mdseiran: (Default)
[personal profile] mdseiran
Title: Oh, Sing Sweet Nightingale
Fandom: American Idol
Warnings: Crack. Seriously. PG-13 for language.

- I started writing this when Kris was in Rwanda, so this was mostly inspired by these tweets.
- Beta'd by [livejournal.com profile] lyntek. ♥



Kris doesn't know why it started, but he does remember when. Mostly because it's kind of hard to forget something like that.

It was shortly after the Idols summer tour ended, in that brief period of downtime between putting the final touches on his album and going on a full-blown promo tour. His management had arranged for five days of blessed peace back home, and he spent most of them dozing on the couch, dozing in the backyard, eating his mother's divine cooking and playing his guitar because he wanted to, not because he had to.

He took his guitar out to the fields, to the tree where he and Katy first carved their names with little hearts, and spent a very peaceful hour strumming snippets of whatever song came to mind. And then a squirrel hopped onto his knee.

Kris stopped playing The Lion Sleeps Tonight and blinked at the squirrel, which blinked right back at him. Kris lost that staring contest because he looked away first, fiddling a bit before tentatively strumming a note. The squirrel stayed where it was so he kept on playing, fascinated by how unafraid the tiny creature was of him. He got right back into his groove, not even dislodging the squirrel when he started bouncing his legs a little. And then two rabbits started nibbling on his toes. That's when things got really weird.

---

The rabbits dispersed quickly, probably not finding him quite as tasty as they had anticipated, but the squirrel stuck around. Kris thought it had gone back into the tree when he couldn't find it once he got up to go home, but halfway down the road he felt something squirming in his pocket. A little poking around brought the squirrel scampering out of it and onto his shoulder, where it perched the rest of the way home. It spent dinner in his pocket again, curled up in his hair when he watched a movie before bed (which caused Katy to shoot him a lot of amused glances, and snap a picture or two) and when he slid between his sheets, reaching out for Katy with one arm, the squirrel was on his pillow, asleep with its tail curled around its tiny body.

Kind of got in the way of what he had planned for the night, but Katy thought it was too adorable and wouldn't even consider it when he suggested quietly moving it elsewhere.

The thing is though, Kris could have dealt with just a pet squirrel. It was cute and low maintenance, and it was nice to have such a captive audience whenever he played or sang. But by the end of five days' vacation, four rabbits, two hummingbirds and one raccoon had started visiting him frequently. If it weren't for the fact that Katy could see them too, Kris would've thought he was going mad. He didn't even really regret going back to LA; at least there weren't any forest animals there.

---

Of course, the trouble with LA is, the public eye is on him all the freaking time, and he didn't realize the full repercussions of this until one day, TMZ published a snapshot with the caption, "King of the Jungle" including Kris's pet squirrel in clear view on his shoulder.

An hour later, his phone was blaring Prince Ali! Fabulous he! and he took a deep breath before answering. "So, Kristopher," Adam began, "is there something you would like to tell me?"

"…Adam, meet Skippy?"

The sigh coming from the other side of the line sounded very loud in his ears. "Of course you named it," Adam muttered, and Kris sputtered a little in protest. "It's a living thing, it deserves a name!"

"Yeah well, you thought Wolfgang deserved one too. Where did you get it anyway?"

Kris just sighed. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

---

He thought for a while that that was the end of it. The paparazzi got used to Skippy, Adam got his mocking quota for the year out of the way, and Kris got a new pet. But of course, his life could never be that simple.

Either Skippy had a lot of friends in LA or something about Kris was especially attractive to smallish creatures everywhere, because pretty soon Skippy was joined by a white baby mouse (Ralph) and then a hamster.

He had been visiting a pet shop to get supplies for Ralph, humming a song under his breath while he wandered the aisles, when suddenly, something small and furry collided with the back of his head. He carefully picked it out of the spot it had quickly made for itself in his hair, and then ended up buying the hamster (he named it Joey) when the shop keeper fell all over himself apologizing for accidentally leaving the cage open.

Of course, because his life was insane like that, the hamster escaped from its cage again during his brief walk home and found its way into Kris's clothes, prompting another slew of photographs splashed online, and another phone call from Adam.

"Was that a dove in your pocket or do you get off on being stalked by photographers?" and Kris choked a little bit.

"Actually, it was a hamster..." and then he had to stop talking because Adam was laughing so hard, he couldn't hear what he was saying anyway.

---

Sometimes, Kris wished that he had never left Arkansas. Sure, he would probably be considered weird there as well, but at least the paparazzi weren't following him every second he spent outside his apartment, gleefully taking snapshots of every stray animal that decided it would be a good idea to tag along to his recording studio. It got so bad that his management had a very stern conversation with him about leaving his pets at home. They weren't even interested in listening to his explanation, so on top of everything else, he now worried about whether or not his label would drop him if he couldn't get rid of his new friends.

