Fandom: Beatles RPF
Rating: PG or PG-13 for swearing
Summary: John stopped himself from hitting Paul when he found out Paul was buying up Northern Songs shares behind his back. Why?
Author notes: I don't have any good books about the Beatles' break-up easily accessible, so all info is from googling and the best of my memory.
Disclaimer: I don't own these people, and don't know anything about them
"What, you were trying to buy up our company behind my back?" John asked in disbelief.
"It's just a few shares," Paul said, annoyed, as if it was a trip to the grocery store that he had failed to mention to John, rather than a matter of the ownership of the company that published their songs. "Why don't you buy some yourself?" He spread his hands, as if to show he had nothing to hide, and then went back to looking at the papers on the table in front of him. John and Lee Epstein--sorry, "Eastman"--were standing a little to the side. They had, for once, the sense to keep their thoughts to themselves.
John was practically shaking. "Why don't I buy some--WHY DON'T I BUY SOME MYSELF?! WHEN THE FUCK WERE YOU GOING TO TELL ME?" He remembered Paul singing in the studio, "I'll never let you down", that he had allowed himself to believe, to hope, if only for a moment-- "Never? Is that what this is, McCartney?" He strode across the room. "You've gotten so fuckin' full of yourself that you think that you wrote all those songs alone? Who the FUCK do you think you are?" He stopped in front of Paul's table. Paul was still looking through the papers in front of him, not meeting John's eyes.
All the various businessmen and members of the Beatles entourage in the room were watching with bated breath, along with the two other ex-Beatles. George had that annoyed yet above-it-all look that he wore so often these days, but when John spared him a glance, he was pleased to note that the annoyance seemed primarily directed at Paul. Ringo looked concerned, like he was trying to decide whether he ought to intervene or not.
John clenched his hand into a fist, prepared to punch Paul bloody if he tried to charm his way out of this one. Paul was looking down at the papers in front of him, but when he saw John tense to hit him, he looked up. John remembered the handful of times he had outright punched Cynthia--the expression in her eyes, apologetic, with a hint of fear, C'mon, John, you know I love you. John would become so overwhelmed with self-loathing that he hit her hard enough to slam her head into the wall behind her.
When Paul met his eyes, there wasn't a hint of apology, much less fear. Paul looked defiant, and even irritated, as if John had defied him when he was making a perfectly reasonable request. I know what I'm doing, and you don't. Trust me. As if the very idea that John would doubt his motives was an affront. It was similar to the expression of the cat you pushed off the kitchen table while it was trying to lap up milk from a cereal bowl. John suddenly had a clear memory of when they were young, and Paul was teaching him a guitar chord with that same intense certainty, while John tried to cover his embarrassment about the fact this young kid knew more about the guitar than he did.
John slowly unclenched his fists. He felt the tension in the room drop. Several people who had been holding their breaths let them out.
"I wouldn't want to have shares in your fuckin' granny shit, anyway," John said. He was rewarded with a momentary flash of hurt on Paul's face, which the other man quickly tried to hide. Feeling at least a little bit satisfied, John turned and walked back behind his table, hoping that no one would notice that his hands were shaking.
Paul dropped his eyes, and turned his attention back to the paperwork. John put his hands on the table to keep them from trembling. "Allen, I want to buy shares in Northern Songs."
"We can do that," Allen said. Paul was keeping sensibly quiet, but John glanced over him in time to see him flash John a quick smile. Good boy. As if John were a dog who had come to heel. John had half a mind to march back over to Paul's table and haul off and give him a good punch, anyway, but if he did, everyone would see that his hands were trembling.
That was when John realized something that he should have known all along: He was going to lose. It didn't matter that he had gotten George and Ringo on to his side. It didn't matter that he had found a brilliant manager with experience managing rock supergroups. When it came to the endgame, Paul would win. Paul would make use of the most effective weapon he had: John himself.
John looked over to Yoko for comfort and support. She was watching Paul intently, with more than a hint of hostility. Sensing John's eyes on her, she turned to him. As if reading his mind, she reached out and touched his hand, rubbing it gently to quiet his trembling.