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07 October 2005 @ 12:24 am
 
New fic from me. I think this one's pretty good... I've been working on it forever.

Loving You, Leaving You

By Cate

Summary: A distraught John muses on Paul's absence.

Word Count: 3,547.

John stares absently into his half-drunk cup of coffee, watching the ripples shiver through it as his hand trembles slightly. In his mind, he runs through the whole of last night: Paul's gentle kisses and caresses; soft murmured words of love; tears shed as they moved together to mutual climax, bodies shuddering; holding each other, crying on each other's shoulders.

And he begged him not to go. And he kissed his lips and urged him to stay, told him that things would work themselves out. And he stroked his hair and looked in his eyes. And he said "I love you" and he was told "I love you too, John."

Of course, "I love you too" wasn't what he heard. He heard "I won't leave you." Because this is how the mind works under duress. He should know this by now, but he doesn't. He always forgets.

Much to his surprise, he awoke, sticky and sweating, to a pillow damp with tears and an empty bed. There he waited for God knows how long. But Paul didn't come back.

He takes a long swallow of coffee, cold and bitter from the three hours he's been nursing it. The send-off of a fucking lifetime, he muses moodily, and what the hell good does it do me? Finally he downs the rest of his frigid coffee and practically drops the cup on the table. He sits up in his chair and folds his legs under himself, fishing in the pocket of his flannel pyjama bottoms for a pack of cigarettes. He lights one and takes a short drag to start it. Sighs it out.

He smokes slowly, and suddenly feels ill. Cigarettes and coffee are practically useless without lingering kisses, hands on thighs, quiet, almost musical laughter, and knowing smiles. He swallows back a lump in his throat and grinds the fag out in the ashtray at the centre of the table.

"John?"

Her voice is sweet and soft; she lays a gentle hand on her husband's shoulder, and he merely grunts before standing up and walking to the counter to refill his cup with stale coffee from the carafe.

"John, dear, I'll make you coffee if you like." She smiles softly at him, and he looks at her over his shoulder. He barely acknowledges her existence before opening the microwave and setting his cup inside it. He turns the dial on the apparatus and watches the lights come on. Her high-heeled shoes click on the tile floor of the kitchen, and she wraps her thin, delicate arms around him. Without a word, he shrugs her off.

The microwave timer dings, and she steps back, sighing. "Alright, John," she says, and with this, kisses his cheek, and walks off to the living room.

He looks down at the black T-shirt he wears. It's not his-- it was draped over the headboard this morning. A peace offering? Maybe. He hates to think of it. He lifts it to his nose and inhales the scent it carries, and that scent is pure Paul. His eyes burn and sting as he buries his nose further in the fabric. Normally, Paul's smell would drive him wild. Now it breaks his heart further. He finally lets the shirt fall back to his chest and smooths it with shaking hands. He opens the microwave again, pulling out his cup, and nearly drops it for the heat of the handle and his trembling grip. With a sigh, he goes back to his seat and throws himself into the spindly wooden chair, taking a long, slow drink from the mug. The acidic taste of burnt coffee rolls over his tongue and he does drop the cup this time, but doesn't notice as he runs for the bathroom, kneeling in front of the toilet.

He can't remember a time that he's been this sick, mentally, physically, or emotionally. As he rinses his mouth out, he looks at himself in the spotless mirror. The already large dark semi-circles under his eyes are five times worse than normal, his skin is pale and sweaty, and his muscles look almost completely diminished. He feels like he's lost twenty pounds in the last three hours. Look at you. You're a fucking mess without him, aren't you?

And suddenly he's crying again. He doesn't like to cry; it makes him feel weak and childish. But he's certainly done a lot of it this morning. He hates himself for it.

"Daddy?"

John looks over his shoulder, hot tears making tracks down his cheeks, and suddenly a sob breaks his relative silence. He turns and takes a knee, pulling his four year old son into his arms, chin on the boy's small shoulder.

