Pairing: Kradam, AU
Author’s Notes: When Kris debuted his new song, Shut That Door and Keep That Devil Out, a New York Post author referred to him as a "sexy singing succubus." Nevermind that a succubus demon is female (the correct term for a male is incubus, but that doesn’t have the alliteration we love), this fic was born. I have also been watching a Showcase series called Lost Girl. The lead is a succubus, and most of the mythology in this story comes from the canon of that show. The title, and song used in the story, is Story of My Life by 30 Seconds to Mars.
Thank you to sbb23 for the thorough beta and great ideas. And as always, to jerakeen—for showing me the article in the first place, and squeeing at each new twist and turn.
Story of My Life
Kris wakes up cold and alone. His shirt lies torn and tattered across his chest, the buttons like spilled pearls on the floor at his feet. He shakes the cobwebs from his mind and looks around the room. It’s dark, but he can see light peeping in around the heavy curtains, which means he’s lost at least 3 hours of his night. He stands from the bed, cracking his neck sideways to release the kinks. He’s cold and naked, in a strange place…and he feels amazing.
Last night he swore he could fight through the pain—the throbbing at the base of his neck, the fever spreading its way forward to his temples. He’d chased it down with bourbon and coke, but the urge was stronger than the liquor. He doesn’t remember the guy’s name, only that he was blond, and oh so pretty. And Kris had to have him.
He turns to grab his jeans from the chair next to the bed. His jacket is flung on the floor by the door. Boots, socks, underwear? Forget it. Probably shredded given the state of his shirt.
He takes one last look around to make sure he hasn’t forgotten anything. His heart does a little flip-flop in his chest when his eyes fall on the pretty blond still lying on the bed. Kris walks over and looks down at him. Still cute, even stone-cold frozen. He leans over and presses his fingers across the guy’s eyelids. His momma always taught him to respect the deceased.
There had been a lot of years where Kris didn’t know what he was. A killer, sure, there was a trail of bodies all the way from Arkansas to Alaska to prove that, but the why and how of it eluded him. Well, the how was obvious—Kris kissed a guy, the guy died. Like Sleeping Beauty in reverse. But the reason why and source of the power had been a mystery. A confusing, lonely mystery. There was no one he could share his secret with. He was a walking, talking, life-sucking enigma.
Oh yeah, the life-sucking—that was his trademark. At first, Kris didn’t even know what he was doing to kill the guys—pretty scary when you kiss your first boyfriend at 17 and leave him frozen like a statue. As if his pastor hadn’t preached enough that God would smite the homosexual sinners…this was like the finger of God reaching down from heaven to stop the guy’s heart right in front of Kris’s face.
He was 21 before he learned about the Fae.
He’d heard old wives’ tales about fairies and elves, leprechauns waiting at the foot of a rainbow, and little nymphs ready to steal wandering children off into the woods forever. That the legends were all true was really more of an ‘oh’ moment than any real surprise. It also explained a hell of a lot about what Kris’s body had been doing to guys these past 4 years.
Kris was a demon. A life-sucking, breath-stealing incubus demon.
It would have been easier if he was a friendly demon. A cuddly care bear sort who just really liked kisses. But all of the Fae had dark secrets of some sort. Some were very innocent—like the guy who could tell what a person was thinking just by making contact with their skin. Others were pretty disturbing—like the banshee who could scream at a high enough pitch that your brains oozed out of your ears.
Some were just plain deadly—like Kris.
He was struggling before he found the Fae, living in the back of his car, and only finding guys to feed on when he was so desperate he thought he was going to die himself. The pain of needing to kiss someone would grow slowly over a few weeks. Every day was a struggle, and eventually the pain would win out and Kris would find a guy to kiss. It didn’t matter who or where, or even if Kris knew the guy’s name; as soon as they locked lips, Kris took what he needed until the other body was drained of all life. He’d tried taking less, but the strength it took to stop just wasn’t there. The one time he had ripped himself away, the energy he’d gained had been lost in the ether; there was no point in only taking half—Kris needed all or nothing.
The need to feed had grown rapidly over the years. At first it was only one guy every few months. But lately he was up to two a week. He was running out of places to hide. He met a Fae clan once in Vancouver that wanted him to stay with them. There was a commune type of place where they hid out together. Kris appreciated the acceptance, but living with them just made him feel worse. They were all feeding on humans in some way—emotions, energy, blood. It was a constant reminder of how much of a freak he was. He’d left Canada and never looked back.
