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Title: The Bubble
Author: Rimau Sua Lay
Fandom: American Idol season 8 RPF
Rating: PG, GEN (OMG!) with slashy and het overtones Pairing: Adam Lambert/ rest of the top four UST
Disclaimers: Don't know any of these people. It's pure fiction! Not mine, borrowed without permission, am not making any money. Please don't sue.
Summary: One hellish week (or so) during which there were three times Adam realized he couldn't read people (and grew as a person thanks to that)
Size: ~3 900 words.

Once again betaed by the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] wolfsbride.

Written as a part of the 'write the bunny out of your head' -thing in a couple of days while being mostly blind. Notice that it's still betaed and though it's a cliche ficlet, I'm not calling it crap.

Contains spoilers to the top three of American Idol season 8.





The Bubble

by: Rimau Sua Lay






Even before there were just a handful of them left, Adam had known that the world in which the Idol finalists lived in was so far removed from his own reality that he should probably buy a travel guide and a map to navigate there.

The Idol -bubble, yeah, but in his mind it had sounded a little like the inside jokes at the Zodiac or the back stages of various small theater productions, where you were either in or out, and the poor bastards who didn't get it didn't have a chance of succeeding.

So not like now, with cars and chauffeurs and a mansion and professional chefs, and Anoop's comment about this being like the Playboy mansion without the bunnies still made complete sense to Adam.

Caught up in the middle of a storm, paparazzi all around, microphones shoved under his nose wherever he went, it was so easy to be blinded by the illusion of stardom, to believe in the hype. Adam had seen people fall into that trap more often than not, and he'd decided early on to just see where this road would take him and remember it was just another stage, maybe one where people would watch him on 24/7, but a stage anyway.

They were all in this with their eyes open, old-timers in show biz, and they all knew what they were doing.

Right. Or maybe not.

The first surprise had been the weird amount of ordinary people moving in with him in the house, guys who had actual professions outside the entertainment industry, with kids and families and lives that resembled some 70's sitcom.

Seeing some of the other contestants stare at him -- trying very hard not to do it while he could notice -- wasn't a surprise; he was used to it. The way a guy like Michael had openly laughed at him and then pulled him into a bear hug and patted his back very manly had been a surprise, even more so than Lil's nail painting tips.

Still in his comfort zone, fitting his view of the world, and funny how he'd let it all blind him until it was almost too late.

With five of them left, the rumors started: about the finale, the homecoming, the duets. He shrugged most of the rumors off, but some of them sounded real enough to make him worry. Just a little.

It was still a competition, and if the powers put him on stage to sing together with someone like Gokey, he might as well shoot himself right now.

Allison kind of saved the day there, with her enthusiasm and voice that fit with what he loved to do. She was a cool kid, always laughing at his jokes, following him around like a puppy sometimes, acting more like a little sister than his rival. So when Matt was gone and the producers revealed the well kept secret of duets to them, it was easy to just nod and smile and thank God for Allison.

It was even easier than he'd imagined, picking the song and the arrangement, and that Friday evening, when Gokey and Kris were still fighting over their duet, Adam and Allison could relax, sitting in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn, watching Rocky Horror.

Allison's choice, of course. She hadn't seen it, and Adam had nothing against watching educational movies with youngsters.

That's where it all went wrong.

Yeah, it was kind of late, and they'd had a long day, but when Allison leaned against his shoulder, letting out a soft sigh, her body all languid and warm, breath tickling on his skin, things kind of clicked, and he froze, hand half way to the bowl.

Oh man...

He sat there, feeling like he was sinking into the stuffed cushions of the couch, watching Tim Curry strut around the screen, his skin crawling where he could feel Allison snuggle just a little closer. It wasn't the puppy-like cuddle of a teenage girl against an old guy she looked up to anymore, this was something worse, and it dawned on him with the subtlety of a mallet on the head that he was in big trouble.

"Allison?" he muttered, squirming a little away.

"Mmhh?" she breathed, her voice dreamy. "This is a good movie."

He doubted she was even watching it anymore. Man, he could remember this; being too young and too overwhelmed by love. Or lust. Oh God.

"Allison, I..." He couldn't continue after all. The network had made it pretty clear from the beginning that certain personal preferences were not up for discussion, and all the guys -- well, except for Kris and the other married men -- had been warned against doing anything weird with girls like Allison. What the hell could he say? The truth might suffice, but what if the producers found out and booted him out for a breach of contract? Not that he believed she'd tell them, but she might need a shoulder to cry on, and then the word would get out.

"Yes?"

And he'd better finish that sentence pretty soon, or she'd get the wrong idea. "I need to pee," he finished lamely. "Be right back. Don't bother to pause."

Scrambling to his feet, he rushed out of the darkened room into the corridor, heading towards the bathroom in a haze.