He stomped out of their head offices in a foul mood, leaving two cats and a puppy running after him in an attempt to keep up. He waited for his entourage to jump into the back of his car, then slammed the door and drove back home, determined not to leave his apartment for the rest of the week. He had enough food in his refrigerator, plus he had ice cream and alcohol, both of which would cure anything if you took enough of them (according to Adam).

The sound of a key turning and the slight squeak of his front door distracted him from his TV a few hours later, and he blinked owlishly at Adam when the latter entered his apartment and remained rooted at the entrance. "You can come in you know," he said, digging his spoon back into the vanilla ice cream.

"Oh my god," he heard from the doorway, "you have no fucking idea what you look like right now, do you." Kris looked down at the couch with a frown before turning his gaze back to Adam. "Look, I know you think snuggies are ridiculous, but you've seen me wear it before, jeez."

"It's not that!" Adam paused. "Okay, that's part of it. Fuck, Kris, you look like a Disney princess!"

Kris scowled at his ex-friend (he was so dumping his ass, and definitely not sharing his ice cream), but when he looked at his dress-resembling snuggie, the cats curled up with him on the couch, the few birds sitting on the back of it, the squirrel, the mouse, and the hamster on his lap, the dog and her three puppies curled on the ground at his feet, he choked on his ice cream and dropped the spoon in favor of burying his head in his hands. "What is wrong with me?"

Adam patted his hair sympathetically. "I don't know, but we'll figure something out, okay? But first, I think we should get really, really drunk."

Kris agreed emphatically with that plan.

---

Since Kris couldn't exactly take time off from his job (not that he wanted to), he hired a pet-sitter instead as per Adam's suggestion. Kris hadn't even known pet-sitters existed, but Linda kept his animals from following him out the door and took splendid care of them to boot. He got back to work in the studio, and when his manager asked if he felt up to doing a few concerts, he jumped at the chance.

It felt great to perform onstage again. He hadn't realized how much he had missed this; his band, the crowd, the sun shining down on him in between the metal bars holding the stage together. It was euphoric like nothing else he had ever felt, and he gave the crowd everything he had.

He heard the screaming before he noticed anything was wrong, completely lost in the song, but then the band stopped playing and he opened his eyes to find a small flock of birds flying towards him. Flying, and smacking beak first into the metal bars before landing gracelessly at his feet.

That night, he didn't answer his phone, not even when Katy called, and when Adam entered his apartment he didn't say a word, just sat next to Kris on the couch and curled his arms around him.

---

He didn't want to admit it, but Kris knew there was really only one solution to his problems. So he made his preparations stealthily, making sure his animals found good homes and that his band was paid for the coming month. Then he packed his clothes, grabbed his guitar, and hopped on a plane to South Africa.

Hot air blasted his face the moment he stepped off the plane. He quickly shed his jacket on the old bus that took him to the terminal. It was weird not to get recognized, but thrilling as well, and in no time at all he had found the driver he had asked for and was on his way to his new home.

The bungalow he had bought was in the very middle of the jungle, and had once been a research centre for a group of scientists studying the mating patterns of the gorillas that lived around that area. It was isolated, quiet, and if animals decided to follow him around nobody would notice anyway. When he got lonely, he would pick up his guitar and head outside, and it wouldn't be long before he'd be encircled by all sorts of creatures. He sang to them, talked to them, and if he missed someone talking back to him sometimes, he just reminded himself that it was the price he had to pay.

Kris didn't want to be found, but he wasn't cruel - he knew his family and friends would worry. So he drove to one of the neighboring towns every few weeks or so, found a computer with internet access, and sent out e-cards. He should have known that would come to bite him in the ass eventually. Curse him and his bleeding heart anyway.

---

The knock on the door nearly caused him a heart attack. He jumped off the kitchen chair and ran to the window, but he didn't recognize the man standing outside his door. He grabbed the baseball bat stashed by the door and hid it behind his back, slowly turning the knob and opening the door the tiniest bit. "Can I help you?"

"Kris Allen?" the man asked, and Kris nodded warily. The man muttered something in the native dialect that sounded like it could be a prayer of thanks. "Please help, someone got lost in the jungle."

It wasn't the first time someone had come to him for help in finding a lost soul – he had explored the jungle extensively and could usually rope a gorilla or two into helping him find someone, although he didn't tell the natives that - so Kris put the bat away again and put on his most comfortable pair of converse. "What does this person look like?" he asked as he closed the door behind him, and was hit with a strange sense of foreboding when the best description the man could come up with was, "Weird".

