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"that funny thing called forever"

Title: ‘that funny thing called forever’
Author: bello_romantico, Kat, me. :)
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: A spot of language here and there (and a miss-it-if-you-blink- kiss).
Summary: After a night of too many drinks, Paul faints and, when he comes to, he and John talk about life and death and forever.


that funny thing called forever


Paul laughs – he laughs with such utter abandon that his entire body is consumed with the bubbling lightness of laughter. The sound trickles up from the deepest recesses of his throat and explodes from his mouth soaked in alcohol. Beside him, Paul can hear John laughing along with him – that wheezing, nasally laugh of his that spurs him on more. Together, they stumble drunkenly up a street in Liverpool, late at night – or is it now early in the morning? Paul is clutching a now empty bottle in a sweaty hand and John nearly trips over his untied laces (he’d had trouble doing them up due to clumsy fingers).

Neither can remember now why they’re laughing and when exactly they started. Paul can’t breathe – he can’t breathe from laughing so much – and he staggers against John, head flopping onto his friends shoulder.

“What the -?” mutters John, still chuckling as he registers the weight of his young friend’s head.

“Can’t – can’t –” gasps Paul, still giggling uncontrollably, body trembling and vision going a bit fuzzy. The lack of oxygen is starting to go to his head and he feels the strength in his legs start to slip away. Paul’s laughter begins to die as a sudden weakness sneaks up on him and hits him hard. He gulps in great heaving breaths in hopes that this will assuage the wave of nausea, but to no avail. Paul fumbles for John, trembling hands finding his jacket, but he is too weak to make a fist in the material. His moist hands slip pitifully against the slickness of the leather.

“John,” he breathes with heavy lips, the world going black around him, his ears filling with what feels like water.

“John…”






Mumbles and murmurs, unfocused shapes and colours.

Fade to black.

A word – an unintelligible word that sounds garbled. Cool air and… movement?

Fade out again.

“Paul.” This time, the word makes sense. “Paul!” Paul… It’s his name. He should answer, but his mouth can’t move. He musters a faint groan.

“Paul!” The voice is louder now, clearer. Slowly, everything sharpens – the feel of hard pavement beneath him, the beads of sweat cold on his forehead in the night air, the feel of his chest rising and falling, rising and falling… Paul’s mouth parts and he swallows, but his throat feels tight and full, too full.

He splutters and then he’s retching, hot vomit sliding from his lips. Somehow, his body is turned so that he’s facing the ground and his hair is mercifully pushed from his eyes as he empties the contents of his stomach onto the sidewalk. Paul coughs as he finishes, his eyelids still closed, heavy as lead. Paul moans pitifully and he feels warm tears cascade from his eyes – he feels so terrible. His mouth burns, his head spins, and his entire body still feels as limp as a dishtowel.

Suddenly, a hand is at his mouth and chin, wiping away the leftover vomit none to gently. “Fucking Hell,” Paul hears John’s voice mutter and the sound of skin on fabric – most likely wiping his hand on his pants.

As the minutes pass by, Paul becomes more and more conscious of everything around him. He notices now that only his legs are on pavement, but his torso is propped up on something softer. With great effort and a little exhale of breath, Paul’s eyes flutter open.

Everything is unfocused for a few seconds, but things begin to take shape around him as he blinks blearily. He realizes that he is lying on a deserted sidewalk and that the acrid smell in his nose is the smell of his own vomit beside him. Lovely, he thinks dully. Paul also realizes that the something soft his torso is propped up upon is, in fact, John’s lap. John has an arm under him, supporting his back, and another draped over his chest, holding him almost like a child. Through the mist still hanging before his eyes, Paul picks out John’s thin face above him, those great glasses of his catching in yellow light of the nearby streetlamp.

Paul opens his mouth and whispers feebly, “John.”

The older boy heaves a shuddering sigh (of relief?). “Fucking Hell,” he repeats, shaking his head “Paul, you little fucker, you nearly gave me a bleeding heart attack! I didn’t –”

“I fainted,” murmurs Paul in an unneeded explanation. Another little wave of nausea washes over him and he closes his eyes again, frowning in discomfort.

“You don’t say,” mutters John in an attempt at sarcasm, but his voice comes out a bit shaken.

Paul’s empty stomach churns, but he smiles weakly. “’m sorry,” he croaks.

“What the fuck for?”

“Fainting.”

“Bloody Hell, Paul,” breathes John and Paul feels his friends grip tighten on him. “Don’t apologize for fainting, for Christ’s sake. Why would you –?”

“Because you sound angry,” says Paul, his voice still feeble.

John makes a garbled sound, but he eventually chokes out a sad sort of laugh. “’m not angry,” he says, tone softer and Paul opens his eyes to gaze up at his friend. “You just… scared me is all.” John’s eyes lock with Paul’s and he offers a tiny grin that flickers across his mouth. Paul feels his heart tremor pleasantly at the sight.

“Scared… you?” chuckles Paul softly, the corners of his mouth curling up ever so slightly, “The great John Lennon? You’re not… scared of anything.”

“Oh, Paulie,” sighs John as an errant gust of wind blows by, carrying away his smile, “I fuckin’ wish that were true. For a minute I… Christ.”

“What?”

“I thought you… died or something.”

Paul closes his eyes and leans back into John’s arms, letting out a shadow of a laugh. “Died? How could I have died?”

