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"a perfect moment"

Title: “a perfect moment”
Author:  bello_romantico, Kat, just me.  :)
Rating: PG
Warnings: Nothing much… Just hints at unsaid feelings.
Summary: A twist in history – John is present at the birth of his first son… and as is Paul.



Disclaimer: This never happened: John and Paul were on tour during Julian’s birth in Portsmouth along with George and Ringo.

a perfect moment
april 8th 1963


The moment John was informed that Cynthia was going into labor, he’d turned to Paul with those wild eyes of his and pleaded, “Come with me.”

Now, two flights and one strenuous cab ride later, here they were – John and Paul, back together in Liverpool. They sit in the uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room that smells of cheap leather and disinfectant for hours upon hours and the pair of them barely talk – have barely talked since John asked Paul to come when they were back in Portsmouth. They’d literally just gotten off the stage at the Savoy Ballroom when they’d received the news and hopped on the first flight Brian could get them. Therefore, after having performed and then traveled, they are unimaginably disheveled, eyes sunken and clothing rumpled. Most of the time, Paul simply holds John’s hand while staring at the floor, too tired to do much else.

Nonetheless, despite his tiredness, Paul’s grip on John’s hand is firm – steady and calming – and even though Paul, for some strange reason, is as nervous as John, he doesn’t show it. From time to time, John will look over at Paul with eyes that ask ‘What the fuck am I doing here?’, but Paul will simply smile softly, intensifying his grip on his friend’s hand.

And John calms down every time.

Just as the sun begins to rise, a nurse pokes her head into the waiting room and both boys – now men – glance up expectantly.

“Mr. Lennon…?” asks the young woman, eyes going between the two.

“Present,” says John hoarsely, raising his hand without much enthusiasm. Paul looks away, covering up an exhausted grin.

“You have a son,” she informs him and everything changes.

John seems to forget what to do and he looks to Paul blankly, helplessly. Paul takes his friend by the arm and practically heaves him to his feet, smiling brightly at the nurse, exhaustion apparently forgotten. “May we see him?” Paul knows all the right things to do.

“Well, it’s usually just the father…” she says uncertainly, biting her lip.

At this, John pipes up. “We’re sort of a two-for-the-price-of-one thing,” he informs her matter-of-factly and Paul curiously feels his throat knot.

The nurse addresses them an odd look, but nods. “Alright,” she says with tilt of her head, “Follow me.”

They wind and weave their way through too-white hallways, silent the whole way. This time, it’s John who holds onto Paul’s hand for dear life. They reach Cynthia’s room and the nurse pushes open the door.

Sitting in the only bed in the room, her back propped up by pillows, is Cynthia, blond hair all askew and her freckled face blotchy. Her eyes are still swollen from tears and her nightgown falls slightly off of one shoulder – she looks just as tired, if not more so, than the boys. In her pale arms she holds a tiny boy, his eyes shut and pink lips pursed in a pout.
The moment the door opens, Cynthia finds John with her eyes and her entire face lights up. “It’s a boy, John!” she exclaims softly, proudly.

Paul has a smile on his face that rivals Cynthia’s as he gazes at John’s son with a faraway wonder and longing. John still has Paul’s hand clutched in his and can’t say anything, can’t do anything but stare at the baby in her arms.

Cynthia waits for a reaction and her face falls quickly into a worried expression. “Don’t you… want to see him?” she asks in a small voice, tired eyes almost pleading.

Paul sees Cynthia’s gaze flicker uncertainly to their intertwined hands and he hurriedly slips his hand from John’s. “Go on,” he whispers, patting his friend encouragingly, gently on the back, “Go see him.”

