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11 September 2010 @ 03:21 pm
I can't be alone, so don't you dare leave me  
Title: As Close As Boundaries Can Bind
Pairing: John Lennon/Paul McCartney
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: A little bit of angst and swearing.
Timeframe: It's those swinging, sweaty nights in Hamburg, baby!
Disclaimer: This is a work fiction. I do not claim for any of this to have ever happened (though who knows ;)). No disrespect to any of the parties is intended.
Summary: A tale of how John does not necessarily have to give up all of his demons before he can give himself up to Paul.
Author's Notes: Comments and constructive criticism always make a day in my life ♥
I hope you enjoy!


Over the unwavering flame of his lighter, John glanced over to the slumped, silent and smoke-exhaling figure that belonged to McCartney.

„If we were twins, who, d'you reckon, would be the the evil one?“

Paul took a last pull and pressed the cigarette into the floor next to him. Scooting over in a smooth, spidery movement from where he had been leaning against the amplifier, he shoved his wide, unblinking eyes and puffy red mouth right into John's face.

„What makes you think there'd be one?“

The lighter fell shut with a flick of John's thumb.

„Because one of us stole George's pants last night and yours don't look like they have cigarette burns 'round their crotch.“

„I have plundered George's wardrobe plenty of times!“ Paul played along, and, faking moral outrage, knitted his eyebrows and formed his mouth to a perfectly shaped „o“ of mock incredulity.

John blamed it on the dull silence that filled the stuffy underground location they had played that night when he shifted forward and pressed his lips yearningly to Paul's. Just as he accused the sticky, undissolved heat that made him urge further on and tug at Paul's shirt and run his fingers through his ever so soft hair even though the younger man stiffened and made to draw back. When John eventually pulled away, he could hear Paul's shallow breaths mixing with the violent pumping of his own heart. He knew he should have felt guilty, but how, when guilt seemed nothing but futile anymore?

You told me, I know,“ he admitted to a Macca that had already averted his gaze, and prepared himself for the consequences. If it weren't for the dim lighting, John would surely have noticed Paul's cheeks adapting a soft shade of red. But as the latter only lowered his head and began to fumble with the hemline of his trousers, John leant back with a small sigh and searched through his pockets to find one last squashed cigarette.

Do you think I am?“ he asked, his expression pointedly indifferent. 

„No,“ Paul responded hastily and briefly locked his eyes with John's unreadable ones. „It's just...weird, you know.“

He paused, as did his fingers, embracing his ankles instead.

„We used to make fun of them. Billy Perkins and the lot...“

„That's because Billy was a gutless wanker who couldn't keep his mouth shut, anyroad.“

Paul's shoulders slumped and John's hand moved to tap off some ash. He turned his head away, letting irritation mask his insecurity, and feeling anger rise up just for the sake of aggression. He heard Aunt Mimi telling him not to slam the door like that and the Principal proclaiming he was right on his way to Nowhere Land.

„You need to sort yourself out, McCartney,“ John finally clipped. He hated how he couldn't quite ban the bitterness from his voice.

„Maybe I do,“ Paul conceded, and for a brief, eye-narrowing and fist-clenching moment, John despised Paul for his compliance. Then,

„Maybe you do too.“

When Paul got up to leave for their housing, John's astounded eyes followed him in incomprehension. Watching Paul walk away was paralyzing and agitating him at once and his traitorous mind raised only one question: whether they even were as close.

He thought of home, and the blisters on his hands and the sickening fear of rejection that pulsed through his veins like it was fucking haemoglobin. He felt his throat dry out as he watched the door at the other end of the room close behind Paul, a pitiful light bulb that constituted the only source of illumination shaking dangerously in response.

And then John thought of what Paul had actually said, and remembered the fulfilling joy of a song freshly finished, and the warm reassurance of the bed they still shared and the laughter that would cascade from Macca's lips when he rejoiced in an inside joke that only he and John could ever make sense of.

John grimaced.

He had never considered himself a lonely man. He had learned by now that guilt and self-doubt would always be there to help him through the good times. He had experienced how fortune only existed to separate him from everyone else. Who was Paul to cross those lines? And who was John to let that happen?

He stared at the badly scratched floor before him until his vision began to blur and his left foot had become numb from the body weight that was bearing down onto it. When he heard steps and voices floating down to him from the ground floor, John finally straightened himself up and reached for his guitar that was still waiting to be plugged out and packed away. Pushing past the two men that were addressing him in German (he could not have owned them money, so who cared), he emerged from the Kaiserkeller into the familiar Hamburg darkness which, as the band had figured out a little too fast for their liking, only meant business hours for the Reeperbahn and its backstreet promises, luring and irreversibly corruptive.

