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Guess Who?

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George unlocked the hotel door and stepped inside, breathing a sigh of relief. He felt bad for ditching the rest of the group so early in the evening, but he wasn’t in the mood to party. There was too much on his mind.

Ringo had certainly looked like he was enjoying the party, especially with the way that girl was hanging off his arm the whole time, with her annoyingly fake laugh and obnoxious makeup and stupid hair…

Damn it. George fell backwards onto his bed and pulled his hair. If he didn’t start controlling his jealousy better, Ringo was going to notice, and he couldn’t let that happen. He couldn’t risk ruining their friendship. Repressing his feelings had been getting harder and harder over the past two months, but he knew it was what he had to do.

He’d get over his feelings for Ringo eventually. He had to.

The doorknob started to rattle, and George looked up as the door opened. “Hello, George,” Ringo said as he stepped inside.

“You’re back early,” George said, propping himself up against the pillows.

“Hah, you’re one to talk.” Ringo sat down on the edge of the other bed and faced George. “What happened back there? One minute you were there talkin’ to Paul, then suddenly I looked away from Sarah and you were gone.”

Ugh, Sarah. What a stupid name. “I got tired.”

Ringo frowned. “Stop lyin’ to me, Georgie. I can see your face getting all weird and tense. You’re hiding something.”

Taking a deep breath, George stared at the wall in front of him. “I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not.” Ringo moved over to George’s bed and placed a hand on his knee. “You’ve been acting strange for weeks now.”

George tried to figure out what to say, but it was hard to think with Ringo’s thumb sliding back and forth on his leg. He jerked his leg away and pulled his knees to his chest. “I…I don’t…”

“If you really don’t wanna tell me, that’s your decision,” Ringo said, folding his hands in his lap. “But maybe I can help.”

Biting his lip, George looked down and shook his head. He just kept digging himself deeper and deeper. If he had just kept pretending that everything was fine, Ringo would have dropped the conversation. But now George had to give him an answer, and he had nothing—

“George?” Ringo asked frantically, leaning toward him.

It wasn’t until then that George realized that his vision was blurred and his cheeks felt damp. “God, sorry,” he said, wiping the tears from his face. This night was a disaster.

Ringo scooted toward him until they were both leaning against the headboard, and he put an arm around George’s shoulder. “Please, let me help you.”

George couldn’t resist—he leaned into Ringo’s embrace and rested his head on his shoulder. It felt too good—it felt right. But that was what made it wrong. He tried to shift away, but Ringo tightened his grip.

“Is it about Sarah?”

George froze. “W—what about her?”

“Oh god, it is, isn’t it?” Ringo sighed. “I know you haven’t been having much luck with the ladies lately—I wasn’t tryin’ to, you know, use Sarah to rub it in your face or anything. You’re a great man, George—you’ll find the perfect girl before you know it.”

…Oh. Ringo was more perceptive than George had thought for noticing his anger toward Sarah—even if his reasoning wasn’t quite correct. But now that Ringo had given him a way out, George was going to take it. “Then why hasn’t it happened yet?”

Ringo squeezed his shoulder. “God, I don’t know. Should’ve happened years ago, if you ask me.” He paused for a moment, then added, “We could head back downstairs and find you someone tonight?”

Shit. “Oh, no, you don’t have to do that—”

“But I want to. C’mon, we’ll find you a pretty girl, you’ll hit it off…maybe I can spend the night in John and Paul’s room so you two can have the room to yourself—”

“Oh god no, you really don’t have to.” As grateful as George was for an excuse to hide the truth, he didn’t want to take the lie that far. He had made the mistake of being with girls before, and he didn’t want to put himself through that uncomfortable hell again. “It’s—I’m fine, really.”

Ringo gave him a confused look. “But I thought that was what you wanted….” His eyes widened. “Unless you don’t want just any girl, you’ve already got your eyes on one, don’t cha?”

“…Um…”

“You do!” Ringo grinned. “Well, go on then—who is she?”

George hurried to conjure up an image of the most generic girl he could. “She’s, uh…she’s got blonde hair—and green eyes. A little short.”

Ringo nodded and waited. How much more did he want to hear?

“Lovely sense of humor. Beautiful smile, even more beautiful laugh.” A smile crept its way onto George’s face as the imaginary girl left his mind and someone else entered. “But the best part is how talented he is, he—”

He stopped talking when Ringo started laughing. “How talented who is?”

“What do you mean? What did I—fuck.” George slapped a hand over his mouth when he realized what he had said. How had he let himself slip up so badly? “Oh god,” he mumbled into his hand.

“Jesus, George, what’re you gettin’ all freaked out about? You just said the wrong word, it happens to everyone. Go on, what makes her so talented?”

George tried to breathe. He tried to think. He could fix this, Ringo hadn’t realized—

“Oh.”

With his hands shaking, George turned toward Ringo, whose face was unreadable.

“George?”

No. George couldn’t do this right now.

“George, talk to me.”

“…I…”

“It wasn’t a mistake, was it? It’s a ‘he,’ isn’t it?”

George squeezed his eyes shut.

And he felt a light touch on his hand.

