, he wants to get fucked. Right now, though, the soft whisper of Adam's voice, the slow, easy pressure opening him up, is exactly what he needs.

Adam's thigh bumps the back of his. "Move with me," Adam repeats, giving a slow, rolling thrust, the heat of his cock still trapped in his briefs strange and disorienting for a minute. Adam never sleeps with clothes on. That he'd stopped to put on shorts before following Tommy into bed brings another thick lump clogging up Tommy's throat. "Don't think, baby. Just move."

"If you're not hard, I can suck you," Tommy offers, voice hitching weirdly. "This is really messed up, I get it, but I can get you there."

"I'm there," Adam says, his hand caught between them as he rolls closer, presses his dick firmly against Tommy's ass. "I'm always there with you."

Biting at his lip again, Tommy reaches down, gives enough time for Adam to tell him no before he reaches into Adam's shorts, finds Adam's dick hard and thick and pulls it free. It feels the same as it always does in his hand, kinda strange, still so thrilling, stupidly familiar. One thing he'd never thought he'd know would be another guy's cock as well as he knows his own.

"I always want you," Adam repeats, fingers working a little faster, more strain creeping into his voice as Tommy strokes him. "I think I'm always going to want you. Even when I'm with you, when I've got you, I want more."

Crazily, Tommy says, "Don't use the rubber."

Adam sucks in a sharp, whistling breath. "Baby-"

"Haven't fucked anybody but you for months. I'm clean. I am, I promise." When Adam's fingers slip free, Tommy thinks he might finally fucking cry. But no heat takes their place, no sweet stretch, no ache to fill the nothing left behind. "I promise, I trust you, I don't want to feel fucking latex, I want to feel you."

"If I tell you I might not be safe, will you let me get a condom?"

Gritting his teeth against the reckless no that wants to come bursting free, Tommy says, "Yes."

"Okay." Adam breathes out slowly, nudging at the back of Tommy's leg again, getting him to slide it up a bit. "Okay," he says again, and presses the head of his naked dick to Tommy's asshole, presses in.

"Fuck," Tommy says, almost rolling onto his belly before Adam's hand clamping to his hip stops him short. It's nothing at all like before. Skin on skin's rougher, harsher, lube easing the way but nothing close that same slippery-slick push. This is so much better. More real. Just more.

"Oh my god," Adam says, rocking slowly deeper, his balls heavy and hot brushing the tops of Tommy's thighs. "God, Tommy, I haven't, it's been so long since I did this bare."

Hand sliding down, Tommy cups his junk. He's pretty close to hard, and it feels good to just hold it, let the warm buzz of pleasure sweep through him. "S'good?"

"It's amazing, you feel incredible, god. Fuck." Panting roughly, Adam pushes in hard, groaning an apology as his fingers dig into Tommy's hipbone. "Sorry, I couldn't-- I fucking," and he breaks off on a shaking laugh, presses his forehead even harder to Tommy's shoulder. "Please don't move, or I swear, I'm going to come."

Not moving is easier said than done while Tommy's wedged wide open around Adam's dick, pulse starting to pound inside his skull. The urge to move, to fuck, burns through the hollow emptiness inside, and he's so full already, close to bursting with Adam in him, it should hurt. It almost does the same way something too sweet makes his teeth ache and his jaw cramp, except this is everywhere at once.

Right before the thick thrum inside Tommy's bones peaks to something unbearable, Adam says, "Okay?" and Tommy says, "Yeah, yeah, okay," and Adam moves, a long, slow careful drag with his hand on Tommy's hip holding him steady, sliding up to press against his belly on the even slower push back in. One more time like that, like Adam's making sure he can take it, and when Tommy stays loose for it, Adam goes a little harder, a little faster, finds a rhythm and fucks.

Tommy turns his face into the pillow, moans, "Jesus."

"No," Adam says, "no, look at me, let me see you." A hand curved against Tommy's cheek turns Tommy away from the pillow, not much to see in the dark except shadowed features, nothing to hear but Adam's voice, the whisper of cotton on skin, the slick, wet noise of them moving together. "Tell me it's good this time."

"S'good last time."

"Don't," Adam says, grip going briefly tight. "Don't lie to me. Not now."

"I'm not," Tommy says, trying to get at Adam's mouth, kiss the truth into it. Everything's so raw, unreal in the darkness. It's easy to tell Adam things Tommy hadn't wanted to admit to himself. "Came too fast, and it got weird, it kinda hurt, but it was good. It was."

Adam's rhythm stutters. "But it's not-"

"Not like that now, so not fucking like that now," Tommy says, "doesn't hurt, just feels good," the last of it mostly lost in Adam's mouth closing softly on his bottom lip, barely there and gone as Adam finds that rhythm again, slides his hand down to cover the one Tommy's got curled loosely around his cock. Adam doesn't try to jack him, just holds him, Adam's other arm pushing under his shoulders, lifting him up to pull him in closer, then holding him there, back to chest. Adam's hand almost spans the width of his ribs, his heartbeat held in Adam's palm.

When Adam starts to shake, when Tommy can actually feel him fighting the urge to fuck harder, finally come, Tommy says, "C'mon, don't, just," and Adam groans, starts to pull free, like he thinks Tommy doesn't want it in him. Tommy scrabbles to get a grip on Adam's hip, trying to haul him back in, make him go deep again. "Didn't mean that, meant don't fight it, let it go in me."

Adam groans again, rougher, throatier, and fucks back in hard, the quick snap of his hips almost enough to jostle Tommy out of his arms except he's holding on so tightly. "You too," Adam grits out, giving Tommy's hand a brief squeeze but not forcing him into it, making it his choice if he wants to get off while Adam's still in him. He hadn't wanted to, he was going to wait this time, make sure he didn't fuck up the good, but Adam's so close, Adam's fucked him like he wanted, Adam's going to come in him like he wants, Adam's doing everything, anything, Tommy asks. Breathing hard, Tommy switches his grip to start jacking, and he's not even past the first stroke before he's moaning so loud he shocks himself into shutting up.

"Oh, god, no, let me hear you," Adam says, hand sliding down to cup Tommy's balls, "you sound so good, baby, so fucking good. Don't hide it."

"I'm gonna come so fucking fast," Tommy says, the crazy, illogical fear that as soon as he does, this isn't going to be what it is anymore needling into him. "You first, oh fuck, please, you first."

"God, not a problem," Adam says, and drives in a couple more times, hesitating longer on the peak every time like he's almost there, so close, and then he is, biting down on Tommy's shoulder like he can't help it, holding onto Tommy so tightly Tommy's ribs creak. Adam could probably break one of them and Tommy wouldn't even notice. He's got to come right fucking now while Adam's still in him, wet and going slowly soft. Gulping air, Tommy rocks back, trying to keep Adam buried deep for a bit longer, keep fucking. A handful of seconds, maybe a minute or two after Adam, Tommy comes, and it's sweet and thick strung out like warm taffy, a bone-deep kind of endless that leaves him exhausted and heavy, slumping back into Adam's arms.

"It's okay," Adam says, sliding his leg between Tommy's, tucking Tommy into the curve of his body, "baby, it's okay, it'll be okay," and Tommy doesn't get it, he really doesn't get it, not until the rush of blood in his ears eases off and he can hear the catch in his breathing, the small, choked noises echoing through it, muted and hurt. He's not crying, his eyes are still dry, but there's pressure building inside his head, his lungs, close enough that it doesn't matter.

Twisting around in Adam's arms, not caring one bit about the mess they're in, or smearing it all over the sheets, Tommy buries his face in Adam's chest and grieves.

*


"You don't have to," Adam says, shitty reception making his voice sound tinny and distant. "Cam can cover you on synth."

"I know," Tommy says, winding deeper into his aunt's house, trying to get away from the clumps of family he's not ready to deal with. There's food fucking everywhere. He ends up in the laundry room, closing the door quietly behind him. There are two casseroles and a pudding on the washing machine. He slumps against the dryer, eyeballing the casserole wrapped in cellophane. It might be edible. "But I want to come back. I need to. There's too much-- Everybody's talking about it."

Adam makes a quiet, sympathetic noise. He gets it. There's stuff Tommy wants to talk about, stuff he doesn't mind talking about, and shit he'd rather poke out his eyeballs than have to suffer through. "I was gonna see if maybe there was a flight going out tonight," Tommy says. He's already packed and everything. Not that he unpacked to begin with.

