Don't Ask, Don't Tell
By: Renay Walker
Disclaimer and Author's Notes: Here it is, the fifth installment in my Crash series. This one is rated R mostly for some rough language.
Summary: Adam gets some unwanted advice.
The legal stuff: The characters of Ami Jackson and Adam Newman are not mine. They belong to Roger Damon Price, Thames Television, Tetra Television and Nickelodeon. They are featured here without permission, but I'm not making any money from this. Allan Newman is my own creation.
Feedback: Yes, please! Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
"I'm really dreading this," Adam Newman reclined on the sofa, one arm thrown carelessly over his eyes. "I'm trying very hard to come up with an excuse to not be at Father and Mother's anniversary brunch."
"Forget it. Short of a house dropping on the Wicked Witch of the West, you're pretty much screwed," the response came from the opposite corner of the room. The voice, laced lightly with the echoes of Adam's Australian accent and others as well, sounded both bored and amused. "But as a member of the supremely weird and fucked up Newman family, you know it's going to entertaining."
Adam lifted his arm from his eyes enough to glare at his companion. For some people, it might have been slightly disconcerting to stare at the almost perfect mirror image of oneself, but in twenty-one years, Adam had gotten accustomed to it. Besides, these days Adam would only have been looking at a mirror image if the other had not been wearing blonde streaks in shoulder length hair, or gazing at Adam through a pair of wire-rimmed gray-tinted glasses.
This was a part of his life that the others didn't know about. They didn't know that he actually had a home and a family, that he had a somewhat cynical twin that was the only person in the world whom was closer to Adam than his fellow Tomorrow People. He kept those two parts of his life separate - it was easier that way. Easier not to have to explain why he mostly despised his family and why he stayed away from them as much as possible. Easier to not pull the few in his family that he cared about into the confusion of his life that was being a Tomorrow Person - or pull the Tomorrow People into the, to quote Allan, 'fucked-up' mess that was his family.
"This must be a definition of 'entertaining' that I'm not familiar with. And by the way, you're not helping."
"I wasn't aware that I was supposed to. I thought that you came here to lament the woes of spending even a microscopic fraction of your time with our beloved family. And it could be worse anyway."
"It could be time for Mother's extravagant-waste-of-money-hey-let's-watch-all-the-upscale-lawyers-and-socie ty-icons-get-completely-wasted Christmas party."
"You're just a regular fountain of wisdom today, aren't you, Allan?" Adam swung himself to a sitting position. "I don't even know why I bother coming to talk to you."
"I'm cheaper than a shrink and I know you better than anyone else," Allan Newman paused, pushing his glasses up on his nose before returning his attention to the legal pad propped in his lap. "Or at least I delude myself into thinking that. Oh, that and the fact that I actually tolerate your crybaby whining when I'm sure I could be doing things far more interesting and amusing."
"Thanks," Adam remarked dryly.
"You do realize that you're only making things worse, don't you?" Allan flipped open the textbook at his side, and ripped off a page of the legal pad. The ripped page was immediately crushed against his leg and tossed over his shoulder towards the circular wastebasket.
"By coming here and spending time complaining, you're making yourself dread it more." Allan paused, his voice softer now, almost wistful. "And there's always the bright side. There is Little Miss Moppet." The last was punctuated with the swift fumbling through pages and the ball point pen tapping loudly against the legal pad.
Adam stared at his twin a moment, then decided to ignore the pain that flashed across the other young man's face, at least for the moment. Instead, he shifted gears. "So, are you going to make an entrance this year, or do I get to brave the family alone. Again. I heard that Mother actually invited you."
Allan smiled, but the hint of sadness remained in his dark eyes. "She did. Called me on the phone actually, and I didn't even know that she knew my number. Of course, we both know she only did it to piss Dad off because he's off tupping another one of his secretaries, and I try to avoid attending any social function where I'm only there to be a catalyst of glass throwing and china breaking." Suddenly, he turned serious, his smile fading to a slight frown. "You know, you don't have to avoid talking about her because of me. I made my choice, isn't that what Dad said?"
"You could see her," Adam chose his words carefully. "Maria could bring her out to the zoo or something."
"And then what? Have to answer a million questions that I'm not ready to answer?"
"She misses you."
"She misses you too, but I don't see you running to move back in with the Marquises de Sade." Allan shrugged, and dropped the legal pad, all pretense of studying gone. "Besides, she's eight years old. There are things she shouldn't have to deal with and try to make sense of."