"Daddy, what's wrong?" Julian pats his father's arms and hugs him back, tightly.

Shaking his head, John kisses his son's cheek and sighs, sitting back to look him in the eyes.

Julian blinks at him, eyes wide, chewing his lip. "Oh." He pauses. "Oh! Daddy, mummy says you have a... um... visker."

John furrows his brow. "A what?" he asks. His voice breaks from disuse and he coughs into his hand.

"Mm... a ghost!" Julian smiles broadly, showing white teeth, proud of himself.

After a moment of concentration, John gets it. "A visitor." He pauses. "A guest?"

"Yeah! You're good at this, daddy!" Julian giggles.

"I guess so," replies John, smiling wryly, keeping up appearances for his son.

Julian nods. "Are you coming, daddy?" he asks.

"Tell our guest I'll be out in a minute, alright?"

Smiling, Julian wanders off to the living room.

John can hear him talking to someone, but he can't tell who it is. He composes himself for a moment and walks slowly out of the bathroom.

"-- and I guess I must've taken it off for something and just forgotten it here."

Cursing under his breath, John realises exactly whose voice that is. He stops in the hallway and rubs his face. Fuck. Had to rub it in, didn't you? He peers out the door and sees Paul, in all his maddening glory, sitting in his favourite chair. He wonders exactly how many times they kissed and cuddled and-- dare he think it?-- fucked in that chair. And still, Jane and Cynthia remained oblivious. He hears his wife speaking and catches that she'll be taking Julian out to the store. Oh fuck. Paul tries to talk her out of it, obviously uncomfortable, but she does not relent.

He sighs and takes several deep breaths, then walks out to the living room. Paul tries a tentative smile, which he doesn't return. He turns to Cynthia. "You're leaving us alone?" he asks, feigning amusement.

Cynthia furrows her brow and decides not to reply. She merely helps Julian into his jacket.

John pads over to her, barefoot, and kisses her cheek. He tousles Julian's hair affectionately. "Love you both," he says, and Cynthia gives him a small smile and leads Julian out the door (the boy grins over his shoulder and says "I love you too, daddy!"). John turns to Paul, but says nothing. He perches on the arm of the couch and watches Paul's face arrange itself into a soft frown.

"Um... I left my shirt here last night. But you're wearing it. So it's, um... that's alright. Thanks, John." Paul stands and moves for the door, but John shakes his head.

"You can have it," he says. "You can have everything, Paul." He stands and starts walking to the kitchen. His coffee cup lies broken on the floor, and the linoleum is coated in brown liquid.

Paul sighs, following him. "John, I--"

"Don't," interrupts John, crouching to pick up the mess. "Just d--"

"-- love you."

"You should've decided that last night," John replies.

"John, I looked in the mirror and I felt your arms around me and... it's... this is wrong, John, this isn't what's supposed to happen."

"You had last night for that. Now, you can fuck off, Paul," he growls, cutting his right hand deeply on a shard of ceramic from the coffee cup. He curses and throws it angrily into the dustbin.

Paul sighs and sits beside John with a damp washcloth. He takes his hand; John jerks it away, fixing him with a contemptuous glare. Rolling his eyes, Paul grasps John's hand more firmly, turning it over to look at his palm. "Christ, John." He daubs at the cut with the washcloth, and John cringes, trying to tug his hand away, but Paul is too strong for him. At this moment, Julian could probably pin him.

Relaxing his arm slightly, John finishes picking up the battered coffee cup and tossing it into the garbage. "Paul, why are you here?" He takes a breath and clenches his other fist, keeping tears at bay for the moment.

Paul chews his lip, contemplating John's question as he continues cleaning the wound. "John, I ought to wrap this," he says, watching blood rise to the surface of the cut.

"Are you planning to answer me this year?" John snaps irritably.

"John! I don't know. I just know I want to be with you, you cranky bastard." Paul stands and ambles off to the bathroom, visibly weak and shaky.