Mostly he tries not to let his birthright interfere with his day-to-day living. But who the hell is he kidding—his day-to-day living is playing guitar and singing, with a little life-sucking thrown in for good measure. He hates who he is and what he does, but even the Fae couldn’t provide answers to ‘cure’ him. He’s on his own.
Tonight he is looking for a club to play in LA. He drove down the coast after leaving the last kid behind in Seattle. He likes to get a couple of states between him and the last victim. He also looks for cities with a large street-people population. He justifies it to himself that no one will miss them when they’re gone. Horrible, he knows, but it’s the only rationalization he can find.
He’s been through LA a couple of times before, so he knows about Harry’s and their Wednesday ‘Play for Tips’ night. Kris is good too, really good, so he can make a living picking up gigs like this. It sucks (quite literally) that he can never settle down somewhere, but he’s dealing. He learned a long time ago that a stable life with one guy in one place wasn’t in the cards for him. Instead, he tries to pick the cutest guys he can find to be with…at least he’ll have good memories.
He rents a hotel room with cash and practices for a bit in his room. Then he goes down to the street to find somewhere to eat. There’s a little café right across from the hotel called ‘Eat Your Heart Out’—cute name, Kris thinks, has to be decent. He walks in and takes a seat at the counter. He’d tried the sticking to the shadows thing for a while, but no one ever seemed to remember him anyway. Maybe it’s another Fae trait that he hasn’t discovered yet, or maybe he just has one of those ordinary faces, but Kris isn’t hiding anymore.
The guy behind the counter—cute, but a little tall for Kris’s taste—comes over to take his order.
"What’s good?” Kris asks.
The guy purses his lips and seems to size Kris up for a moment. The he nods and whips out a notepad to jot down the order. "Turkey club wrap with cranberry jelly, with ‘Now Thatsa Pasta’ salad on the side. Large coke, no ice.”
He turns and slaps the order up on the little silver wheel in the pass-through window, fills a glass with coke (no ice), and turns to set it in front of Kris.
"I’m Adam. Welcome.”
"Um, Kris?” he replies, a little dizzy from the experience of Adam telling him what he wanted to eat.
"Trust me, I’m a people-reader. You’re a little plain Jane, jeans and plaid…”
(The eye roll at the word ‘plaid’ is not lost on Kris.)
"…that’s the turkey, but you have a sweet side too, that’s the cranberry jelly. My famous salad is a mixed up jumble with a mystery ingredient no one’s been able to guess yet. I think it suits you better than anyone. You should feel honored, not everyone gets the salad.”
"Can’t you just order it?”
"Do you see a menu?”
Kris looks around the restaurant. A few tables are taken, with people eating or drinking, or just lounging drinking coffee with their laptops. No one has menus on their tables though. The space above the kitchen pass-through window where a menu would typically hang instead features framed pictures of famous landmarks.
"So you, what, tell people what they get to eat?” Kris asks.
"I tell people what they want to eat.”
"There’s a difference?”
The cook in the kitchen places a plate on the counter and rings the little bell next to it. Adam turns and picks up the plate, placing it before Kris with a flourish.
"You tell me,” he says, stepping back to watch Kris.
Kris has never eaten cranberry jelly on a sandwich before, and typically it’s reserved for Thanksgiving only. The salad looks amazing, but there are at least 10 different ingredients readily identifiable in the small bowl—nothing needs to be that complicated.
Tentatively, he picks up the wrap and takes a bite. The turkey is moist and flavorful. The cranberry jelly is mixed with a tangy mayonnaise to create a delicious sauce. There is crisp lettuce and crunchy carrots to round out the wrap, and even a small sprinkling of traditional sage stuffing. It’s amazing.
"So good,” Kris mumbles around a second mouthful.
"Try the salad,” Adam says. "I think I’m right about you.”
