Word Count: 1,860
Warnings: mention of (off-screen, implied) character death
Summary: The end of the world comes not with an earthquake or a comet or zombies, but with a mysterious plague - and Kris is under quarantine.
Author's Notes: This is not intended as a factual representation of real people or their actions. Thanks to lvs2read for her marvelous beta job.
Kris's building is quarantined for five days.
Five days is just five days. It's not even a week. Objectively, it's not a long time.
Subjectively, it's eternity.
Adam's been on edge since the moment Tommy told him that Kris was quarantined, nervous energy keeping him moving, stopping him sleeping for more than an hour at a time before the nightmares wake him, but that's fine. He can keep busy, and more than that, he can keep in contact with Kris. Phone calls and Skype, and it means that any time of day or night, if Kris calls, he's there. He's had to wait for Kris to call because half the time, when he calls Kris, Kris isn't there.
Because Kris is Kris, so of course quarantine isn't enough to keep him from wanting to help people, which means that he’s out of his apartment most of the time, doing whatever he’s doing in other apartments in the building. It scares the shit out of Adam, knowing how much that exposes Kris to more potential infection, but he’s never going to try to stop Kris from doing something that’s such an intrinsic part of who he is.
At least, not when Adam can’t actually physically do anything about it, or make Kris stay in one place long enough to talk about it. Besides, Kris staying alone in his apartment is a perfect recipe for one or both of them to freak out. Adam’s got people with him for distraction; he’s not going to deny Kris the same comfort.
When it finally ends, when Adam picks Kris up from outside the cordon, Kris walks straight into his arms and holds on. It's only been five days, it's not enough time for Kris to have lost weight, but he still feels smaller than Adam remembers. Smaller, more frail, and a hell of a lot more tense. Maybe the clothes have something to do with the tense - or rather, the scrubs. They're not Kris's own clothes. Those are still inside, along with everything else.
Adam kisses Kris's hair and rubs a hand over his back, pulling him in tightly and keeping him right there as he gives his details to the CDC official, assures her that of course they'll call if Kris shows any symptoms, of course they'll both keep up on their check ins, that Kris is going to be staying with him. Kris doesn't speak. Kris does start shaking, but if the CDC official's not chasing that up, Adam's not about to mention it. He lets go of Kris enough to sign the papers, then makes sure Kris is safely in his car before trying to say anything else.
Trying. Not succeeding. Kris gets there first.
"They're gonna burn my guitars," he says, voice hoarse. His fingers curl around the seatbelt like it's the neck of a guitar, fingertips spread. "I can't... Adam..."
And there's not a fucking thing that Adam can do about it. He bites his lip, slips his headset into place, and starts the car, pulling away from the building and the slowly dispersing crowd around it. "Yeah, they are," he says quietly. "Along with the building and everything else, and they're gonna call it necessary containment."
As if anyone could pick up the virus from a guitar, but until there's an official decision on how it spreads, everything that's been in contact or potential contact with infection gets burned. Including Kris's guitars, his piano, his clothes, but at least Kris is still alive.
Kris closes his eyes, turning his face away. "They don't know."
"They don't care," Adam contradicts flatly. "And right now, as long as they're not burning you, it's not exactly high on my priority list."
He knows. He knows it feels unnecessary, he knows how much some of those guitars mean to Kris, but he also knows that they're just objects, they're not people, and there’s a priority list of people right at the top of his general priority list. Kris is one of the people at the top of that priority list.
"There's..." Kris shakes his head, bringing his hand down to fold with the other in front of him. "I mean, I've seen disease, I went to help, but this isn't... They just took them away."
"Yeah, I know." They've been through some of this. Most of this, five days ago, before Adam had tried to focus on distracting Kris. "They took Brad, too."
"Allison told me." Kris pauses, quiet, still watching the road. "Is she okay?"
She, not he. Adam bites back resentment that Kris isn't asking about Brad, because he doesn't have any news there, takes a deep breath, and takes the next exit off of the freeway. "She's okay. Did you tell your mom that you're getting out?"
"Yeah, but..." Kris's lips twist in a wry smile. "I kinda lost my phone line. And my computer."
Right. "We'll get you set up when we get home," he promises. "And a shower and clothes." Anything that can stop Kris smelling like the CDC chemicals and more like himself. "Tommy or Cass should have something that'll fit you. I mean, I can give you shirts, but ..."
"But your pants would be a mile long on me," Kris agrees, sighs, and wriggles down in his seat. "I'm sorry, man. I mean, thanks."
"I know." Adam glances away from the road, reaching out to touch Kris's knee before getting his hand back on the wheel. "I know, baby. You're welcome, but yeah, I wish, too."