He hadn't lied, exactly. He did need to pee, and then afterwards he stood in front of the sink for a long time, soaping his hands over and over again, trying to avoid his reflection in the mirror.

What the hell was he going to do now? He hadn't thought it was possible to live in close quarters with a guy like him and somehow miss the whole gay factor, but apparently it was, especially if you were a teenager. Allison's attitude and style on stage made her seem so seasoned, and it was easy to forget just how young she was.

Sighing, he glanced at the mirror. Sometimes it was pretty easy to forget that anyone was that young.

Hiding in the bathroom for a while longer, he tiptoed back to the huge living room. To his immense relief, he saw Allison curled on the couch, eyes closed and breathing deep, while the music was still blaring from the tv.

Adam turned the volume down a bit, waiting to see if that woke her up. When it didn't, he smiled a little and walked away, not really thinking about what made her smile like that in her sleep.

He was too tired to spend too much time that night thinking about the whole mess, collapsing in bed after a quick shower, but he felt like he hadn't slept at all when he managed to get up and walk downstairs for breakfast.

Someone was already in the kitchen, puttering around the island, and he almost turned around and walked away, not ready to face the new day just yet.

"Morning." Kris' voice called from the kitchen, way too awake and cheery for this time of the day.

Relieved, Adam stepped into the kitchen, managing even a slight smile at his friend. "Morning, Kris."

This he might survive.

Moving around easily, like when they'd still shared a room, keeping to his own personal space without feeling like it was an issue, he went to grab the bread.

He liked the quiet moments with Kris.

Unlike Allison, he really did seem young, even innocent in a way. It was kind of funny, 'cause the guy had to have seen lots in his travels around the globe. Maybe it was more about the world of stars and failures, of casting couches and backstabbing.

Adam had never seen any indication Kris was interested in gossip or the lifestyle of the rich and the famous; he was here just to sing, with no attitude whatsoever. The guy spent hours on the phone with his wife, for pete's sake. He wasn't exactly the epitome of a rock star.

He was nice, and harmless, a poster boy for good guys, but probably not shrewd enough to survive in this world for long. Too bad. Adam kind of loved the guy like a brother.

Spreading a way too thick layer of butter on the whole grain toast, ignoring the small voice in his head reminding him of the carbs he was about to inhale, he stared into distance, wondering what the hell was he going to do with the thing with Allison.

"Hey, Adam."

He looked up at Kris, who was leaning against the counter with a glass of OJ in his hand, his young face crunched up in a worried expression. "Yeah?"

Kris took a deep breath. "Not that it's any of my business, but have you thought about what you'll do with that thing with Allison?"

The toast fell on the table from Adam's fingers, fortunately with the buttery side up.

Placing the glass on the counter, Kris came forward, ready to help with the cleaning, and Adam waved him off, brushing the crumbs off easily.

"It's that obvious?" Adam asked, sighing at Kris' answering nod. "Why the hell didn't I see it sooner?"

There was just a shrug.

And yeah, sometimes he did forget that in that other world, people needed good instincts too, and Kris wasn't exactly born yesterday.

"I could just ignore it," he suggested, shrugging. Callous maybe, but he didn't think this would end with him and Allison alone in the big house, heading side by side to the finale.

Kris raised an eyebrow. "That sounds like a plan. You'll ignore it now, and then in the after party, and on the tour."

Damn. Adam tore a bit of his toast and popped it into his mouth, chewing furiously. "Not a good plan then."

"Not really, no."

They stood in silence, Adam destroying his piece of toast and watching Kris stare in his OJ like the fleshy bits held all the answers for every single question in the universe.

Finally Kris looked up at him. "She doesn't know she has no chance. It's a crush, you know how those go."

"She's seventeen," Adam muttered, shaking his head. "I'm ten years older than she is." That should be enough to explain why he wouldn't be interested in her. "She's just a kid."

Kris nodded. "Not to mention the fact that she's a girl." His eyes twinkled.

"There's that too, yeah."

They had never spoken of it, though Adam didn't get the same kind of vibe from Kris that he got from Gokey. No judgement here.

"She should know it's not her. That it's not just that you aren't attracted to her." Still so very calm, Kris looked at him.

Adam had no problem with that, well, personally, but he was pretty sure a conversation about guys who actually wanted other guys wouldn't go well. The powers were right on that; Allison was still a kid, a minor, and it wasn't his place to instigate a conversation like that.

"I have no idea how to tell her," he confessed.

Kris shrugged. "Maybe you need to show her and not tell her."

Insane mental images of grabbing their chef at dinner or making a call and asking if... but no, that was silly. For all purposes, he was single, and had no boyfriend he could call here to parade in front of people who'd probably never understand. "Yeah, right."

He didn't actually mean to sound as bitter as he did.