John swallows and puts his face in his hands, moving to lean against the wall. His spilt coffee is nearly dry by now, and the tears won't stop coming to his eyes, though he bites them back. He takes off his round, gold glasses and holds them in one hand, laying his cut hand over his eyes. He feels a hand on his shoulder and soft lips against his temple, not even pressing firmly enough to be a kiss. He opens his eyes slowly; across his left eyelid is a thin line of blood.

Paul sees this and frowns. "Aw, John.... Close your eyes, Johnny," he says, and when John does so, he lightly dabs at the mark with the washcloth.

"Don't call me 'Johnny'," mutters the older man.

Paul ignores him and goes back to cleaning and bandaging his hand.

A few minutes pass in awkward silence as Paul takes care of mopping the linoleum floor. Finally, the bassist speaks up. "Well... I guess since you're wearing my shirt, I don't have a reason to be here." He sets the mop in the corner and reaches in his pocket for his keys, and John shakes his head.

He starts to fumble out of the shirt, stammering. "No, I mean, here... I didn't mean--"

"No, John, I...." Paul pauses. "Um... I just... can I have one of yours?" His cheeks flush.

John sighs. "I... I think you better not, Paul."

"... Oh. Um... alright." Paul fidgets uncomfortably and uncontrollably until he puts his hands in his pockets. "I'll just go... then...."

"No!" John hears his own tone, that of a frightened little boy, and blushes. "Er... I mean, you just got here, y'want... coffee or tea or... whiskey...."

Paul sighs. He's unsure whether to be grateful or annoyed. "Tea. I guess... tea would be okay."

John nods and stands quickly, but his legs shake and he nearly falls. "Shit!" He ducks his head, embarrassed, and crosses the room, putting the kettle on.

They lapse into another extremely uncomfortable silence, in which Paul sits at the table. "John, can I do any--"

"No."

"... Um... alright...."

"Tea." He sets a cup down in front of Paul. "Pardon the unmatched set."

His tone is gruff now. Paul recognises it-- it's exactly the tone he used on everyone but his best mate for almost seven months after he lost his mother, and again, possibly for longer, after Stuart's death. He cringes inwardly; it's not nice when it's directed at you. "It's fine, John," he says, touching his friend's cheek.

"Mm." John sits across the table from Paul, trying not to look at him. He takes his tea slowly, plaintively, and sneaks small glances, as though they don't count.

Paul sighs and moves his chair up against John's. He takes gentle hold of the older man's chin, leaning in to kiss him lightly.

Gasping, John pulls his head away. "Paul, don't--"

"I love you."

"Get out of my house." John stands, grabbing Paul's arm, and jerks him to his feet.

"I'm telling you that I love you!"

John narrows his eyes at the bassist. "And I'm telling you to get your ass out of my house right now or I'll eject you myself." He pulls Paul's shirt off over his head, tousling his hair and knocking his gold-framed glasses off onto the floor. He throws the shirt at Paul's head. "Get out of here."

"John--"

"Piss off!" John bends over briefly to pick up his glasses and is quite surprised when Paul punches him in the face. Hard. He stumbles back, hand to his cheek.

Paul swallows. "I didn't want to do that, Johnny," he says, and John glares venomously at him. "Oh. D'you want to hit me back?" He puts his hands in his pockets again. "Do it, then. C'mon, John."

"Hands out of your pockets! That's the most fucking offencive thing you've done today!" John takes the lapels of Paul's jacket in his fists and shoves him against the wall.

"Ooh, Johnny, you know I like it rough," coos Paul, sliding his hands up John's bare chest.

John's decorum falls through completely. "Fuck you!" he shouts, hitting Paul in the solar plexus and knocking the wind from his lungs.

Gasping and groaning in pain, Paul leans against the wall, eyes closing. He swallows heavily, feeling sick to his stomach.

Undeterred, John grasps Paul's collar tighter and bumps his back against the wall again, watching his face. "What the hell is wrong with you!?"