“Georgie, I don’t care who it is. I just want you to be happy.”

Nervously, George opened his eyes again. Ringo was still smiling.

The tears started falling again, but this time they were tears of relief. In retrospect, Ringo’s acceptance shouldn’t have been a surprise—after all, none of them had any problem with Brian—but that didn’t make it any less terrifying. Of course, Ringo still didn’t know that he was the object of George’s affections, and George intended to keep it that way.

Ringo patted George’s hand once more before resting his hand in his own lap. “Wanna tell me about him? I won’t tell the others.”

George bit his lip. “Not tonight.” The night had been extremely overwhelming, and all George wanted to do was sleep.

“Alright. But whenever you’re ready to talk, I wanna hear about this boy who makes you smile so big.”

George couldn’t hold back another smile. Ringo always had that effect on him.

“Damn, George, you’ve got it bad,” Ringo said, pointing at George’s face. “You’re blushing.”

Ringo always had that effect on him, too. “Can’t help it,” he muttered.

“Aw,” Ringo teased.

“Oh, shut up,” George said, pushing his shoulder.

“Alright, alright, I’ll let you sleep,” Ringo said as he scooted toward the edge of the bed. But before he got up, he leaned over and wrapped his arms around George. “You know I’m always here for you, right Georgie?”

Hesitantly, George hugged him back. God, it felt nice, with Ringo’s hair tickling his face and the scents of shampoo, sweat, and alcohol wafting through the air. He didn’t want to let go. “Thank you,” George whispered into his shoulder.

With an adorable, eye-squinting smile, Ringo finally got up to get ready for bed, and George took the opportunity to do the same. With the scent of Ringo still lingering on his pillow, George slept well that night.

Chapter Text

Cringing at the sound of the alarm, George stretched his arm toward the nightstand until he found the clock. He breathed a sigh of relief once he shut it off and placed a hand over his eyes. The room was too bright for such an early time of the morning, especially since George had a bit of a headache from last night.

Ah. Last night. The memories of his conversation with Ringo came rushing back, and he couldn’t help but smile. Knowing that Ringo still had his back, no matter what, felt amazing. Of course, George knew the conversation wasn’t yet over—Ringo would undoubtedly be asking more questions—but George could at least take comfort in some of what had happened.

As much as he wanted to, George knew he couldn’t lie in bed forever. Groaning, he got up and headed to the bathroom for a quick shower. Hopefully that would help with the headache as well as give him some time to figure out what he was going to tell Ringo. The truth wasn’t an option, that much he knew. Maybe he could just make up a random man’s name and say that Ringo didn’t know him? But then Ringo would want to hear every detail of how he and George met, and George didn’t have that much confidence in his ability to invent a consistent, believable story.

George scrubbed his hair a bit too hard, digging his fingernails into his skin. As difficult as it would be to create an imaginary man, giving Ringo the name of someone they both knew was a much riskier option. What if Ringo accidentally let some information slip to him? No, that wasn’t a good option either.

Shutting off the water, George grabbed his towel and buried his face in it. His best course of action would be trying to avoid the conversation altogether. If he could at least make it a couple days before Ringo questioned him further, he’d probably be able to figure something out.

Once he was dressed, he opened the bathroom door…to see Ringo sitting at the foot of the bed, staring at George with a huge smile on his face.

George had a feeling that his ‘avoid the conversation’ plan was going to fail spectacularly.

“Good morning, George.”

“Morning,” George said as he sat back down. “How did you sleep?”

“Fine,” Ringo said.

“Are you hungover from last night?”

“No.”

“Are you, um, hungry?”

“George, if you really wanna stall that badly, at least be less obvious about it.”

George groaned and fell back against his pillow. “Do we have to do this now?”

“Is it really bothering you that much? For years, the four of us have spent hours sittin’ around and talkin’ to each other about girls. This is your chance to finally talk about someone who actually interests you.”

“Mm.” That would be nice, if the person who interested him wasn’t sitting two meters away.

“What, is it someone I hate or something?”

“Wha—no, ‘course not,” George said. Not that he could even think of one person who Ringo hated; Ringo was too nice for that.

“Then what’s the problem?” Ringo asked, frowning slightly.

George averted his eyes. He hated keeping secrets from Ringo—Ringo was usually the person he told everything—and he definitely didn’t want to make Ringo feel like he didn’t trust him. But he was at a loss—

“Wait,” Ringo said, his eyes widening. “It’s not because…is it one of us?”

George’s head shot up. Oh, no no no no. This couldn’t be happening, Ringo couldn’t have already narrowed it down to one of the members of the group. “I—that’s, uh—it’s—well—”

“It is, isn’t it?” Ringo whispered. They both waited, neither one speaking. The silence stretched on for what felt like forever, until Ringo dared to break it. “George?”

No response.

“George, who is it?”

Oh god. George clenched and unclenched his fists, desperately trying to think. What could he do? He couldn’t just tell Ringo that he was in love with him…unless…maybe he could? Even if Ringo didn’t feel the same way, he had been fine with everything George had told him so far—maybe he could deal with this too.