Kris stepped closer to him, hand brushing against his arm. "It'll be all right." He sounded so confident, so full of faith.

Adam didn't really mean to feel so envious at that blind faith, but there was that stab again. "Man, I hope you're right."

Upstairs, a door clicked shut, and there was a sound of people walking down the stairs, voices raised in conversation quiet enough to ignore if one wanted to.

Still standing right there, Kris kept his hand on Adam's arm. "You know I am."

Adam had to be reading the situation wrong. He stared at Kris, that confident smile, the awareness in his eyes, and he swallowed hard, knowing he didn't have to ask.

The footsteps were getting closer now, and Kris cocked his head back, not pushing or goading but just telling him it was all right, and Adam knew he'd never be able to thank this guy enough for being a good friend, for being so fucking brave, and he leaned in, looming over Kris for just a second in indecision before closing the distance, eyes fluttering shut as their lips almost met.

The shocked inhale from the door made him jolt back, and he felt heat rise to his face like this was real, like he'd just tried to kiss the guy.

He flinched away from Kris, turning to look over his shoulder, and the blush intensified as he saw both Allison and Gokey stand at the doorway, both staring at him. Allison's eyes were wide, shock written all over her face, and then she seemed to come to the only possible conclusion, realization dawning in her gaze, and she murmured a quiet "Excuse me," before turning around and running away.

Adam felt a stab of guilt in his heart, though seeing her finally get the message was also a relief.

Still rooted where he stood, Gokey kept staring at them, his face unreadable. The slam of door somewhere upstairs made him jolt, and he sighed, shaking his head. "I'd better see if she's all right." With one last look at Kris and Adam, he followed her.

"That went well," Kris said quietly.

Adam glared at him, but was surprised to see that Kris was actually serious.

He had to admit Kris was right; no matter how awkward it would be later on, things were sort of out in the open.

Reaching almost blindly at the carton of OJ to pour some of it in a glass with surprisingly steady hands, he wished this wouldn't affect the performances next week, that his personal life wouldn't hurt a very nice kid, that the life here in the limelight were just a little less cruel.

"Thank you," he muttered before sipping from his glass, not knowing what else to say.

Kris just smiled at him, his eyes immensely knowing and kind. "You're welcome."

The funny thing was, Kris was right; it did go well. They never really talked about it, but Allison managed to smile at him when she finally emerged from her room for the drive to the studio. It was almost like nothing had happened, though the memory of shock still lingered somewhere in her eyes, not leaving until they actually sang the duet on stage.

Her hug there was genuine, full of girlish exuberance, and she smiled at his comment about her being like a sister, the hurt still there, but faded behind the pleasure of the compliment.

For the first time, the elimination was actually painful, and hugging Allison goodbye wasn't a relief.

Then it was the three of them; two men of God and an old glam fag from the stage.

Life sure was full of ironic surprises.

He kind of wished top three meant a well earned breather, but it was just more work, the homecoming a huge event and trying to stay sane with all the fans around and the new songs playing in his head was proving to be hard for even him to handle.

Coming back to the Idol Mansion was a bigger relief than leaving had been, and right now he didn't really care who saw him drag his weary ass into the living room.

He was tired, from more than the screaming crowds back 'home' and the traveling, and watching Kris beam at him, so happy from his time with his wife, and Gokey walk on by with a sickeningly serene expression on his face was way too much for him to handle.

Right now, he wasn't sure it really was worth it. Being idolized, drooled after and dumped the same day kind of made one re-evaluate one's priorities. Crazy fans trying to jump him on stage seemed like the least of his problems.

He sighed, burying his face into his hands. The bed upstairs was almost beckoning at him, promising a night of sleep and clean sheets, but he was too exhausted to really move.

The cushions compressed when someone sat next to him, but he refused to look up, even when a hand touched his shoulder softly. He knew Kris meant well, but he wasn't in the mood for whatever consolation.

"Adam?"

He jumped at the quiet sound of his name. It wasn't what he'd expected.

Looking up at Danny Gokey, he blinked. "What?" He didn't think Gokey had ever sat so close to him, unless you counted the eliminations and the forced closeness on stage, and even those few minutes always felt awkward.

There was a somber look on Gokey's face, his hand still resting on Adam's shoulder, squeezing a little. "I... I know we aren't really friends," he started, lips turning into an uncomfortable smile.

You could say that again.

"But I want you to know I'm here if you need to talk."

Adam wondered if he'd tripped on his suitcases and fallen, lying on the floor unconscious and hallucinating this. That sounded more possible than actually living through Danny Gokey being a real human being.

"I mean..." This time Gokey couldn't make the smile anywhere near convincing. "You must know it's not right and that.... It's a sin. But I can't... It's my..."

This seemed more real, like something he'd vaguely expected to hear for a long time now, and Adam moved slightly to his left, inching away from Gokey's touch and fumbling words. "What the hell are you talking about, Gokey?"

