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01 May 2009 @ 11:55 pm
in the mirror of invention (soundtrack: 9 crimes).  
title: in the mirror of invention.
author: conditionelle
pairing: Kris/Adam.
rating: R, for language and fairly abstract sex.
summary: He says, I don't want to hurt you but I need for this to hurt, and you shiver, because yes, that's it, that's precisely it. You remember best the things that hurt you, above and beyond that which makes you happy and makes you smile; it's easy to tarnish perfect happy memories, but indestructible are the ones that are hard and clear and so painfully vivid as to be completely incapable of distortion.
notes: It was the end of term for me yesterday, and I celebrated by sleeping for fourteen hours straight and rereading The Invention in Love in bed today with a headache thanks to oversleeping. Out of the rereading was borne this, written in a three-hour fit of something or other earlier this evening, and thoroughly edited two more times tonight. Another warning this time with regards to the fic: it's second-person narrative voice, and may include attempts at writing relatively abstract sex (or something like it). In other words, there's a lot in here that I'm not super-comfortable with, so any constructive criticism is much appreciated.

AEH: I'm very sorry. Your life is a terrible thing. A chronological error. The choice was not always between renunciation and folly. You should have lived in Megara when Theognis was writing and made his lover a song unto all posterity... and not now! – when disavowal and endurance are in honor, and a nameless luckless love has made notoriety your monument.

Wilde: My dear fellow, a hundred francs would have done just as well. Better a fallen rocket than never a burst of light. Dante reserved a place in his Inferno for those who wilfully live in sadness – sullen in the sweet air, he says. You 'honour' is all shame and timidity and compliance. Pure of stain! But the artist is the secret criminal in our midst. He is the agent of progress against authority. You are right to be a scholar. A scholar is all scruple, an artist is none. The artist must lie, cheat, steal, be untrue to nature and contemptuous of history. I made my life into my art and it was an unqualified success. The blaze of my immolation threw its light into every corner of the land where uncounted young men sat each in his own darkness. What would I have done in Megara!? – think what I would have missed! I awoke the imagination of the century. I banged Ruskin's and Pater's heads together, and from the moral severity of one and the aesthetic soul of the other I made art a philosophy that can look the twentieth century in the eye. I had genius, brilliancy, daring, I took charge of my own myth. I dipped my staff into the comb of wild honey. I tasted forbidden sweetness and drank the stolen waters. I lived at the turning point of the world where everything was waking up-- the New Drama,the New Novel, the New Journalism, New Hedonism, New Paganism, even the New Woman. Where were you when all this was happening?

AEH: At home.

Tom Stoppard, The Invention of Love.

You're not hiding. You have nothing to hide, and you're not denying at all who you are. You know exactly who you are, have known it all your life, your charmed American Dream life, and you've never asked for things to be easy – they're not, not always, but you know you have so much less to complain about in terms of overcoming adversity than so many people so you keep your mouth shut and remain humble and you are, ultimately, thankful to the Lord for what he has blessed you with; but you are also ready to be tested, you know it's coming and it's just a matter of time. It doesn't scare you, even though you have no idea how you will fare. Hopefully you'll do well, but you don't have hypocritical delusions about who you are and who you're not.

You are: human, and thus fallible. There are temptations of all sorts through every walk of life, and complete immunity is of course impossible but you're not the sort of guy to be tempted by egregious trespasses anyway, you've never had any trouble with being good. You've had the opportunity and sometimes, yes, even the urges, but you've never understood the appeal belying what you can only recognize as impulsivity – not when there are consequences so dire in the aftermath, and the guilt of doing so much harm to the ones you love the most. You don't actually understand how anyone chooses to 'give in.' This is not a lie.

There's a script for this sort of thing, the archetypal by-the-book checklist of Things to Accomplish In Order To Be Considered To Have Had a Satisfactory and Upstanding Life. You know this, you think it's absolute bullshit, and you've done nothing but unwittingly follow scripts your whole life. (You never meant to, you never tried to; you don't think it's fair to be called out for this but you know better than to say a word. It's ungrateful.)

There are no doubts. There never has been, just Katy, a constant in your life since practically before your voice first cracked in those insecure high school years. She's not your first girlfriend but she's probably your last – you can't envision life without her anymore, because it's been seven years of closeness and five months of breathless proximity and you don't know that you're ever going to get tired of waking up next to her, seeing her hair pooled out around her like a spun-gold halo and the first rays painting her cheek downy-soft and porcelain-bright, just like a doll's. You cherish her, and know yourself to be blessed.

But you also know this: you know that you love her truly and deeply but maybe that's not enough for true reciprocity; you know that she loves you more than you love her; you know without being tested that she would be willing to give more and take less than you would be, that she has already compromised on a lot of things to meet you halfway even when you've never asked her to accommodate you. In fact, you don't want it at all – you don't want for life no more than you want for her to unquestioningly yield to you. It's not something that keeps you up at night (anymore) but it's not something that will ever stop nagging at you. It's the first time you fail so spectacularly, because marriage is supposed to be equal, because you thought that saying the vows and wearing the ring would change things for the better and fix that imperfection inside of you. But it hasn't, and you're still trying. You want to be the man she thinks you are: you want to be as perfect as she is.