With the gait of a man walking to his execution, John crosses the room with staggered steps and trepidation. He tries a smile for Cynthia, but he knows it comes out all wrong and he’s grateful that the baby’s sleeping or else he’d probably be making it cry. Finally, he comes to her side and holds out his hands. Wordlessly, Cynthia hands him their baby and John cradles him to his chest, taking wary instructions from the nurse – “Support the head – no – yes, just like that – in the crook of your arm. Good, good…”

Finally, when the baby is deemed safe in his arms, John looks down at the tiny boy warm against his chest. “Hey there,” he whispers, glasses slipping down his nose as he smiles tentatively, “Been waiting a long time for you, we have. Took your time coming out of there, didn’t you?” The baby doesn’t respond – he simply makes a faint gurgling sound as he sleeps – and John marvels at the fact that the frantic beating of his heart hasn’t yet awoken his son.

Silently, Paul makes his way to John’s side and when he touches his hand to John’s arm, the new father looks up. The morning rays of sunshine from Cynthia’s window wash Paul’s face in a sheet of gold and, as John holds his son in his arms, he can’t imagine a moment as perfect as this one.

“Can I… Can I hold him?” asks Paul breathlessly, large eyes on the baby.

Without a second thought, John passes him to Paul and the younger of the two men immediately holds the baby correctly, cradling him as would the perfect father.

And suddenly, for some reason, John wishes – albeit impossibly – that it was their child; his and Paul’s. This abrupt thought hits him and it hits him hard and, as he watches his best friend coo inanities to his son, joy and tenderness in his face, John forgets all about Cynthia – for a moment, it’s only John and Paul, new fathers, and their new, perfect son.

For some reason, this fantasy feels very real to John and when Cynthia speaks again, it takes him a moment to remember why she’s there at all.

“What should his name be?”

Coming back to reality at the sound of his wife’s voice, John looks away from Paul and the baby and back at her. Maybe it’s just the light, but she looks even more tired than before.

“Yes,” chimes in the nurse from her corner, “you should choose a name.”

John is about to give the woman a withering ‘Are-you-still-here?’ look, but even Paul surfaces from his sing-song murmurs of ‘Hello, baby’ and looks to John.

“You two must’ve already thought of names, yeah? John… Cyn?” he asks, glancing between the two.

“Uh,” says John, shoving his hands into his pockets as he shrugs. A name had popped into his head first thing, but he couldn’t… Wasn’t a boy’s name anyway…

Cynthia sits up a little straighter at this and it’s clear that she’s thought this over. “Well, we could name him John, of course, just like his Dad,” – she casts John a smile – “or we could call him Richard, or Gregory, or –”

“Gregory Lennon?” interjects John a bit more biting than he’d meant to, casting a look back at Cynthia who immediately falls silent, meekly looking down at her hands. Regretting his remark immediately as the nurse now stares sternly at him, John looks to Paul and sees with relief that his friend is looking at him kindly, ready as always to step in.

“Well, it’s good someone’s put some thought in this,” says Paul, laughing in a slightly forced, but good-natured sort of way and Cynthia looks up, smiling gratefully at him. A bit of the tension leaks from the room and John gives Cynthia what he hopes is an apologetic grin – she accepts it with a little smile in return.

“But you sure you don’t have any names, John?” asks Paul and John looks at him sharply. Paul is looking at him with such an openness in his eyes that, suddenly, John feels as if maybe his suggestion for a name isn’t so stupid...

“Well, how about… Juli – Julian?” blurts out John, heart pounding in his throat as he voices his idea. There’s a silence in the room, but Paul’s gaze softens even more and he smiles faintly, understanding in an instant. The younger man holds John’s gaze for a comforting moment then looks down to the child in arms – a sadness had begun to twist at his smile and he certainly doesn’t want John to see.

“Julian’s a lovely name, John,” pipes up Cynthia encouragingly from the bed as she looks up hopefully at her husband. “Julian Lennon… That sounds good, yes?”

“Julian Lennon,” repeats John, never looking away from Paul. “What do you reckon?” he asks with a tilt of his chin, “Sound good to you?”

Still, Paul looks down at the baby and John can practically feel his heart ache at the utter perfection of the sight. “Yeah,” breathes Paul finally, words a little muddled as he nods almost imperceptibly, “Julian sounds great to me.”