Kris eyes Adam warily, but picks up his fork and digs into the salad. Tri-colored pasta with olives, peppers, broccoli, carrots, and more vegetables than Kris can fit on his fork, fill the bowl. It’s covered in a light dressing with flecks of spice visible throughout. Kris puts a bite in his mouth and chews slowly. Sparks of flavor burst from all the different ingredients. The sauce is cool and creamy, with a hint of something sharp and spicy. The flavors mix and mingle in his mouth and slide down his throat easily, leaving a pleasant aftertaste.
"Wow, that’s good,” Kris says. "That is really good.”
"I know,” Adam replies. "But thanks anyway!”
Adam moves off to serve another customer. Or mind-read him, which is a more accurate description, Kris thinks. But the sandwich is really, really good. And the salad…Kris can’t place what’s so good about it, but he knows that he loves it. And he has to figure out how he can order it again. Maybe just come in here with jumbled up thoughts and Adam will sense that he’s in need of delicious pasta salad?
Kris finishes his lunch and tries to catch Adam’s attention before he leaves. Adam’s in the back of the restaurant making wild hand gestures and repeating, ‘Trust me. TRUST me,’ to a patron. Kris figures the guy has got his hands full reading people’s minds and trying to keep them satisfied. It’s not like Kris plans to be in LA for very long anyway. It’s already been three days since he last fed, and he can feel the thready wisps of pain beginning to tingle at the base of his neck.
He shrugs it off and heads back to his hotel to try and sleep off the ache before he plays tonight. He lies on the bed and closes his eyes; picturing Adam with shocking black hair falling dangerously across one eye. There was a certain aura about him—and Adam easily read Kris and gave him exactly what he wanted. If Kris can push off the need to feed for one more night, he can eat at the restaurant again tomorrow. He wonders what Adam will sense from him when all Kris can think about is locking lips with the guy.
Kris shows up at the club early. He likes to get the feel of a place before he plays; that and he doesn’t have any bourbon in his hotel room. He orders a drink and leans against the wall near the bar. Close enough for a refill, but not so that anyone will try to strike up a conversation with him. Kris doesn’t trust himself to be around people right now. He’s dangerously close to needing to feed, but he wants to make it through tonight and enjoy the city for one more day. The city and…
…Adam. Kris looks up as the door opens to see Adam standing there. He consumes the doorway—not with his size, although Kris wouldn’t mind wrapping his arms around those shoulders—it’s more the very presence of him in the room that makes people sit up and take notice. Heads turn to see who’s there without Adam ever speaking a word. Kris is struck by how full of life the room suddenly feels.
It takes a while before Adam notices Kris hiding in the corner. Kris is grateful, both for the time to observe Adam quietly from afar, and for the delay in the inevitable stirring that Adam’s presence brings. Kris has to grit his teeth, trying to smile all the while, when Adam plants himself against the wall next to Kris.
"You really need another,” Adam says.
Like anyone had to tell Kris that, but he looks at Adam with surprise all the same.
Adam shrugs. "It’s a gift.” He leans across to signal for the bartender, holding up two fingers and gesturing to Kris’s glass. "Not really my drink, but if it’s good enough for you.”
Kris takes a long swallow. "I just need something to take the edge off.”
Adam narrows his eyes and rakes them up and down over Kris. "You’re…nervous?”
He says it like a question, which just makes Kris smile. "I was thinking about playing later, so yeah, maybe a little.”
Adam nods, but there’s a look on his face like he doesn’t believe a word Kris is saying.
"What about you?” Kris asks, shifting focus from himself. It’s weird—he just met this guy today and now they’re like old friends sharing a drink, shooting the breeze. It doesn’t feel uncomfortable at all…unless of course you count the throbbing that’s stretching up to Kris’s temples. He downs the remainder of his drink and reaches for the two glasses the bartender places before him. He takes another long swallow before handing one to Adam.
Adam doesn’t seem as interested in the drink as Kris is. He twirls the ice cubes in the glass with his pinky finger; his ring making a clinking sound against the side of the glass. Kris is entranced watching the light catch the blue-green gem as Adam swirls it round and round.
"I think yes,” Adam finally says. "Singing would be good.”
Kris furrows his brow. Okay, this guy is just weird, or maybe quirky is a better term, because Kris still really likes him, and he doesn’t usually have time for weirdness in his life. Quirkiness on the other hand can be very entertaining, and Kris has only ever had a few friends in his life; he likes to pack in the entertainment where he can.
