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[personal profile] obstinatrix
Title: Backwards Traveller
Rating: Eventual NC-17, this chapter PG-13
Pairing: John/Paul
Authors: [livejournal.com profile] tini_91 and [livejournal.com profile] obstinatrix
Summary/Notes: New York in the late 70s feels like a world away from Europe almost two decades earlier, but when John settles down to write some more of his short 'fiction', he finds that, frankly, he misses Paris. This is 1961, in retrospective. We were also quite inspired by this clip, where John talks about being inspired by the romance of Paris. This is just a short little bit. :)




If it hadn't been for John, Paul would never have been able to get back to their hotel room, especially not without any bruises. Walking home proved to be a bigger challenge than either boy would have expected. John, shoulders braced against the weight of Paul leaning heavily upon him, practically carried him most of the way. Whenever they passed a couple in the street in the act of holding hands or sneaking a kiss, Paul loudly declared that John was his. John wasn't sure what he might have meant at that point. Eventually, he hissed at Paul to shut up, but Paul only looked back at him with his big doe eyes and a stupid grin.

"Isn't it true, Johnny? You're mine... And I'm yours, yeah?"

"Best mates, yes," John emphasised with a grumble, tightening his hold around Paul's waist when he felt his grasp beginning to slip. "Come on, son, get a grip. We're almost there."

"M'trying," Paul whined. The rest of the way back, he relentlessly continued to tell John that they were best friends, always would be; how much John meant to Paul. Comments like "Fuck Stuart Cuntcliffe," peppered the conversation at regular intervals.

John only sighed in relief when he finally could open the door to their hotel room and put Paul to bed -- which proved to be a terrible struggle. Paul was hardly able to stand upright, flopping down onto the mattress almost immediately and leaving John to the task of yanking Paul's tight drainies off him, an operation that always felt not unlike peeling a banana. After Paul had, with an effort, skinned out of his jumper and t-shirt, John handed him his pyjamas, grousing, "This is worse than babysitting Jacqui and Julia."

"You love them," Paul protested loudly, flapping a hand about on the mattress.

It took all the strength John had not to roll his eyes. "Yes, Paul. Now, come on, love, get these on." Taking the pyjama shirt from Paul's limp hands, John began stuffing Paul's arms into it as if he were dressing a doll. Paul certainly seemed to have no intention of actually putting the thing on himself.

"You love me," Paul declared, rather triumphantly, and beamed at John.

"Jesus Christ," John muttered through his teeth. Paul could be an impossible drunk, all smiles and overloud voice, but he'd never been quite so openly demonstrative in the past. Reminding himself that Paul didn't know what he was doing, could hardly tell his arse from his elbow at the moment and wasn't to be blamed, John said, "That's right, mate. Now pull these up, c'mon." He slapped Paul's thigh and Paul giggled, but obediently hauled his pyjama bottoms up another couple of inches from where John had decorously left them just above his knees. When they were clinging precariously to his hipbones, Paul flopped onto his side abruptly on the bed and closed his eyes, as if to go immediately to sleep.

"Oh, no you don't." John was more than a little drunk himself, but Paul was fucking out of it. If he let Paul pass out on top of the covers like this, they'd both end up kipping in the cold all night and then Paul would complain in the morning, not to mention they'd probably have frozen their bollocks off by then. "Here." John dragged the blankets out from underneath Paul's body, manhandled him further towards one side of the mattress and then covered him with the bedclothes. "Now go to sleep."

"Sleep with me," Paul protested, although his eyes were closed already.

"Aye, in a second," John reassured him, as he got into his own pyjamas. "Move your fat arse."

Paul hummed against the pillow and, when John slipped under the covers to bracket the curve of Paul's body, Paul's hand groped blindly behind himself for John's arm, pulling it around himself. When Paul's fingers slipped between John's, John told himself it was just the drink, and there was no point in arguing when they'd be asleep in a few minutes anyway. The fact that it also felt quite nice was just a product of the fact that John was quite drunk, too.

"G'night, Paul," he said against Paul's shoulder, as he closed his eyes.

"Mmm," Paul said, or something like it. His fingers twitched in John's, squeezing, and then were still for a moment. But just as John could feel himself on the edge of sleep, Paul withdrew his hand and squirmed around, fussing about as if to get comfortable. John sighed. Paul always did faff around a lot before he decided he was comfortable enough to sleep -- John had hoped the alcohol might have put paid to that, but apparently not.

"Better?" John muttered pointedly, when Paul had finally settled with his hand under his cheek and his face almost touching John's on the narrow pillow.