And that’s all John needs to hear. “Julian it is,” he says as the first full-fledged smile he’s smiled in hours breaks across his face. Looking up, Paul’s face splits into a radiant grin, baby still in his arms, and they share one of those quick, fleeting moments they have once in a while where their worlds whittle down to no-one but them – just John and Paul drenched in the morning sunshine with their little Julian…
The perfect family that never was.

“Oh, he has a name!” exclaims Cynthia happily and both John and Paul look over to her – suddenly brought back to reality – the pair of them now strangely flustered. Paul smiles but his heart isn’t really in it and he carefully transfers Julian from his arms to John’s, a touch of sorrow in his eyes. John takes his son and cradles him the way he’d been told to before, but he wishes fervently that Julian was back in Paul’s arms – he’d looked so right there.

Bright and cheery once more, Paul strides over to Cynthia’s bedside and he crouches beside her, taking one of her hands in his. “He’s beautiful, Cyn – he really is. Congratulations.”

“Thank you, Paul,” says Cynthia warmly, patting his hand. “Are you leaving?”

Paul looks over to John at the same moment the older man looks at him, but Paul has his eyes back on Cynthia in a flash. “Yeah, I’d best be off… I’ve intruded on your time with Julian for too long,” he says with a smile and he rises, ready to go.

“You don’t have to go,” says John, but Paul cuts him off.

“Yes,” he says firmly, “I think I should.”

John struggles as he tries to think of some excuse to make Paul stay, but Paul is already before him, leaning down to say a very high-pitched goodbye to Julian.

“Goodbye, Julian,” whispers Paul with a huge, silly smile across his face, “Goodbye, little Lennon – I’ll see you soon I will. Yes, I will. Yes, I will…” Putting a finger to his lips, Paul kisses it and then softly presses the kissed finger to Julian’s forehead. “Uncle Paul loves you,” says Paul softly.

“And Julian loves his Uncle Paul,” says John with a bit of a strangled throat.

Paul freezes for a second, eyes locking instantaneously with John’s and his face goes a bit pink, a funny expression making his eyes sparkle in the morning light. Clearing his throat, Paul straightens and keeps his eyes on the floor, brushing a bit of imaginary lint off of his collar with fingers that shake. Glancing over to Cynthia with a quick smile, Paul says goodbye and he makes it to the door when he puts a hand on the frame, stopping. The younger man clad in exactly the same suit as his friend turns around and, in that moment, looks so young with his hair falling into his face and his wide eyes drooping for want of sleep. “G’bye, John,” he says quietly (wistfully) with one of his awkward little waves, “I’ll, uh… see you soon?”

John nods and, with his hand still supporting Julian, he wiggles his fingers in response. “See you soon,” he replies faintly, still searching for something – anything – to make Paul stay.

But John blinks and Paul is gone – his footsteps gradually fading away down the hall.

The urge to run after him – to catch up to him because John can’t do this without him– is strong, but John’s feet stay where they are. John stays in the room with Cynthia, the nurse, and his newborn son and he can’t help but feel as if the sunshine streaming through the window isn’t as bright as it was before when it was all caught up in Paul’s eyes.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
paulwinston
Nov. 12th, 2015 12:15 am (UTC)
I can't believe there's no comments on such an amazing fic like this one. I loved so many things in it, actually I'm a big fan of all your written fanfics. I could ramble on about all of them for hours, especially my favorite one - "(if you should fall) remember we almost had it all"

The whole atmosphere is so warm while Paul is present in the room with John. When you described him leaving, I somehow felt the sunlight had gone too. John having thoughts of how right Paul looks holding his son is so utterly cute and beautiful. It brought a lovely image to my mind. I feel a bit bad for Cynthia tho, but anyway. Loved how you also showed John's insecurities towards Julian and how Paul is just naturally SO good at dealing with everything. Just so them! And the urge John feels to find something to make Paul stay, oh wow...I could easily believe it was all real. I'm sure John felt like that - he needed Paul, he really did.

You've written so nicely, I just love how you do it. I'm sorry I can't really put in words how much I liked this.

(I hope you see my comment too tho, it's been a while since you've posted it)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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