"I... told you already, John," Paul pants, taking hold of John's arms and shoving him violently into the doorframe. He hears John's head hit the wood, but is wound too tight to notice. "You're a bastard, but--"

These are the last words John hears, though he watches Paul's lips move before his dizziness overtakes him and he slumps against the wall, closing his eyes.

*****

John comes to with cold water on his face and a soft cloth lying across his forehead. "Mh... what the hell?" he mumbles, head throbbing, and tries to swat at the hand that he feels hovering above his nose.

"Shh-shh, Johnny...."

He feels soft lips kissing his own, and tries to open his eyes. He fails. The voice falls into place. "Paul?"

An exasperated sigh. "I told you, shh." Paul gently cups the back of John's head. "Bet your head hurts."

"Mm... yeah...." John pauses. "What happened?" He touches Paul's chest. His eyes do open now, but the sunlight radiating through the window burns them. He closes them again.

Paul chews his lip. He decides that John deserves the truth, whatever happens. Softly, he kisses John's eyelids. "John, we got in a fight. I hit you and you pinned me and hit me back... and I threw you into the doorjamb. And you hit your head."

John wriggles, trying to sit up. He's still dizzy. Paul pins his shoulder gently, and he falls back against the bed. "F-fuck, Paul. Where am I?"

"You don't recognise this bed? It's practically got a dent in it where you belong." Paul smiles a bit and pets John's cheek, unsure what else to do.

"You brought me to your house. Your bed." John pauses. "Why?" He puts his hand over Paul's, moving it to his chest, and Paul smiles slightly.

"I had two choices, John. The other... well, I could've taken you to your own bed, but your wife would've gotten curious about me lying in bed with you. And I wanted to stay with you, John, I wanted to talk to you." He settles beside John, watching his face.

John turns on his side to face Paul, finally opening his eyes. Paul drapes an arm over his waist. He sighs. "Paul, if this is about what I think it is--"

"I love you," says Paul, interrupting as he has twice before today.

Shaking his head, John lays a hand on Paul's shoulder, looking into his eyes, vision blurry. "Paul, that's a bad habit you have, interrupting. I told you already: you had last night to decide that." He pauses. "Would you get my glasses?"

Paul closes his eyes for a moment, sighs, and reopens them. His hands shake as he pulls John's glasses from his jacket pocket, and gently, he slides them onto John's face. "I'm sorry, luv," he whispers, cupping John's cheeks lightly. He watches John's eyes shutter, long dark lashes-- God, you're beautiful-- laying against his once-full cheeks. He looks thin. Paul tries not to concern himself with this right now, but he's busy worrying as it is; this is merely another thing on a long list.

"It's too late for that, Paul." John cups Paul's tricep, squeezing gently, eyes still closed. He feels Paul's hands on his face, and tries not to let the stinging sensation behind his eyes turn into full-blown tears.

Kissing John's forehead lightly, Paul whispers "I know."

John grunts and curls beside Paul, laying his head against the bassist's chest, and Paul sighs and strokes his hair.

"You're a sick fuck."

"Johnny, I--"

"A sick fuck who likes having control over people so he can have his way with them. Aren't you?" There are tears in his voice, though he tries to mask them with anger-- it works, and Paul cringes. John snorts. "You're fucking pathetic, you know."

Paul swallows heavily, kissing John's hair very tentatively. "Johnny, no...."

"Fuck you, cunt."

Excuse me? Paul furrows his brow. "John...."

"Shut the fuck up, you asshole." John burrows further into Paul's chest, desperate to be near him, but still angry. "I hate--"

"Don't--!"

"-- how fucking much I love you."

