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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.

Jürgen had all kinds of ideas about Paris as a tourist centre and what-not. John hadn't been that interested before, but now it seemed important to have distractions, so he smiled brightly when they found their friend, and happily let him lead them to places like St. Chapelle and the imposing structure of the Louvre. As long as Jürgen was there, John and Paul didn't quite have to look at each other, and it seemed to make things easier. Or so John hoped.

Three more days passed like this -- occasional meet-ups with Jürgen whenever he was free, and avoiding each other as best as they could without being impolite while they were alone. Their conversation mainly revolved around their friends and Cyn and Dot at home. Paul even happily chatted away about Stuart and the likelihood that they would see him again next time they were in Hamburg, and John voluntarily talked about Paul's father, despite the Serious Concerns he'd expressed at the idea of his precious boy going away on hols with That Lennon.

"Do you think he's already wondering whether you've got yourself killed?" John asked with a grin, taking a sip from his Coke. They were eating lunch at a small bistro, sitting outside and enjoying the late autumn sun.

"Probably, yeah," Paul grinned around his straw. "But you know he'll blame you for anything bad that happens to me here, don't you?"

"Aye, but it can't be much worse than some of the things I've been blamed for in the past. I think he's still cross with me about the fags."

"Mhm," Paul hummed, sucking in some more of the milkshake through the straw. "I'll have to watch out with you, Johnny, or you'll wear me down completely."

John blinked back at him, momentarily quietened, and, mentally replaying the comment in his mind, Paul heard the unintended suggestiveness in it. They both began to blush lightly at his words and quickly ducked their heads. Suddenly, their meals were so much more interesting to look at.

"It's this city that's wearing us down," John muttered, after a pause that felt aeons long. "Everybody in their flappy trousers and their floppy hair -- can't get a bird to so much as look at you if you're not dressed like a starving artist."

"Well," Paul said, seizing upon the topic of conversation gratefully, "I think it's the fashion to look like you live in a garret, anyway."

"Maybe we should look into it," John suggested, draining the last of his Coke. "Ask someone where they got all their gear, y'know. Sometimes you've got to blend in to get anywhere, eh?"

And so, it was a mission. The game was on. After the waitress had taken their money and their empty plates, the two boys set off down the boulevard in search of wherever the fashionable accoutrements came from. They didn't have to walk long before they came upon a young man with his hair cut much like Jürgen's, soft and flat across his forehead, and whose trousers were so wide as to look almost like a skirt from behind.

"Oy," John said, and then cleared his throat, remembering himself. "Er...excusez-moi? Le pantalon?" He gesticulated vaguely in the air, drawing wide shapes around his own legs with his hands. "Ou avez-vous l'acheté?"

The French boy looked as if he was trying not to laugh -- at John's execrable accent, Paul could only presume -- but he seemed to get the gist of what was being asked of him, for he pointed, and returned, half in English, "There is a little magasin -- down there. Voila!"

"You heard the man," John said, and together they took off in the direction indicated.

The trousers themselves, once they were in the vicinity, did not take much finding. A little more gesticulating on John's part, and they had a pair each in a brown paper bag which John clutched under his arm like a prized possession.

"Come on," he said, suppressing a grin, "let's go back to the hotel and try them on. You can tell me if I look like an artiste yet."


Their initial excitement over their new clothes wore off slightly once they were in their hotel room again and wanted to try their trousers on. Fleeing to the bathroom seemed excessive, given the various states of undress they had seen each other in before, but now everything felt heavy and awkward.

While Paul stood in one corner of the room, his back to John, John stood at the other end. Both were well aware of how idiotically they were behaving but this was still better than staring at one another while they were half-naked. Things were already awkward and strained enough.

Eventually, Paul turned around with a frustrated sigh. "John, they're fucking awful."

John snorted a laugh; Paul smiled. And quite unexpectedly, the elephant in the room seemed to have disappeared. For the time being, at least.

"I know, right?" John laughed as he turned around, fly still undone. "They're all flappy at the hems."

"And too tight around your arse," Paul added with a frown as he looked down at himself and tried to pull a little at the cloth on his backside, without much luck. "Christ, I don't know how men here can even walk in them without falling over every six feet."

As Paul turned around to show what he was talking about, John cleared his throat uncomfortably. The thought that came to mind was Well, I like it, which didn't seem as if it would go down well. Instead he grunted in reply, nodding solemnly.

"At least you can still pull them off, Paul," he said instead. "Look at me, though. My legs look like fucking hams."

Paul clicked his tongue, shaking his head. "I didn't know you were so vain, John." He walked over to his friend and knelt down in front of him, pulling a bit at the ankles of John's trousers and making little considering sounds every now and then. "Your legs look fine," he said eventually, looking up at John. "But we need to alter these bloody trouser legs before we can go out in them."