Or maybe he’d return George’s feelings? George shut his eyes and sighed. That was a dangerous train of thought. Too many times he had let himself get carried away by his fantasies, and the deeper he fell into his dreams, the more painful the return to reality became. Confessing to Ringo and getting rejected could only lead to a pain the likes of which he had never experienced.

He opened his eyes again. Ringo was still staring at him, his eyes wider than before. He almost looked…scared?

Shit. Ringo was going to hate him. He couldn’t do this. He couldn’t…he couldn’t—

Ringo started biting his lip, and George struggled to breathe. He had to say something, anything, he had to fix this, he couldn’t mess this up—

“Geo—”

“Paul!”

“What?”

“…What?” George’s brain was slower than his mouth, and it took him a moment to realize what he had done. Did…did he just say that he…

“You like Paul?” Ringo asked, his face unchanging.

George wasn’t sure what had compelled him to tell the lie, but he couldn’t erase what he had said. Now the question was: what did Ringo think about it? George kept his eyes fixed on Ringo, who was still waiting for the confirmation from him. “…Uh…yes?” George said, the rising tone of his voice making his statement sound more like a question.

Slowly, Ringo’s mouth spread into a smile. “George, that’s wonderful!”

George exhaled in relief. “It is?”

“Of course. I mean, I had never thought about you two gettin’ together before, but I think you’d make a cute couple.”

Well, Ringo was certainly taking the news better than expected, even though George couldn’t see how Ringo could possibly think that he and Paul would make a good couple. “Thanks, Ritchie.”

“So,” Ringo said, moving to go sit cross-legged on George’s bed, “now that it’s all out in the open, can you tell me more?”

George sighed. “Like what?”

Once the door had been opened, Ringo proceeded to get as much information from George as possible—when did he start liking Paul, what attracted him to Paul, what was Paul’s best feature—and George ‘answered’ him. In reality, the answers he gave him weren’t that far from the truth, other than the name he was using.

Just when George thought that the interrogation was wrapping up, Ringo asked a question he wasn’t expecting: “When are you gonna ask him out?”

George froze. “W—what? I’m not going to.”

Ringo raised an eyebrow. “Why not? George, I’ve never seen you so excited about anyone before. You like him a lot, don’t you?” he asked, leaning toward George.

Staring into Ringo’s gorgeous blue eyes, George bit his lip. “I really do.”

“Then you should at least try. You’ll regret it if you don’t.”

Trying to ignore the pain in his chest, George asked, “But what if he hates me?”

“He won’t. And if he does, I’ll give him an earful.”

George shook his head and laughed. “Right.”

Ringo put a hand on his leg. “I mean it. Only a complete idiot could hate you.” He smiled at George, then burst out laughing. “My god, just thinkin’ about Paul’s makin’ you blush again.”

Yep. Paul. Definitely.

After removing his hand from George’s leg, Ringo kept talking. “I’ll help you out, too. Talk you up. If we’re lucky, he’ll be the one asking you out.”

George’s eyes shot wide open. “What—no—”

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell him your secrets—I promised, remember? I’m just gonna help make you look good. Believe me—in a few weeks, you’re gonna have yourself a date.”

“But Paul likes women!”

“So did you—”

Hah—”

“—Well, we thought you did. Paulie could be keeping secrets too.”

George really hoped Ringo was wrong about that.

“C’mon, after our show tonight, we’ll all be back on the tour bus together—we’ll have plenty of time to talk to him. It’ll be fun.”

Sure, ‘fun,’ George thought as he lowered his head…and caught sight of his watch. “Shit,” he said, jumping up. “We’ve got to be checked out of our room in thirteen minutes.”

“What? Already?” Ringo asked, leaning over to look at the clock on the nightstand.

“Maybe if you hadn’t spent so much time asking questions,” George teased—then raised an arm to block the pillow Ringo threw at him.

“Don’t pin this one on me,” Ringo laughed. “God, I haven’t even changed out of my pyjamas yet,” he said as he walked over to his suitcase and took off his shirt. “What’re you standing around for, George, don’t you still have to pack?”

“…”

“George?”

“Right,” he said, looking away and heading to his suitcase before Ringo could see the heat that was spreading across his cheeks. He needed to pull himself together—it was going to be a long, confusing day.

Chapter Text

George usually liked the way that time flew when he was on stage—performing was great and all, but the fans could get a bit crazy. But on this particular day, he wished that the performance would go on forever. The sooner they got off stage, the sooner George would be trapped on the tour bus while Ringo ambushed him with more questions about Paul.

Unfortunately, the more George prayed for time to slow, the faster it went. The end of the show came much too soon, and George did everything he could to shut up and keep his head down after they left the stage. If he stayed quiet, maybe no one would talk to him.

“Hey, George!”

As had become typical over the past twenty-four hours, Ringo ruined George’s plan. “Great job on your solos tonight,” Ringo continued, slapping George on the shoulder.

“I wasn’t that good,” George muttered. It wasn’t uncommon for Ringo to give George those sorts of compliments after a show, but it was blatantly obvious that Ringo wasn’t being one-hundred percent genuine this time. George had been so distracted that his playing had suffered—not that the fans could even hear him over all their screaming.