“I don’t know,” mutters John, defensiveness rising in his voice. Paul can easily picture the disdainful crinkle of his nose. “You just…” continues John, “collapsed. And when I tried to wake you up…” John stops abruptly and Paul opens his eyes again, watching his friend curiously. “I kept sayin’ your name,” says the older boy, eyes staring off into space, “but you wouldn’t… you just wouldn’t…” He trails off, letting out a frustrated sigh.

“John, I’m not goin’ to die,” says Paul, a gentle, comforting lilt to his tone.

John’s mouth settles into a grim line. “You’re gonna die someday.”

“Nope. Gonna live forever, I am,” announces Paul with a little smile, lethargically turning his head in to face John’s chest. Paul inhales and his nostrils fill with the heady smell of leather, warmth, and John.

Paul smiles a secret, wistful smile.

“Rubbish,” scoffs John, vague amusement hidden behind his scorn. “You’re not going to live forever anymore than I am.”

“We’ll both live forever,” amends Paul, smiling into John’s jacket, still too drowsy to move. “Lennon and McCartney,” he says, their names together sounding like the most perfect poetry, “Together, forever.”

John gives a reluctant laugh. “A fucking loony, you are, McCartney,” he quips, but Paul can hear tenderness in his voice.

“You’re rubbing off on me,” returns Paul, shutting his eyes a little tighter against the blow he’ll probably receive for his comment, smirking.

But John doesn’t hit him. “Bastard,” he mutters affectionately instead, a hand going to Paul’s forehead and smoothing back errant strands of hair.

Still soaked in sweat, Paul shivers (though how much of the shiver he can attribute to the sweat, he can’t say).

They fall silent and Paul simply listens to the whistle of the wind, the rustle of faraway trees, and the whir of the nearby streetlamp. Above him, Paul can hear the steady inhale and exhale of John’s breathing and it is perhaps the most comforting sound Paul has ever heard. The younger of the two heaves a great, contented sigh and feels himself quietly drifting off, his still-numb limbs growing heavy with fast approaching sleep.

“So... we gonna stay like this all night, or…?”

John’s voice makes Paul grunt and twitch in surprise, disoriented for a moment.

“Paul?”

“Yeah?” mumbles the younger of the two, eyes still stubbornly closed.

“Did you hear me?”

“Mmhm,” hums Paul faintly.

“And?” asks John.

“’m not averse to stayin’ here all night,” whispers Paul, a tiny, inexplicable smile on his lips regaining a bit of the color they lost after fainting. “Quite comfortable, I am.”

“Can’t stay here all night, ya bleedin’ idiot,” grumbles John, beginning to shift his legs under Paul. “Can ya stand?”

Paul attempts to sit up, but he feels exhausted, utterly devoid of any strength. Gingerly, he lifts his head with an agonizing slowness, but the slightest movement makes Paul’s head feel unbearably light and queasiness spreads through him like liquid fire. Making a face, Paul moans in distaste. He shakes his head gently.

John sighs, but Paul can hear compassion in it. “Alright,” he mutters to himself. “Alright… Er…. Right.” He pauses and shifts again. “Right…”

Before Paul can even open his eyes again, John is exerting a light pressure on his back and pushing him into a sitting position. Paul’s head spins at the new upright position, but with John’s hands at his back, it isn’t as bad as it could be. Soon, with John’s surprisingly gentle hands guiding him, Paul is on his feet, an arm slung over his friend’s shoulders, head resting against his.

Being on his feet again draws an unhappy noise from the back of Paul’s throat and he sways. John, however, is strong and solid and doesn’t let him fall. Paul’s legs buckle a bit and his knees knock together pitifully. “John,” he breathes, a plea.

“Don’t worry,” mutters the older boy, his grip firm, “I’ve got'cha.”

Paul’s tongue that still feels like sandpaper weighs heavily in his mouth, but he makes it move to say, “Thanks.” And he means it. For everything.

Paul feels John’s head move against his in a nod and they begin to move. Every step John takes is labored – he’s walking for two people, after all – and through the haze of nausea still hanging over Paul, he feels his heart swell.

“John?” whispers Paul, cheek pressed into John’s shoulder.

The other boy breathes heavily, but answers with a gruff, “Yeah?”

They continue to move forward, the sound of Paul’s shuffling feet melding with John’s footsteps. “About… what you said before,” begins the younger boy, his voice soft, “I won’t die on you. I promise. I won’t leave you.”

Paul’s lips remain agape after he finishes and he hears a little hitch in John’s breathing as they soldier on. They walk in silence for a few moments before John replies.

“I’m gonna hold you to that, McCartney,” he murmurs, a warm smile evident in his words and in his voice that wobbles ever so slightly.

Under the starlight, Paul smiles against John’s shoulders and purses his lips gently, pressing them unnoticeably to the leather of his friend’s jacket.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
xsinclairx
Apr. 7th, 2011 12:08 am (UTC)
I loved this!!! It was cute and sweet...All wrapped up in magic. C: I adore your writing!
slashy_456
Apr. 21st, 2011 05:41 am (UTC)
Oh, now this. This is the epitome of cuteness. I always love young J/P, and this was pulled off quite, quite well, I must say! The very last line was adorable. Not to say the others weren't, of course, but the last one was special. :)

Ugh. I mean, I really like the way John reacted to Paul fainting. It was sweet. As though the moment he saw something was wrong with Paul, he just jumped to the worst possible conclusion because he was so sick with worry.

I dunno, I haven't slept in well over 20 hours, and thus am not particularly coherent at this time. Sorry that my comment is probably half-assed... but know that I really loved this! (;
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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