"Er, how? We haven't really got the dosh to get them altered, love."

"Well..." With a grunt, Paul got up and ran a hand through his hair. "I could change them. We only need to buy a sewing kit and I'll do it."

"What would I be without you, eh?" John rolled his eyes with a smirk and zipped himself up.

"A hopeless case," Paul smiled back and took their jackets, pressing John's against his chest before he walked out of their room.


It was unfortunate that 'sewing kit' was not among the words of French John remembered from school, but on the other hand, it was quite entertaining to watch Paul attempt to convey the idea by means of crude mime in the first likely-looking shop they came across. They had found somewhere that looked like it might stock such things only a couple of streets from the hotel, but still, John felt awkward, soft, in his wide-legged trousers. He was glad to see that Paul was apparently better at miming than he was at French, the shop assistant making a triumphal sound of understanding and scurrying away to fetch the desired item.

"Thank God for that," John muttered as they strode out of the shop, purchase completed. "I feel like I'm wearing a fuckin' skirt, here. We must look like right sissies."

"Everyone's wearing them here," Paul reminded him, although he conceded, "They do swish though, don't they? Getting all tangled up between my feet when I move."

"Good thing I've got a little housewife with me to fix 'em up, then, isn't it?" John elbowed Paul in the side, feeling, for a moment, the old casual camaraderie, the ability to touch Paul whenever he wanted to and not want to touch him in ways he shouldn't.

Then Paul smiled back, and John felt himself wanting stupidly to put an arm around his waist, and the moment was gone. Jesus fucking Christ.

In the hotel room, Paul took charge, directing John down onto the narrow little bed as he opened the sewing kit. "Sit."


Paul shrugged. "Nowhere else, is there? Just -- hang on --" Paul perched on the edge of the bed and patted his thigh. "Put your foot in my lap and I'll pin up this leg, then we can swap over and I'll do the other one."

"Have you ever done this before?" John asked with one eyebrow arched as he put his foot into Paul's lap, who ran a fingertip along the seam and took a closer look at it.

"Not a whole job like this," Paul confessed with a little smile, "But there's always a first time, isn't there?"

With a grunt and a roll of his eyes, John decided to keep quiet and let Paul do his work. He didn't want him to mess it up, after all.

The minutes ticked away and John watched with vague fascination how quick and nimble Paul's fingers were, how he effortlessly cut open the seam and took measure so that the trouser leg was now fitting snugly against John's leg without being too tight. He was more than careful not to accidentally hurt John with the scissors or the needles. When it was time for Paul to take care of the second leg, he moved from the bed down onto the floor, and continued his work. Soon enough it was time for John to take off his trousers so Paul could continue fixing them properly. At that moment, John could have sworn that Paul's cheeks were slightly pink, but Paul had turned his head away, making it difficult to be sure. It took Paul quite a while to finish up the trousers, but Paul didn't seem annoyed at having to do it. John, for his part, didn't particularly mind watching.

When it was time to try them on again, Paul knelt before John and tugged a bit at the newly stitched hem of each trouser leg, looking up at John with questioning eyes. "Not too tight?"

John sat down on the bed, testing, and when the seams held, Paul beamed at him, proud of his work. All John had wanted to say at that moment was thank you. But something in Paul's relieved expression had him leaning forward instead, made him cup his friends face.

"Johnny?" Paul asked, voice weak and eyebrows knit in worry.

But John only leaned in and pressed his lips gently to Paul's forehead. The other tensed up instantly, not daring to move.

"John...?" Paul repeated, this time even lower and it was the tone of Paul's voice that snapped John back into reality.

He quickly jerked away from the other boy and stared at him with wide eyes, his shock at his own actions written all over his face.

"Are you okay...?" Gently, Paul placed a hand upon John's knee as he leaned in towards him, and John couldn't stand looking into those big eyes that watched him so attentively.

Christ, when had he come over so bloody queer all of a sudden? He'd sat with Paul in countless tiny rooms, on countless tiny beds, even, and never had this sort of a reaction to Paul's hand on him, Paul's soft face and softer mouth. Fuck, and John knew just how soft it really was, now, didn't he? That was the problem; that was what was behind all this. Paul had bloody kissed him, pissed out of his head, and now it was little more than a blur to Paul, but to John it was becoming uncomfortably more with every day that passed.

"Leave it, Paul." He didn't mean to be curt, but his heart felt thunderous in his chest as he jerked away from Paul's hand and stood. The look of hurt on Paul's face made John's chest twist, but that was all the more bloody reason, wasn't it -- to get away? He couldn't stay here with Paul, not when every fibre of his body was still straining towards him, his lips tingling where they'd touched Paul's skin, craving more of him.