“What’re you talkin’ about, Georgie? You were great!” Ringo insisted. “Wasn’t he, Paul?”

Oh god. George froze, looking in Paul’s direction. So Ringo really was serious about ‘talking him up’ to Paul—and George wasn’t prepared for it.

“Huh?” Paul said, pausing in putting his bass away. “Oh, yeah, I guess. A bit hard to hear him tonight, but he’s always good.”

“’Course he is,” Ringo said. “That’s our Georgie—always consistent—”

“Ringo, can I talk to you for a minute?” George whispered as he rushed over to Ringo’s side.

“Yeah, sure,” Ringo said quietly. Then he raised his voice and added, “Anything for our star guitarist—”

George grabbed Ringo’s arm and dragged him away from the other two and the crew. “Oh my god, Ritchie, what are you doing?

Ringo stared at him in confusion. “Just tryin’ to help out a friend. Thought you’d be thanking me.”

“Look,” George said, “I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but if you keep being this obvious about it, Paul’s gonna know something’s up.”

“You sure you’re not being paranoid?” Ringo asked. “I haven’t even done that much yet.”

Ringo’s use of the word ‘yet’ in that sentence terrified George to his very core, but he did his best to keep his composure. “Can you please just take it down a notch?” George asked. He bit his lip and whispered, “I don’t know what I’ll do if everyone finds out about this.” That much was the truth. If word got out about the type of feelings George was having, it could ruin not just his own career, but the careers of the entire group.

George was pulled from his thoughts when he felt the warmth of Ringo’s hands on his arms. “George, it’ll be alright,” Ringo said, finally understanding how concerned George was. “I’ll be more subtle about this, I promise.”

It would have been better if Ringo had agreed to drop this stupid scheme entirely, but this was a step in the right direction. “Thank you,” George said. “Now let’s get back to the others before they wonder what’s going on.”

“Yeah,” Ringo said. “If we’re all secretive and off on our own for much longer, maybe they’ll start to think you fancy me,” he teased, nudging George with his shoulder.

George let out a nervous laugh as they made their way toward the others. If a blush happened to appear on his face at Ringo’s joke, hopefully he could just pass it off as the heat from the stage lights.

After finally packing up, they all made their way back to the tour bus and piled inside. God, George was getting sick of that damn bus—but it still beat an airplane. Luckily, they only had a few stops left on this tour before heading back home. George just had to stick it out a little bit longer.

They began taking seats on the benches—John sat on one side of the bus, and Paul and George took the other side. Ringo paused in the middle of the aisle.

C’mon, George silently pleaded, just sit by John. It was clearly the most logical thing to do.

But Ringo’s decisions rarely bent to the power of logic. He squeezed himself right in between Paul and George, drawing stares from the other three. So much for him taking it down a notch.

“Do I smell that bad, Ringo?” John asked from the opposite side of the bus.

“Nah,” Ringo said.

“Then what the hell are you doing all the way over there?”

“’Cause if I sit here, I get to do this.” Ringo abruptly wrapped an arm around George and Paul’s shoulders and pulled them close. “Now I can stay warm.”

“Like hell you can,” Paul muttered, shoving Ringo away. George took that as his cue to push Ringo’s arm away as well, despite how much he wanted to stay like that.

Thankfully, John didn’t question the seating arrangements anymore. He put on his glasses, pulled out a book, and began to read, leaving the other three alone.

Ringo, of course, turned toward Paul. George tensed up, desperately hoping that Ringo hadn’t forgotten the promise he had made. But as it turned out, Ringo didn’t talk about George at all. Maybe George didn’t need to be so worried about him.

After ten minutes of listening to Ringo carry on a perfectly normal conversation with Paul, George began to drift off. His eyelids felt heavier and heavier until he couldn’t keep them open any more. The voices around him became more distant until he stopped noticing them entirely.

—Then, just as soon as he had fallen asleep, George was jolted back awake when something collided with his head. He cracked his eyes open to see what had happened, and he realized that—oh god—his head had drooped over to rest on Ringo’s shoulder. George was about to lift his head up, hoping that no one had noticed, but he stopped when he heard his name.

“Is George asleep?” Paul whispered.

Shutting his eyes again, George stayed put and pretended to be asleep. Hopefully having his unconsciousness as an excuse for his position would spare him an awkward conversation in the future.

George felt Ringo shift. “Yeah, he is,” Ringo said, and his voice sent vibrations to George’s cheek.

“Should we get him into his bunk?” Paul asked.

Ringo hummed. “Let’s just let him sleep here.”

“You sure? Isn’t that uncomfortable?”

“Nah,” Ringo said. “He’s got soft hair.”

Paul laughed while George tried not to cringe so hard that Ringo would be able to feel it.

“What, you don’t think his hair’s soft?” Ringo said.

There was a brief silence, and George could picture the exact look of apprehensive confusion on Paul’s face. “I don’t make a habit of touching my mates’ hair,” Paul finally said.

“Well, come on then,” Ringo said. “He’s asleep—he won’t notice.”

In retrospect, pretending to be asleep wasn’t George’s best decision. But now that Paul’s fingers were running through his hair, it was much too late to back out.