Kris nods, touching his fingers to the back of Adam's hand. "You look like you haven't slept for a week."
There's a reason for that. "I'm running out of Touche Eclat," Adam says instead. "It's amazing what a plague does to the supply of good cosmetics."
It gets the response Adam wants, which is a faint laugh from Kris. "When all this is over, how about I go to Sephora with you?"
When this is over. It's been two months, and Adam already can't imagine it being over. "When it's over, I'm holding you to that," he promises, turns into the driveway, and parks. "Welcome home, baby."
It's not Kris's apartment, but Adam definitely has room for Kris to stay. Even if he was living in a studio apartment, he'd have room for Kris to stay. As it is, he's got a house and plenty of room, and Allison and Dani and Tommy already living with him, and Cassidy there more often than he's away. To Adam, it makes sense to keep the people he loves close. To the rest of them... Well. They get closer and bind tighter with every person they lose.
It's weird. Adam's been expecting it to be a relief when Kris is out of quarantine, when Kris is in his house instead of out of sight, at the end of a phone line. It kind of is but, in a lot of other ways, he's more worried about Kris when he knows that Kris is safely in his bathroom, in the shower, with a hurriedly assembled collection of clothes waiting for him to be done. Tommy's jeans, Allison's socks, Adam's t-shirt - Adam's underwear too, but he's not thinking about that. He's really not thinking about it when Kris comes out, hair every which way, nose wrinkled as he walks unsteadily into the kitchen.
It's hard not to think about it, because Tommy's jeans are tight enough on Kris to make it really fucking clear that Kris isn't wearing any underwear at all. So not the time.
"I don't think these are gonna work," Kris admits, trying to pinch denim from his thighs and failing.
Adam drags his eyes from Kris's legs and holds a hand out to Kris. "I'll get you some of mine," he says. "They'll be too long, but they're gonna be easier on your hips." And ass. And... yeah, not mentioning anything else.
Kris ignores Adam's hand and walks into another hug instead, faceplanting in Adam's chest. "Thanks. I mean, not just the jeans, just..."
"Hey, no." Adam closes his arms around Kris instead, and there's the relief. Some of it. More of it. "No, baby. Don't thank me. Just let me get you settled in, yeah? Are you hungry?"
"Maybe tomorrow?" Kris lifts his head, giving a lopsided, almost convincing grin. "I can't think about food right now. Or anything."
"Then let me get you those jeans." Something. Just something active, something physical that can help. "Or..." Shit, there is something. "Come with me?"
"Where?" A pause, a shrug, and Kris chuckles, low and uneven. "Okay, maybe it doesn't matter. In the house, right? I don't have any shoes."
And that one's going to be harder to fix. "In the house," Adam agrees, moving back. "Come on upstairs."
Apart from anything else, Kris looks like he desperately needs sleep. For that matter, Adam probably needs sleep himself, he's just not letting himself think about it yet.
Jeans won't take long, but the other thing's more obvious. "You left it here," Adam says over his shoulder, pushing the door open as he leads the way in. And sure, it's his bedroom, but that's just where it is. "I know it's not the one you really love, but..."
"But..." Kris follows Adam in and stops. "Did I... God damn, Adam, it's here?"
"It's here," Adam agrees softly, moves back, and sits down, pulling one knee up to hold close as he watches Kris. "I thought... More important than jeans."
"Yeah." Kris reaches out to pick the guitar up, cradling it close. There's no strap, but Kris is still managing to hold it in a way to stroke his fingers over the strings, drawing a discordant sound from it.
Adam winces. "I should've asked Tommy to tune it."
"I kind of like that you didn't." Kris tries to bring a knee up to brace the body of his guitar and stops with a pained expression. "Uh..."
"Jeans," Adam says firmly, pushing back the urge to laugh. "Come on, baby. Give me the guitar, and get changed."
In the end, he finds sweats for Kris instead of jeans. They're going to be an easier fit no matter what, and Kris looks like he needs easier, so that's sweats and one of the pairs of boxer shorts that Adam sleeps in when he's got the kind of company that has problems with him being naked. It takes a few more minutes to persuade Kris to let go of his guitar, but when Adam promises not to let Tommy touch it, and to leave the guitar in the room with Kris while he changes, Kris agrees to lay it down on the bed.
Adam backs out, closes the door, rests his head against the wall, and closes his eyes. It's fine. Kris is safe. Kris is here. Kris has a guitar back.
Now all he needs to do is get Kris to rest, get some rest himself, and hope like hell they all get peace for long enough to heal.