"Yeah," Paul said. It was too dark to see his face properly, but John could feel him smiling all the same; could just make out the white line of his teeth. "Goodnight, Johnny."

And then Paul leaned in. Not quickly, certainly not too fast for John to have moved away, but as Paul's mouth sought his again, John felt immobilised, breath catching in his throat. Paul's mouth gave softly against John's own, scratch of stubble just detectable above the curve of his lip, and John couldn't help but part his lips unconsciously, letting Paul closer. Paul made a pleased sound in his throat, kissed John again -- and again. Then his tongue brushed against John's, wet and tentative and John felt a shudder rip through him from head to toe. He yanked his mouth back, blinking, but Paul seemed not to have noticed his alarm.

"Sleep tight," Paul said, and closed his eyes.

John's mind, as best as it could what with all the beer it was fighting against, was whirling. Paul was -- this was -- they'd been drunk together on plenty of occasions and never ended up like this. Of course, Paris was a weird place, a sort of catalyst, John didn't doubt, but the fact remained that his body was warm all over and his blood felt thick and slow, pounding all over his body, because of Paul. Paul, his best mate; Paul, some other lad. John swallowed.

"Paul?" he ventured, cautiously.

But Paul, it seemed, was already asleep, and part of John, as he closed his eyes, was almost relieved not to have to confront this now; relieved that there would be time to reconsider. But as he drifted off, John found himself wondering how much of tonight Paul would even remember -- and worse, how much John would.

***

Exhaling slowly, John frowned a little as he woke up, feeling rays of sunshine tickle his eyelashes. When he opened his eyes, he found himself face to face with Paul, who was blinking sleepily back at him, rubbing one of his eyes with the heel of his hand.

"Mornin'..." Paul mumbled, attempting a smile.

John found himself smiling back before the memories of last night suddenly came crushing down on him and something strange overcame him. He inched a bit away from Paul, as well as he could within the limited space of their bed, while Paul watched him with a bemused smile, eyebrows arched. That look only made John recoil even more, a shiver running down his spine, and he sat up quickly. Looking anywhere but at Paul, fingers combing through his hair, he cleared his throat. "Did you sleep well?"

"I -- uh...Y-yeah, I suppose so. Didn't really notice anything..." John could see the very moment at which Paul realised what he had done last night. It would have been almost comical, the way his eyes widened and the way his mouth shaped a little pink 'o', and John would have laughed at him under different circumstances, but right now, they both fell into a brief awkward silence, not looking at each other until Paul coughed a little.

"Did you sleep well, too?" he asked cautiously, scratching his arm as he shot John a shy glance.

"Yeah, slept like a baby." John smiled back, that kind of tight-lipped smile that only showed all too well that he didn't feel like smiling at all. With an exaggerated, "All right then!" he got up from the bed and quickly collected his clothes, feeling Paul's intent look burning into his neck. "I'll go to the bathroom first, okay?"

Paul nodded at him, still sitting in bed. "Okay," he replied quietly, and John could have sworn that he breathed a sigh of relief when he realised they weren't going to talk about what had happened the night before.

When John emerged from the bathroom fifteen minutes later -- hair combed, body hastily scrubbed, clothes on -- he felt more himself, more composed, as if the act of tidying himself up had had some effect on the state of his nerves as well. It was all going wonderfully -- he was just congratulating himself on having moved beyond the strange awkward feeling -- until he spotted Paul, perched on the end of the bed in his trousers and boots, shirt clutched in his two hands and his torso bare.

The awkwardness of the situation was clearly not lost on Paul. His little smile was strained as he said, "My turn, then?" and got up, moving past John so quickly he almost blurred as he disappeared into the bathroom and slammed the door.

Shaken, John sat down hard on the bed Paul had just vacated, running his hands through his hair. Christ, he needed to get a hold of himself. It wasn't as if he and Paul hadn't seen each other in every state of undress there was; it wasn't as if it should matter, for fuck's sake, just because they'd drunkenly had their tongues in each other's mouths. For a second. They were still mates, still two lads, and there was nothing about Paul's naked body to draw John's interest any road. They just had to get back to normal, and stop thinking about this, and move the hell on.

In this spirit, John was rather short with Paul when he came out of the bathroom a few minutes later, hair damp and t-shirt slightly askew at the neck.

"We told J├╝rgen we'd meet him, remember?" he said, picking up his coat and tossing Paul's across the room for its owner to catch. "So we'd best be going."

***
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