He could see that his words made Gokey flinch, but he wasn't interested in moderating his voice right now.

"You're hurting, and it's my Christian duty to try to help you. No matter how... It's not right. And I think you know it too."

It was a relief to feel anger tingle up his spine. At least it drove the other feelings away for a moment, leaving him seething instead of moping. "So you think it's your 'Christian duty' to try to save the fag from himself?"

Gokey flinched like he'd just slapped him on the face. "I..."

"Thank you very much for your concern, Gokey, but I don't need it." After all the screaming girls and the fucking text message saying it was over, Adam couldn't handle this. "You can keep your sermon to yourself."

He pushed at the annoyingly soft cushions, needing to get away from here before he said something to Gokey he might even regret later, knowing the really phoney concern he was showing wasn't really that phoney but just a part of what his little world was all about.

A hand touched his thigh, warm and gentle, pressing him back down on the couch. "I'm not judging you, Lambert. I just want to help."

Adam tensed immediately, stunned by the insanely intimate touch. He forgot all about his plan to escape the room, staring into Gokey's eyes. "What the fuck?" He couldn't help it.

Looking uncomfortable at the expletive, Gokey shook his head. "You're hurting yourself and Kris with this, and I can't just sit back and watch it."

Adam gawked.

"I'm not criticizing your choices in life, but you can't make this one. It can never be."

For a moment, Adam couldn't do anything but stare. Then he started to laugh, the sound almost hysterical.

The hand disappeared from his thigh, and then Gokey wrapped his arm around his shoulders, patting him clumsily, and muttering, "There now," into his ear. "It's okay."

This was just too ridiculous, and Adam laughed even harder, leaning his head against Gokey's shoulder. Oh dear God! He'd never felt this surreal while sober.

Gokey was hugging him, not showing any concern in the fact that he was squeezed against him, still murmuring comforting nonsense into his ear.

Wiping his eyes with a trembling hand, Adam tried to stop laughing, but couldn't.

"Just let it all out, man," Danny muttered, his hand moving in circular patterns between Adam's shoulder blades. "I'm sorry."

Adam let out a hiccupping sound and buried his face into Gokey's neck, shaking.

"You know it can't happen. He's married." The way Gokey said it was like it explained everything, like the institution was sacred beyond questioning, and yeah, that made sense.

Raising a hand to pat Gokey's arm, Adam took a deep breath.

"Yeah," he managed to mutter rather brokenly, lips still curved up into a grin. "I know."

Gokey let go of him slowly, with one last pat on the back, and then looked at him with his eyes so full of pride. "You're a good man, Adam Lambert."

"Thanks." A little ashamed of the way the laughter was still bubbling right under the surface, Adam patted Gokey's shoulder. "You're not that bad yourself."

Kind of fake and awkward and fucking annoying, but... You couldn't really hate a man for trying to help.

"If there's anything I can do, anything at all, let me know, okay?" Such eager honesty in Gokey's voice, and there was that touch again, turned into a very manly hug, but accompanying it was a touch of Gokey's lips, brushing briefly against Adam's temple.

With any other guy in the universe, it would sound like a pretty blatant offering or an invitation.

Adam nodded, face twitching again. God, this was the opening he'd been waiting for, and he couldn't even say anything lewd to embarrass the ass, because he seemed to mean it, and turning this into an insulting innuendo would only demean himself. "I will."

Not that he'd ask Gokey's help before the day Cowell hopped on stage and serenaded Abdul in a live show -- or Seacrest, whatever rocked his socks. Probably not even then.

"Good." Muttering a few words from under his breath, nothing really audible, but Adam thought he recognized a message of goodwill and blessings when he heard one, Gokey reached out for the remote, not moving away from him. "You mind if I watch the news?"

A very gruff and manly change of subject.

Adam shook his head. "No, go ahead." It seemed Gokey wanted to offer him quiet support, and though it would be more comfortable to sit here alone, or with about anyone else, he chose not to leave either.

His exciting new life, his world now, with a bunch of strangers who had been friends and then rivals and would be friends again this summer, he hoped. A week and a half to survive the competition, to see if he'd make it as the new Idol or the runner up, and he was so not going to think about that right now.

That was something he'd find out soon enough, and right now, he was going to sit here, ignore the warmth of Gokey's shoulder against his and the soft buzz of his cell phone somewhere in his bag, and the sounds of Kris taking a shower upstairs.

His moment to revel in the Idol -bubble, soak in the experience. Half listening to the anchor's solemn words about the pig flu and the presidential dinners, he closed his eyes, knowing he'd better grasp this rare moment of peace.

It would be a busy week ahead.





Hopefully this is the last Adam -centric bunny! Should concentrate on the other guys now...

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