“Damn, his hair is thick,” Paul said as he pulled his hand back.

“It’s nice, isn’t it?” Ringo said.

“Yeah, that’s not bad,” Paul agreed. “I’m surprised all our talking hasn’t woken him up.”

“He’s probably gone deaf from the fans,” Ringo said, and it took all of George’s strength to hold in his laugh. Ringo sighed, then spoke again. “I bet he’s just exhausted from the tour.”

“We all are,” Paul said.

“Yeah…George has been working really hard, though—not that he needs to. He’s already great.”

Paul laughed at that. “Of course he is—that’s why I talked John into letting him join the group.”

“Right, you’ve known George longer than the rest of us,” Ringo said. “That’s great that you two have stayed close for so many years. You’ve got a great bond.”

“…Have you been drinking?” Paul asked. “What’s gotten you all sentimental?”

“Maybe I just need to sleep, too,” Ringo laughed.

“I think that’s a good idea for all of us,” Paul said. “Should we wake up George?”

“I’ll take care of him,” Ringo said. “You go wake up John and get him into bed.”

Paul grunted and the bench shifted as he stood up. A few seconds later, Ringo patted George’s knee. “Wake up, Georgie,” he whispered.

George did his best to ‘wake up’ from his nap. “What is it?” he muttered.

“Let’s get you into your actual bunk,” Ringo said.

George nodded as he looked around the bus. John and Paul were already heading back to their bunks, leaving George and Ringo alone.

“So,” Ringo whispered, “did you enjoy my and Paul’s conversation?”

“…What?”

“Oh come on, George—your face doesn’t look nearly that tense when you’re sleeping. I know you heard the whole thing,” Ringo said.

George tried not to focus on the fact that Ringo apparently paid attention to what he looks like while sleeping. “That was better than earlier,” George said. It was more of an actual conversation and less over-the-top complimenting.

“See? I’m keeping my promise,” Ringo said. “And we found out one piece of useful information.”

“What’s that?”

“Paul likes your hair,” Ringo said with a wink as he ruffled George’s hair.

“Shh—stop that,” George said, batting Ringo’s hand away.

Ringo kept teasing George for another minute before they climbed into their own bunks. Even though the day had turned out to be a bit of a mess, it could have gone much worse. George knew that he’d have to find a way to get Ringo to give up before his plan got too out of hand, but he had at least a few days to figure that out.

Despite his fears, George fell asleep that night with a smile on his face because he had learned something else from Ringo and Paul’s conversation. He learned that Ringo liked his hair, too.

Chapter Text

As they finished up the last few shows of the tour, George adjusted to a new type of ‘normal’ routine. Ringo continued talking to Paul more frequently, but he stayed true to his word and didn’t take things too far. Over time, George stopped worrying so much about it—and, even better, once the novelty of the topic had worn off, George and Ringo were back to their regular conversations. George was almost able to forget everything that had transpired recently.

Then the last show of the tour came and went, and before George knew it, he was getting off the airplane and into the car with Ringo on the way back to their shared flat. George couldn’t wait to be back at home and sleeping in his own bed again. God, he was so ready for sleep.

George let out a yawn, and Ringo looked over at him from the other side of the car. “Gonna fall asleep on my shoulder again?” Ringo teased.

“I’ll try to resist,” George said, hoping that Ringo would assume he was just joking.

Luckily, Ringo laughed, and George was in the clear. “So,” Ringo said, “what are you going to do tomorrow now that we finally have a few days to relax?”

“Uh, sleep,” George said.

“What, all day?”

“Don’t question my sleeping abilities,” George said with a grin.

“Oh, I don’t,” Ringo said. “I’ve seen you do it before. But I was thinking we could hang out as just us for a change.”

“Just us? You mean, the four of us?”

“Oh,” Ringo said. “I was talking about just you and me, but if you’d prefer to invite Paul along—and John—Paul and John.” Ringo awkwardly revised his sentence as he glanced forward at their driver in the front seat of the car. “It feels like so long since we’ve spent some real time together, just the two of us.”

George was grateful for the cover of nightfall, which would prevent Ringo from noticing the blush on his cheeks at the thought of spending an entire day alone with his crush. “Sure, that sounds nice,” George said.

“Perfect,” Ringo said, patting George’s knee. “I can’t wait.”

George couldn’t wait either.


After a long, comfortable night’s sleep, George awoke to sunlight streaming in through the windows—in his own bedroom. Sighing in satisfaction, he rolled over to wrap the blankets around himself and nestle his head further into the pillow. His bedsheets were so much softer than that cheap shite at the hotels—he could stay here for hours.

But, his eyes focused on the other side of the bed—the empty side. In some kinder, more ideal universe, George would have rolled over to see Ringo’s sleepy face looking back at him. Now George’s real-life bed felt lonely in comparison.

With that one thought, George’s happy, relaxing morning was ruined. Groaning, he climbed out of bed and got ready for the day.