The she in question was their younger sister, half-sister really. Kara was a blonde-haired, brown-eyed angel that was the only good thing to come out of his father's second marriage. Their love and admiration for one another was equal and unmatched and the youngster was the one remaining cord that kept Adam tethered to a family and world that he would rather leave behind. Allan, for his part, had already left that part behind, although his departure had been more by force than by choice.
"She's getting older Allan," Adam reminded his brother. "She's starting to understand a lot more. One of these days, she will figure it out."
"Then she'll know what the rest of the family knows, huh? That she has a queer homo faggot for a brother."
"Why do you do that?" Adam glared at him. "Why do you say those things? Those were Dad's words-"
"Because they're true, Adam. To most of the family anyway." Allan shrugged and there was no bitterness or malice in his voice. "I know what I am, and I've dealt with it. But I don't live in a fantasy world. As soon as she's old enough to understand, I don't doubt for one minute that Father and Cruella and her wicked step sisters are going teach Cinderella all about the evils of my lifestyle.
"But that doesn't mean you shouldn't talk to Kara."
Allan rolled his eyes. "About you. About The Tomorrow People."
"Allan-" Adam shifted uncomfortably in his seat. This wasn't a conversation that he wanted to have right now. This wasn't a conversation that he wanted to have ever. Allan was the only member of his family that knew about the Tomorrow People, and Adam intended to keep it that way. Kara was too young to know and the knowledge might be too dangerous for her; his father and step-mother didn't need to know, and he would rather drink acid before trusting his spoiled step-sisters with that sort of information. No, only Allan had been entrusted with that secret, and while his younger brother accepted Adam's decision to keep those two worlds separate, he took advantage of every opportunity to question that very decision.
"What? It's like you said, she's getting older. She's going to start figuring things out. I mean how long do you think it will take her to realize that for someone who supposed to live in London, you sure spend a lot of time in New York. That's an awful lot of frequent flyer miles."
"You have no idea what my life is like, Allan. This is an escape, believe it or not."
"I believe that you believe it."
"Can we talk about something else?"
"Sure thing," Allan leaned back in his seat, the corner of his mouth turning up in a slight smile. "Still having dreams about Ami?"
Adam groaned and buried his face in hands. For not the first time, he regretted telling his brother that little bit of information. It was yet another thing that Allan prodded at and picked at with each and every opportunity that he received. That wasn't what Adam meant by talking about something else and Allan damn well knew it.
It didn't help that at Allan's first mention of the dream, Adam's memories skyrocketed back to the beach. Back to remembering kissing her, touching her; the actual taste of the forbidden fruit gave a deeper level of reality to his dreams and made them even more agonizing than before. And damn if he hadn't had the dream every night for the past three nights since the beach.
Raising his head, Adam met his the twinkle in his brother's eyes and flashed him a smug smile of his own. "Where's Bruce?"
"Touché, brother." Allan sighed and shrugged. "We had a fight. He took off, sulking some place or other. He's so melodramatic, flaming fairy that he is."
"And you're not?"
"Only when it suits me." Again, Allan shrugged. "So, did you want to talk about the lovely Miss Jackson or did you want to wallow in guilt and horniness?"
Adam blinked. "What makes you think that I want to talk about it at all?"
"Because you usually do. You usually plop down on the couch and start talking about what a cretin you are for having these dreams and look at me like you expect me to give you absolution. And I always tell you the exact same thing that I'm going to tell you now."
"And what would that be Oh Great and Wise, Allan?"
"You need to get laid. Preferably by Ami, but at the rate you're going, I'm going to say that any attractive, willing bimbo will do." That said, Allan reclaimed the legal pad and began writing.
Let it go, Adam, he told himself. You'll only leave yourself open to Allan's peculiar brand of humor in the future if you say anything at all.
Yes, it was true that his brother could be a real ass sometimes. He was brazenly honest and straightforward, often saying the first thing that came to mind without really caring who it offended. Tact was not a word found in Allan Newman's vocabulary. But, on the other hand, Allan was the one person that Adam could actually talk to, and more often than not he had an amazing insight and could offer helpful advice. Even if getting to that point was often more painful than having teeth pulled.
"I kissed her." Adam said the words simply. He said them as if he were saying his name or announcing that the sky was blue. He said them and waited.
It took a moment before Allan's head rose and he met his brother's eyes. Then his lips curved into a knowing smile. "Well, well, well. So that's what you've been doing with yourself the past two and half weeks. I'm impressed."
"No," Adam repeated. He quickly recapped both the movie and events at the beach, pacing the entire length of the living room several times by the time he was finished. He ended his confession of sorts at the window, staring down at the streets of New York City.