"Baby," Adam says, and the laundry room door bangs open, Tommy jolting upright hissing, "Mom, Jesus."

"I'm sorry, sweetheart," Dia says, struggling under the weight of another thirty-pound casserole. Jamming the phone between his ear and shoulder, Tommy quickly takes it from her, thumping it onto the dryer. "I didn't know you were in here."

"Yeah, I kinda," Tommy says, squinting at something sticky clinging to his thumb. He rubs it off on his jeans. "I needed a couple minutes."

Dia's gaze flickers to the phone. "Is that Delmy? She called earlier to say she'd be over."

Stomach going heavier than whole sorry collection of casseroles behind him, Tommy leans against the dryer again, switching the phone to his other ear. Across the line, Adam's silent. "No, s'work stuff."

"Ah," Dia says, then softer, "oh. Well. Okay."

"Be out in a few, okay?"

Disappointment clear in her eyes, Dia says, "Of course, sweetheart," and leans in, pecks Tommy on the cheek. "Whenever you're ready." When she goes, she leaves the door wide open. Tommy sighs, swinging it shut and collapsing back against it.

"Great," he mutters, "more shit to deal with," and instantly feels like a total ass. His mom just lost her husband and Tommy's being such a dick avoiding her. But she keeps looking at him like she's so afraid she's got more to lose. Stuff she doesn't even have yet.

"I wish," Adam starts, stopping so abruptly it sounds like he choked on something. "I'd make this easier for you if I could."

"S'what you say now. Wait 'til I'm drunk-dialling you at four in the morning."

"Anytime," Adam says, no hesitation at all. He's not even joking.

Tommy can't help a small smile. It feels good for the brief moment it lasts. "I'd better go."

"Text 9 if you need an emergency exit."

That smile comes creeping back. Tommy's never felt worse in his fucking life, and here he is, hiding out in the laundry grinning at his phone. "Gonna pull me through the phone all Matrix-like?"

"If I have to." There's a quiet rustle, then soft thump, like something dropped to the floor. "I mean it. Call me if you need anything."

When Tommy says, "I will," he means it, too.

Cutting the connection is one of the hardest things Tommy's ever done. Definitely in the top ten. Stepping away to stare at the back of the door, Tommy decides, is in the top twenty, and actually opening the fucking thing is at least number three on the list. The rush of hushed noise, lowered voices and careful steps, clinking dishes, people moving around like everything and everybody's made of glass, hits him like a semi careening off the highway. He doesn't want to do this shit. For a terrible, perfect moment, he thinks about crawling out through the window like he did when he was a teenager, running off to hide in the dried-up culvert three blocks south.

The second he steps out into the hall, somebody he barely recognises says, "There you are. Your girlfriend's in the kitchen, honey," and gives him a pat on the ass to send him on his way like he's actually fucking seven.

Tommy stuffs his phone in his pocket before the death-grip he's got on it destroys his one and only link to salvation.

Hoping to find Mia, or Chantala, or fucking anybody else, Tommy gets Delmy standing near the fridge, helping his mom pull down extra plates from the cupboard above it. Dia touches her shoulder, smiling for the first time since Tommy's plane landed, as she asks Delmy to set them down in the dining room. Fresh guilt slices into Tommy's gut. His mom always loved having Delmy over.

"Oh," Delmy says, spotting him. She looks around for somewhere to quickly put the dishes, and one of Tommy's aunts swoops in, freeing up her arms so she can fling them around Tommy's shoulders. She hugs him tight, tighter than she's maybe ever hugged him before, and Tommy's so grateful when she doesn't say a word that he hugs her back just as hard, his face buried in the sweet softness of her hair.

As she finally pulls away an eon later, the only thing she does say is, "I brought wine," and Tommy remembers why he loved her once. How when she got him, she really, really got him.

*


Despite what Tommy might've said, he hadn't actually planned on sneaking out into the backyard at three in the morning drunk off his ass squinting at his phone trying to find Adam in his contacts. He's not even sure what the fuck he's doing, it's not like they're dating. But Adam said call if he needed to. Adam's the best fucking friend he's got, and that's what he needs.

Not so far gone he doesn't realise Adam could--and should--be sleeping, Tommy shoots him a quick text, nothing more than a hope-filled 9?

Exactly half a minute later, his phone rings. Adam's groggy, "Tommy?" answers his hello.

"Shit," Tommy says, slumping against the tiny gardening shed, the only place in the yard hidden from sight to anybody in the house. "I knew you'd be fucking sleeping."

"Baby," Adam says, raspy and thick, almost absently over the whisper of cotton as he rolls over, probably sits up to flick on a lamp. Any time somebody wakes Adam up with a phone call, that's what he does. "You should be. Tell me you're not up drinking alone."

Tommy glances down at his half-empty flask of Jack. "Not anymore."

"Oh, baby," Adam says again, heart-felt, sad.

"It's not even-- It's not even fucking this, okay," Tommy says, waving his hand at the house jammed to the rafters with relatives he doesn't actually hate, but he'd rather not see for the rest of his life if he could help it. He doesn't begrudge them their time here. Dad was more than his dad; his dad was somebody's son, brother, uncle, friend. It's not even that some of them are so subtly homophobic that they don't even realise the shit they say pisses him off, or that his aunt with the three chihuahuas she calls her babies gives him suspicious, sideways glances every five seconds, like she's got to know for sure if he's an emo punk rocker or a gay goth twink or what the fuck ever. It's not even that they all make him feel like a teenager again, itchy in skin too tight for him, still a year away from saying fuck it to the world and painting his nails if he fucking wants, lining his eyes in black, playing with the idea of stealing Lisa's lipgloss to make his mouth shiny, liking the idea of somebody thinking he's hot, or sexy, or even pretty.

This isn't home anymore. Not his mom's place, not his muggy little apartment, not Burbank, not even California. "I'm gonna fly out tomorrow morning," Tommy says.

"Okay," Adam says. There's another cottony rustle, and Tommy just listens for a minute, closing his eyes to picture Adam sleep-rumpled and warm, a hotel room with Adam's clothes all over it, a couple empty bottles of coconut water on the desk. "Can you be at the airport by six?"

Tommy lets out a long, slow breath. "Christ, can I ever."

Adam says, "Okay," again, and there's more silence, the click-clack of keys. "Ticket should be in your email soon."

Hot, prickling pressure builds behind Tommy's eyes, and he swallows once, a couple times, drops his head between his knees and tries to keep breathing. "Thank you," he croaks. His chest feels so tight he thinks he ribs might break, and Adam makes a quiet shushing noise, says it's okay, he's coming home, everything'll be alright.

*


When Tommy walks off the plane, back in Oklahoma, his legs are weirdly steady. He's sleep-deprived, half-drunk, operating on auto-pilot as he heads past the baggage claim to the main doors. But he's back. He's back, and he totally believes everything Adam said to him last night.

"Tommy," Adam calls, like thinking his name summoned him up out of thin air, and Tommy stumbles. He doesn't get a chance to turn around before his bag's lifted off his shoulder and he's folded into a hug, enveloped in a cloud of fresh-from-the-shower warmth. Legs giving out entirely, he sags into Adam's arms. Somebody ruffles his hair. Blinking, he looks up to find Sutan smiling down at him, his bag over Sutan's shoulder.

"Hi," Tommy says, not having to work for a smile. Adam gives him one more soft squeeze before letting go, staying close in case Tommy's legs feel like taking a break again.

"I'm driving," Sutan says, the set of keys to a rental dangling from one hand, "don't take too long," and he's gone, out into the sunlight with Tommy's knapsack.

"I was going to ask if you got some sleep," Adam says, brushing his thumb lightly over the dark circles beneath Tommy's eyes, "but that's a stupid question."

"I flaked out on the plane for a bit." His hands empty, Tommy stuffs them into his pockets.

Adam drops an arm around Tommy's shoulders, steering him towards the doors. "I have a bed, and I have movies. And beer."

Tommy doesn't really want the beer. He already feels like he's soaked in a cask of it overnight, like he's fermented and distilled, maybe even a little yeasty. Which, gross.

