Chris Colfer is a Professional: Chapter Six
For the next four weeks, Darren continued to sleep in Chris's bed, curled next to him and ready to snuggle away any possible nightmares. Chris pretended that it helped keep the nightmares away and Darren pretended that he needed a cuddle buddy in order to sleep properly because neither wanted to admit just how much they liked sleeping together. Chris rolled around too much and Darren murmured innocent nothings in his sleep, but it was nice to fall asleep next to each other and then wake up together the next morning. So it became a habit.
The day Chris got his cast off, Darren showed up on Chris's doorstep with a two cardboard boxes. Chris snorted when he saw the labels: the larger box was labeled "Darren's crap" and the smaller "more crap." Darren marched purposefully into Chris's bedroom and began shoving worn-out t-shirts, socks, underwear, oddly-colored pants, stacks of sheet music, and a dozen or so well-used spiral notebooks into the drawers Chris had set aside for him.
In a matter of minutes Darren had reappeared in front of Chris, a triumphant grin on his face and hands placed firmly on his hips. "Well, roomie, looks like I'm all moved in!"
"That's all of your stuff?" Chris asked, shocked. "You've been living out of two boxes for a year and a half?"
"Oh, of course not," Darren said, laughing musically. "I keep most of my junk in my car. Sleeping bag, guitar, keyboard, suits I only wear once a year." He shrugged. "But I only need a little bit to live, so." He shrugged again and smiled up at Chris.
"Has anyone ever told you you're just like a puppy?" he asked quizzically.
"Get it all the time, actually," Darren laughed. "Am I really?"
Chris nodded. "I feel like I have just adopted a new puppy."
"A puppy who cooks you your every meal," Darren added importantly. "But yes, I am your adopted puppy!"
Chris smiled happily, and walked back to Darren's car with him so they could hang up some of Darren's nicer clothes. When Darren insisted that his velvet purple tuxedo be hung up, Chris died with laughter and inwardly giggled thinking about how much fun it would be to live with Darren.
That evening, Chris tweeted, "Just adopted an adorable puppy! Wish me luck living with this thing!" He snorted aloud when, five seconds later, his computer alerted him that Darren had just said, "chriscolfer warning, new puppies take a while to potty train. #goodluckcleaningupallthatcrap." Darren caught his eye and smiled mischievously. Yes, Chris thought. Living with Darren is going to be great.
Chris was sitting on his bed, laptop on his lap, when he heard the door open, followed by the familiar sound of Darren's footsteps, excited and loud enough to resound throughout the apartment. "Hey, Chris!" Chris heard him call happily. "I'm home!" Chris couldn't keep the smile off his face, because his—no their—apartment was Darren's home now.
Chris's smile widened when Darren appeared in the bedroom doorway, leaning up against the doorframe and running a hand through his tousled curls. "How was it?" he asked, knowing Darren would tell him even if he didn't ask.
"Amazing," Darren replied, mouth stretched into a happy grin. He started walking towards Chris, and he was literally bouncing with every step, and Chris had to bite his lip to keep himself from commenting about Darren being a puppy again. He reached the edge of the bed and spun around once, running both hands through his hair and squealing. "It was just amazing, Chris."
Chris smirked. "You're acting like a five-year-old girl, which means you're going to want to cuddle in a second, doesn't it?" Even though they had only been living together officially for a week and a half, the four weeks spent together while Chris's arm healed had tuned Chris into Darren's odd quirks. Chris knew Darren. Darren was a puppy, and when his puppy went into little girl mode, it meant he was going to need to cuddle with someone, lest he explode from pent-up love.
Darren's eyes lit up and he opened his mouth in an excited, almost awestruck smile as he crouched down and sprang back up really quickly. "How'd you know? How'd you know?" he sang, still beaming.
Chris chuckled and closed his laptop, setting it on the bedside table. "You're a bit predictable, honey. Go put some PJs on and I'll make the hot chocolate."
"Hot chocolate!" Darren shouted, pulling his t-shirt over his head as he danced over to the dresser. "That's exactly what I'm in the mood for, Chris!" He unbuckled his belt and shimmied out of his jeans. His right foot got stuck and he hopped up and down, for a few moments, flailing his arms, before steadying himself and escaping the confines of his pants. "Hamper, oh clothes hamper, where are you?" he sang, spinning around and tossing his dirty clothes into the laundry basket in the corner of the room.
Chris watched Darren's crazy display from the other side of the room with raised eyebrows. When Darren turned around, clad only in a pair of hot pink socks and black boxer-briefs, and gazed at Chris like a lost puppy, Chris shook his head fondly and motioned for Darren to come closer. "Come here, my little puppy Darren," he cooed. "I know you need to be hugged before you can successfully put on your pajamas."