You want, as much as it makes you feel vaguely ill to say this, to follow the script that you don't actually give two flying fucks about. Because the fairy-tale ending in the script keeps Katy happy (you're the practical one; you think of endless mortgages and bills and fights and upkeep that goes into the white-picket fence, squash down a sense of nausea when you think about the tedium, a tension that is never expressed except in the strings on which you strum your wanderlust-chords) and you want her to be happy. If you try really hard then you can convince yourself that you might just end up happy this way as well, and you love her enough to try.

You love her enough to listen when she pours coffee in the morning and casually says, baby, why don't you try out?

You don't do the aw-shucks-I'm-no-good thing. It's disingenuous, especially in front of your own wife after you proposed to her by singing a song you wrote for her. You don't think you're the best thing since sliced bread, not by any means – you're not deaf, you can hear your own voice and compare it to other people's voices, and yours is not a bad voice, but so what? – but at the same time, you're young and not as jaded as you think you are; and more importantly, you're absolutely terrified of the prospect of disappointing Katy when you finally succumb to monotony. So you shrug your non-commitment; yeah, you say, maybe. She smiles and leans up to press a sweet kiss to the corner of your mouth, while you hold her close and rest your chin on her shoulder.

You drive to Louisville with your brother and you try out together, because hell, why not. He doesn't make it but you do and on the drive back to Conway he's unabashedly gleeful on your behalf and you're just silent because you can't speak because you brain is stuck on loop: (1) oh my God, (2) what the hell just happened, (3) shit, I'm going to Hollywood.

Hollywood is a blur, and these are the only things you remember for certain:

One: the way Katy's face falls when she realizes how long the separation might end up being causes some uneasy stirrings in your chest, and it takes too long before you can admit, staring up into the ceiling with never-entirely-dark LA streetlights filtering in through the window, that there's an inordinate amount of relief mixed into your more generalized misgivings. So you're not the only one who had evidently not given due thought to all the complications.

Two: everyone you meet is so crazily good that every round, you're absolutely convinced that you're going home next; and every round, they yank the rug out from under your feet by keeping you around and it keeps you so off-balance as you watch people who you think are much better than you leave. You don't know how this works, this is a game and you don't know the rules and you feel like you're seven again, putting your baseball mitt on the wrong hand.

Three: by the time there's about a hundred of you left, you're already sick of the camera and having second thoughts. You didn't expect to come this far and each step forward feels like stepping into air while you're hovering thirty thousand feet above the ground, and your disorientation isn't helped by the intense scrutiny. You don't mind watchful eyes, you never shied away from attention, but you've never been judged as bluntly as this and it's difficult to find yourself constantly in danger of not measuring up.

Four: so you try to get better, because you hate not measuring up, and you try and you try and something just clicks one day and you realize that oh fuck, oh fuck here we go how did this happen: you're completely committed and you've just spent the last five minutes daydreaming about what it'd be like to make it all the way. Matt high-fives you and laughs as your group makes it past the final hurdle and your fate from here onwards rests in the hands of America. You know that your face is frozen into a smile but you don't even know what you're smiling about any longer.

Five: and sitting in the audience with your fate clear, you listen with rare luxury to everyone else sing. When Adam Lambert kills Believe you go speechless and throw your hands up (metaphorically), because what the hell are any of you supposed to do when you go up against that voice. It's hard to hold it against him, though, because he's such a genuinely nice guy. It's almost unfair. (You're one to talk.)

Before you realize it he's become your roommate (group two, represent!), this strange audacious man who is surprisingly neat and keeps his nail polish in a bag with his eyeliner, aligns that bag with his hairspray and a bottle of something that looks foreign but smells nice. You don't bother asking because you're simply not that curious, and you don't want to do anything to upset the companionable routine you've settled into within a day of sharing spaces. It doesn't feel like you've known him all your life but it does feel like you can still have this silence ten years down the road when everything has changed and nothing has stayed the same. Something about the two of you just mesh together despite all your differences, and you know well enough to not question it. You're already friends, well on the way of becoming very good friends. It's more than you could have hoped for.

You fall asleep at the drop of a hat or you can't sleep at all (this is a new development, you've never had problems sleeping before), and sometimes you blink awake after hours of fruitless tossing and turning and give up the night for lost, only to find Adam still awake as well. (He sleeps after you and wakes up before you do; you don't know how he does it.) You talk then, sharing stories like teenage girls under cover of the not-quite darkness, anything and everything. So you know before everyone else that he likes guys and he knows that you're not just saying you don't mind, he knows that your life isn't as magazine-cutout as it might look and you know you can trust him with your terror of disappointing.

(Katy becomes an afterthought. You don't realize this for the longest time. It's the first warning sign that you should have seen.)

There's nothing you can't handle in this competition. You're a grown man; still young of course, you're only twenty-three, but not naïve and not fragile and not a stranger to criticism, constructive or otherwise. So you suck it up and deal and try to do better, and you hang on tight and improve week after week (or so you're told). Some of the others let it get to them more and you sympathize and empathize and help however you can, because that's what you do, because you don't know how to be any other way. It's a competition, sure, but you're also all friends and you too, too naturally slip back into that role of rock upon which many people stand. (Some would call you a stepping-stone; they don't know the half of it.)