"That is gross," Adam agrees, and if he thinks it's weird Tommy's turning down booze, Tommy can't tell. He should think it's weird. Tommy's Adam-sense is all fucked up. Straight from day one it was like he could read Adam's mind, and now he hasn't got a clue. It leaves him unsettled, antsy, even when he's curled up in Adam's bed later, half-asleep with whatever movie Adam picked out for him to watch droning on in the background.

Eventually, he falls asleep, and then Adam's rousing him again with apologetic whispers, saying, "You didn't want to sit this one out, baby," and Tommy grunts sleepily, shuffles from the bus to the venue to the stage. Once he's there, fingers on the strings and Adam's voice filling his world, it's better.

Less awesome when the concert's over, the high fading, but when he gets up the next day, they do it all over again, and then the next, snapshots of cities like postcards in his head, until he wakes up one morning with the bus trundling down a Florida highway in September. He knuckles sleep out of his eyes and rolls over, snuffling in surprise when he bumps into a solid wall of heat.

"Good morning to you, too," Adam says, propped up on one elbow.

Tommy scrubs at his eyes again. "You watchin' me sleep, Lambert?"

"Watching you snore."

"Don't snore."

"You really do. Like a bellows."

"You can totally fuck right off," Tommy says, and burrows deeper under the sheets.

Adam scuttles down beside him. "Let's go to the beach today."

"Beach, what the fuck," Tommy grunts, because beaches are wet, and cold, and bright, and there was this one time he got sand in his asscrack trying to be smooth and debonair or some shit with a girl. It didn't go very well. He's kinda bitter.

But Adam's giving him that look. Adam's I'm-worried-about-you, let-me-make-it-better, I-really-think-this-will-be-good-for-you look, and Tommy is so fucking whipped. The real kicker is, Adam always makes it better. It might take him a month and a half of laser-focus cuddling, but he'll do it. All the places Tommy's been hurting on the inside, heart-raw, are tender still, but the sting's gone, and the ache isn't so bad. Most days lately, he doesn't even notice.

Adam's smile inches wider. "Aw, fuck," Tommy says, and Adam breaks out into a grin, knowing he's won. "Fucking beaches."

While Tommy flops back in bed, arm flung over his eyes in despair, Adam bustles about his tiny room gathering stuff together, towels accidentally swiped from hotel rooms and nova-resistant sunscreen and Tommy's swim trunks, which makes Tommy very, very suspicious about how long Adam's been planning this. Before he can ask, Adam's swooped out into the bus proper, greeted by a chorus of hellos from people that sound way too awake. Grunting, Tommy rolls over to dig his phone out of his jeans.

Quarter to two in the afternoon. Adam never sleeps this late. Wondering how long Adam lay there watching him drool all over the pillows makes his stomach go fuzzy-hot. They haven't really done anything since Tommy bailed after the funeral. It's not that Tommy hasn't been interested, exactly. There's been some lazy making out, Adam's hands resting on him warm and heavy but not pushing for more, and it's been okay. Things were weird in his head, and his memory of the night he got the news is weirder still, blurry and indistinct like a dream. Like it wasn't actually him and Adam curled together in the dark. Like maybe it didn't happen, but he's thought about it so much he remembers it like it did.

Things are still kinda messed up in his head, but when Adam pops back through the door, two bottles of water caught between the fingers of one hand and a travel mug in the other, Tommy forgets all this self-reflection bullshit. He sits bolt upright, grasping desperately at the sweet smell of coffee made exactly the way he likes it.

"I knew that would get you up," Adam says, sitting down on the bed, one leg tucked under the other, and handing the mug over. "We'll be at the hotel in about twenty minutes."

"Coffee," Tommy says, nose buried so deep in the mug he's probably absorbing caffeine through his lungs.

Smiling happily, Adam flops back on the bed, tapping away at his phone. Tommy watches him over the mug's rim, waiting for conversation to start, something random and unimportant to pass the time, but Adam seems content enough to lie there, flicking a glance Tommy's way every now and then along with another smile.

Eventually, Tommy settles back, propped up on a mound of pillows, and lets time meander by all on its own.

*


"S'cold." Hunkering as deeply in his towel as physically possible, Tommy knees his lounger closer to Adam's. "S'fucking freezing."

"Aw, baby," Adam says, hat tugged down low over his eyes. "Spread out in the sun for awhile."

Adam is so not getting it. "But I'm cold," Tommy says, and sticks his hand under Adam's shirt.

Adam shrieks, fucking shrieks, flailing wildly, and his ridiculous hat goes tumbling into the sand. "Oh my fuck, don't touch me!"

"But I'm cold," Tommy repeats, grinning as he flops onto his lounger, kicking up sand.

Rubbing furiously at his tummy, Adam mutters, "I think I have frostbite."

Loathe to loose the tiny bit of heat Tommy's built up inside his cocoon, he edges his fingers out just far enough to make threatening claws.

"No," Adam says, scooting upright, "no, Tommy, no."

"You haven't cuddled me all day," Tommy points out.

Adam instantly wavers. It's totally not fair for Tommy to trot that one out, because Adam's being so careful with him, the best fucking friend ever. Adam'll joke around when he needs it, play like everything's fine, or produce a joint out of thin fucking air, or pet his hair while they're watching movies, letting him pretend he's not close to tears remembering when he got his first guitar, or how his dad was afraid he'd starve to death as a musician but wouldn't try to tell him to get a real job already.

Eyes narrowing, Adam says, "You're trying to use me."

Tommy shrugs.

"You don't want cuddles. You want to leech body heat."

"I could want cuddles, and the leeching thing is a happy side-effect."

Adam grudgingly opens his arms. Tommy says, "Fucking A," and clambers on top of him, snuggling in close, searching out all the spots Adam's clothes have been tugged askew and there's delicious vulnerable skin for Tommy to get his hands on.

"I'm going to freeze," Adam says, and Tommy clings harder, stretched out on the lounger with the damp towel dragging in the sand.

From two seats over, Cam says, "You're our noble, fearless leader. Taking one for the team."

"I thought you were sleeping," Adam hisses. "You could've warmed him up!"

"Could've," Cam agrees. She adjusts her sunglasses. "Didn't."

"Why do I have to employ strong, independent people who don't conform to traditional female-oriented nurturing roles?" Adam moans, sounding an awful lot like a complaint except for the way he's holding onto Tommy way harder than Tommy's holding on to him.

"You nurture," Taylor says, scrubbing vigorously at his wet hair as he plods through the sand. "You nurture so much, you're practically my mom."

"I do not," Adam grumbles.

"One day you're going to feed him food you've already chewed yourself," Cam says, and Tommy snorts, because okay, that was awesome, and totally something Neil would say, if Neil weren't out frolicking in the waves still. Also, gross, in a really cool way. Tommy's impressed.

"That's gross," Adam says.

"He is kind of bony," Taylor says. "Like a little baby bird."

"M'not bony," Tommy mumbles, too busy soaking up Adam's heat to manage much more than that, and a half-assed slap to his belly. "Call me Buddha."

"Your tiny beer-bump doesn't count," Adam says.

Wriggling around, Tommy elbows Adam in the side. He likes his beer belly, okay? He's kind of proud of it. He's going to exercise the fuck out of it once they're done touring, but eating like crap and drinking his weight in beer and having something to show for it is totally a sign that he's getting old. Getting old is cool. And a way better option than the alternative.

Tommy opens his mouth to tell everybody about the grey pube he found last night, because that's definitely something that needs to be shared, and somebody calls, "Hey, Adam! Adam! Adam!"

"What the fuck," Tommy mutters, squinting into the sunlight.

"Paps," Taylor says, edging around the umbrella to give Tommy some cover as he climbs off Adam slowly, and really fucking reluctantly. Light glints off the forest of telephoto lenses that have sprung up out of fucking nowhere.

"So much for incognito," Adam grumbles.

"Hey, it worked for like, a whole hour." Tommy has no idea how the fuck they managed longer than ten minutes without someone shoving a camera in Adam's face. He steals a dry towel off the lounger next to him, swaddling up tight. He might be at peace with his belly but that doesn't mean he wants it plastered all over the internet.

Adam gives the cloud of locusts a few shots, smiling and waving, throwing up a peace sign or two. They keep snapping after he's turned his back to them, and by then, Brooke's wandered over, and Taylor's hovering, staring out over the water like he's communing silently with Monte, who wanders over with Neil in tow.