The crowd is clapping as one of the employees steps onto the stage to announce the beginning of the entertainment. A young girl with her hands gripped tightly on her guitar takes a seat on the stool behind him. She fumbles and bangs the guitar against the mic stand, sending a loud squeal through the speakers. A laugh ripples through the crowd and Kris instantly feels bad for her.
"She’s great,” Adam muses.
Kris looks over at him. Adam is lost in thought, a dreamy look on his face as he stares at the girl.
"She’s nervous,” Kris replies. "Not so sure how great she’s going to be.”
"Patience grasshopper,” Adam says. He pushes off from the wall and then hesitates like he’s about to change his mind about moving. Then he nods and moves away into the crowd leaving Kris alone by the bar again.
The whole experience is just odd. Kris gulps his drink back and signals for another from the bartender. Adam is like an otherworldly presence. His very being in the room is making Kris’s head spin. He rubs his temples while he waits for his drink. He has to get up there and play in a bit; he really needs all the concentration he can get. He’s spent enough time in bars to know that confidence doesn’t come from a bottle, but when his head is spinning and all he wants is to find someone to kiss him back, willingly or not, it’s really hard to think of anything else. He takes the glass greedily from the bartender and tosses it back.
On the stage, the girl has settled into a groovy rhythm. She actually is very good. Kris finds Adam across the room and watches him chatting with a group of people. As if he can sense Kris’s eyes on him, Adam turns and catches Kris’s gaze. He shoots Kris a smile and nods, like he’s confident that Kris can overcome the urge. Kris has only known the guy for a couple of hours, but for some strange reason he believes him.
By the time Kris is called to the stage, he’s halfway through a bottle of bourbon and barely feeling the burn along the back of his neck. He makes his way through the bar and finds his guitar among the cases stashed by the stage. As soon as his fingers caress the neck, calm washes over his body—it’s like coming home. He turns and faces the crowd; he knows Adam is out there somewhere, but he can’t pick him out in the instant he allows his eyes to scan the room. That’s all Kris will let himself see—he can’t remain upright, perform, and keep from grabbing Adam and kissing his face off at the same time. There is only so much self-control in his body, and Kris is using all of it to keep himself firmly rooted to the idea that he can win this time; that the urge to feed is not stronger than the desire not to.
His fingers take up residence in the comforting G-formation without his eyes ever opening. He paints his mouth to the mic, one shoulder rises up, his hand slips down, and the first strum resonates from the instrument. Suddenly he’s home, notes and words and music spilling forth from his tired body. Up here he can forget what he is and what he does. The killer instinct inside him to survive is washed away on a sea of melodies. Kris plays song after song, not stopping until his hand is cramped on the guitar and the pain has receded back down his shoulders and been swept away with the music.
There’s a pause when he stops, breathless and panting into the microphone. Then the crowd erupts. Kris opens his eyes to the glare of lights. The bar is actually very dim, but the sudden awareness of people and sound, of lights and speakers, feels harsh to his senses. He shakes his head and steps back, but there’s an instant cry for more. People are still clapping and cheering, urging him to keep playing. He turns away for a moment, bringing his hand up to his eyes. He can’t think of what to play; can’t imagine that he has one more song left in him. He’s completely spent and drained.
A figure walks up on the stage, the crowd cheering as he turns to the mic. Kris opens his eyes and sees Adam silhouetted against the crowd.
"My friend Kris Allen, everybody!” Adam is saying, clapping his hands over his head as he turns to grin at Kris.
Kris can’t move or speak. He can’t process what’s happening to him. Normally the booze and the singing is enough to shut the pain out completely for a night, maybe even a whole 24 hours. But as soon as Adam walked onto the stage the tendrils unfurled and crawled their way back up Kris’s spine. He’s faltering on his own two feet, about to fall down if he doesn’t sit.
Adam recognizes that Kris is hurting, or at least has the presence of mind to know he needs a break. He steps back and holds Kris’s elbow, leading him to the stool still set up for the performers. He takes the microphone back in his hands again and turns to look at Kris.
"Think you’ve got one more in you?” he asks teasingly.
The crowd roars with desire, wanting to hear them perform together as much as Kris wants to run away alone.
Adam must know Kris is out of his element. He winks and nods reassuringly. Placing his hand over the mic, he says, "Don’t worry, you know this one.”