So no, you're not running headlong into any problems, not really, there's nothing you can't handle. There's just – well. If you're to be perfectly honest, there's just Adam, Who is – well, he's just Adam; and no matter how familiar and natural his presence has become, he's still an entirely foreign entity so far removed from your experiences, which has encapsulated foreign cultures all over the world but never brought you into contact with this blazingly unapologetic joie de vivre. You wonder if there's something different about the water supply in California, or maybe it's the sun or the theatre scene or the criminally-tight pants that have to be cutting off circulation thus shorting out the audacity-filter in his brain (you think too much) and wonder if, by the end of this competition, this airborne virus of un-compromise might not infect you as well. You hope not, know that you won't be able to wear that outrageousness like a second skin (you doubt that you even have it in you) even though you like it on him. Actually, you just really like him, period. It's difficult not to (some would scoff, say please, this is a competition with a hell of a lot at stake – but the world is surreal within this insulated bubble and you're not so sure anymore, about this competition; you'll be disappointed if you don't win but you can't quite see how you will win) and it's difficult to not find yourself unwittingly playing along (bass-line to his melody, point counterpoint) and before you know it, you're in entirely uncharted territory. It doesn't scare you, it excites you the same way that walking into a studio does, but with the intensity of hour-long sessions condensed into instants that defy words and are instead best symbolized by a momentary hiccup in time as your eyes lock in understanding, pitch-perfect harmony that finds is resonating centre somewhere above your diaphragm, a little bit to the left. You won't admit to anyone, not even to yourself, that it might be in your heart.

And yes, it rattles you down to your bones, but that's something you're just going to have to work out. One man is not enough to throw your entire world out of its steady orbit, though he might just bring the nation to its knees.

You don't know when or how it happened but you suddenly find yourself losing your footing in the competition: you're doing too well and you're no stranger to things being easy but it more or less freaks you out big time this time. You're not supposed to come this far, you never expected to come this far, and you feel so outpaced and lost. Beyond the fact that you're doing a lot of things right, you wish you could know just what you're doing that's so right; you wonder (tempting fate) how far your intuition will take you and for how long your luck will hold, for how long your voice will hold. But it's still okay, it's not a dire situation that you're facing; you could be – you feel like an asshole for even thinking this – in much worse shape and getting crushed beneath Simon's heel, or hell, you could be gone already. So you're okay. It's not a problem and you're not having doubts. There's just the competition and the house and the pressure and the mounting sense of claustrophobia, walls closing in, and the clock constantly saying, tick-tock tick-tock, what's it going to be, how's it going to go.

(Never mind, that's the alarm clock you set which never wakes you up in the way that counts, i.e. actually gets you up and running. You groan, grope blindly for the snooze button without opening your eyes, hit it on the fourth try, roll over and go back to sleep. You're late and bleary-eyed and off-kilter the entire day. Soon you're yearning for dreamless nights and your smaller childhood bed or a body to lie next to; right now, you just feel like a pea rattling in a too-large pod.)

There's also Adam perched on the side of your bed in the middle of night as you start awake, which is starting to happen more and more often, especially around performance and result nights. He's genuinely worried about you but you laugh it off even as the warmth spreads outwards from deep within your chest, and you tell him that if he can manage then so can you. He just smiles, shakes his head, and something about the gesture catches you like a roundhouse punch in your sternum. The conversation ends though it feels like there's still so much more to say. You call Katy and there are no words, only sand rasping a painful path down your throat. You miss her, of course you miss her, but you don't miss her enough to want her here.

Megan has taken to watching you and you can tell that she thinks she knows something.

(The second warning sign, a woman's intuition, but you're both too busy dealing with her impending breakdown.)

There's an unequivocal innocence in the way she runs her fingers through your hair as you doze for precious half-hours in the sun. It's the way she treats everyone, unworldly old soul in a young woman's body, Wendy to the house full of lost boys who remind her of home – though you are, you protest, two months older than she is. She's not fazed by such details and after two weeks, neither are you. So you let yourself be a little soft and a little young and a little not-solid-as-a-rock in her presence, because even though you'd no sooner admit it than she would, the contact fills up halfway a gaping inner vacancy. It's not enough, but it does the both of you a world of good.

And Megan talks, softly and dreamily as if to herself, while you languidly balance on the thin line between oblivion and sobriety. She talks about the mistakes she's made that she does not regret, about the people who she let down and those who let her down, about how difficult it is to let go of something that's just not working out and how this-now-here is what she hopes might be a new beginning but she's no stranger to disappointment so she's ready to go if it's her time. It seems therapeutic, maybe. But you haven't even got words enough to offer her comfort anymore.

You close your eyes and pretend to have truly fallen asleep, but everything about you is entirely too tense for it to be at all convincing, and you know that she knows. You're too tired to protest and drag up hollow examples of how nothing is wrong, so you simply let the silence say what it will.