Darren smiled eagerly and made a woofing noise. He practically pranced across the room and threw himself into Chris's open arms, snuggling his face into Chris's collarbone. He squeezed Chris tightly around the waist, murmuring into Chris's shoulder, "I love you Chris, I love people, I love life, I love everything."
Chris laughed, his mouth in Darren's hair, and breathed in Darren's yummy scent. Darren's bare back was warm and it felt nice under Chris's hands as he stroked gently up and down, like he knew Darren loved. Chris felt his body warm as he melted into Darren's hug, and he felt a gentle tug at his heart, as if Darren was giving Chris a glimpse at the happiness he was feeling. When Chris finally pulled Darren out of the hug, he touched Darren's nose lightly and whispered, "Now put some pajamas on, my little puppy dog."
Darren laughed and waltzed back over to the dresser, pulling out a wad of clothes. "What do you think?" he asked Chris, a mound of pink cloth in one hand and brilliant blue in the other. "Princess PJs or Buzz Lightning?"
Chris paused at the bedroom door and turned back to look at Darren's potential pajama choices ponderously. "Are those the same princess—"
"Yep," Darren grinned, cutting Chris off. "From the time I made you fly across the country to watch a wedding with me."
"Those then," said Chris, nodding. "Because I'm still suffering from jetlag and you owe me the laugh."
Darren smiled after Chris left and began singing seemingly meaningless phrases to himself, such as, "I am princess, princess princess princess" and "please do me now, you sexy prince named Chris" and "I love fangirls lalalalala." Humming happily, he pulled on the obnoxiously pink princess pajamas and carefully buttoned all of the crown-adorned buttons. He was noticing that Chris had been right, and the pajamas were actually a little big on him, when he heard a yelp of pain from the kitchen followed by Chris shrieking, "Shit, oh shit. Ow! Shit, ow, that hurts!"
"Chris?" Darren asked cautiously. "Are you alright, Chris?"
"Yeah," Chris called, voice higher than usual. "Yeah, I'm just—shit that burns—I just spilled the effing hot chocolate, that's all."
Hurrying, Darren entered the kitchen, fully clad in princess PJs, ready to rescue his prince from the fire-breathing hot chocolate monster. Chris had somehow managed to spill boiling-hot hot chocolate water over every surface of the counter, and his white tee was stained brown from the stuff. The microwave door was still open and the microwave kept beeping, as if bragging about its victory over Chris. Chris was scowling, two empty mugs in his hands, and—was that hot chocolate running down his neck?
"Chris…" Darren began. "Oh my god…" Speechless, Darren rushed to Chris and took the mugs from his hands, setting them by the sink. Without bothering to ask for permission, Darren peeled Chris's shirt off from where it clung to his chest in hot, sticky, wet splotches, and tossed it in the sink. "Oh, Chris," Darren whispered worriedly, eyes raking up and down Chris's chest, where red lines streaked his pale skin everywhere the hot chocolate had touched. Acting on pure instinct, Darren pulled Chris into a tight, supposed-to-be-soothing hug.
"Shit, ow, Darren!" Chris yelped, shoving Darren away and wincing slightly.
"Oh, fuck, sorry Chris," Darren apologized, grimacing. "That was a dumb idea." He looked around the kitchen, searching for something to soothe Chris's skin. "Maybe this will work," he muttered to himself, reaching for the paper towels and running cold water over a wad of them. Gingerly, he pressed the wet paper towels to Chris's chest and back, enveloping him in a wet paper towel hug. "Better?" he murmured softly in Chris's ear.
"Yeah," Chris breathed, sighing. "Yeah, that feels so good."
Darren squeezed the paper towels so the water could drip down Chris's sides, leaving cool, soothing water marks on his skin. He moved the towels slowly over Chris's body, pausing when he got to particularly red patches, and letting Chris relax into the pattern. When Chris sighed again heavily, Darren tossed the spent towels into the trashcan and turned his attention to Chris's head. He trailed a wet finger across Chris's cheek and down his neck, following the blazing red trail left there. Chris closed his eyes and leaned his head into Darren's hand, exhaling slowly. "Should I even ask how you got hot chocolate all over your entire body and every surface in the kitchen?" Darren asked.
"Shut up," Chris groaned, eyes still closed. "I'm in pain."
Darren bit his lip. Moving slowly, he pressed his lips to the red mark on Chris's neck, kissing up and down in a slow, soothing motion. He placed his hands gently on Chris's shoulders and continued kissing down Chris's chest, licking every red spot methodically and tenderly.
"Guh," Chris moaned. "Normally I would tell you to fuck off, but that feels too good."