Then he turns his mouth to the mic and whispers the first words, "Close your eyes.”
Without thought or knowledge, Kris’s fingers start to play. They pick out the beginning chords, moving haltingly but without fail over the strings. Beside him Adam sings lyrics that Kris vaguely remembers. It’s like the song is buried within him, and Adam draws it out easily.
I’ve been thinking of everything
I used to want to be
I’ve been thinking of everything
Of me of you and me
Kris plays along with him, Adam’s voice casting a trance over the crowd. People fall silent as they listen; his voice like a snake charmer weaving a spell. Kris finds himself swept up in the story of the lyrics, in the painful ache in Adam’s voice as he showcases the loss felt and the desperate need to find salvation.
This is the story of my life
These are the lies I have created
This is the story of my life
These are the lies I have created
The last notes ring out from the guitar and Adam turns his back to the crowd. Behind him everyone is clapping, but Adam is only looking at Kris.
"Better,” he says with finality, like it’s a proven fact.
Kris nods, or tries to; his brain is not functioning on a level of conscious thought.
Adam turns back to the crowd and Kris takes the opportunity to escape. He lays his guitar aside and slips off the side of the stage near the back. Adam is thanking everyone and Kris hears the disappointment in his voice when he notices Kris is missing.
"Guess I have someone to find,” Adam says lightly, his voice resonating through the speakers around the bar.
Kris bursts through a doorway leading to the bathrooms and walks to the very end. There’s another door leading to the alleyway behind the bar, and Kris tumbles out and down the three steps, falling to his knees on the pavement. There’s a movement off to his right, and a guy sways towards him holding a bottle.
He takes a long swig and mock toasts Kris. "Ten points for good form,” he says, and laughs into the bottle like it’s a microphone.
Kris makes it to his feet and takes a deep breath. He can either take the bottle or the guy—either will do for a quick fix, but he knows only one is absolutely certain to work. He walks closer to the stranger, holding his hand out for the bottle. When the guy holds it out for Kris, he moves in quickly, wrapping his arm around the guy’s neck and clamping his lips down hard over the guy’s mouth.
Whiskey and cigarettes are all he tastes, with day old food and unbrushed teeth mixing in as the kiss deepens. Kris doesn’t falter—he has never been repulsed by who he’s kissing, only by the fact that he’s doing it at all.
His hand kneads the back of the guy’s neck, his fingers massaging the tender skin of the body that is providing much needed nourishment. Slowly the wisps of pain dissolve into rivulets of pleasure. From Kris’s mouth come tiny sparks of life, seeping into his bloodstream and rushing throughout his body. He leans into the embrace, shivering as the first hint of icy coldness spreads outwards from his lips. This is always the best part—where his body rises on the wave of endorphins until it peaks, satiated, and then drops off the edge into pure bliss. Kris is rising up on his tiptoes with the sensation, sucking and gasping as he takes what he needs so badly, when suddenly there is a voice behind him.
"What’s he got that I don’t have?”
Adam. Kris tries to shut him out. He can’t stop. He needs this and if he stops it will just hurt worse. Like someone pulled the plug and everything he just took in drains out of him in an instant. He tries to focus, gripping harder on the body slumping against him.
"There’s another way,” Adam says, and lays a hand on Kris’s shoulder.
The touch is like a shock to his system. Kris jerks backwards, losing his grip on the guy. He falls back, stumbling across the alley until he slams into a dumpster. His elation at finding someone to feed on quickly falls into despair. The very life force he had inhaled flitters out of him like air let out of a balloon. Kris tries to keep it in. He even clamps a hand over his mouth as if the energy could ever actually be contained. It’s useless, everything he took is gone. He slumps against the dumpster and slides to the ground.
Before him he can see Adam hovering over the body, tending to the guy Kris was trying to feed on. Kill—his brain echoes. You were trying to kill him! It’s always so convenient to forget that part. Kris needs it so badly that he can’t always keep the truth of what he’s doing present in his mind. He’d never be able to survive if he did.
On the ground the body is moving. Kris took an awful lot from him, but obviously it wasn’t enough. If he’d taken everything, Kris would be recharged and the guy would be dead. Kris would be tired from the effort of holding out so long, but his heart would be beating strong and steady in his chest, ready to start the fight again. Instead he has to watch as Adam helps the guy to his feet, assisting him until he’s back inside the club. Then Adam turns to face him and Kris closes his eyes.