By the time George finished up in the shower, Ringo was sitting in the living room and watching television. “Good morning,” Ringo said from his position on the couch. He was already eating breakfast, but his hair was sticking up all over the place as though he had just gotten out of bed—or maybe just that he didn’t care about his appearance since he had nowhere to be. George certainly wasn’t complaining about Ringo’s hairstyle for the day—it looked adorable.

“Good morning,” George said with a smile as he grabbed some quick food for himself and sat down on the opposite side of the couch.

“You’re up early,” Ringo said. “What happened to sleeping all day?”

“You ruined my plans by forcing me to make other plans, remember?” George said.

“I’m honored that you chose spending time with me over sleeping.”

“You should be—I made a big sacrifice.”

Ringo laughed, and George felt his chest grow lighter. He loved that sound.

Luckily, George got to hear Ringo’s laugh many other times throughout the day. They spent some time eating, smoking, and watching television, but most of their day was spent in conversation. There were very few people who George would happily spend that much time with, but Ringo was one of them. Everything felt so much easier when he was with Ringo.

Ringo was right—it was nice to have some time for just the two of them.

…Until the phone rang in the middle of the afternoon, interrupting a crazy story that Ringo was telling about something he had done back in Hamburg when he was still with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Grumbling, Ringo reached over to answer the phone.

“Yeah? …Oh, hello Paul.”

That caught George’s attention. What would Paul be calling them about?

“Sorry, mate, he’s busy right now,” Ringo said in response to whatever Paul had said. When George looked at him in confusion, Ringo just held a finger to his lips, asking George to stay quiet. “Sure, I’ll tell him you called,” Ringo said to Paul. “See ya, Paul.” He hung up the phone and relaxed back into the couch.

 “…Are you gonna tell me what the hell that was about?” George asked, leaning toward Ringo.

“I should’ve known—Georgie can’t wait ten seconds before asking about his precious Paul—hey, don’t throw that at—”

But it was too late—the pillow had already left George’s grip and hurtled toward Ringo before smacking him in the face.

“That was uncalled for,” Ringo said as he laughed and threw the pillow back at George.

George batted the pillow away and stared at Ringo expectantly. “Seriously, what did Paul want?”

“He wanted to talk to you.”

“…Then why the hell did you tell him I was busy?”

“You are busy! You’re spending time with me,” Ringo said plainly, as though it should have been obvious.

“We’ve literally spent the whole day doing nothing,” George said, tangling his hands in his hair in exasperation.

“Trust me, George—I know what I’m doing.”

“Do you?”

“Listen—I think we’re finally getting somewhere with this,” Ringo said. “Over the past few days, Paul’s started to act different when I’ve talked to him about you. He’s been quieter—like he’s really listening and thinking about you. And—and he’s started asking me questions, too.”

Oh, no. “Questions about what?” George asked.

“Like when we were talking about your looks—”

“—oh god—”

“—and he asked me, ‘What d’you think about his eyes?’” Ringo said in his best Paul imitation.

“He asked you about my eyes?” George practically yelled.

“Yup.”

“What did you tell him?” George asked, not completely sure that he wanted to hear the answer.

“The truth,” Ringo said with a shrug. “That your eyes are the most lovely shade of brown I’ve ever seen—Paul nodded after I said that, by the way,” he added.

George felt his face heating up. “You really said that?”

“Of course I did. Talking you up just comes naturally to me—it’s hard to find a bad thing to say about you,” Ringo said.

This was all…a lot for George to process. Ringo liking his eyes, Paul potentially—but hopefully not—returning George’s ‘totally real’ feelings…but none of that answered the question George had asked in the first place. “So why didn’t you give me the phone?”

“You’ve got to play hard to get,” Ringo said. “You can’t just jump into his arms at the first sign that he likes you back. Make him wait for you—make him wonder when you’re gonna call him back. You’ll be all he can think about for the rest of the day.”

“This is insane,” George said, shaking his head. “You’re overthinking this,” he told Ringo, even though George knew full well that this complicated mess was his own damn fault for telling that lie in the first place.

Ringo reached over and patted George’s hand. “Just wait a few more hours,” he said. “Then you can call him back without looking too desperate.”

“Remind me why the fuck I agreed to this?” George asked, laughing at the absurdity of it all.

“You’re doing it for Paul,” Ringo said. “It’ll all be worth it for him.”

“Yep,” George sighed. “…For Paul.”


After eating dinner, George and Ringo decided to wrap up their day together—mainly because Ringo was itching to head out to the bars. Ringo put on his shoes, wished George good luck, then left their flat.

George spent the next few minutes sitting around and trying to figure out what to do. He knew he needed to return Paul’s phone call, but he didn’t particularly want to.

Logically, he knew that the chances of Paul having feelings for him were slim, but what if Ringo was right? What if Paul really did like him? Then not only would George have to deal with rejecting Paul, but he’d also have to explain to Ringo why he did so—which would cause an immense amount of discomfort for George, not to mention the pain of possibly losing two of his closest friends.

George buried his head in his hands and groaned. No, he needed to stay positive. Paul must have been calling about something else—surely all of George’s worries were unfounded. He’d just pick up the phone, call Paul, talk for two minutes about something stupid, and everything could go back to normal. Well, ‘normal.’