Paul finds himself shaking and very close to tears. "I never should've tried, John, I'm so sorry, I wasn't th--"

"Let it die, Paul; let this fall apart on its own. It isn't as if it's not fucking unravelling as we speak. It doesn't need your help, but I do. I need you, Paul. I have since Stuart died." A pause; his voice quiets. "I have since my m-- Julia died." His last sentence is strained; Paul nuzzles into his hair, face damp now from silent tears, encouraging him. John sighs and continues, taking off his glasses and closing his eyes because it hurts to keep them open in the sunlight with his headache. "You know how much... I... you know... God damn it, Paul, fuck you, just... don't let go because I think I'll hit you again if you do, and--"

"I'm afraid," whispers Paul into John's hair. He states it for the other man more than himself, though he is feeling his own share of such emotions.

"... The monster under your bed moved to Honolulu, Macca. It's sick of the fucking cold weather and socks that crunch when you fold them."

They sit in silence for a moment, pondering John's comment, and the total absurdity of it strikes them both at the same time; they burst into giggles, hugging each other tightly, feeling almost dizzy with emotion. Paul's tears are flowing freely into John's hair, and John finds that he's crying into Paul's chest. It hurts his head rather a lot. He gasps through his teeth and puts his hand to his forehead, pulling back wih a whimper.

"Oh Johnny," Paul sighs; a guilty frown settles on his face, and he touches the back of his lover's neck. "John... this isn't good, I need to get you to a doctor if it hurts like that...." He sniffs and kisses John's temple.

John leans into his arms, trembling slightly. "I don't want--"

"Shh... can you look at me, John?" He runs his fingers through John's hair. Gasps when he feels something wet at the back of his head. "Oh God, John!"

"What, wh-what... 's wrong...?" John opens his eyes again in time to see the look of abject terror on Paul's face become merely an annoyed frown.

"... Nothing, John. You're sweating like fuck." He can't contain the relief in his voice; he hugs the elder man tightly, hand gripping his lower back. "God, John, if that'd been blood--"

John rolls his eyes. "Oh, shut up and go close the blinds, the light hurts my eyes." He pats Paul's shoulder and turns to lie on his back, hands over his eyes. Feels Paul's weight shift on the bed, and finally leave it completely. He can sense the light dimming in the room and braves a glance around. He'd never noticed that Paul had a picture of him on the wall.

Lying back down beside him, Paul takes John's hand. "John, look at me," he says softly; John grumbles and puts his glasses on, meeting Paul's eyes.

"What now?" John replies, watching Paul smile softly.

"Now, John, I think might be a good time to kiss you. If you'll let me." He touches John's cheek, then turns his hand to stroke his cheekbone with the backs of his fingers.

John smiles, for the first time today. It feels good. "Like hell," he mutters, grabbing the back of Paul's head. "I'll be the one doing the kissing around here."

- End.

Cate
 
 
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: "The End"-- The Doors
 
 
 
oh_johnny_oh_johnny_ on October 7th, 2005 11:24 am (UTC)
Oh, lovely. Just lovely, and sad, and touching, and all that good stuff.
Il Gatto Puzzolonecatnip_martini on October 8th, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
:) Thank you very much!

Cate
the heart collectorsummersiren on October 7th, 2005 01:25 pm (UTC)
"... The monster under your bed moved to Honolulu, Macca. It's sick of the fucking cold weather and socks that crunch when you fold them."
I liked that line!

Awww. Yes that is lovely! It was like mixed emotions from sad to happy to funny... lol

Il Gatto Puzzolonecatnip_martini on October 8th, 2005 02:42 am (UTC)
:D Aye, mixed emotions happen in any relationship... I can only imagine the mixed emotions if John and Paul were to be together. Thank you very much!

Cate
Gaedhalgaedhal on October 7th, 2005 01:57 pm (UTC)
Um --

Microwave?

Is this the 1980's?

No microwaves in the 1960's. Or the 1970's -- except
maybe in 1978 or 1979 in some fancy restaurants.