Darren smiled against Chris's skin and walked behind Chris so he could repeat the procedure on Chris's back. Darren's tongue moved slowly and languidly and neither man wanted to admit how good it felt. When Darren reached the last searing red mark, he turned Chris in his arms and placed a soft kiss on his lips.
Chris didn't pull away. He sighed softly and let Darren gently touch his face and he even kissed back a little. It was short, no more than ten or fifteen seconds long, but it was sweet, and when they broke away they both smiled a little. Chris studied Darren for a moment with pursed lips and opened his mouth to say something before closing it again.
"I'm sorry," Darren breathed, a quizzical look on his face and his head cocked sideways.
"Don't—" Chris exhaled. "Don't be. I feel a lot better." He licked his lips and his eyes narrowed infinitesimally. "Thank you."
Darren nodded slightly and turned away quickly to clean up the soppy hot chocolate mess on the counter. "How exactly—" he cleared his throat. "How did you get hot chocolate everywhere?"
"I think I put the water in the microwave for too long," Chris said bitterly.
The microwave beeped again and Darren pushed the door shut with a firm hand to make it be quiet. "How long, exactly, is too long?" he asked, eyebrows raised.
"Umm," Chris began, scratching the back of his neck. "Four and a half minutes."
"Four and a—" Darren exclaimed. "Holy crap, Chris! Were you trying to boil the water?"
Chris scowled. "You know I can't cook…" he mumbled. "How was I supposed to know how long to heat them for?"
Darren shook his head. "Common sense, Chris, common sense." Darren smiled when Chris pouted. "Go change and I'll make us some hot chocolate properly."
Chris huffed and pretended to stomp out of the kitchen towards the bedroom. He heard Darren singing happily again and the sharp clink of a metal spoon against ceramic mugs, and Chris cursed Darren's talent for cooking and his own inability to make even hot chocolate. He picked out a pair of black plaid flannel pajama pants and a soft blue V-neck, and when he put on the shirt he realized that Darren's ministrations had miraculously made the burn marks painless. "Fuck you, Darren Criss," Chris grumbled. "You can cook, you can sing, you play every instrument ever, and your kisses having fucking healing powers." He huffed again, but he wasn't actually angry. It was Darren, after all.
Darren knocked lightly on the doorframe and poked his head around the corner. "Alright if I come in?"
"Too late now, even if it isn't," Chris replied smirking. He graciously accepted one of the warm mugs from Darren and plopped down on the bed, leaning back against the cushions and sighing happily when he took a sip. "Why is your food always so perfect?"
Darren laughed and walked towards the bed. "Are you still offering to cuddle?" He eyed the spot next to Chris wistfully.
"Of course," Chris said, patting the bed next to him. "You look like you need a good cuddle."
"Mhm," Darren nodded eagerly and slid in the bed, leaning his head on Chris's shoulder and wrapping one arm around Chris's torso. "And you're the world's best cuddler."
Chris smiled and took another sip of hot chocolate. He allowed himself to relax and revel in the warmth of the hot chocolate and the warmth of the man cuddled into his side. They were quiet for a while, just drinking hot chocolate and sharing body heat. Chris always marveled at how Darren could make his life crazy and hectic one second and then relaxed and comforting the next.
Chris noticed that Darren was done drinking his hot cocoa and placed both of their mugs on the bedside table. He wrapped both of his arms around Darren and pulled him closer. "So how was the show?" he asked.
"Awesome," Darren breathed. "Biggest show I've done, outside of Glee Live. It was loud and I forgot all of the words, naturally. I met a bazillion fans and they were all super awesome and crazy." He laughed and let out a deep breath. "And it was arguably the most fun I've ever had," he finished in a rush.
Chris grinned and squeezed Darren's side. "I'm glad. I'm sorry I couldn't be there though," he murmured.
Darren shrugged and pressed a quick kiss to Chris's shoulder. "It's okay. I know it's not your thing. Loud and fan-packed…"
"Yeah, I don't know," Chris said, trying to shrug it off with a soft laugh. "And I know I can always pester you into giving me a private performance."
"That you definitely could. Especially if you promise me cuddles afterward."
Chris felt Darren looking at him, and he wished momentarily that Darren didn't know him so well. "How do you do it?" he finally asked in a quiet voice.
"Everything. Just… The fans, the noise… The security guards breathing down your neck. The pushing and shoving and grabbing. Worrying that some crazed fan will take things too far and you'll end up hurt." Chris let out a shaky breath.
Darren tightened his arms around Chris, squeezing him and trying to make his feelings show through the hug. "Chris," he began, voice gentle and sincere. "It's not… I understand, you know. Why you hate it. Because some people—" He broke off and swore. "Some people are fucking douchebags, Chris. And some people don't know how to contain their crazy. And a lot of people really need to learn about privacy and personal space." He shook his head and added gently, "Not everyone's like that though."