Fucking hell. John had to get out now, clear his head before this got any more out of control. They'd just been cooped up, that was all, and John had been over thinking and all he needed --

"John, what the hell's the matter?" Paul was getting up too, now, reaching for John's arm, and that was it; John needed to be alone to figure this out and he wasn't going to get that, apparently, as long as he was in the hotel with Paul.

He took a step back, made a grab for his jacket. "Lay off me, Macca, all right?"

He made for the door. Behind him, Paul's voice became more strident, confused: "What the -- where are you going?"

He hated leaving Paul like this; wasn't Paul's fault after all...except for the parts that were his fault, except for that bleeding kiss that fucked him up in the first place. If John had to go and walk this out of his system, well, Paul could bloody well just sit and stew about what was going on.

"Out," John said firmly, "just -- out, all right?" And he slammed the door as he left.


Date: 2013-05-19 02:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bbgirlz.livejournal.com
Oh God, poor Paul!!! Now he's left behind with all those strange thoughts and feelings... :S And poor John as well, trying to find a way to deal with all his confusion.

This was an excellent chapter, I could totally feel the sexual tension between them... I wish they just gave into it a little... just a little, a sneaky kiss or something. I loved when John kissed Paul's forhead (I have a strange obsession for forhead kissing), that was my favorite thing in this whole chapter... and also, how akward and intense everything became that they were in opposite sides of the room and with their backs to each other whlie trying the trousers... That was too cute in my mind...

Can't wait to see what happens next! :)

Date: 2013-05-21 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obstinatrix.livejournal.com
Aw, thank you so much! You never know, maybe they'll give in soon. ;)

Date: 2013-05-19 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blackbirdfan.livejournal.com

Well, at least while John is out walking the streets, Paul now has time to sew his own pants. :) I mean, Paul isn't the type to just sit and worry. He'll be sitting, worrying, and sewing his pants. ... And sooner or later, one of them has got to man up and admit what's happening here.

"It's this city that's wearing us down," John muttered. Let's hope Paris continues to work its magic.

Date: 2013-05-21 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obstinatrix.livejournal.com
You are prophetic. ;)
(deleted comment)

Date: 2013-05-21 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obstinatrix.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

Date: 2013-05-19 05:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yes-2day.livejournal.com
Sounds like John - he would definitely run out, pout, and get drunk. Then he'd be all mean and nasty before he softened up.

And I agree with pivotalmoments. I think Paul should wash his hair, brush it forward, and go out with his newly sewed up pants, and find someone to flirt with! That ought to get John off the dime!

(Reminds me of that song from Rodger & Hammerstein's Oklahoma - Many a New Day. The lyrics are below. I have taken the liberty to alter the lyrics so as to be appropriate here. Ahem.):

Why should a man who is healthy and strong,
Blubber like a baby if his man goes away?
A-weepin' and a-wailin' how he done him wrong,
That's one thing you'll never hear me say!
Never gonna' think that the man I lose is the only man among men.
I'll snap my fingers to show I don't care;
I'll buy me brand new pants to wear;
I'll scrub my neck and I'll brush my hair,
And start all over again.
Many a new face will please my eye,
Many a new love will find me;
Never've I once looked back to sigh over the romance behind me;
Many a new day will dawn before I do!
Many a light lad may kiss and fly,
A kiss gone by is bygone.
Never've I asked an August sky, "Where has last July gone?"
Never've I wandered through the rye, wondering where has some guy gone;
Many a new day will dawn before I do!
Many a new face will please my eye,
Many a new love will find me;
Never've I once looked back to sigh over the romance behind me;
Many a new day will dawn before I do!
Many a light lad may kiss and fly,
A kiss gone by is bygone.
Never've I asked an August sky, "Where has last July gone?"
Never've I wandered through the rye, wondering where has some guy gone;
Many a new day will dawn before I do!
Many a red sun will set!
Many a blue moon will shine before I do!

Take that Johnny! :)

Date: 2013-05-21 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obstinatrix.livejournal.com
Haha, what an apt song. ;)

Date: 2013-05-19 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] worldofstone.livejournal.com
Oh, no, poor Paul. But I guess it's poor John just as well - it's a difficult situation for both of them, they both don't really know how to handle this.
I'm really looking forward to the next chapter - I'm curious about the conclusion that John might think about.


Date: 2013-05-21 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obstinatrix.livejournal.com
Thank you! The next bit is up now. :)

Date: 2013-05-19 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devilandmouse.livejournal.com
Ugggggh the tension! Loved this chapter!

Date: 2013-05-21 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obstinatrix.livejournal.com
Thank you! XD


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