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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.





Paul kept staring at the door for a few more seconds, not able to believe what had just happened. He swallowed hard, flexed the muscles in his hands and walked over to the bed. Sitting down on it, he breathed out slowly, staring into space.

What on earth just happened?

He knew he needed to look for something else to do, needed to distract himself or he would end up worrying too much. And so he began to fix his own trousers while he tried hard not to think about the way John's face had been twisted in anger and confusion as he left the room, how easily he had pushed Paul away even though it had been him who had made advances in the first place. Paul still couldn't wrap his mind around that either. Of course he knew what had been going on between them before, and he was aware of how much it seemed to strain their relationship and how it made them act like bloody idiots around each other. But still...

When he was done -- this time it had taken him twice as long to sew the trousers -- it was slowly getting dark outside. Paul couldn't help but wonder what John was doing now. It was difficult not to panic about it, especially since they were in a foreign city, all on their own. His fingernails suffered a lot from the nervous nibbling, though. What Paul hated the most was that he couldn't even leave the hotel room and take a walk himself and get some fresh air. John had basically forced him to stay here, since he had the keys. The later it got, the hungrier he got as well. Curse that bloody Lennon for leaving him all alone in a hotel room in a foreign city. Paul could feel himself getting more and more upset about this whole thing. If only he had something to do.

In the end, he got into his pyjamas, stomach roaring loudly, and slid into his bed.

*

Meanwhile, John was on his way back to their hotel. In the hours that he had been out, he had been running around aimlessly through Montmartre and had mostly spent his time sitting on a bench and watching people pass him by. It was always easier to turn off your mind when there were people there to distract you. And while he had been sitting there, smoking cigarette after cigarette, he had replayed over and over again what had happened between himself and Paul in their room. He knew it had been his fault this time. He knew he had acted like a right arse and that Paul didn't deserve any of his anger. But at that moment, John had been too scared of what he might have turned into ever since Paul had given him those drunken kisses a few days ago.

He wasn't supposed to think of Paul in that way, was he?

There was one incident, though, that had made John feel better about himself and his possible-queer-feelings for his best mate: a quick kiss spotted between two blokes right in front of John in the park. It had made him feel less lonely with his thoughts and new feelings, and when the sun had begun to set, John had at last noticed how late it actually was. Feeling terribly guilty for having left Paul all alone in their hotel room, he quickly bought some sandwiches for them to eat -- he was starving and poor Paul surely was, too -- and set about hurrying back to their room.

If John was honest with himself, he was really fucking scared about what might happen now. He was worried that Paul would be royally pissed off at him and would want to go back home as soon as possible. Or even worse -- he had left already and was now lost in this city and probably already dead, lying in some corner where nobody would really notice him.

Taking a deep breath, he turned the doorknob of their room, testing if it was locked. Once he stepped inside, he squinted his eyes at the darkness.

"Paul..?" he asked, cautious, and closed the door silently.

"Leave me alone," came the quiet reply, voice muffled either by a pillow or the blanket.

John cleared his throat as he walked to their bed, feeling all of a sudden sheepish, stupid. "I, uh, I brought something to eat," he said as he fumbled with the handles of the plastic bag. "I figured you might be hungry..."

He could see the body beneath the blanket moving around until Paul's head appeared and he sat up, reaching for the lamp to switch it on. John flinched at the light but nothing prepared him for the hardened look on Paul's face, hurt visible in his eyes nevertheless.

"Have you figured your shit out, John? Or are you going to fuck off again now that you've been kind enough to bring me something to eat, huh?"

"I'm sorry, Paul," was John's meek reply. He sat down on the edge of their bed, reached into the bag and handed Paul his sandwich. Paul took it without another comment. "I just... I don't know what happened earlier, okay? I know I'm a stupid fuck but I needed some time to think, and I..."

"And I what?"

John only shrugged. "I don't know." He gave Paul a small crooked smile, and Paul breathed out deeply, making it obvious how exasperated he was.

But instead of telling John how much of a stupid bastard he was, Paul moved a bit, scooted closer to John and took his hand.