Matt as well, as of late, is beginning to look at you like he knows that something's going on, and he's a lot less subtle about it than Megan ever was. But she's gone now, and there's only the occasional ghostly whiff of her shampoo in odd corners around the mansion, and her parting words – be happy, Kris; you deserve the chance you're never going to give yourself – playing over and over in your head, a record someone left spinning for too long, an orchestra waiting for the coda that's not going to come.

He corners you one day in the van and quietly asks point-blank, what's the deal. You shrug and he snorts, doesn't let you off that easily when you try to slip your headphones on again. Adam's dead worried about you, Matt says, and with reason too because (you know what he says is true but had hoped that nobody else would have caught on) as soon as you think people aren't looking your eyes switch off and you detach, it's actually kind of scary; and look, if it's not something you think you can talk to Adam about for whatever reason then, you know—

(You like him you really do but Jesus fucking Christ would he back the fuck off because there's no problem and you've never dealt well with compassion – showing it, of course, but accepting it, not so much. You don't need it, and it makes you feel freakishly vulnerable when there's no reason to be, when you're fine and there are no problems and there's nothing you can't figure out on your own terms, just as it's always been. You get the sense that therapy session with Dr. Matt would just consist of his constantly being on the verge of sharing some personal pearl of wisdom to try and form a connection and you like him you really do but you think you might shove him away and actually mean it if he doesn't let this go, because you're the same age too and he's no wiser and you don't need the counselling or the advice or someone to lend an ear and a shoulder.)

—yeah, you know. Uh-huh, sure, thanks man. You nod, smile, and look out the window into the distance. He doesn't back off though, so you do and you run to Allison instead, though you'd never admit to using everyone's little-sister-surrogate as a shield.

She betrays you the first chance she gets. You should have known, should have seen it; Allison's darling but more than anything else she's Adam's girl. She doesn't even mean to corner you and she doesn't realize she's done it until you snap, slam down a discordant not-chord on the piano and walk out of the room without another word with three pairs of eyes trained on your back. The question she barely manages to ask dangles in mid-air. (She wants to know how Katy and you are dealing with this extended separation thing, that's all, when you haven't thought about Katy in the last thirty-six hours. You're plainly not dealing with it at all.) The guilt comes later, the guilt of leaving her leaning against the piano, hair flaming and eyes wide. What did she do? Nobody knows. Everybody knows. The truth is that she didn't do anything wrong and it's all your fault, but they think you're too nice to mean any harm and too brittle to warrant anything other than a comforting hand on the shoulder. When you shuffle back in to apologize – you don't make excuses, just say sorry and mean it – she waves it off like it was nothing. But it wasn't.

(And your temper, which you have never in all your life been known for, boils over in the presence of someone who should never, not in a million years, have had to bear witness to the ugly spectacle of your damage. This is the third and last warning sign and deliberately obtuse though you've been, you do not and cannot ignore this.)

It'd be easier if you were just in denial. It'd be easier if you could say for sure that yes, your whole life has been a lie and a mistake and a series of eager-to-please façades shooting up high as they sky to keep the truth out. You'd rather be a cliché, you can and have lived with that, you'd rather be the good boy who was so uncannily good because he was so scared of being tempted to be bad, but that's as much a lie as the ones you're telling everyone now. For you there's no fucking closet, you want to scream when there's one knowing look too many, and that euphemism needs to have been retired an eon ago because it always makes you think of rainy days and hot cocoa and Narnia and you don't want those childhood memories inextricably tied up to a subculture you can sympathize with but not, not by any means, empathize with. So no, there is no closet. There is no hiding. There's – there's nothing to deal with. It's not an issue of other men, not a question of questioning your masculinity being so tied up in your sexuality which is so dictated by the script you're living.

It's just.

It's Adam.

(It startles you, in retrospect, how much time and energy you expend to make sure you're not paying attention to what he might know or have surmised. You can't afford to know. You meet his eyes on one level and his hugs on another, easy smile and genuine affection like a depolarizing wave of warmth radiating outwards and it's impossible to even think that anything is wrong in those moments; but you assiduously ignore all the other levels on which he is trying to reach you. You don't know what you're so terrified of any longer but your terror becomes your closest companion in the mansion, except in the quiet hours of the night when he sits on the edge of your bed and anchors you back down to earth. It's not something you ever talk about during the day; it's your night-time secret.

You really, really can't ask for anything more than that. It's your world and your problems and your prerogative to untangle the knots of righteous logic you've contorted yourself into. It's the taste of the ghost of his lips you try to wipe away from your own before the sun comes up. )

This is surely a test and surely you are failing it. Your heart speaks in major-third murmurs as flashbulbs permanently white out overlapping circles of your visual field, the blankness from which you are curiously detached serene and surreal, a body that is not your own leaning (point counterpoint) into and against a body that you implicitly trust. Polaris, you want to say out loud but have to take care to not mouth the word as the cameras steal another little piece of your soul (or so the myth goes); your eternal point of reference in this chaotic maelstrom, and you don't even need your eyes to know that somehow your entire being is always pointing north to him. A crime, a crime, though the sweetness of defiant abandon lingers in the back your palate.