"You need tea.”
Adam ushered Kris out of the alley and down a side street until they emerged at his closed restaurant. Kris knows his hotel is just across the street and really wants to just go there and collapse. Adam is not giving him any opportunity to escape though; he opens the door with his key and guides Kris inside the restaurant and into a booth.
"Mint, you need to revive. Or chamomile, you are so tense. Which one, which one?”
Adam bustles around the restaurant like the Mad Hatter planning a tea party while Kris lets his head thud against the tabletop. There are noises coming from the kitchen and then a soft hiss as Adam settles into the booth across from him.
"Drink this,” he says softly. "It will help.”
Adam sounds so sure that Kris can’t help but pray that it does. He lifts his head and inhales the warm vapor rising from the tea cup. It is fine bone china, very authentic, and totally out of place in the diner setting.
"What can I say?” Adam offers, lifting his own cup to his lips. "I’m a traditionalist at heart.”
Kris smells the tea again. He really doesn’t think this will help.
"So about that guy…” Adam starts.
Kris closes his eyes. He wants to melt into a puddle and disappear through the floor cracks. Apparently there is a Fae that can do that, but Kris thinks it’s a messy lifestyle. He opens his eyes and stares at Adam, who is looking back at him determinedly—there really is no way to avoid having this conversation.
"About that…I’m…” Kris starts. He has never admitted this to anyone who wasn’t Fae. What do you say? I’m a life-sucking demon. That would sum it up succinctly.
"I get it, I mean, an incubus needs to feed,” Adam continues. "I just don’t approve of who you’re doing it with. Do you have any idea of the diseases you could catch? The oral hygiene alone…”
Kris stares at Adam. Did he just say incubus? All casual, like he was discussing the weather?
"I’m, I’m not…”
"Oh, shit, do you prefer another term? I never know what the politically correct term is this week. I’m an empath technically, but people always call it a mind-reader. There’s a huge difference.”
Adam is a…what now?
"I don’t understand,” Kris finally says.
"What? About me?” Adam smiles a small smile, hesitation visible on his face for the first time. "I’m an empath—sort of like a mind-reader, except I read emotions. Like, I can sense when someone’s nervous or excited. Or when they are about to explode with the unfulfilled desire to feed.” Adam shoots Kris a pointed glance and nods his head at the tea cup.
Kris picks it up and drinks like a scolded child—like tea is going to help unravel this mess. He gulps at the hot liquid, burning his tongue in the process. He can smell the mix of mint and chamomile but all he tastes is hot. He thumps the cup back down on the little china saucer, the clinking ringing out like a bell. He shoots Adam a look that says, ‘There, satisfied?’
Adam nods his head sagely. He counts slowly under his breath, "One, two, three…”
Kris feels the soft tingle of release at the base of his neck. His head lolls to the side, tired from the effort of remaining so tense. He leans into the sensation, rolling his neck around as the warm tea surges through his body, forcing relaxation along with it.
"Did you drug me?” Kris asks.
Adam laughs. "Nothing quite so dramatic, I’m afraid. I just knew it would help.”
"That’s what you do, isn’t it? Telling people what they want to eat? Knowing that the girl would be good tonight? That I could play that song? You just read people and know what’s going to happen.”
"Something like that.”
"So you knew what I was the moment I walked in here.”
Adam shakes his head. "It’s not an exact science. I just knew you were in pain.”
Kris lowers his head. He really hates anyone knowing about what he is; hell, he hates knowing about it himself, but Adam is so damn caring about the whole thing. It’s making Kris feel like a monster in comparison. He looks up at Adam again.
"So are you, like, Fae, too?”
"And you just go around telling people what you are? What you can do?” There’s an edge to Kris’s voice. He can hear it, but he’s powerless to stop it. The tenseness is gone from his muscles, but the agony of still not having fed lingers. He’s not going to be able to hold out for much longer.
"If you’re asking me if I’m ‘out’, the answer is yes…to people who understand what we are. I don’t go around advertising the fact that I come from mythical beginnings, but I don’t hide in back alleys either.”
That was low. Kris stands from the booth and paces away across the restaurant. Behind him, he hears Adam rising up out of his seat as well.