"Is this okay?" he asked quietly, to which John nodded. Then Paul linked their fingers, giving John's hand a small squeeze. "What about this?"

John nodded again.

It was more than okay. John couldn't have explained the huge sense of relief that washed through him as Paul's slim hand closed around his own, but it was massive, intense. He wasn't sure what he'd expected, but it hadn't been this; he hadn't dared to anticipate anything less than an argument. But now, sitting on the bed with Paul, their hands interlinked, John could feel that fluttering sensation rising in his chest again, the same mad butterflies he'd felt earlier when he'd pressed his silly kiss to Paul's forehead. Only now, it didn't seem so bad, if Paul was happy to sit this way too, a grateful little smile curving his pink mouth.

Yeah, it was still a fucking sissy thing to do, or it would have been in Liverpool. John was under no illusions about that. But this was Paris, and Paul was obviously as curiously twisted up inside as John was. A problem shared was a problem halved. A problem ignored, or dismissed, stopped being a problem at all -- at least, for the time being.

They ate their sandwiches in a companionable silence, one-handed. Daft, really; it was bloody stupid to try and eat a sandwich this size with one hand, but anything else would have meant relinquishing his hold on Paul, and John wasn't ready to do that yet. Not when it might be hard to go back to after. When the sandwiches were gone, John set the paper from his down on the floor and looked at Paul. Their fingers were still interlaced, Paul's a little slimmer than John's, but just as long. Their hands, John noticed dully, locked together perfectly.

"Paul," John said, softly, when the moment began to feel as if it was dragging on too long in silence. "I --"

"Sshh." Paul cut him off. Gently, he began to disentangle his hand from John's, and on impulse, John squeezed it tighter, but Paul only laughed and lifted his other hand, taking hold of John's shoulder. "It's all right, I'm not going anywhere in my pyjamas, am I? Just...c'mere."

His free hand found the back of John's neck above his collar. His fingers were cool and gentle and John felt a shiver skip down his spine in the aftermath of the touch. Then Paul was tugging, just slightly, and John realised what he wanted. He leaned in towards him blindly, letting his arms settle easily around Paul's waist. Paul's head fitted neatly between John's jaw and his shoulder, and John let himself close his eyes, inhaling the scent of Paul's hair.

"Feels nice," John breathed out after a while. Paul hummed in reply, his voice resonating throughout John's body, making him feel warm from inside out.

Of course they had hugged before but never like this. The Usual Hug that John and Paul would share was always a quick embrace, a pat on the back, and that was it. This hug now, though, was something else. Paul had never stuffed his face like that into the crook of John's neck before, and John had never even dreamed of burying his nose in Paul's dark hair and greedily inhaling his scent. The Usual Hug lasted two seconds; this hug couldn't last long enough.

Soon enough John began to run his hand along Paul's spine, down and up again, stroking him in a hesitant, shy fashion that was completely unfamiliar. Paul released a soft sigh against his neck, his body relaxing instantly into the touch. After a while, he nuzzled his nose along John's neck.

"That nice, too?" he asked with a thick voice. Thank God John wasn't the only one with a lump in his throat.

"Yeah," he replied and began to run his nose along the soft skin behind Paul's ear. "Very nice."

When Paul pulled away, John felt a sting of disappointment. Hugging was good. Touching was good.

"Do you want to go out, love?" It was a reluctant question and silently he prayed that Paul would say no.

Paul only shook his head with a widening smile.

"Are you all right?" John ventured.

"Now I am." And that was all Paul needed to say, really, to make John feel like the luckiest bastard ever -- a feeling that only grew when Paul lay down again and pulled John gently with him. "This is much better," he whispered. "Turn the lights off, please."

Obediently, John did as he was told and once he turned back to his friend, Paul pulled the blanket over both of them. Instantly, they moved closer towards one another until their noses were nearly touching. Neither of them was sure how far they could go, were allowed to go. Slowly, John slid an arm around Paul's middle, eyebrows raised as if to ask "Can I?" Paul smiled with a nod and put his arm around John as well, his fingertips tracing small circles between his shoulder blades.