He buckles down and locks the two of you in one day and your brain short-circuits again, loops this time simply on two very simple words: oh, shit. You don't know how to respond to what he's just done so you pretend you've got your headphones blaring too loudly to have heard the sound of lock turning, you feign surprise as he takes the laptop out of your hands, pulls the headphones off of your ears. The silence is thick and sticks in your throat when you swallow. You can't look him in the eye but you can't look away either. He brushes his thumb against your cheek and you shiver from the contact but want to bolt away and fuck, what is wrong with you?

(On a not-yet-conscious level you realize that Adam knows, that he has always known, and you feel like an idiot and an asshole and you're on the verge of being thoroughly ill but your legs aren't strong enough to carry you off your bed, much less into the bathroom. So you sit there and stare at him as he strokes your cheekbone with his thumb, that familiar ache fluttering in your chest again.)

You don't know who to thank for the fact that he doesn't say something banal or launch into a story about the trials and tribulations of being in this not-always-visible minority. He doesn't say anything condescending and you want to kiss him for it (where the hell did that come from?) because you don't think you would have been able to bear it, might've made a beeline for Nevada and tried to hitch a ride back to Arkansas instead. He just says, take your time, and you nod and look away, drumming your fingerprints into the pillow that doesn't bear a single indentation. He says he'll wait until – you know, whenever.

You're too cynical to believe that, too cynical (despite how frustratingly boyish and young you know you still look) to think you'll even have until the beginning of tour, not because you don't trust him but because you know how these things inevitably go and you've always been a lucky boy but you've never been tempted to push your luck. So you trust him but you don't trust the world and most of all you don't trust your own determination to diverge from the script, it has to be now.

He says, I don't want to hurt you but I need for this to hurt, and you shiver, because yes, that's it, that's precisely it. You remember best the things that hurt you, above and beyond that which makes you happy and makes you smile; it's easy to tarnish perfect happy memories, but indestructible are the ones that are hard and clear and so painfully vivid as to be completely incapable of distortion. (Like the first callus on your hand from the guitar strings; that's the best example you can come up with, and with a guilty start you realize that in the course of this competition you've had to face the ugly truth that you've grown to love your music more than you love your wife, that the more you play the more the melody becomes entwined with your soul, a melody that matches Adam's measured footsteps more than Katy's featherlight murmurs when she sleeps.)

He's still looking at you with his hand on your cheek, inscrutable eyes cold and penetrating when they're devoid of their usual warmth, and you chew on your lip, wondering what he's waiting for when you're this naked and vulnerable and needy in front of him, when you're practically begging in every way but in words. You don't know how much more obvious you can get, and you can't hold his gaze for any longer so you look away.

Take your time, he asks. And you look at him, your head tilted up and your lips dry and you say:

I want it to hurt.

Which is good enough, maybe, because the force of the sudden kiss propels the both of you backwards and your head collides with the headboard, a dull thud that echoes through you as a low undercurrent to the deafening unceasing roar in your ears. You're pretty sure all the wiring inside of you just crossed and short-circuited because you're seeing perfect octaves and hearing a kaleidoscope of white light and the burning unyielding pressure of his hands on your shoulders (pushing you through the mattress, pulling you into him) tastes like a turpentine concerto and a million points being made, that's how tightly the two of you have melded together. You gasp, having forgotten to breathe, and he pulls away but you're having none of it, grab a fistful of his hair and pull him back down.

You speak in the only language that you know.

It's fast and hard and needy and messy but not adolescent or awkward, like you're reaching for each other just to reach each other – you purposefully weave yourselves together, a major-to-minor key change, his bare legs between your own. Even when you don't even have a baseline for comparison Adam knows all too well what he's doing so you cede him the melody. His nails dig crescents into your hipbones, you gasp into his mouth and leave the imprint of your hands on his shoulders; it hurts and you never want it to stop. You know you're not going to forget a single moment, this flashbulb memory that takes your soul entirely with your own explicit (very, very explicit – ohGodyespleasejustlikethat) permission.

(Is it so bad to want, for once, just once, to go off-script and be unpredictable and not apologize for it even when you know, you know, that you're unequivocally in the wrong and guilty and temporarily a shitty human being? You're not tempted to do wrong; you're tempted to follow your heart, which leads to – well, it leads to devastating consequences and the road to hell is paved with good intentions, you've heard it all and if you're perfectly honest – which you almost never are – then you're just going to have to admit that you're so. fucking. tired. of somehow always managing to manoeuvre yourself into Doing The Right Thing when faced with some perfectly avoidable jam between a rock and a hard place.)

Before your brain is even back up to half capacity, you can already tell that he's preparing for what he thinks will be your inevitable post-coital freak-the-fuck-out. The pressure of his arm around you doesn't change nor the steady beat of his heart against your back, but you can feel Adam gradually backing off a little to give you space and you're unspeakably grateful for his consideration even though it's not necessary. You don't need gentle handling, you're not fragile. But it's unbelievably sweet and so you take his hand, lace your fingers together and press your lips to his knuckles, one by one.

And then you're shaking and there are tears making a wet patch on your pillow – seriously? you can't even believe yourself – and you know that he knows but you're still making a valiant effort to be perfectly silent about it, because. Because. This probably isn't anything like the freakout Adam expected, not that you can tell; he just holds you even closer as your own voice in your own mind calls you a failure and a disappointment and you can't think about Katy or the competition or the idea of after-this right now. You can't. You won't. So in this moment you just love him and whisper into his palm, no regrets.