He couldn’t put it off any longer. After taking a deep breath, wiping the sweat from his hands—and running to the kitchen to get a drink to soothe his suddenly dry throat—George picked up the phone and dialed.

“Hello?” Paul said when he answered.

“Hi, Paul, it’s George. Ringo said you called?”

“Oh—yeah, yeah. I just have something to talk to you about—is Ringo around right now?”

George couldn’t help but notice the strange, uncertain tone in Paul’s voice. “No, he went out a while ago,” George said.

“That’s perfect, actually,” Paul said. “I’m gonna head over for a bit, if that’s alright with you.”

No, the voice inside George’s head screamed, but his mouth betrayed him. “That’s alright.”

“Great, I’ll see you soon,” Paul said, and with that, the line went dead.

George set the phone down. Lovely. Now he needed to find a way to settle his nerves before Paul arrived.

He was still trying to brainstorm ways to do so when Paul arrived fifteen minutes later.

George let him in and they exchanged pleasantries, but the tension in the air was unmistakable. “What did you want to talk about?” George asked once they had sat down at the kitchen table.

Paul let out a strange laugh. “Getting right to the point as always, eh?” he said. When George didn’t respond, Paul spoke up again. “I’ve been talking a lot with Ringo lately, and he’s been acting a bit…different than usual.”

Well, this was off to a terrible start. “How so?” George asked.

“Basically, he’s been talking a hell of a lot about you,” Paul said. “And, you know, he’s always talked about you a lot, but he’s been saying some very odd things.”

“Like what?” George whispered.

“Like how great you are at guitar, how nice you are, how good you look—seriously, the man will not shut up about your appearance—I’m not sure what’s gotten into him.” Paul paused and took a deep breath. “Now, I don’t want to go jumping to conclusions, but this has been happening a lot and I’m pretty sure there’s something going on here.”

All George could think was ‘fuck.’ Had Paul figured out Ringo’s plan? There was no way, right? …Right?

“I don’t really know how to talk about this,” Paul continued, “so I guess I’ll just come right out and say it.”

George braced himself for what was coming.

Paul looked him directly in the eyes.

“George…I think Ringo might be queer for you.”

“…What?

Chapter Text

It took George a moment to register what Paul had just told him. Paul thought that Ringo liked George? As much as George wanted to believe that it was true—he couldn’t deny that his heart had leapt at Paul’s words—he knew that Paul was just misinterpreting the situation.

“You…you really think…?” George sputtered out a vague half-question before trailing off.

“Sorry,” Paul said. “I know it’s weird, but I can’t think of any other explanation.”

“I don’t know—” Wait. “It’s ‘weird?’” George asked, his worry growing by the second. “What do you mean by that?”

Paul’s eyes widened. “Oh—no, that didn’t come out right. I just meant—you know—there’s nothing wrong with it—but I never thought…one of us….”

George tried to piece together a meaning from Paul’s rambling. “So is there something wrong with it or not?” he asked, a bit more harshly than he meant to.

“Of course there’s not,” Paul said, placing his elbows on George’s kitchen table and resting his chin in his hands. “But…how are you feeling? I just figured it would be strange for you to hear that one of your best mates fancies you. That’s all I was trying to say.”

Staying quiet for a moment, George tried to figure out what to say. As much as George hated to admit it, telling Paul the truth was probably the best course of action. It was already hard enough keeping up one convoluted lie—adding a second would be nearly impossible. But he didn’t want to confess everything if Paul would just judge him for it. He needed to get more information first—make sure Paul could be trusted with this particular secret.

“How would you be feeling?” George asked him cautiously.

Paul gave him an odd look. “Why does that matter—”

“Just answer me.”

“God, alright, George,” Paul said, holding his hands up in defeat. He took a breath. “If I found out that Ringo liked me…I wouldn’t hate him or anything. But I’d make sure he knew that I wasn’t queer so he wouldn’t try anything with me.”

“So, you wouldn’t…stop being friends with him?”

“What? No!” Paul said. “I’m not an arse—I’m not gonna throw away a perfectly good friendship over something like that. Do you really have such a low opinion of me?”

“No, that’s not the point,” George said, gritting his teeth and clenching his fist under the table. Stay focused, he told himself as he took a deep breath.

“Look,” Paul continued. “If Ringo’s queer, then good for him. I hope he finds the man of his dreams—as long as it’s not me—hey, don’t roll your eyes at me, George.”

George would roll his eyes at Paul’s self-centered remarks as much he wanted, but he was relieved to find that Paul was accepting—or, at least, accepting in his weird, Paul way. Telling Paul the whole story seemed like a viable, safe option.

“George? You’ve been awfully quiet,” Paul said.

Alright, George thought, shutting his eyes for a moment. I can do this. He opened his eyes and looked straight at Paul. “Thanks for telling me, Paul,” he began. “But you’ve misunderstood this.”

Paul looked like he had questions, but he didn’t interrupt.

Here goes nothing. “Ringo’s not the one who’s queer—I am.”

“…What are you talking about?” Paul asked. “But the way he was talking about you is definitely something—wait, you’re really queer?”