"Adam," some paparazzo calls, "Adam, give us a smile! Just one more!"

"You can't tell me they have no idea how insulting that is," Neil says. Tommy reaches out for his tee shirt dangling off one of the chairs, almost out of range. Grabbing it, Neil plunks his ass down on Tommy's lounger and hands it over. "Parasitic assholes."

"I'm trying to be philosophical about this," Adam says, his mouth a thin, unhappy line, his eyes tight at the corners. "You're not helping."

That one guy keeps calling for a smile, turning kinda mean when Adam ignores him, asking shit about the AMAs that nobody seriously cares about anymore, for real, and then getting into the personal stuff, if Adam's seeing anybody, he's got any hardcore male fans desperately chasing him across the country, has he hooked up with any of them, has he left behind a swath of confused middle Americans, on and on and on.

"I'm gonna get a beer," Tommy says, clambering up. "Anybody want something? Adam?"

"No," Adam says tightly, deliberately settled back down, lounging for all he's worth, like he's isn't one bit pissed, not one bit at all. It's a good front. Paps are probably even buying it. "Thanks, though."

Before Tommy goes, he gives Adam's shoulder a tight squeeze. And maybe his fingertips trail over Adam's neck a little, along his jaw, maybe they don't. Touching Adam, being in Adam's space, is second nature. He seriously doesn't think about it until he's back, beer in hand, and Adam's trying to kill somebody.

"What the fucking fuck," Tommy blurts, breaking into a run.

"Oh hell no, no way," Neil says, fucking dive-bombing Tommy from behind, catching him with one arm around the waist like he weighs fucking nothing. Which is a pretty shitty thing to do when Tommy's trying to keep Adam out of jail, for fuck's sake. "Kick me in the shins and end up afraid to sleep for the rest of your life."

"Fuck you," Tommy snarls, shaking him off. Taylor's into it now, but not scrapping, thank fuck. Taylor's a wiry little shit, crazy-ass dancer's muscles everywhere, and while Adam obviously isn't done trying to commit a felony, he lets Taylor haul him off the worm that's grinning from ear to ear. "Why the fuck aren't you over there?"

Neil folds his arms and glowers. "I'm over here, keeping you out of it."

"What the fuck happened?" Flying off the handle is not Adam's deal. And at a fucking pap, what the Jesus. "And get out of my way, he's done, okay? He's cooled off, look."

Hands balled into angry fists, Adam wouldn't be done if it weren't for Taylor steering him back to the loungers, but whatever. He's done enough.

"You know he's probably lying," Monte's saying when Tommy rejoins the group, Neil hot on his heels like Neil thinks he's gonna go bust a cap in somebody's ass. "If he had those pictures, he wouldn't have tried to get a rise out of you."

"Fucking pictures of what?" Tommy cuts in.

"Nothing," Adam's quick to say, and Monte rolls his eyes. At least somebody realises that shit's not gonna fly. Adam's protective streak is cute and all, but not super-subtle. "He said he had pictures of you."

"Which he probably doesn't," Monte says, and Tommy asks, "Why the fuck would he want pictures of me?"

"Of you," Brooke clarifies, except not really, not until she gestures between him and Adam.

Icy-cold fingers slip down Tommy's spine. "Oh. Shit."

About to sit down on the lounger, Adam stands straight back up. He's strung so tight he's practically fucking humming like a transformer about to blow. "Fucker," he spits.

Tommy drags a hand through his hair. "But like, that's no big deal? People've been saying for months that we're together or some shit."

Everybody starts flinging looks at everybody else. Deep, meaningful looks, like there's a whole conversation going on right over his head. Nobody's even got the balls to look at him straight-on.

"Okay," Tommy says. He's not pissed. He's not. He's kind of upset they're not telling him something, but whatever. "We gonna moon the shitheads or what?"

*


Tommy means to ask about whatever the hell they're all keeping from him. If he asks Adam anything point-blank, Adam won't lie to him. Never has, never will. But there's show after show after show, Florida to Washington, and then wham, the American leg of the tour is over. Tommy spends the two days he's got before they leave for foreign shores stumbling around in a tour-daze, nothing feeling exactly real anymore, because he's going to fucking Singapore. And Japan. Fucking Japan, fucking finally. They're going absolutely fucking everywhere Adam told him about, all the shit that he missed last time.

gonna eat so much sushi, Tommy texts Adam while he's supposed to be packing his carry-on following the very specific international-traveller instructions Lane printed out for everybody.

They're not really all the different from the usual airport rules. But this is the sort of shit Lane worries about.

Adam doesn't text back until six the next morning, when Tommy's finally sleepy enough to try going to bed. He squints at it, the screen floating, and thinks he smashes out a reply before he tumbles face-first into bed.

In the morning, from a vending machine! Lol is waiting for him. He seriously has no idea what the fuck that's supposed to mean, and he could go back through his outbox to see what the hell Adam's talking about, and if he was maybe sleep-texting, but he's lazy. Besides, he needs something to talk about on the plane. It's a long fucking flight.

Really, really long.

And then he loses his fucking passport.

On the motherfucking plane.

"Holy shit." Adam stares open-mouthed at the Hong Kong immigration officers waiting to escort Tommy to a secure room. "Are you serious?" he asks, darting a quick glance at Lane. "He can't even leave customs?"

"It's not a big deal," Tommy says, though, okay, it's kind of nerve-wracking. Passports are pretty much a 'please-don't-shoot-me' card in his mind. "I'll get a temporary one. This kind of shit's got to happen all the time."

Adam looks lost. It's totally not what Tommy's expecting. Adam's been Mr. I Got This for fucking ever. There have been some bumps, maybe some bruises, but not this wide-eyed, almost blank incomprehension, like he's five years old and somebody's taken his binkie, promising to give it back only after he recites the entire Pledge of Allegiance backwards in Latin.

"Hey." Tommy drops his bag and flings his arms around Adam's shoulders, hoping he's not going to get tasered in the back for giving the guy a hug. "My own fucking fault. Shoulda kept it on me. But it'll be cool. Embassy'll get me a temp one, I'll get to Singapore, and then I'll like, fly home and get a rush job on a replacement. Easier'n taking a leak."

Adam's laugh puffs Tommy's hair. He squeezes tighter. "I wanted you to come to Bali."

Fuck. Bali. They've been talking about it for weeks. How it's gonna be like Cabo, just sun and sand and fruity drinks with little paper umbrellas in them, no paparazzi, no interviews, no demands. Tommy doesn't know how the hell he forgot about it, even with this whole fuck-up.

If somebody actually stole Tommy's passport, he seriously fucking hates their stinking guts right now. "I'm sorry," he says. "I'm really fucking sorry."

Carefully, Lane says, "Adam."

Adam flinches so slightly nobody else probably even noticed, but Tommy's hanging onto him like a lemur. Again. He felt it, and he feels it when Adam drags in a deep, bracing breath before letting go. "The guys are going to ride you for weeks on this one."

Tommy hefts his bag. It's a good thing he's got his phone on him, and his laptop. "So make Neil carry my new passport once I get it."

"Maybe I will," Adam says, kinda like a threat, but more like he means he's the one who's going to be carrying it from now on, so Tommy's got no choice but to stick close.

That's probably not what Adam's saying. Tommy wouldn't mind if it were, that's all.

Tommy totally plans on watching them until Adam's out of sight, but the guards have other ideas. They politely hustle him off to some sort of designated neutral zone, assuring him that his representative has been contacted. A lifetime of exposure to Hollywood's clusterfucks has a tight ball of nerves squirming in his belly, but aside from being bored out of his skull, his phone and laptop on the table right in front of him but kindly requested to remain powered down, it's not so bad. Somebody gets him some water, and then a muffin. The worst part is waiting for the other shoe to drop. The worst part is waiting.

"Mr. Ratliff?" a woman says, startling him out of his daze.

"Yeah?" he croaks, and winces, reaching for his water. "Sorry. I'm half-asleep here."

She waves that away, settling down in a chair with a stack of papers thicker than Tommy's thumb. "It's always so dry in here." Catching his gaze on the papers, she laughs. "Don't worry. All of these aren't for you."

Tommy's shoulders slump. "I was seriously kinda worried."