He presses a soft kiss to the top of your head.

No regrets.
Jakelike_i_love_you on May 2nd, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
this was just perfect. I actually got interupted in the middle so I already have to read it again-uninterupted this time.
right and godly: smokin' lightningruby_fruit on May 2nd, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
I don't often like second person narrative but I like this. A lot. Kris feels like such a twenty-two year old guy here, it's almost tactile.

The one bit of concrit I might offer is to break up your paragraphs more. In big blocks like this it tends to rush the reader on too fast and I kept having to back track.
cheers, darlin'.conditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! For me, it's really easy to forget how old (rather, how young) so many of them still are when they get on the stage, and how much doubt must be lurking beneath the conviction. But yeah, much appreciated -- I'll definitely keep the pacing suggestion in mind.
Jakelike_i_love_you on May 2nd, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)
Also, I stayed up late to read this- so glad I did. I also saved it.
cheers, darlin'.conditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, for both of your comments! That's a huge compliment, though I'm sorry to have kept you up for longer than necessary.
sweetmmsweetmm on May 2nd, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)
Wow your writing is full of beautiful insights, tq :)
cheers, darlin'.conditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
Thank you!
demotu: adamdemotu on May 2nd, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)

I am a skimmer of fic, often, but I love second person and the sheer beauty of the prose in this forced me to read every single word. The complexity of the images you drew were the perfect match for the complexity of Kris's thoughts and emotions - really really outstanding. There are so many brilliant lines, but this was one of my favourites:

Your heart speaks in major-third murmurs as flashbulbs permanently white out overlapping circles of your visual field, the blankness from which you are curiously detached serene and surreal, a body that is not your own leaning (point counterpoint) into and against a body that you implicitly trust.

The music metaphors are especially marvelous, and this sentence gets that distant-but-internal self-denial so brilliantly.
cheers, darlin'.: we'll never sleep (god knows we'll try)conditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:25 am (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you so much! That sentence was one of the first ones that I wrote, actually, and whatever I was trying to say with it, I think you've just said it better than I managed to, so thank you for that as well.
pulaski_casimir on May 2nd, 2009 05:40 am (UTC)
oh, honey. (that is my automatic response when I am truly wowed by something.)
this was just heartbreaking and flawless and exquisite and pretty much everything I wish my writing could be. the restraint you have is perfect, the pacing is just right, your style is unique and incredible. I love everything about this.
and the end even got me choked up a little, which I'm not embarrassed to say, because you're just that good.
cheers, darlin'.: consequence of soundsconditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:27 am (UTC)
I'm sorry! That's a huge compliment that I don't deserve and you've totally made me smile and I'm sorry for the choking up, so just -- yeah, thank you so much. I really, really wish I can articulate what this sort of feedback means to me.
ljelliezljelliez on May 2nd, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
i loved how the story was set up and how it was closed at the end. Great job, very well-written fic.
cheers, darlin'.conditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!
Jesskal_ella on May 2nd, 2009 06:21 am (UTC)
this was just brilliant. everything about it was beautiful, everything. <3
cheers, darlin'.: baby britainconditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
Thank you!
chosenfire28: Ai - Kris Allen chosenfire28 on May 2nd, 2009 10:20 am (UTC)
Wow, I am just so stunned by this, each line deserves to be quoted and rememberd, brillaint writing, this hit really hard:

He says, I don't want to hurt you but I need for this to hurt, and you shiver, because yes, that's it, that's precisely it. You remember best the things that hurt you, above and beyond that which makes you happy and makes you smile; it's easy to tarnish perfect happy memories, but indestructible are the ones that are hard and clear and so painfully vivid as to be completely incapable of distortion. (Like the first callus on your hand from the guitar strings; that's the best example you can come up with, and with a guilty start you realize that in the course of this competition you've had to face the ugly truth that you've grown to love your music more than you love your wife, that the more you play the more the melody becomes entwined with your soul, a melody that matches Adam's measured footsteps more than Katy's featherlight murmurs when she sleeps.)

You have such an amazing writing style, I am honestly a bit jealous and awed, please keep writing, you have a gift.
cheers, darlin'.: consequence of soundsconditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
Thank you very, very much for your kind words, and for letting me know what worked. And I do hope to write more in the future as well :)
lordnelson100lordnelson100 on May 2nd, 2009 12:54 pm (UTC)
You had me at Houseman.

Insight + sex = amazing
pensavemoony on May 2nd, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - conditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - conditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
evtimesevtimes on May 2nd, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
This was absolutely perfect.

You're pretty sure all the wiring inside of you just crossed and short-circuited because you're seeing perfect octaves and hearing a kaleidoscope of white light and the burning unyielding pressure of his hands on your shoulders (pushing you through the mattress, pulling you into him) tastes like a turpentine concerto and a million points being made, that's how tightly the two of you have melded together.

