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20 October 2005 @ 08:56 pm
I, too, beg the group's forgiveness for my long absence. What with banburytale and I travelling for days to see Paul (squeesqueesquee) and it being the ides of October (never a good time of the semester), I just haven't found myself online nearly as much as I'd like. However, the muses have thankfully not deserted us, and we've been keeping our creative output flowing the old-fashioned way: pen and paper! Anyway, at long last, we've gotten around to typing this one.

Title: Opportunity Knocks
Authors: magicaltrevor and banburytale
Pairing: J/P
Warnings: Fluff fluffity fluff fluff fluff.
Disclaimer: I love them. They are not mine. This is why I dream.
Summary: Okay, remember the Blackpool concert in the Anthology 4 video where Paul plays "Yesterday" by himself and he's all nervous and adorable? We made our own version of it. Aww.
A/N: Many thanks to our wonderful gamma reader akutenshi_akira who, though she is not part of our fandom, is very patient and tolerant, and one hell of a first soprano.

There were many kinds of happy, John thought, ranging from getting a B on a math test you thought you failed to that selfish kind of happy you feel when you get what you want for Christmas. There was sex happy, food happy, and even family happy, depending on the person.

John liked the warm kind of happy. The kind you feel physically when your skin drinks in the sun. The kind you feel down into your bones when you sink into a warm bath or wrap up in your softest blanket.
John would pursue it to an extent that some might find unreasonable. The warm kind of happy was why John drank, and it was why, he realized, he was watching Paul from the wings right now. This was the best kind of warm happy—the kind with that out-of-proportion ache that won’t let you forget you’re human.

“And so,” George was addressing the crowd, “for Paul McCartney of Liverpool, opportunity knocks.” A few members of the audience laughed politely at the joke; they were probably all a bit disturbed by the idea of any of the Beatles going his own way. In those few seconds, though, John saw Paul’s head follow George’s path as the younger Beatle scampered gleefully offstage. The forlorn look lasted only an instant before his gaze snapped forward again, but it struck John as decidedly odd. Paul was nervous—nervous! Beset by stage fright—and, truth be told, it seemed too good to be true. He knew he should be thinking up some biting remark for when Paul came backstage. There would never be a better time to take that smug sonofabitch down a few notches. But he felt his own heartbeat quicken as he watched his friend hold his ground in the empty spotlight.

Paul swallowed dryly between lines and John experienced a vague feeling of sympathetic nausea. He seriously considered bringing Paul some water, but was afraid he would tip the precarious balance, and if Paul messed up onstage—puked, burped, fainted—he would maul John. John didn’t want to be mauled. But he didn’t want Paul to face down the crowd alone, either. That would be… wrong. It would be funny, certainly, fitting, and definitely deserved, the bastard, but still, the thought was just wrong, in a way that John couldn’t quite define.

A thin sheen of sweat had settled itself with unnerving quickness on Paul, and the colour had all but drained from his face. John saw his eyes close and was sure for one sickening moment that Paul was going to pass out. When he realized Paul was just blinking, he decided that he might be better off somewhere he couldn’t see the stage, so he ducked back deeper into the sheltering wings of the stage.

Christ, he was just as nervous as Paul to have things go into slow-motion like that. He supposed that it was some underlying insecurity of his own; what if Paul decided that he liked singing alone? What if he didn’t, but the experience traumatized him so that he’d never sing again? What if, and this was the worst of all, what if he needed John, and John wasn’t there to help him? The thought nearly sent him running willy-nilly onstage, but his own common sense got the better of him. He was acting like some clingy mum sending her kid off for his first day of school, and if Paul figured that out, he’d never hear the end of it.

His eyes followed the rigging, not really seeing, until he heard the applause. Paul flew in from onstage wearing the widest grin John had ever seen on him, flashing molars with wild abandon. Without breaking his stride, he deposited the acoustic unceremoniously on a chair. He located John in the shadows and quickened his pace.

“I did it, John!” he gasped. His eyebrows had disappeared under his hairline.

“That you did, Macca,” John chuckled softly at his friend’s giddiness.

Paul reached John and threw his arms around his neck, a celebration of victory over loneliness. John instinctively hugged him back, taking in everything about Paul in this state. He was slightly damp and smelled of heat and lights and excitement, and John realized with a deep, compelling ache that Paul was shaking terribly. John tightened the embrace. He could feel himself start to grin uncontrollably, and he wanted Paul to feel it, feel as absolutely warm-happy as he did. He wanted to chase away that residual nervousness, replace it with pride, and he could tell he was succeeding, at least a little bit, as the trembling slowly subsided.

“Eh, c’mon,” he said finally, breaking the embrace to grip Paul’s shoulders. “We’ve got a job to do. No time for poncing about, eh, eh?” He turned Paul around and shoved him back toward the stage with one hand planted firmly in the middle of his back. Paul grinned back over his shoulder.

“I did it!” he whispered again, practically skipping back to his microphone where George was waiting with his bass. John smiled.

“Yeah. You sure did,” and he walked into the roar of the crowd.
Current Mood: giddygiddy
Current Music: McCartney II - Secret Friend (It's fun! I promise!)
apartment42bapartment42b on October 21st, 2005 02:36 am (UTC)
John didn’t want to be mauled.

For some reason, that was my favorite line *G*

Paulmagicaltrevor on October 21st, 2005 02:42 am (UTC)
I know! I love that line a whole lot. That's banburytale's line. :D To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie, even if we hadn't written the rest of the story, it'd be worth it just for that line. Thanks for your review!