"This won't take long at all," she says. "The longest part is waiting for the checks to go through, but that's more of a time difference issue. Unless there were some concerns over issuing your previous passport, this should be relatively pain-free."

That's nice and open, and full of so many ifs, ands, or buts that Tommy doesn't even want to consider counting them. He'd even sorta liked her when she first came in. He still kinda does, even if she's about fifteen times more intimidating all of a sudden. "Not that I know of?"

"Good." She whips out a pen. "Let's get started."

It turns out her idea of not taking long at all and Tommy's don't really gel. By the time they're done two hours later, Tommy's hoarse, and he has no clue how the hell she's still holding that pen, let alone managing to write with it. Getting a passport in the first place was seriously not so hard.

Eventually, she bustles off, and somebody brings him another water. Certain he's not going to be able to sleep, he puts his head down on the table anyway, cushioned by his arms, and closes his burning eyes.

And almost shits himself hours later when somebody gently raps on the table. He reaches for his phone automatically to see what time it is before he remembers it's off.

A guy he hasn't seen before hands him a sheaf of papers. "Once you're through customs, you may turn on your phone, Mr. Ratliff."

"Thanks," Tommy says, standing up too fast. He grabs onto the edge of the table as a weird cramp goes up his leg. Ignoring it, and the guy's raised eyebrow, he gathers up his stuff as fast as he can, offering the guy another hasty thank you.

Customs doesn't take too long, in between flights, but it's fucking long enough. He tries not to fidget too much in the queue, or do any of those nervous, impatient things that tend to alert the TFA guys back home. As soon as he's got the all-clear, he hightails it for the airport proper. He should be looking up flights to get his ass to Singapore. Instead, he tries calling Adam.

"Hey," he says, after it goes straight to voicemail. "Thought you'd be out of the air by now, but, um, maybe you're sleeping. If you're sleeping, don't get up, man. I got my temporary passport, so I'm on my way. Or like, I will be, after I try Lane to see if there's like, some special code or something I gotta use to get the company rate. And um, yeah. I'm sorry. I'll see you soon."

Tommy doesn't want to hang up. It's Adam's freaking voicemail, though. He mumbles something else about flight times and needing a drink as he books it through the airport, finally managing to shut up and cut the fucking call already when he gets to check-in. About to call Lane, he notices he's got like, seventeen messages waiting. The first one, naturally, is from Lane, with complete instructions on how to get his scrawny ass the fuck outta here.

He seriously fucking loves that woman.

He doesn't seriously fucking love flying. Flying without the troupe is even worse, nobody to distract him, nothing to do but drink his limit in overpriced booze and cling to the armrests with his pre-concert mix blaring in his ears.

And think. About his dad, his mom, his future, about him and Adam and whatever the fuck Adam still isn't telling him about that shitstorm on the beach in Miami. He is never missing a single fucking flight ever again, because one thing he doesn't want to have the fucking time to do, is think.

*


"Jesus," Tommy says, tucking his scarf in tighter to his throat on the way outside to grab some coffees. Mid-November in Stockholm, it gets dark fucking early. Like, maybe eight hours of sunlight to the whole day kind of early. Soundcheck ran late, yeah, but not so late that it should be twilight already. "Why's the world gotta be so fucking cold?"

Isaac flings him a sideways glance. "Are you quoting song lyrics at me?"

"Dude," Tommy says, laughing. "No?"

"'No?' as in I would never, or 'no?' as in I'm not sure?"

"Um." Tommy bites at the inside of his lip. "That second one there. What?" he says when Isaac snorts. "I got a lot of shit rattling around up here!"

Isaac's arm drops around Tommy's shoulders. It immediately throws off his gait, because Isaac is actually fucking shorter than Tommy--which is not why Tommy loves the guy, but it really doesn't hurt. "I bet you do, man. I can't believe you said that."

Busy trying to keep their steps in line, Tommy mumbles, "Said what?"

"'I'm not going anywhere unless he slaps me across the face and tells me to get out of his life'? I know you're not subtle, Tommy J, but that was so not subtle, it might actually be the most subtle thing you've ever said."

Tommy scowls. "You know that didn't make a fucking lick of sense."

"Now I can't believe you just said 'a lick of sense', cowboy."

As hard as Tommy tries, he can't keep his frown in place. "Shut up," he says, elbowing Isaac in his bony ribs. "I'm on a Duke marathon."

Isaac's eyes light up. He wriggles in closer, grinning like a fucking maniac, eyebrows waggling.

"Jesus," Tommy says, laughing. "Dude, fine. Duke marathon in my bunk tonight."

"We should appropriate Adam's room for it. We spent twenty minutes telling the world how awesome Adam is, he owes us."

"I'm pretty sure sucking up isn't in our contracts."

"We're good employees, taking initiative."

"Right," Tommy drawls. "Take some initiative and buy me my coffee, Hopalong."

"Yessir, Mr. Duke, sir."

When they get back to the bus, Adam's out, along with almost everybody else. There's some snoring in the back that's got to be Neil, and Cam's flaked out on one of the couches, eyes closed, earphones on. Tommy makes for Adam's bed, toeing off his boots and tugging one-handed at his scarf. "Disc's in the player," he says, muffled behind cotton.

Isaac doesn't ask questions, nabbing the remote and scooting up on the bed beside him. Nobody asks questions anymore. Sometimes, Tommy catches a look or two, like somebody wants to ask, but they never do.

"You remember Miami?" Tommy asks as the opening montage plays.

Isaac's shoulders scrunch. "Aw, shit. I knew it was eventually going to be me."

"You gonna tell me?"

Isaac sighs, flicking at the tab folded back on the cover of his coffee. "There's not a lot to tell. You were there."

Sitting up, Tommy scoots down so he's facing Isaac head-on. It feels confrontational, and he doesn't like it, but somebody's got to give him some fucking answers or he's gonna go nuts. When the pap's side of the story didn't show up online, he figured there really was nothing to it. And Adam's totally settled down around him, not afraid to hug him close anymore, or give him a quick peck on the mouth when they're out exploring cities, but Tommy's got the feeling that's more because they're in Europe than anything. Adam hasn't been shy about kissing other guys when they've been out at clubs, either.

"Shit," Isaac mutters. "Don't look at me like that."

Tommy very slowly raises both eyebrows

"Fuck." Isaac scrubs a hand over his face. "I hate it when you do that. Alright already. Okay? Just stop looking at me like that."

"Cool," Tommy says, easing up and sipping his coffee. "Spill."

"I didn't hear it all. But," Isaac says, and he waggles a finger, like the but is very, very, super-important, "I'm pretty sure the pap said he had photos of you groping Adam. I mean, like you had your hand in his shorts."

Tommy's mouth falls open. He's pretty handsy, sure, he'll 'fess up to that, but getting all up on Adam's dick? In the middle of a fucking public beach?

"I know, right?" Isaac shakes his head. "Cuddling is not groping."

Tommy wouldn't have. He wouldn't. He was pretty out of it, sleep-groggy and maybe a little buzzed, but he wouldn't be so fucking careless. Hugs are one thing, and some flirting, and kisses are probably pushing it, but Adam kisses all his friends hello and goodbye and nice to fucking see you. This thing he and Adam have, it's mellowed out. Super-casual. Fun and easy, and if they haven't had time for much more than a blow or two, or some sloppy handjobs, it's 'cause they're fucking tired. They're always together anyway. That's what Adam needs, and that's what Tommy loves.

"And the pap went on about boy toys that don't put out, or if your hand was all he got, or something equally moronic and insulting. He was talking shit, TJ. All he wanted to do was piss Adam off."

"That'd do it," Tommy says, and scrubs his mouth dry on the back of his hand. "You'd think this crap only happens in the movies."

"It doesn't matter what some fake-a-bake South Beach star-chaser thinks he saw." Grabbing onto Tommy's shoulder, Isaac bumps their forehead lightly together. "Whatever you and Adam do, or don't do, it's your business."

"Yeah." Tommy swallows the lump in his throat and nods. "Yeah. Okay. Fuck this shit. Let's watch a movie."

Isaac gives the back of Tommy's neck a quick squeeze. "Okay. But you're going to have to rewind it for me, because I don't have a clue why that guy just got shot."

*


In December, they play the final show, the final encore, party straight into the dawn. They fucking did it. Adam's first international tour. Fucking sold-out international tour.