Upon arriving in their room, John observed that Macca had already gone to bed and, as usual, had also claimed all the bedsheets for his own personal sleeping comfort. Adjusting himself somewhat awkwardly on the remaining bit of mattress, John, attempting to count all the bones that ached inside his body, wished that misery, for a change, would love someone else's company just as much.

To his surprise, the seemingly sleeping figure of Paul stirred and a layer of deliciously warm sheets sank down onto the lower part of his body.

„I was thinking...“ Paul mumbled, sprawled out on his stomach and addressing rather the mattress than John who had frozen in mid-movement intending to turn onto his side,

„If we both have so much sorting out to do...maybe we could do that together.“

After exactly three heartbeats (one of disbelief, one of hope and one of gratitude), John's previously blank features turned into a portrait of most tender felicity and, drawing upon the warmth that was flooding his chest, he felt that, for once, it was him taking control of the numbing fatigue and the remnants of cheap drugs in in his system, and not the other way round.

He slumped down onto his stomach, burying his head under the pillow right next to Macca's, and though he could not really make out the other adolescent's figure, John conjectured the two unblinking eyes, even wider when so delicately imbued with insecurity, and a plush bottom lip bitten in expectation.

„I think that would be lovely, my dear,“ he whispered softly, excitement tingling his fingers as it spread through his entire body, and Paul giggled shakily in response, releasing the breath he had been holding and tentatively moving closer under the shared duvet.

„So what was it that I heard, thinking you were?“ John ventured, relying on his quickly regained cheekiness to overcome the unfamiliar shyness between them, and promptly earned a kick in the shin.

For a blissful moment, it was like back in Paul's room in Liverpool, Macca biting his fist in fitful laughter and John doing his best to tickle him into delirium. When commotion subsided and exhausted breaths were released into each other's direction, Paul spoke in a quite voice.

„Don't ever make fun of us, John.“

When they fell asleep that night, wrists brushing against each other and legs in messy entanglement, John allowed himself to believe that some lines needed to be trespassed.
John objected the idea of eternity whenever he could, but he knew that, in some cases, fate had willed to mark him forever. And, examining the boundaries he had drawn up himself, John was surprised to find them a lot more resistant than what his memory had first suggested. He had been a child then, scribbling indiscriminately on the cracked pavement that was his soul, but neither time nor new impregnation had succeeded in rendering them less prominent.

However, if one was very lucky (and admittedly, John still had trouble to comprehend how it was apparently him), there would be a doe-eyed, left-handed Liverpudlian involved. And if that was the case, John came to realise, holding on to some rather questionable techniques of emotional barricading was not only counterproductive but fatuous as well.

After all, he could already feel them crumbling.

And who was John to stand in the way?

♪♫♪: Placebo - Then the Clouds Will Open For Me
Lorahinfinityuphigh on September 12th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, I absolutely /adore/ this. I adore your characterization of the two, your descriptions, your word choice, and the ultimate theme of the story itself. It was wonderful.

John, attempting to count all the bones that ached inside his body, wished that misery, for a change, would love someone else's company just as much.

That line killed me. This whole thing did. I hope you write more soon!
art_blake: Johnny&Paulieart_blake on September 13th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
Wee, I'm really glad you liked it!
Thank you for your great comment ♥
Astridbeagle_agent on September 12th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
That was cute.. I love Hamburg days.

art_blake: Johnny&Paulieart_blake on September 13th, 2010 01:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
I love The Beatles, I love Hamburg - The Beatles in Hamburg are kind of an unbeatable combination :)
grl_in_redgrl_in_red on September 12th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
Oh my GOD this was amazing. All of their interaction was utterly JohnandPaul, so much so that it warmed and saddened me all at once. I loved when John kissed Paul and then pulled back, saying, "You told me, I know"... because it alluded to previous conversations/interactions on the subject without actually going into them. I love it when authors are able to do that sort of thing well. I like the feeling of history, with the additional feeling of so much to come. ^_^
art_blake: Johnny&Paulieart_blake on September 13th, 2010 02:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
I'm glad you think they were JohnandPaul-ish because I fear I tend to OOC-ness at times.
Yeah, Paul was quite surprised when John kissed him the first time, but I don't blame him for trying again ;)
Thank you for reading and liking and commenting ♥
grl_in_redgrl_in_red on September 13th, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
Yes that's the bit I liked! That even after obviously trying and having failed ALREADY, John tries once more, because he just can't help it, dammit! ^_^

You're very welcome. I love your stuff.
semolina_p79semolina_p79 on September 13th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
Your way with words - it blows me away!

Gorgeous piece.
art_blake: Johnny&Paulieart_blake on September 14th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm really glad you think so ♥