Loved that!
cheers, darlin'.: grey roomconditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I was (er, still am) pretty apprehensive about that whole section because, yeah, I don't write sex because I can't write sex and to even address it relatively abstractly makes me feel really awkward -- so I'm glad something about it worked?
altarmusic on May 2nd, 2009 01:58 pm (UTC)
i hate not having actual meaningful, articulate, insightful comments to make because i feel like whenever i read a really astounding, excellent piece of fiction everything i want to say turns into a bunch of sddsfkf. and if i were reading my comments as the actual writer in question, i'd be like what the hell do i even say to that. but. it's 9am and i have been up all night/morning so i have the excuse that i am incoherent and braindead anyway. or something. anyway, i like second person narrative a lot, it's rarely used these days, and you are basically the writer that i wish i was and i have no words for this other than i keep starting to want to maybe write again, and then i get scared away because i read things like this and know i will never be anywhere near that level. and that WAS meant as a compliment. i just need sleep. and this comment is a rambling mess.
cheers, darlin'.: we'll never sleep (god knows we'll try)conditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:50 am (UTC)
Your comments always leave me kind of speechless so I'm just going to say thank you again, first of all, but that's by no means all I want to say in response. I really hope I don't speak for just myself when I say that visceral reactions like yours are the ones that bring the authors to their knees -- so, you know, seriously: thank you. It means more than you might think.

That being said, please write. Please don't be scared, please don't say things like "never be anywhere near that level", please please please. I believe that we've all been there, taken our neurotic hiatuses and had our writers' blocks, and I still look at other people's writing and think, "damn, I wish I could do that." Which, you know, maybe I never would be able to do that, but maybe other people won't be able to do what I can either, you know? So yeah. Sorry -- here: a rambling mess in return.
miss_silverwing: the cutest thing you've ever seen - adammiss_silverwing on May 2nd, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
This is, um, wow. Just sort of. Amazing. ♥

Seriously, I'm not sure quite what to think. Your POV is just so beautiful written and gorgeous and ropes everyone in and, gah, it's hard to absorb it all. I love your writing style, though. The way you write it incredible.

I agree with the person who said that you might want to use more paragraph breaks. It did make me rush through a little bit, and I want to be able to take it all in. :)
cheers, darlin'.conditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! And in the future I will definitely keep the paragraph spacing thing in mind -- sorry about that.
Evilly Chipper: discopadawanewan on May 3rd, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)
Very wonderfully done.
cheers, darlin'.: consequence of soundsconditionelle on May 3rd, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Christinai_bleed_magenta on May 4th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)

this. was. awesome.
cheers, darlin'.conditionelle on May 4th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!
a big steaming pile of me: KawaiiNot - shooting starfakeplasticsnow on May 5th, 2009 01:34 am (UTC)
DAMN. I mean, I figured you'd be a pretty good writer based on the comment you left (which is why I link-hopped to see if you had any fic of your own), but...damn. You should cross-post your stuff to glambert_fic or idolslash so that more people get to see it.

I typically hate second-person POV (almost as much as I hate purple OOC first-person POV), but you write so well that you actually made it work. It's gorgeous.

I'll agree with a couple of the above comments that more paragraph breaks would be helpful; I found myself backtracking and re-reading lines a lot, but it's all beautiful so I don't really mind. :)

You didn't even once resort to typical Kradam devices like Kris pensively twisting the wedding ring, or staring into the mirror all confused/horrified post-coital. Bonus brownie points just for that.

I love the abstract sex. Okay, that sounded weird, but I mean I'm not really into full-on porn (writing the word "cock" just embarrasses me most of the time, regardless of what fandom), and you wrote it in a way that doesn't puss out, but instead focuses on the more important and lovely parts. I may have to steal that idea for future use. :]

And finally, you write Kris just beautifully. I can relate to the "my life is not as charmed as you think it is, but I'll shut up and be grateful anyway" conflict. It's a good one, I wish it were used more often in this fandom.

So, uh, yeah. Gorgeous, and damn.
cheers, darlin'.: academiaconditionelle on May 5th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC)
Wow, thank you so much! I feel slightly awkward crossposting, so maybe the next time I've got something written I'll do it (which is going to be, like, Wednesday night probably, after I decimate my nails). ;P

Second-person is one of those iffy things, so I'm really glad it worked for you here. I'm definitely going to try and space better in the future, and I've been wondering where the problem might lie more: the paragraphs get too long, or too many long-ish paragraphs in a row? Also, ahahaha oh God: I can't write sex. I just can't. I've -- this is going to sound weird -- I've tried? And just, it doesn't work; like you just said, the terminology itself is embarrassing when it's not hilariously too-purple/too-clinical? Props to the people who can, though!

And finally, again: thank you so much for your feedback. It really, really means a lot.

(Also, I just noticed something: THB fan? Win. ♥)
(no subject) - fakeplasticsnow on May 5th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - conditionelle on May 5th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fakeplasticsnow on May 5th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
down.: mg/ka: please don't stop the musiccirclesanthem on May 5th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
an orchestra waiting for the coda that's not going to come. this, just. wow. i love how you weave in all the music terms and references and ugh. amazing.
cheers, darlin'.conditionelle on May 8th, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
Belated thank-yous are so ridiculously and embarrassingly belated, but I feel way worse not replying -- thank you so much for your feedback, and I'm so super-glad that the music thing actually seemed to work! :)
they tried to taze me: dreamingwishfulclicking on May 14th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
wow this was just ridiculously good and amazing.