The only sound they were able to hear was their own shallow breathing and the few noises that came from the street below them. Apparently it was a busy night out there, and under different circumstances, both boys would have certainly gone out. But now that they were so close to each other with a completely new perspective on their relationship, neither of them was too anxious to indulge in the late night activities that this Parisian quarter offered them.

Of course the tension between them became unbearable at some point; wondering who would make the first step was wasted time. Eventually, John had had enough and he moved his hand on Paul's back up to cup his cheek, breathing out, "All right?", asking for permission. When Paul whispered back "All right", smiling, John leaned in and Paul met him half-way. Their lips touched lightly, shyly, the way children might kiss, as if afraid of the possible consequences if it went beyond chasteness.

For a long moment, chaste was all it was. John's thumb shifted on Paul's cheek, tracing the soft curve of it, but their lips barely moved against each other. It was so quiet in the little room that John could hear Paul's breathing, shallow and uncertain through his nose. Gently, John mouthed at the swell of Paul's lower lip, their lips still barely parted, and when he felt an answering pressure -- the slight motion of Paul's mouth responding to his -- it was as if his whole body had been doused in sudden heat, and he found himself wondering, dazedly, how this almost-kiss with Paul could affect him in a way that some full-on fucks with girls had never done.

It was crazy, but at this moment, it felt as if that was okay. John felt crazy, so it was fitting.

The other night, it had been more than this, Paul's tongue wet and soft as it flickered over John's, but they had been drunk then, high on liquid courage. Now they were only Paul and John, two boys in a bed together, and John could feel the thrill of fear in Paul, the anticipation in the taut line of his spine. Carefully, John ran his palm down the centre of Paul's back, gentling him.

"Paul," he murmured, and Paul's mouth opened half-consciously, gasping in a breath.

"Ssshhh," John said, with a certainty he did not feel, and pressed his mouth more firmly to Paul's.

This time, it wasn't quite so innocent a kiss. John tilted his head, angling Paul's with the hand on his cheek so their mouths slanted together, and Paul shuddered in John's arms as their lips met, sealed together. It was still dry, careful, slow, but they were moving against each other now, John nudging Paul's lips apart over and over, Paul pushing back. Eventually, it became a sort of dance, a courtship; John's lips teasing at Paul's just to feel the sweet give of them as Paul teased back. Then -- John couldn't have said how, exactly -- but somewhere along the line, Paul's hand skittered across the nape of John's neck and John moaned reflexively, the brief brush of fingertips sending a hot rush all through him, prickling across the whole surface of his skin.

That did it. Helplessly, pointlessly, Paul moaned back, a thready whimper of a thing, and then they were kissing harder, not faster but more deeply, mouths opening wider against each other until the tip of John's tongue caught the wet inside of Paul's lower lip, then returned to it consciously when Paul shivered. Tentatively, Paul's tongue ventured to trace the edge of John's, toying with the tip of it, and it felt so good it was ridiculous, completely out of all proportion. Abruptly, John realised he was hard, so fucking hard; even as he drew back to suck, firmly now, at the perfect bow of Paul's upper lip, he knew this had to go one way or the other: forward or back.

His hand hovered at Paul's waist, but he wasn't, in this moment, brave enough. Carefully, he slowed the kiss, turning it stroke by stroke back into something gentle, closed-mouthed, innocent. Paul seemed to recognise John's intentions, for he did not protest when John eventually stilled, until the two of them were only lying together on the pillow, foreheads touching, lips still brushing, cheeks flushed.

"Night," John said hoarsely, although his dick was a ripe ache between his legs and he wanted nothing more than to roll over and rut against the mattress, just to get it out. Fuck, but he needed Paul -- no -- needed a bloody wank, that was all.

From the flush on Paul's cheeks and the wideness of his eyes in the dark, Paul looked to be in a similar state, but it was harder to say these things to your mate than it should have been, John reckoned, even after all the times they'd tossed off together in bedrooms, in grotty little rooms in Hamburg clubs. Then, it had always been about girls. This time...this time, it wouldn't be.

"Night, John," Paul said, and closed his eyes.

It was a very long time before John managed to fall asleep.

**
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