There was a lengthy pause when he finished. He almost thought that Allan wasn't going to say anything when his twin finally broke the silence. "So, is this the part where I am supposed to alleviate your guilt?"
Adam continued staring out of the window. Guilt, now there was a novel idea. He'd run quite the gamut of emotions since that day, but guilt had not been one of them. And that disturbed him just a little. "Only if you can absolve me of feeling guilty about not feeling guilty."
"The most amazing thing is that I actually understood exactly what you said," Allan mused. "So, how does Ami feel about all of this?"
"I don't know," Adam shrugged, the truth a bitter pill. "I haven't seen or talked to her since then." Not for lack of trying, although his reasons weren't at all altruistic. Ami had been keeping herself very busy for the past few days; she didn't even seem to have time for telepathic conversations. Adam still hadn't figured out whether she was avoiding him or truly was busy. He hoped it was the latter, but he couldn't blame her if it was the former.
"What about that telepathy thing that you guys -"
Adam cut him off, turning to face Allan at last. "I haven't seen or spoken to her since then." When Allan said nothing, but simply raised his eyebrows, Adam continued. "She's been busy, I guess."
"You don't think that she is?"
"I don't know. She could be I guess. It is summer and her mother is notorious for scheduling more plans than there are days in the week to complete them. But I don't know."
"Just to make certain that we're on the same page here - if Megabyte and Jade hadn't dropped in, you would have screwed her, right?"
With a harsh bark of laughter, Adam sank to the couch and buried his face in his hands again. He wanted to yell at Allan, to tell him that he had it all wrong - but the truth was that Allan knew him as well as he knew himself. Sometimes, Adam thought that perhaps Allan knew him better than he knew himself. And he could go in circles and tell himself lies until he was blue in the face, but he'd been willing - more than willing - to go as far as Ami would have allowed things to go. And then he would have persuaded her to go further. He wasn't pleased with himself. He even felt the tiniest pang of guilt for the first time. But that had more to do with the fact that his less than noble intentions had been laid open in plain sight than anything else.
"Finally. It's about time, I was wondering when it would happen."
Adam looked up in confusion. Those weren't the words he was expecting. "What?"
Allan continued as though he hadn't said a thing. "You know what the real problem is, Adam? She got to you, and now you're scared. So you make up all this bullshit about a physical attraction and how confused you are, and in your twisted head you believe every word of it, when basically you are just scared."
"Okay. I'm going to say that you lost me," Adam muttered.
"You don't let people get close, Adam. Not real close. You don't let them in. We're a lot alike in that respect," Allan paused, his eyes thoughtful for a moment before he continued. "You don't let them in because you don't like being hurt. First Mom, then Susana when we were in school, then Lisa - and I don't care how much you say you accepted her decision to walk away from the Tomorrow People - that hurt you, probably a lot more than you'll ever admit. Then there was the bimbo, Lucy. And don't glare at me, you know I never liked her. Now, there's Ami -"
"It's not like that."
"Bullshit, Adam. You can say it until you're blue in the face, but it doesn't make it true. What the hell do you think that your dreams are trying to tell you? Do you honestly think that you woke up one morning and just found Ami attractive? Our subconscious minds work in strange ways, and right now yours is trying to make you wake up and smell the coffee. You've got it in a bad way for Ami Jackson and I had it figured out months ago."
His twin was in tear and was not about to be stopped. "Jesus, Adam! You should see your face when you talk about her. I, personally, would love to be around the next time she teleports into wherever you are. I'll bet you light the whole room up."
"Then, if you're such an expert, why haven't you said something?"
"Because you weren't ready to hear it then, and you aren't ready to hear it now."
"I think I know better than you what I feel for Ami."
"No, I think you know what you want to feel. Which is nothing. Because then you don't have to worry that you might just get burned."
"That's it," Adam jumped to his feet. "I've had it. You know, I don't even know why I try to talk to you. Once you've made up your mind about something, you just won't let it go will you?"
"Sounds a lot like someone else I know. People say he looks exactly like me."
Adam glowered at his younger brother and then realized that it was pointless. Allan had made up his mind, and he wouldn't be budged from his argument. That was what won him so many forensics awards, and that was one of the things that made Adam want to throttle him more often than not. "Forget it, all right. Just forget I said anything at all."
With a last disgusted glare, Adam teleported away from the apartment, but even hours later found himself pacing the length of his own flat back in London. He hadn't been able to shake Allan's words and a part of him couldn't help but wonder if maybe they didn't have the ring of truth.
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