They have decided to scare the living daylights out of George and Ringo.
"Quick, quick!" Paul says, aware that he's giggling like a schoolgirl and pushing at John, but they've all had champagne to celebrate the fact the show they just played went well - that's his excuse.
It's okay though, because John is equally as stupid, laughter like a constant rumble in his throat. They are searching for a place to hide in George and Ringo's hotel room and John keeps glancing at the door - it makes Paul feel strangely light-headed. He pokes John in the side, which makes John laugh harder.
"Gerroff!" he says, grinning. "You're ruining me mastermind concentration, here - I'm tryin' to be Sherlock Holmes."
Paul pokes him again. "Can I be Watson?"
"You're always my Watson," John winks, and something somersaults in Paul's stomach. But there's no time to analyse it because suddenly there's a noise at the bedroom door and they're pushing each other. "Under the bed!" John says, though really the wardrobe would have been bigger.
Ignoring the fact he's still wearing his suit from the show - though thankfully minus the jacket - Paul stifles a laugh and gets down on the floor, edges himself underneath the bed. He pushes himself up against the wall as John crawls under after him and then clings to John's shirt, pressing his face into the collar to muffle his laughter.
The door of the room opens, someone steps in and then there is noise.
Paul is still laughing - he knows he'll give the game away if he carries on like this and John is hitting him on the arm to get him to stop but he can't help it. Just enough champagne to make him tipsy - he always gets like this after champagne, a head full of bubbles.
From above the bed they hear someone whistling, cases being dumped and then the clink of the bathroom light going off - Mal, bringing up their stuff. A second later and the door opens again, shuts quickly and... silence.
"D'you think he's gone?" Paul whispers.
"Aye, but I'm surprised he didn't hear The Laughing Policeman impression you were doing."
This just makes Paul laugh harder. "It's the fizz," he says. "Makes me silly."
"You're always bloody silly," John tells him, but Paul can hear a smile in his voice even though it's dark under the bed and he can't see much. "Terminally silly - that's you."
In such a opportune place to take advantage, Paul pokes John in the side again. "Eh!" John shouts, and then they scuffle in the cramped space beneath the bed, grabbing fistfuls of shirts and tickling and bumping heads until Paul says, "Ow!" and reaches a hand up to rub at his forehead.
"There'd be more room in the wardrobe," Paul points out after a moment.
"Na, far more scary if someone comes out from underneath your bed," John says.
"Yeah, but... bit grotty under here, isn't it?"
John shifts so that he can look where Paul is looking. Pointing to the many layers of dust and fluff and the odd accidentally dropped shilling in the corner, Paul pulls a face. John just laughs. "It's the underneath of a bed, you daft bugger - what d'you expect?"
"Well, for the price we're paying, I don't expect this," he says, running a finger through the dust.
"I don't think they expect you to go hiding from your mates on the floor - it's not the action of a sane human being, Paul."
Then they lock eyes and start giggling again.
"Aw, eh - I hope they don't bring any birds back; we'd be stuck here all night and it's too bloody cramped," Paul says, considering the small space they're squashed into.
"Well I wonder who's taking up most of the room?" John asks, poking a finger into the soft flesh of Paul's stomach.
"Hey! I'm not the fatty around here - you were eating like a horse at tea-time!"
"I'm a growing lad!" John says, sounding indignant.
"Yeah, growing outwards," Paul replies - even his fingers feel stupid and giggly as they reach out and tickle at John's side, meeting skin where his shirt has ridden up in their earlier scuffle.
Through a laugh (and wriggling away) John says, "Eh! I'll clonk me bloody head - get off!"
They both stop dead when there is another noise at the door, someone struggling with the key in the lock. Even though it's dark underneath the bed, Paul finds his eyes have adjusted slightly to the gloom and now he can make out the outline of John lying beside him, can just about see his features in the dark. They are facing each other, John's hand gripped around Paul's wrist, stopped in mid-attempt to control the tickling a few seconds earlier. Paul feels stupid and light-headed and like he could go on smiling for days.
"No, the promoters definitely said they'd have the posters up," the voice of Neil says somewhere from above them. "Brian's going mad."
"Not much we can do though, is there?" Mal's much deeper voice asks. The sound of more bags being dumped on the floor and then the spark of a match being lit.
"Well, Tommy Roe is threatening to walk out - thinks he's a bit of a big name."
Two sets of laughter at this, which - even though it's not funny - sets Paul off again. Underneath the bed, John physically reaches up and clamps a hand over Paul's mouth. Though he's smiling too - Paul can see that much. Ignoring the continued chat of Mal and Neil - who appear to have stopped for a sneaky fag break (Paul will have to remember that one for later) - Paul pokes his tongue out and licks John's palm.
Which causes John to pull his hand away fast as lightening, pulling a disgusted face in the darkness.