"I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that,” Adam says. "Look, really. This is a safe place. You can stay here, figure stuff out.”
Kris whirls around. "What’s to figure out? I suck the life out of strangers to survive. If I want to live, I feed. Simple. You okay with me doing that here?”
"It doesn’t have to be that way.”
Kris advances on Adam from across the room. "It does and it is.” He stops, too close to Adam for comfort. The urge to reach up and kiss Adam’s face is overwhelming. He has got to get out of here. He turns to leave, but Adam puts a hand on his arm.
Kris grits his teeth. "Let me go.”
He looks back at Adam. "I said, let me go.”
"Why? So you can find the next innocent person out there and drain the life out of them?”
Kris doesn’t respond. He just glances down at Adam’s hand on his arm, then back up at Adam’s eyes still boring into his. He can feel his heart pounding in his chest. His cheeks are red from the effort of not losing his temper completely, and the pain is ripping through the base of his brain. If Adam is such a good empath, Kris shouldn’t need to speak at all.
Slowly Adam’s fingers loosen their grip. Kris stares at the spot where Adam’s hand was, then glances at the door. He wants to say something before he leaves. Adam surprised him with his revelation tonight, but he’s still been the only person to show Kris a kind gesture in years. He really wishes this could have ended differently. But Kris is bad news—there’s no happy ending to be found here.
He puts a hand on the door and looks over his shoulder at Adam. He shrugs. "Hope I don’t see you around?” he offers lightly.
His feet move to propel his body through the doorway when Adam suddenly reaches out and whips him back inside the restaurant. He slams Kris against the booth they were just sitting in and leans in to hover over his mouth.
"I really hope this works,” he mutters. Then he slams his lips down onto Kris’s.
There’s a muffled ‘No!’ but Kris isn’t even sure if it came from him. He fights against Adam’s initial kiss, but his body takes over almost instantly. The surge of energy is like nothing he’s ever felt before—white hot and brilliant, streaking through every fiber of his being. His arms wrap around Adam, pulling him in tighter even as Adam keeps a tight grip on Kris himself. Kris hears himself moan when he knows he’s approaching the climax. He’s got one last chance to stop this. He pushes his hands against Adam’s shoulders, trying to break the kiss and spare Adam’s life. But Adam is holding on tight, his hands locked around Kris’s back like a vice. Kris cries out between their mouths as the final surge of energy rushes from Adam’s body to Kris’s and they crash together to the floor.
The last thing Kris sees is Adam’s lifeless body slumped next to him. Then everything fades to black.
When Kris wakes up, his eyelids burn orange. His face is hot, like he’s finally fallen into a fiery hell to live out the rest of his days in torture. He opens his eyes and squints at the sun beaming on him through the glass of the restaurant door. The events of last night rush back to him—the club, Adam, the guy, Adam, the kiss…Adam. He squeezes his eyelids shut again—he really would have preferred hell.
Throwing his arm over his eyes, he pushes with his other hand until he’s sitting upright. He leans against the booth behind him, drawing his legs up to rest his elbows on his knees. He doesn’t want to face what’s in front of him. Adam was kind to him, he was genuine and nice. And he was the first guy Kris had met in a long time who he didn’t have to hide from. Granted, Kris hadn’t exactly embraced their sharing session last night, but it was new to him. Maybe in time…
Kris kicks his leg out and drops his arm away from his face. He just has to open his eyes and face the music. Adam will be dead, and Kris can clean up and leave town before anyone shows up for the breakfast shift. He thumps his head back against the booth and takes a deep breath. Smells mix in his nose—slight body odor from day-old clothes, a stale scent from the floors, coffee, disinfectant…
Coffee? Kris’s eyes pop open. He’s sitting in the doorway where Adam had stopped him last night…alone. Adam isn’t lying on the floor beside him. Kris peeks around the booth to survey the entire room. Adam is nowhere to be found.
Kris can smell bacon too.
He rises to his feet, using the booth for support behind him. There’s no one in the dining room, but there’s a noise from the kitchen. A sizzling and a pop. Then a whirring noise. Kris glances at the door to his left. Whoever was in there had obviously come in the back way. Kris could make his escape and the chef would be none the wiser. Of course it still didn’t explain how he’d managed to dispose of Adam’s body before settling in to cook a meal.