Most of the group splurged for rooms in the same hotel Adam's set up in until he finds some place to live. Tommy's got one right down the hall from Monte and Lisa. That's not where he ends up.

"Not yet," Adam says, dragging Tommy over the threshold into his room. His hands cup Tommy's face, palms sweaty. His pupils are blown wide open, his makeup trashed, his hair in crazy spikes like Tommy's hands have already been in it. Which, they kinda might've. "Don't go yet."

"'Kay," Tommy says, letting Adam push him up against the back of the door. It's so fucking easy to spread his legs for Adam now, grab onto Adam's shoulders as Adam yanks open his jeans, angle his hips so Adam can get a hand on his junk, rub at his dick and palm his balls and push further back, fingertips pressing at his hole. Adam hasn't actually fucked him in months, almost half a year, for fuck's sake, and he knows that's kinda weird. What he's been getting has been so fucking amazing, though, Adam's mouth on his cock, tongue and fingers up his ass, working him over so good he can't move for a long, long time after.

When Adam pushes harder, groans into his mouth, Tommy's knees go to water. He slurs, "Bed, bed, c'mon," pushing Adam towards it. He's ready to get fucked again. Just the two of them and this amazing thing they have between them, nothing but what they're doing together, no hiding, no grief, just this.

Tommy hits the bed on his back first and Adam crawls over him, alcohol-soaked kisses sweet and hot. Between one and the next Tommy's shirt gets yanked off, then his jeans, his shorts. He's grabbing at Adam's clothes at the same time, grunting as seams tear and not caring, not caring at all because this is it. They don't need these costumes anymore. They need bare skin and more sloppy kisses, and Tommy's knees up and spread for the push of slick fingers. There's a rubber on the bed that Adam doesn't use, because they don't need that either. Tommy's breath cuts out mid-exhale when Adam pushes carefully into him, slick and slow and easy even without a whole lot of prep, that's how much Tommy wants this.

And Tommy feels it, really feels it down deep in his gut, this frantic, buzzing need that tightens his grip on Adam's shoulders, digs his fingernails into skin. But it stays slow, Adam's weight crushing his knees to his chest and all the air out of his lungs, and every thrust is long and hard, like Adam's trying to really get inside him, get so deep Tommy'll feel it for days. Adam keeps telling him how good it is, how amazing he is, shit that should come off like total stock lines but sound so real with Adam's voice breaking on the vowels. Breaking the same way Tommy feels like he might, burning up inside, so fucking crazy and getting louder and louder, begging for something that a year ago he never would've thought he wants as much as he does.

Adam buries his face in Tommy's hair and comes, moaning ragged curses and Tommy's name and a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn't make any sense rattling through Tommy's hazy brain. Tommy tries holding on harder when Adam goes to pull out, because he's there, he's so fucking there, ready to go with Adam still inside him, but Adam scoots back too fast, dick slipping free, and dips down to suck Tommy's cock straight into his mouth before Tommy can fucking twitch. He bucks up wildly, grabbing up two thick fistfuls of Adam's hair, fucking in hard before he remembers Adam's voice, fuck, Adam's voice.

But Adam doesn't need that anymore, either, not for a while, and he lets Tommy fuck his mouth and his throat for a handful of perfect seconds until Tommy can't hold anything back anymore. When Tommy comes down Adam's throat, Adam's staring straight at him, mouth raw and eyes rimmed in red and smeared eyeliner, only a thin ring of iris showing around shiny black. Adam holds him cradled on his tongue while the aftershocks fade, then pulls off slowly, almost delicately, and presses a kiss to the sweaty crease of his groin.

Leaving a hand tangled in Adam's hair, pins and needles in his leg where Adam's leaning heavily against it, Tommy closes his eyes and tries to breathe.

*


When Tommy wakes up in his own bed two Saturdays after the end, it still doesn't feel real. He pokes at his blankets in the semi-darkness, rolls over to shove in face into his pillow, and thinks about how he should maybe find something to do that isn't drink himself stupid. Maybe he should start small. With like, a shower. And then a few cups or a gallon of coffee. He should visit his mom. He should call Mia. He should make Mike move all this fucking crap out of his goddamn bedroom that he's been tripping over for weeks because it's not a fucking storage room, okay, he lives here.

"Fucker," Tommy croaks, grabbing something random off the nightstand and tossing it at the door. It thumps to the floor about a foot shy. "Fucker, fucking shit, like, all over my fucking," and he gropes around for something else to throw, finding something heavy and thick and giving it a pitch.

Two minutes later, while Tommy's still trying to catch his breath from his bout of displaced frustration, his bedroom door opens, bright afternoon sunlight flooding in around Mike's silhouette. Tommy hisses and shrinks away. "You rang, princess?"

"Still fuckin' live here," Tommy grumbles into the blankets.

Mike says, "Note that I did not rent your room out in your absence."

"Yeah, 'cause I paid for it."

"I could've sublet and made double," Mike says, the horrible blades of sunlight growing less sharp as he eases the door shut behind him. "You smell like a brewery."

"Coffee," Tommy wheezes, scrunching deeper into his cave.

"NASA called. They want your liver to power the next shuttle launch."

"Fuck," Tommy groans. "Why did I want you in here? Go away."

"You missed me," Mike says, shuffling through the crap on Tommy's floor to get to the bed. He grunts sourly, like he regrets getting closer, and Tommy grins viciously into the dark. Serves him fucking right. "Possibly you want me to mend the shattered pieces of your tender broken heart."

Tommy grunts. "Suck dick, Nash."

The bed heaves alarmingly as Mike plunks his ass down on the edge. "I'd hate to say I told you so--"

"Fuck you, you love to say you told me so." Mike's been telling him 'I told you so' for fucking months.

"For fuck's sake," Mike snarls--snarls, which is so unlike Mike that when he grabs for the blankets, Tommy's too stunned to keep a grip on them. "Telling you I told you so is only fun when you're not actually bleeding out through your fucking soul."

"Wow," Tommy says slowly. "Are you writing lyrics again? 'Cause that's cool. You should use that one."

Mike starts shoving at him. "Get up. Get up. Get up."

"Jesus Christ," Tommy says, flailing stupidly for a grip on the mattress or the headboard or anything to keep from tumbling out of bed onto his face. He totally misses and ends up eating sock.

"Excellent," Mike says, and toes him in the ribs. "Progress. Try not to drown in the shower."

"Fuck you," Tommy mumbles around a mouthful of skanky carpet. Christ, when was the last time somebody vacuumed in here? Planting both hands on the floor, Tommy heaves up to his knees. He wobbles alarmingly but makes a pretty smooth grab for the overloaded nightstand, and somehow between it, the bed, he makes it to his feet. Mike applauds politely. Tommy gives him the finger.

"Save that for the shower." Mike grabs onto Tommy's elbow as he starts to weave his way to the door. "I mean it," Mike says at the threshold, the light already on in the bathroom, a few towels heaped on the toilet seat. "Don't fucking drown."

Leaning heavily against Mike, Tommy says, "Fine, whatever," and deliberately wobbles a bit more, just so Mike'll have to hold on tighter. Christ Jesus, he is so fucking pathetic, but he doesn't care, he seriously does not fucking care. Mike's hand on his bare arm is the most human contact he's had all week, and Mike runs warm, almost hot, and all he wants--

"For fuck's sake," Mike repeats under his breath, and folds Tommy into a rib-crushing hug. Tommy buries his face in Mike's neck, clinging for all he's fucking worth. This cold turkey shit is not for him. How anybody can go from pre-show hugs and movie-night cuddle piles and being flopped on by random bandmates every hour of every day to this kinda soul-sucking nothing is so totally beyond nuts. It's like being dumped. Being fucking dumped right on his fucking ass.

Scratching at Tommy's dirty, tangled hair, Mike says, "Man, you really do stink."

Tommy butts his head against the underside of Mike's chin. Mike sighs and doesn't let go.

*


Phone jammed between his ear and his shoulder, Tommy cracks his knuckles one by one with shivery, satisfying pops. Monte's pointed silence pours over the line. "Yeah, no, I didn't forget," Tommy says. He didn't exactly remember, but he didn't forget. It's on his calendar somewhere. His calendar that he hasn't looked at in weeks, not since the show he did with Monte at Molly Malone's right after tour's end. "Uh, thanks, though."