Usually I don't read 2nd person pov but I read your other story and loved it, so I figured why not?

Your prose is gorgeous. It flows really well and you do imagery fantastic.

This line:
And yes, it rattles you down to your bones, but that's something you're just going to have to work out. One man is not enough to throw your entire world out of its steady orbit, though he might just bring the nation to its knees.

Just wow. Loved how you had the other contestants too, and Kris's interaction with them.

I really hope you continue writing!

cheers, darlin'.: grey roomconditionelle on May 17th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
I just want to apologize first for not getting back to this sooner. Thank you so much for your feedback, for giving my writing a chance read, and for letting me know what worked for you in this fic. ♥ I definitely will continue writing!
gypsy_ophelia on May 17th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
I took a break from LJ so I'm late to comment (finally catching up on fic) but this is haunting and beautiful- I love your writing.
cheers, darlin'.: consequence of soundsconditionelle on May 17th, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
No worries about lateness (and good luck, there's a lot of excellent fic!) -- thank you so much for reading!
(Deleted comment)
cheers, darlin'.: wipe it awayconditionelle on May 22nd, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Second-person is invariably tricky: it can go bad so easily but if it works, then it works -- so I do really hope that this worked! (Also, please don't despair oh my gosh, that would make me such a sad panda.)

And ooh! I've never seen anyone actually pay attention to my soundtracking! YAY. :D
The Doctor Writesjehane_writes on May 26th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
This. Was. AMAZING. Gosh.

Your prose is so crystalline, so evocative, the images you use so unusual. This was so credible, so bone-shakingly good; I'm not sure what to say. The sexing was lovely: the music (major to minor key change, handing the melody to Adam - oh my God, best, most inventive descriptors ever, and so simple and gorgeous!) and script metaphors, which run beautifully through this piece, just perfect there.

I am just eyeing the Kradam train, and this may well just make me toss caution to the wind and hop on for the ride.
cheers, darlin'.: wipe it awayconditionelle on May 26th, 2009 12:59 am (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you! I honestly don't quite know what else to say to such effusive praise other than, you know, once again -- thank you so much for reading and for your kind words. It means a lot, it really does. I don't think I can articulate just how much, but -- yeah. As a writer, wow.

Jump on! ;) The train is populated by friendly and talented people, and the ride itself is so much fun. (And seriously, verging on canon on occasion...?)
(no subject) - jehane_writes on May 26th, 2009 04:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - conditionelle on May 26th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jehane_writes on May 26th, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jehane_writes on May 26th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - conditionelle on May 26th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.evilgeniuslady on May 26th, 2009 05:47 am (UTC)
I've been back to reread a couple of times, and I've recced this fic to other people - and I just realised I never commented. So sorry, bad manners on my part. Anyway...

This is absolutely gorgeous. Especially the music metaphors, which are just <3
cheers, darlin'.: wipe it awayconditionelle on May 26th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
I've been recced? Oh my God, head expanding, ego exploding...

No, I'm joking. :) Thank you so much for reading and for commenting! (Better late than never, right? Or so I tell myself when I'm shamefacedly belated in getting back to feedback.) RPS is in and of itself a slippery slope and a grey area for me, but what got me on board here -- asides from the fact that they practically write themselves into scenarios far more mind-blowing than any fictional take -- was first and foremost the very strikingly harmonic way that they interact. So, yes: a huge yay! because I'm super-glad the music metaphors work, and another thank you.
be patient I am getting to the pointairgiodslv on May 30th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
This is achingly beautiful. I haven't read anything like it in a while, and I really enjoyed the change of pace.
cheers, darlin'.conditionelle on June 1st, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! It came from a slightly strange place, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Amanda: fanfiction > valiummandy_croyance on June 4th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
This was really perfect and gorgeous. I must admit, I'm not the hugest Kradam fan in the world but this really worked for me. I like the voice you gave Kris, your characterization of him. Really lovely, bb
cheers, darlin'.conditionelle on June 5th, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
Bwah, icon love! Fanfic makes me feel all morally ~conflicted~, especially fanfic of the real-people variety. But I still write it so, you know, apparently not conflicted enough? That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Thank you! ♥
Polluxa: Fangirlish Squeeing Aheadscratchbook on June 4th, 2009 10:25 am (UTC)
God, yes, yes, YES. You are such a beautiful writer. There are passages that make me forget how to breathe when I read them. You know what you're reading is really, really good when you get that prickly feeling on your skin and that tightness in your chest, and not because you're lacking oxygen. You're one of the rare gems in this fandom who not only writes really well but also puts me under Kris' skin and makes me feel what he feels. It's an amazing experience. Thank you for that.

Also, I seriously think I'm now addicted to second person's POV. Again, thank you.
cheers, darlin'.: wipe it awayconditionelle on June 5th, 2009 03:46 am (UTC)
Oh wow, thank YOU for such amazing feedback! I'm really really glad that the second-person narrative works -- I like its immediacy and intimacy, but it can go sour so easily -- because, yeah, it kind of just happened and I went with it but it's not something I'm quite comfortable with. Yay! And just, yeah, thank you so much!