Paul thinks he might stop breathing from trying to keep his laughter quiet, buries his face in John's shoulder and shakes silently against him. He is totally unprepared for the lips that press right against his ear, whispering directly into him. "You're a dirty bastard, Paul."
The proximity and the strangely pleased tone in John's voice make him shiver. Paul - suddenly less interested in laughing - looks up and glances at John in the darkness. He looks... predatory. Paul's seen that look a thousand times, but never directed towards him; some unsuspecting girl in a club, a fan who makes it clear exactly what she wants backstage and Cyn, of course, but never him.
Paul feels a flush of heat, a slightly alarming amount of interest and realises that somehow his eyes have traveled south towards John's lips, considering them in the darkness. He wonders what they'd feel like.
Suddenly wants to know.
As though hearing it through water, Paul vaguely registers that other voices have joined them in the room now; George and Ringo, chatting to Mal and Neil. But he doesn't care, because he can't think about anything but John. John, who has just wet his lips. John, whose eyes are looking suddenly very unguarded, very honest.
When Paul closes the gap between them, it's like everything else stops. He places his lips tentatively against John's at first; a simple, chaste sort of kiss. His own mouth is dry, pulls away a fraction and swipes his tongue over his slightly cracked skin. John is watching him, eyes desperately trying to read his, and Paul worries for the briefest of seconds that John will be too blind to see what he's looking for there.
But then John leans towards him, captures his mouth coolly with his own and Paul feels like his head is spinning. It's so alien, so foreign, that Paul feels a spark right through his body. God, he finds himself thinking, Who knew John could kiss like this? Damp lips move against one another, the thrill of warm breath mingling together as Paul tries to find the curve of John's mouth in the darkness. Then the brush of a tongue against his and Paul feels like his whole body reacts; hand going automatically to John's hair, holding him there to investigate this new sensation again and again. He can feel himself getting hard too, and hopes that John won't feel that in the small, confined space.
John kisses like he means it. Paul isn't sure if this is just what it's like kissing men (he's never done this before, has no idea) or whether this is specifically John; it's rough and hard but somehow better. That thought flitters around his brain and scares him momentarily but then John's tongue dips back into his mouth and everything else is forgotten. The harsh brush of stubble (too many hours since John shaved) and the demanding, relentless capturing of his bottom lip makes Paul feel dizzy, in a good way. Maybe he kisses this way too, maybe this is what he does to girls, makes them feel like they're about to fall apart around the seams.
Or maybe it's just John.
It feels like time has stopped somewhere, along with everything else. The kiss dips from being hard and fast to breathless and slow. Paul has felt many things, has had many sexual encounters, been fiercely in love, but this is somehow more intimate than any of them. John's lips are ghosting over his, nipping softly at his mouth, placing tiny, lingering kisses before diving back in for another, long press of mouths that feel like they're trying to disappear into each other.
Then John nudges against Paul's hand that has slipped to the side of his face, almost nuzzles him and Paul tries to pry his eyes open enough to see him, though they feel heavy and stupid with desire. John takes a second to look at him, maybe as amazed by this as Paul is, that this is his best mate kissing like this, that this is someone he's known for years suddenly causing him to feel like this. Then once he's sure that Paul has seen him, has processed this and is still alright with it, he closes the gap between them again, eager to get back to it. His kiss seems more fierce now, as though even that small break seems to have deprived him for a moment, as though he can't do without Paul for a second. It makes Paul feel strange, adored in a way even a thousand fans screaming couldn't. He meets John's lips with his own, swiping his tongue in first, letting John know he is alright - more than alright - with this. Time seems to simultaneously stop but also go on forever - he isn't sure how long it lasts, knows it is long enough for him to begin to feel sweaty and over-warm and ready for fresh, cool bedsheets with John's body pressed against him.
Although he was giggly with the champagne, he certainly wasn't drunk - now he feels almost drugged, as John goes to pull away and Paul follows him, not letting him stop. John gives in, obliges and slips against Paul's mouth again, lips starting to feel sloppy and wet and uncoordinated. When Paul eventually does let him go, he's never been so grateful for their ability to know what the other is thinking.
Our bedroom. Now.
And that thought goes straight to his groin.
As soon as John shifts back a little, away from him, it's as though sound and light and the rest of the world flood back in. Only two voices now - George and Ringo chatting easily about something playing on the television in the background. John goes first, pulling himself up from underneath the bed, and then Paul crawls into the harsh light of the room too, squinting his eyes away from the glare.
He is met with the sight of George and Ringo frowning blankly at the both of them, slightly speechless.
After an over-long second, John says, "Boo," in a lame sort of way. Then he tugs at Paul's hand and drags them out of the room, leaving George and Ringo still staring - confused - after them.
Back outside in the hallway, Paul and John glance once at each other and immediately both start laughing again.