"No problem," Monte says, easy as anything, as if he hadn't called Tommy up and said, "Saturday," in this fifteen-ton voice like he's the fucking Godfather.

Flopped on the other end of the couch, PS3 controller gripped loosely in one hand, both of Mike's eyebrows shoot for his hairline.

"Yeah," Tommy repeats, gaze skipping over the paused screen to one of his vintage horror posters hanging slightly crooked on the wall. "So, I'll, uh, see you."

"Wow," Mike mouths after Tommy's thumbed disconnect.

Nodding, Tommy tosses his phone onto the coffee table. "Fucking tell me about it."

"I mean," Mike says, gesturing with the controller, "and I was all the fucking way over here. Dude didn't even say anything."

Tommy nods again, quick and jerky. "I think it's a dad thing. He knows shit."

"Fucking terrifying," Mike says. "Oh man, you're so gonna get it."

"I didn't even do anything!" When Mike's eyebrows try to vanish into his hairline, Tommy rolls his eyes. "You know what I meant. It's not like we were, y'know. And it wasn't-- And tour's over, so."

"It's awesome how you can't even finish a sentence right now."

"Shut the fuck up."

Snatching up the remote, Mike flicks off the television. "Have you even tried calling him since you crawled out of your cave?"

Tommy snaps his fingers impatiently at the screen He's totally kicking ass here.

"Text? Email?"

"He's fucking busy, okay. The guy's still living out of a hotel."

"You find that out on TMZ?"

Tommy throws his controller at Mike's head.

*


Way too early Saturday morning, before the doors open to the public, Tommy clutches a takeout coffee to his chest and winds his way through booths and stages and milling professionals to Orange Amp's setup. Monte's already there chatting up a couple guys who hold themselves like behind-the-scenes dudes, sound techs and mixers. Attending the NAMM Show last year, being able to play all those guitars and test out the merchandise without being stared at like he was some punk pretender, that was fucking cool enough. To be one of the guys people are here to see and talk to, somebody behind a table instead of starry-eyed in front of it, that's fucking awesome.

He's gonna fucking enjoy it.

"Tommy," Monte says when he walks up, and pulls him in to introduce him to the Orange guys running the booth. Talking shop is easy. And fuck if it doesn't feel good, his world narrowed down to specs and strings, things he's always understood, never let him down. Somebody puts a bass in his hands and he feels it like coming home, really home, not some room in a house he doesn't recognise. He catches Monte watching him a couple times throughout the day, taking his measure, but whatever Monte sees, he doesn't feel the need to comment.

Not until the crowds are thinning and Monte's sitting there tuning random guitars, ambushing him totally out of the blue with, "He thinks you're mad at him."

"What the fuck," Tommy grunts, lungs seizing. He takes a couple deep, painful breaths. "Seriously. The fuck?"

"Don't ask me why," Monte says. "But he does. Are you?"

Tommy is seriously fucking glad he's sitting down right now, and there's a big, sturdy table in front of him to grab onto. Otherwise, he'd be on his ass on the fucking floor. Monte's doesn't do this shit. Monte is like, Switzerland. "Of course I'm not fucking mad at him, what the fuck. Dude. What the fuck. Did he fucking, like, did he say that?"

"No." Monte pauses to tighten a string. "He didn't have to. Neither one of you were exactly subtle about falling in love."

That ice pick buried in Tommy's chest jerks. He's sitting there staring at Monte like a tool, mouth dropped wide open, eyes bugging out. Because Adam and him, they didn't-- It wasn't--

Catapulting out of the chair, Tommy claws his phone out of his pocket and takes off for the service hallways. He's not thinking as he hits speed-dial one, or as he lifts the phone to his ear, or as Adam picks up after two rings and says, "Tommy, oh my god, tell me you're going to Sutan's party."

Tommy blurts, "What?"

"The Drag Race premiere? On Tuesday?" The familiar chirrup of the Mustang's locks engaging echoes over the line. "I know how much you need some time to recharge, but it's Sutan."

Dimly, Tommy remembers getting the text from Sutan, and the email invite. He knows he must've RSVP'd, because Adam's right--it's Sutan. Even if Tommy's had his head up his ass for the last month, there are some things you don't do, and that's bail on your friends. "Yeah," he says, voice weirdly rough. "Yeah, I--"

"Thank god. Terrance and Taylor are going. You can be our voice of reason. I hear guitars. Are you at NAMM?"

Tommy's brain clunks, shudders like a ground transmission, then starts up again, chugging along in the opposite lane. "Like hell I was gonna miss it."

Over the ding of an elevator, Adam says, "Got time to tell me all about it?" and Tommy opens his mouth to let the whole day come pouring out of it. Adam throws in a comment here, a question there, and it's so much like it used to be that Tommy doesn't think about it. He doesn't think about it after he hangs up, either, or when he gets back to the table to help Monte pack up, and he doesn't mention that it didn't sound like Adam was worried about Tommy being ticked at him at all.

He does give Monte the hairy eyeball when he thinks Monte isn't looking, though.

*


Mike's leaning on the kitchen counter fiddling with his phone when Tommy shuffles out of his room Tuesday night. "Anybody coming to pick you up?" he asks, watching as Tommy hefts the quart of vodka to pour another naked shot and knock it back.

"Cab," Tommy rasps through the burn. He's pretty sure the bottle was mostly empty when he started in on it that afternoon.

Mike puts down the phone and looks at him. Tommy makes an unhappy noise way down low in his throat and gropes for another shot. "So you're gonna talk to him."

"No," Tommy says, and when Mike's fucking eyebrow wings up again, quickly adds, "yes, I'm gonna, but not like, not tonight. Big party. Lotsa people. I'm gonna do it, like, later."

"Later," Mike repeats. "Like in the back of the car you know he's gonna rent to bring you home?"

Screwing up his nose, Tommy reaches for the vodka. Mike, the fucking five-year-old douche, grabs it and shoves it behind his back. "If you don't talk to him, I'm going to fucking invite him over for a sleepover or something and make you do it while he braids your hair, you fucking know I will. Don't fucking test me, Ratliff."

"Jesus Christ, when the fuck did you become Judith Martin's evil fucking twin?" Tommy jabs at finger at the bottle. "Gimme that."

Mike holds the bottle high above his head, as if the extra half inch of height he's got on Tommy will make a difference. "I'm going to change the locks."

"I fucking pay rent!"

"My name is on the lease," Mike says with a nasty twist to his mouth. "Yours isn't."

"Fucker," Tommy huffs, sagging against the cool countertop. "Yeah, I'm gonna talk to him. I just gotta figure out what to say. 'Cause, like, you were here, man. We said no strings."

Shaking his head sadly, Mike says, "You are so blond, Tommy Joe."

"Fuck you," Tommy says, too tired to even try packing any heat in it. And maybe too drunk. Fuck, he hopes there's booze at the party. He can't imagine any self-respecting drag queen throwing a party without booze. Maybe he can get in on Sutan's tab. He makes a half-hearted grab for the bottle.

"You're gonna tell him everything, like a fucking Lifetime romance." Keeping a wary eye on Tommy's grabby hands, Mike brings the bottle down and pours up half a shot. "You're going to be honest and open about your very special feelings. You're gonna be a motherfucking adult."

Tommy groans, "Motherfucker," right back at him and holds up the empty glass for more.

*


The thing is, Tommy totally plans on going through with it. Like he said, not right away, but he's gonna do it. He thinks about it on the cab ride over, and while he's hugging Taylor and Terrance hello, and while he's congratulating Sutan, and while he's standing under Adam's arm listening to Adam ramble on about his plans for the next album, the next tour, the next everything. It doesn't really seem like the time to bring up the whole emotional turmoil thing, and it's so fucking good to be out with these guys again, Tommy changes his mind about not hitting the afterparty. And once he's there, that doesn't seem like a good time, either.

It seems like an especially epic bad time when Adam gets a call he ducks outside to take.

"Don't worry about him, sweetness," Sutan says, dropping an arm around Tommy's shoulders.

Tommy can't help staring out the door Adam disappeared through. "He looked kinda pissed."

"He's tired of living out of a hotel. Wouldn't you be?"