---

Kris put his hands on his hips and stared up the tree. "I should have known."

"Kris?" the tree answered, and then Adam was peeking from behind the trunk, arms clinging to it and feet perched precariously on a thick branch. "Fuck, Kris, don't stand there, there's a snake! It's waiting for me to climb down!"

He turned his gaze from Adam to the base of the tree, and there really was a snake peering up at his friend from underneath. His lips twitched as he held out an arm to the snake, softly singing a few bars of With A Little Help From My Friends and ignoring the shouts coming from above. The snake flicked its tongue at Adam a few times, but then turned and slithered up Kris's arm. Still ignoring Adam, Kris walked far enough away from the tree that Adam wouldn't see him and then put the snake down, rubbing the scaly skin once before walking back again.

Adam had climbed down and was shakily pulling leaves and twigs out of his hair. Kris laughed until his sides ached, each glimpse of Adam's put-upon expression sending him into a new fit. Adam finally just crossed his arms and waited, staring warily at the scenery until the laughter died down. "I'm so thrilled that my getting attacked by a fucking snake amuses you, Kristopher," he said then, sounding a little miffed, and Kris grinned widely.

"Dude, he wasn't attacking you."

Adam arched an eyebrow. "Oh, really? Do tell."

"He was after your boots." Adam glanced down at his favorite boots, made of snakeskin.

"So, what, it was revenge for the snake that died to make these? It's not like I killed it!"

Kris started laughing again. "No, you idiot. He's just really old and a bit...daft? He thought your boots were his mate. Was probably trying to snuggle up to them." Adam sputtered, and Kris gleefully enjoyed the fact that he now had blackmail material for years to come. "So if you're done here, I'm assuming you were looking for my house before he started frotting against you?" Adam glared viciously at him, but still clung to Kris like a lifeline while he led them back to his bungalow.

He could tell that Adam was pleasantly surprised by his living conditions and that pleased him somehow. He took a seat on the wooden steps of the porch and stared up at Adam, still unable to wipe the smile off his face. "It's really good to see you man. What are you doing in this neck of the woods?"

Adam rolled his eyes and snorted. "This fake innocence doesn't become you," he said. "You know exactly why I'm here, Kris Allen."

Sighing, Kris shook his head. "I'm not coming back Adam."

"Why not?" his friend asked with an unmistakable whine in his voice. "Come on, you can't be happy here on your own. Don't you miss your family? Katy and your mom have been worried sick about you." He took a deep breath. "You can't even imagine how frantic I've been, my hair even started falling out."

Kris squinted up at the aforementioned hair. "Now that you mention it," he said slowly, "I think I can see a bald spot right there." Adam's hands flew up to his hair and Kris snickered.

"Fucking asshole," Adam muttered, but it was affectionate. "Seriously, you have to come back. You're the only one I would trust to tell me if I did have a bald spot."

"I can't, Adam, really. Nothing's changed."

Adam glanced around the empty area around the house. "I don't see any animals, though." Kris rolled his eyes and hummed until a monkey popped down from a tree and landed on his shoulder. "Oh," Adam said.

The monkey (Steve - he was a regular) found a comfortable spot on Kris's lap and rubbed his head into Kris's hands until he took the hint and started petting it. Adam paced between both ends of the porch, occasionally stopping to glance at Kris and Steve.

"You know," he finally said, "being followed by animals isn't really a bad thing?" Kris arched an eyebrow at him. "Seriously! It's actually really cool."

"Getting birds freaking killed isn't cool, just cruel," Kris retorted, but then Adam got excited.

"We can do something about that though. We can get you a new wardrobe! I can even help design it, we'll add small pockets for all the tiny creatures that aren't so noticeable." He was pacing again. "And we can add a special audio layer to the music, at a frequency that can't be heard by humans? If we can make it annoying to animals, maybe it'll cancel out the allure of your voice. Or, since you seem fluent in animal-speak now," and then Kris had to toss a stick at him, "maybe you can use that layer to warn them to stay away instead. I don't know exactly, but we can work it out. I can help you design your sets for tour too, you know I've been itching to anyway. We'll make sure no more helpless animals throw themselves at your feet, literally!"

The monkey shot off his lap when Kris suddenly stood up. "That wasn't fucking funny!" he shouted before storming inside his home and slamming the door, locking it behind him for good measure.

It took thirty seconds for Adam to start knocking. "Kris, I'm sorry, please open the door?" Kris stubbornly stayed quiet, ignoring the pleading and wheedling from outside for a full eight and a half minutes. Then he cracked the door open.

"Will my new wardrobe include plaid?"

"...Oh alright, I'll see what I can do."

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