The door to the kitchen swings open and a shoulder appears. Then a body moves out carrying two mugs in his hands. Kris holds his breath until the person turns to face him.
"You’re alive,” Adam says cheerily.
"You’re…alive?” Kris echoes.
"Of course I’m alive,” Adam says, setting the mugs down on the countertop. He pushes one towards Kris and takes a sip of the other, settling back against the counter behind him like it’s the most natural thing in the world for his heart to still be beating.
Kris is going to fall down if he doesn’t sit. He slumps onto a stool and glances at the coffee Adam prepared for him. It’s a soft caramel color, with the last vestiges of cream still swirling at the top. Adam has never once asked him how he takes his coffee, but Kris would bet his life that it’s made exactly the way he likes it. He takes a slow sip, reminded of the burn from the tea last night. The coffee is perfect. Of course it is. Kris lays down his mug and looks up at Adam.
"How are you still alive?” Emotion chokes his voice at the end of his words. He isn’t going to do this. He’s supposed to be upset that he killed him, not upset that he hadn’t.
"Oh, oh don’t be upset,” Adam says, rushing around the counter to take a seat on a stool next to Kris. "This is supposed to be happy breakfast time. With eggs and everything!”
"Eggs would be good, but…” Kris hesitates. This just doesn’t happen. "Usually when I kiss a guy bad things happen. We don’t ever make it to breakfast.”
Adam reaches out for Kris’s arm. When Kris turns to look down at Adam’s hand, reminiscent of last night, Adam hesitates, his fingers hovering just above Kris’s forearm. Then he seems to decide that it’s worth the risk and grips Kris’s arm gently.
"I get what you are. You need energy to live. I happen to have an abundance of it. I feed off of people too in a way; I sort of…store up a bit of energy from everyone I meet.”
"And you gave it back to me?”
"I guess?” Adam says, shrugging. "Honestly, I was scared shitless that it wouldn’t work.”
Kris chokes on his coffee. "You mean, you didn’t know that I wouldn’t kill you?”
Adam lets a small smile break across his face. "Let’s just say I had a feeling things would be okay.”
"That’s one awesome power.” Kris shakes his head a little. "But still…the risk…”
"I’ve learned to rely on my sense of a situation. It’s gotten me this far in life,” Adam says.
"So you just sense what’s going to happen; and the food thing…you can tell what people want?”
"I can tell what would make them happy. Like with you.” Adam hesitates. "I knew you didn’t want to hurt me.”
"But you didn’t know I wouldn’t.”
Adam smiles and gives Kris’s arm a gentle squeeze. "I trusted that you wouldn’t. That’s enough.”
Kris looks back at his coffee and shakes his head in disbelief. It’s exactly how he likes it. Adam’s power is magic.
"This is really good coffee, by the way.”
Adam grins. "Wait until you taste your eggs.” His face drops suddenly. "Oh, bacon!”
He bolts from his stool, around the countertop, and through the swinging doors into the kitchen. Kris can smell the bacon burning, but he doesn’t mind. He always did like it well done. He laughs as he hears Adam cursing under his breath. There’s a loud clang, and a pan crashes to the stovetop. Then Adam appears in the little pass-through window, a plate in his hand piled high with charred bacon.
"I hope you like it crispy,” Adam says. He looks at Kris for a moment, then a slow grin breaks over his face and he nods knowingly.
Kris takes a sip of his perfectly made coffee and thinks he could get used to this place. "You got any toast back there?” he calls to Adam.
The swinging doors push outwards again and Adam appears with a tray of toast, eggs and the extra-crispy bacon. Kris swipes a piece of bacon before Adam can set the plates out for both of them.
"So I can just come in here and you’ll make me whatever I want, anytime?”
"You can come in and I’ll tell you what you want,” Adam counters.
"And if I want pasta salad?”
"Then you better have a confusing day.”
Kris smiles and looks at the plate in front of him, then at Adam taking a seat next to him. "Thank you. For last night…for just getting it.”
"You are very welcome,” Adam replies.
Adam leans towards Kris, brushing their lips together lightly. A spark erupts between them, stinging Kris’s bottom lip. He sucks his lip between his teeth and grins at Adam. He could definitely get used to this.