"I know." Chris sighed. "I wish I could be more like you. I wish I could run into crowds and sign autographs and kiss babies and hug every fan between the ages of one and one hundred."
"Shh, don't Chris," Darren breathed, his words muffled as he kissed Chris's collarbone. "You're fucking perfect, babe."
"No, no I'm not. I feel like such a jerk sometimes, you know? Because you go out there and sign autographs and make fans happy, while I just stay here, hiding."
"It's okay, Chris," Darren consoled. "They love you. So much. You're such a role model to everyone, and it shows. You don't need to prove anything to anyone."
"It's not about proving anything. I just… I feel like I could be a bigger impact, a bigger role model if I were like you… If I could get over my, I don't know, inhibitions? Fears?" Chris bit his lip in anger.
Darren grabbed one of Chris's hands and laced their fingers together. "You don't owe them anything, Chris. The thing about fans is… Well, the ones who are worth having will understand why you're so private, and the people who give you a hard time about aren't worthy to be your fan anyway." When Chris remained unconvinced, Darren added, "If you really want you can try doing I do."
"And what's that?" Chris asked slightly skeptically.
"I just think about how any day could be my last day performing. I know that right now I am so lucky, and at any moment, my lucky could run out. So if some crazy fangirl wants a hug? Of course! If someone drew me a half-assed portrait of me, yeah I'll take, and make a big deal out of it too! Because someday people are going to stop wanting hugs, and someday people are going to stop drawing pictures of me, and someday people aren't going to remember who I am anymore." Darren shrugged, a little wistful.
Chris let out a breath. "You really are some magical creature hand-crafted to be an inspirational celebrity."
"Nah, not really," Darren laughed. "I'm just some lucky dude given the chance of a lifetime."
Chris was quiet, but he squeezed Darren's hand. "I love you an awful lot, you know," he whispered.
"I know," Darren whispered back. "I love you an awful more though."
"Lies," Chris whispered, chuckling.
Darren brought their linked hands to his mouth, kissing the spot between Chris's thumb and forefinger. "You know," he began in a throaty whisper. "My favorite part about being a celebrity is living with you. I feel like the luckiest guy on Earth."
Chris smiled and whispered, "You can't be the luckiest guy on Earth, because I have rights to that title."
Darren laughed and then cleared his throat. "Well, I feel especially lucky now to get to live you because it means… It means we're sort of…" He glanced at Chris and then at their linked hands. "We're sort of tied to each other, right? I mean, we're just going to keep getting busier and busier, and we might go days without seeing each other, but this way…" He squeezed Chris's hand. "This way we always have to come back to each other, sometime or another."
When Chris looked at Darren, Darren's eyes were shimmering with unshed tears, and the sight made Chris's heart beat a little faster. "I love you, Darren," Chris repeated, because there was nothing else to say.
Darren smiled and let a tear slide slowly down his cheek. "For lack of any original words of my own, I'll just mooch off of Blaine… You move me, Chris." He kissed Chris's cheek sweetly.
Chris sighed happily and closed his eyes briefly. "Blaine's cheesy, but you're cute so I'll let it slide."
As Chris fell asleep that night, he thought about what Darren had said. He thought about Darren's lips on his back, trying to ease away the hot chocolate sting, and Darren's lips on his hand, telling Chris how much he loved him. It wasn't unusual for Chris to fall asleep thinking about Darren, but, as Chris looked over at Darren, who was breathing gently with a soft smile on his face, he realized that Darren fell asleep thinking about him too.
Hello, readers! First of all, I sincerely apologize for the disgustingly long delay in this story! I assure that I have not given up on it, and I will definitely be updating it more often from now on! I know it's super annoying when author's don't update, so I am very sorry for the delay. Life sometimes decides to rear its ugly head and keep me away from writing, unfortunately.
For those of you wondering the reference, Darren's pajamas in this chapter are featured in a one-shot I recently posted called, "Princess Tiaras and Voting Ballots." It's a Royal Wedding-centric story, and I know the Royal Wedding's old news now, but I am still madly in love with it :)
Also, I realize that the chapters in this story basically all have the same format: Something moderately funny happens and then Chris causes some form of mayhem and then they have a heartfelt conversation. So for fear that this format will get boring, I'm going to attempt to change that up next chapter! Yay! :)
Your reviews make me gloriously happy, and I feel so honored to have so many already! Like wow! Thank you to everyone who is reading this story- thank you for your patience and thank you for your kind reviews! I hope this chapter was pleasing enough to make up for the delay!