"Well, yeah, but." Tommy frowns and scratches at his jaw. He's seen Adam ticked off about pretty much anything and everything that's able to get under Adam's skin. The way Adam's mouth went tense, his eyes narrowed, that didn't seem like house drama. That look was personal. "I'm just gonna go check on him," Tommy says, slipping out from under Sutan's arm.

Finding Adam in a crowd isn't usually hard. Tonight it's even easier with those heels he's hiding under the ragged hems of his jeans. He's pacing back and forth behind some pillars separating the front walk from a small, shadowy garden. Tommy hesitates at the edge of the fancy cobblestones. They're not dating. They've barely spoken in weeks. It's not like it's ever been Tommy place to pin the guy down and make him spill about whatever personal shit is eating at him.

But Adam's always kinda just spewed it all over him anyway. And Tommy never once minded. Tommy fucking liked it, because screw this no strings crap, he's invested. Like seriously invested. Beyond the whole best friends and benefits shit.

"Hey," he says quietly, just to make his presence known, as he steps onto the weird spongey gravel.

Adam's face goes from relieved to worried to carefully guarded in five seconds flat. He's got the phone smushed against his ear, knuckles white, rings glittering in the muted light. Tommy waits, fingertips jammed into his pockets, for some sort of signal that this is a totally private conversation and he should get his skinny ass gone. Adam yanks the phone away from his ear and mashes his thumb against the screen without even saying goodbye.

About five dozen openings scroll through Tommy's brain. None of them sound good. This is crazy. Adam's the easiest guy in the world to talk to. He's just gotta like, get it fucking out there.

"You okay?" Adam asks, before Tommy's got the chance. "It's pretty crowded in there."

"Yeah," Tommy says. "No, I mean, nah. It's cool. I was just, like--" he gestures lamely at Adam, and the phone clutched in Adam's hand.

"Checking up on me?" Adam asks, mouth wry.

Tommy shrugs. "Habit."

The slight crook at the corner of Adam's mouth fades out like the last scene in a movie. "I'm okay," he says, digging for a pocket to stuff his phone in. "Thanks, though."

"No, fuck." Tommy yanks a hand through his hair. "Like, yeah, it's habit, but, I wanted to. Check on you. I mean-- fuck." It'd be really cool if he could say this had gone better in his head. If he'd fucking planned for once, instead of going with his stupid gut all the time, maybe Adam wouldn't be giving him that too-blank face right now. "Are you mad at me?"

Adam's expression flips over to something comfortingly confused. "No?"

"Because I'm not. Um, mad at you."

"Okay," Adam says, nodding slowly, and like he totally doesn't get it at all but he's worried Tommy's on the verge of some sorta breakdown or something. Which fucking sucks. This isn't supposed to be about him, or like, even Adam. It's about them. Fucking them.

"I fucked up," Tommy says. That's as good a start as any. "I said no strings, right, and I meant it. Except it got all fucked up."

Beneath the makeup hiding Adam's freckles, he goes white. Like, pure shock-white, and that is a fucking trick with the warm lighting out here and the industrial-strength shit Tommy knows Adam cakes on his face. He looks like somebody just told him the world's gonna end tomorrow.

"Shit," Tommy says. "Shit, fuck, fuck." This is gonna hurt so fucking much. Way to get shot down like a motherfucker, Ratliff. "I get it, you said the same thing. And like, you meant it too. It's on me, I totally fucked it up, and I knew I was gonna do it, but I did it anyway. Stayed with you. Even though we weren't like together or anything, it kinda felt like we were, and I kinda acted like it, and I'm fucking sorry, okay?"

"Wait," Adam says, his face all scrunched up, and fuck Tommy so hard if it doesn't make his chest hurt. He really should've fucking known better. He did know better, and he went ahead and fell in love anyway. "Just, wait a second. What are you sorry about?"

Tommy opens his mouth, then closes it again. Mostly he's sorry he broke his own fucking heart. There's gotta be something better than that he can tell Adam, though. If he says that shit, Adam'll go all guilt-ridden on him.

"Because I'm not sorry at all," Adam says. "Well, I am, but not about the last few-- god, it's been over year. I'm not sorry that happened."

Tommy blurts, "What are you sorry about?" and then has to physically fucking stop himself from punching his own stupid face.

Adam smiles, and it's not a good smile. Tommy's seen scowls that are more comforting than that smile. "I'm sorry you meant it when you said no strings, because I don't think I ever did. I'm really sorry that I'm not what you want, Tommy Joe."

It feels like there should be a moment where the world drops out from beneath Tommy's feet. Or everything goes silent, the music fucking stops, something big and huge and dramatic. But the crowd behind them keeps on partying, the world keeps turning, the sky stays clear. And Tommy says, "Bull-fucking-shit."

Adam's mouth drops open.

"Yeah," Tommy says, marching straight up to him and like, slapping him in the chest, what the fuck, they're totally in a chick flick. "Bull-fucking-shit, you heard me. Not what I fucking want, what the fuck, what the fuck. I wouldn't've fucking done shit with you if I didn't want you. And like, fuck that shit, and the fucking mind-blowing sex that I really fucking enjoyed, okay, all of that, fuck it. It was like, you. Jesus Christ. That's what you're fucking hung-up on, isn't it? That you got a dick."

"No," Adam busts out, except totally in that way where what he's really saying is yes but he doesn't want to admit it. "You want a family. A wife and kids and a suburban house and a Prius hybrid, Tommy, you've got your family fucking car picked out. You want to get married."

"Yeah, and?" Tommy goes to hit him again, punch him this time, and he just stands there like he's gonna take it, like it isn't out of this world for Tommy to fucking punch somebody. "You fucking don't?"

"I can't!"

"When has that fucking stopped you before!"

"Shit," Adam gasps, staring wide-eyed over Tommy's head. He catches Tommy's fist and holds it to his chest, grip so tight the bones in Tommy's wrist grate. "Stop. Tommy, stop."

"Sorry. I'm sorry, I just--" Tommy wrenches his hand out of Adam's grip. "I shouldn't have, I'm sorry."

"No, shit, it's okay." Adam's still watching the crowd milling way too close-by. If it weren't for the music pouring out into the night, everybody would've fucking heard them. People probably fucking saw. The street is crawling with paps. "You're right. God, you are so fucking right."

"I know," Tommy says, and rub his wrist where it's still smarting. "About what?"

Adam huffs a weird, soundless laugh. "I thought I was done letting people tell me what I can and can't do. I guess not."

"Well, like," Tommy says, this weird, crazy type grin trying to take over his face, "you kinda can't have babies in the whole bun in the oven way, but you can still have 'em. Fucking obviously."

Really kinda tentatively, Adam says, "And I can have a house in the suburbs, and a stupidly fuel-efficient family car if I want. But not the same way Monte's got it."

"Don't fucking need it the way Monte's got it, Jesus Christ, man. One kid. One." Tommy thinks about it for a second. "Maybe two."

Adam's lip twitches. "You don't wanna be outnumbered, huh?"

"Fuck no." Tommy gives his wrist one last rub, more like a nervous tic than anything. "So, uh, we're on the same page here, right? Like, I love you."

"Oh wow," Adam says, that twitch turning to a full-on goofy grin. "Say it again."

"Dorkass," Tommy says, and maybe he's thinking about shoving Adam in the chest again, like they're carrying on or something, but instead it turns into him sorta falling against Adam and hugging the fuck out of him instead. "I'm in total stupid love with you."

"Oh my god, baby," Adam says, muffled in Tommy's hair. "Me too. For so long. Total stupid love."

Tommy shoves his face harder against Adam's chest. "This really is a chick flick."

"I know, I love it." Adam nuzzles the side of Tommy's head, nose kinda poking him in the temple. "I love you." He's holding on so tight it hurts, but like fuck Tommy's gonna tell him to stop. Like, ever. The vibe from the crowd behind them is way too interested, like maybe a couple of 'em got wind of the shit going down out here, and if they know, then getting through the gauntlet of paps--fucking paps--in the street is gonna be hell. It's gonna piss Adam off, because he hates them getting into his personal life, and it's gonna piss Tommy off for pretty much the same reasons on top of him hating how it gets to Adam, but what the fuck ever. They'll get through it.

Maybe Adam's driver for the night'll even clip one of 'em, just a little, if Tommy asks really nicely.

*
End


Soundtrack and artwork by [personal profile] qafmaniac are here! SOUNDTRACK. \o/
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