Michael finds them one Sunday morning, asleep together on the sofa. It's a tiny little thing really, frayed in patches and barely big enough for one, never mind two. Which means that they are curled up closely around each other, and Paul is snoring softly.
It is the first time Michael has ever seen John and not been slightly afraid of him. He looks different - fragile - just lying there sleeping like normal human beings do, human beings who aren't the coolest thing on the planet, even when they're wearing thick black glasses and clearly uncomfortable in them.
Because John is his older brother's cool best friend, the bloke who is good enough to go to art college but doesn't care about exams enough to do any work. And has a girlfriend who has her hair like Bridget Bardot, and lives in one of the posh houses up in Woolton. Michael isn't impressed by the guitar playing - even Paul can manage that, it's just a few chords put together, a few finger placements - but he is impressed by the hairstyle. And the leather jacket. And the fact that he swears like someone who works down at the docks and doesn't give a crap what anyone thinks about him.
He's often heard his father talking to Paul about him; "He's rather out-spoken, isn't he?" and "Does he ever say anything nice about anyone?" And anyone who isn't liked by old man Jim McCartney is good enough for Michael. Because his dad just doesn't get it. John is cool. Way cooler than any of them will ever be.
In fact sometimes Mike is surprised that John even goes round with Paul at all, given how incredibly uncool his older brother is.
So to stumble into the living room one morning and find them sleeping next to each other on the sofa is a bit like suddenly getting to see Elvis when all the cameras go off and he's sitting down with a cuppa and a biscuit. If Elvis ever has time for biscuits amongst the girls and the dancing and the going to parties with the Colonel, of course.
It's not that John isn't nice with him (he once said he liked a few of Michael's pictures, which made him glow a bit for days and Paul saw it and teased him about it), it's just that he never sees him quiet. There's always something going on; song writing or laughing or teasing Paul until Michael almost melts with the coolness of it all. He wants a best friend like John; thinks it's the first time he's ever been jealous of anything Paul has ever had.
Because Paul really has got this. It's sometimes occurred to Michael when he sees them together that maybe John thinks Paul is as cool as Michael thinks John is. It's the way he looks at him. But God knows why, because Paul is just Paul, who forgets to change his socks and has stinking feet or comes in late at night after drinking too much and throws up in the sink, leaving Michael to clean up after him.
But here they are, Michael thinks. Paul is curled in against John's chest, lying like spoons in a drawer, and there is an arm slung casually over Paul's waist. John is breathing into the back of Paul's shirt and at some point in the night their feet have tangled; socks off and skin against skin. His stupid brother, probably imagining John is Dot in his sleep, has threaded his fingers through John's, and is holding on.
Michael guesses they must have been really drunk last night.
Then suddenly he can hear Jim stirring upstairs, the old floorboards creaking in that familiar way they used to when Mary was up early for a delivery and she tip-toed so that she didn't wake the rest of the house (though Michael would always listen to her go, feeling safe).
It strikes him he should probably wake them up, give them a chance to scarper out the back and get a wash in the outside sink before they have to face breakfast. But instead of moving immediately he stares for a minute longer; John's face is relaxed, he's making a snuffling noise into the back of Paul's neck and he looks almost soft.
The tiger is asleep, Michael thinks. He wishes he had a camera.
Then the noise of the tap running upstairs jolts him back to the present. "Oi!" he says, kicking Paul's foot. "Get up, you dirty stop-outs."