Just FYI.
oh_johnny_oh_johnny_ on October 7th, 2005 11:38 pm (UTC)
You know, I thought this at well - then I remembered that I first heard that urban legend about the poodle in the microwave in 1970, so it's just barely possible that someone rich with a penchant for gadgets would have one in the 60s. Barely, I admit, but possible.

apartment42bapartment42b on October 8th, 2005 12:01 am (UTC)
History of the Microwave Oven

First home models in 1967. Sure, it's unknown wether he would've had one himself, but it's not completely out of the realm of possibility.
Il Gatto Puzzolonecatnip_martini on October 8th, 2005 02:33 am (UTC)
I read bits of that one too.

Anyway, it is at least somewhat possible, and it makes for a good distraction. *shrug* I'm not even a fly on the wall; I don't know if he had one. Just supposition. Thanks, luv. :)

Cate
Il Gatto Puzzolonecatnip_martini on October 8th, 2005 02:27 am (UTC)
I did my research. Asked my dad when he first saw a domestic microwave (he said 1967), and then Wiki-ed it before I posted. I'm not the sort to let something like that go unnoticed, believe me.

Thanks for the heads-up though.

Cate
CARLI__substitute__ on October 7th, 2005 03:03 pm (UTC)
He barely acknowledges her existence before opening the microwave and setting his cup inside it. He turns the dial on the apparatus and watches the lights come on.

That part to me was gold, to me. I can so picture John saying that and just his facial expression.

Nice job. <3333
Il Gatto Puzzolonecatnip_martini on October 8th, 2005 02:43 am (UTC)
:) Thank you very much! I think that's my favourite bit-- that's such a John thing to do.

Cate
apartment42bapartment42b on October 7th, 2005 09:13 pm (UTC)
Waww good :3

I liked that, lots of good imagery, and everything.
Il Gatto Puzzolonecatnip_martini on October 8th, 2005 02:44 am (UTC)
:D Thanks babe! ♥ ♥ ♥ So glad the imagery worked-- that's what I was trying for.

Cate
apartment42bapartment42b on October 8th, 2005 03:02 am (UTC)
i'm drinking out of my microwaved John cup... except that tea was actually made with a kettle on the stove... not like usual...

:3 *has all 5 panels to color, gack!*
(Deleted comment)
Il Gatto Puzzolonecatnip_martini on October 8th, 2005 02:45 am (UTC)
Thank you! :) ♥

Oh, my e-mails to you don't seem to want to go through without sending me a Delay notification. Thought you should know.

Cate
oceanchild808oceanchild808 on October 8th, 2005 09:58 am (UTC)
Mmmmmm nice. I love the idea of John wearing one of Paul's shirts!
Oliviaolivia_y on October 8th, 2005 01:44 pm (UTC)
Okay, this is gonna sound odd, but I really like the idea of the broken cup.
It's weird, maybe it's the whole feeling of losing control (you know, suddenly, it's broken, it's gone, no way to reverse it - and all because of one little slip). Well I guess that wasn't quite the theme of your story, but it just brought it to mind. I remember reading another fic, one of them broke a glass - the whole story was basically a string-of-thoughts while the glass was falling - the whole "one little slip, can't stop it now, it's gonna break, it's gonna be messy, it's gonna hurt...", ends with something like "since I was the one to make the slip, I'm the one who'll have to pick up the pieces" or whatever...

Eshk, that just flew off on a tangent. What I meant to say was that was a lovely story (doesn't feel resolved, but that's probably the point), and I liked it. Sorry about all the cup-talk. Have a nice day!^^
whatsherass on October 8th, 2005 06:11 pm (UTC)
Caaaaaaaate! Always good to see new stuff from you!

I, too, LURVED the image of John in Paul's shirt! :) Also, this line:

"Um... I left my shirt here last night. But you're wearing it. So it's, um... that's alright."

For some reason that sounded so hot to me.
nervousanxiety on March 31st, 2006 02:45 am (UTC)
Just found this via a friend. I really liked this. John was very very John-like. =) Great job.
Il Gatto Puzzolone: Cate: catnip_martini on March 31st, 2006 05:01 am (UTC)
Hehe, aww. Thank you very much, luv.

Cate