As Paul’s eyes bored into him, George started to lose his confidence. “I am,” he whispered.

Paul sat up straighter in his chair. “Oh. Alright, that’s…alright.” He glanced down for a second before continuing. “Does anyone else know?”

“Just you and Ringo,” George said. “Ringo’s known for a couple weeks now.”

Paul nodded slowly. “Okay. Thanks for, y’know, trusting me with this.”

George gave him a small smile. “Thanks for being trustworthy with this.”

Laughing, Paul finally relaxed in his seat again, and George knew that he was truly on his side. “Wait—that still doesn’t explain any of Ringo’s behavior,” Paul said.

“Ugh.” George cringed. This was the part he was really dreading. “Here’s the thing—when I told Ringo, I…didn’t exactly give him the whole truth.” When Paul didn’t stop him, George went on to tell Paul everything—how he felt about Ringo, how he was too frightened to confess his feelings to Ringo, how he told Ringo that he fancied Paul instead.

As George finished up his explanation of how Ringo had been ‘helping him,’ Paul gave him a look of such incredulousness that George began to worry whether telling him was a good idea. Despite the hours that George had spent agonizing over all the possible ways this situation could play out, he had failed to consider one very important question—whether or not the truth was even believable.

Paul rubbed his fingers against his temples. “Okay…okay. So, you like Ringo?”

“Yeah.”

“But you told Ringo that you like me.”

“…Yeah.”

“And you let Ringo hit on you in front of me to try to get me to hit on you, too?”

“Yeah—well, no—maybe?” Now George was getting confused himself.

“For God’s sake,” Paul sighed, dropping his head into his hands. “You swear you’re telling the truth about all this?”

“I swear.”

Paul stayed still a few seconds longer before bursting into laughter and shaking his head. “You’re a bloody idiot. Why the hell did you think that telling him all that was a good idea?”

“I panicked, alright?” George snapped. “Now are you just gonna sit there and laugh at me, or are you gonna help?”

“God, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Paul said, fighting off one last bout of laughter. “There just seems like there would have been a much easier way to deal with this—”

“You think I don’t know that? I know I fucked up—but I don’t know how to fix this. Please help me?” George asked, his angry tone turning to pleading at the end.

As Paul stared into George’s eyes, he finally seemed to grasp the seriousness of the situation. “Yeah, of course I’ll help. I’m not really sure how, though.”

“Just tell Ringo that you’re not interested in me so he can drop this whole stupid plan,” George said.

“Mm,” Paul said, placing his index fingers against his lips. “I guess that could work. But you realize that’s only a temporary solution, right?”

“What do you mean?”

“You really are an idiot,” Paul scoffed under his breath. “Ringo cares about his friends a lot—and he especially cares about you. He’s not gonna rest until he finds some bloke you can shag…or a bloke who can shag you? I’m not sure which way you—”

“Fucking hell, please stop.”

“Good idea.”

George avoided looking in Paul’s eyes after that disastrous exchange. But Paul did have a point—there was no way Ringo would give up on this. “Then what do you think I should do?” George asked.

“Unless you want Ringo to play matchmaker for you for the rest of your life, you need to tell him the truth.”

“No.”

George.

“Why? Why do I have to tell him?” George asked, slamming his hand onto the table a bit harder than he meant to.

“It’s already obvious that he wants you to be happy—and that he will go to insane lengths to help you be happy. He’s not going to be some cruel piece of shite who calls you terrible names and exposes your queerness to the world. Worst-case scenario, he’ll just politely turn you down and then get on with finding you someone else so that you can get over him faster.”

George considered Paul’s words. Ringo really could be too nice for his own good sometimes.

“And best-case scenario,” Paul continued, “you might just wind up with the boyfriend of your dreams.”

Hah, yeah right,” George said.

“What, you don’t think that’s possible?” Paul asked. “Listen, I get that all of Ringo’s weird conversations with me are just because of that stupid story you made up for him, but you should have heard the things he was saying. He said an awful lot of nice things about you, and some of them seem a bit too nice for someone who was supposedly only saying it for the sake of a friend. I think you have a good chance here.”

“…You’re sure about this?” George asked.

“Well, no, I’m not sure, but what have you got to lose?” Paul asked. “Won’t you regret it if you never even try?”

George thought about it. “I guess…I guess I could try telling him. But what do I do if he rejects me? I’m sure I’d get over it after a while, but…god, that would hurt.”

“Then you can head over to my flat and cry your queer little heart out,” Paul laughed. “Seriously though, my door’s always open—especially for you, Georgie.”

Looking Paul in the eyes, George smiled. “Thanks.” The thought of coming clean to Ringo was terrifying, but knowing that Paul had his back made it a little less scary.

For the next half hour, George and Paul figured out a plan for how George would tell Ringo the truth. First, George would tell Ringo that Paul had only been calling to ask him about a chord sequence. Then, since they still had a few days off before they had to be back in the studio, Paul could easily avoid further conversations with Ringo. That would give George plenty of time to prepare himself for the big reveal.

After they worked out the details, George was surprised to find that Paul was expressing genuine curiosity about his feelings. They talked about what George liked about Ringo, and it felt nice to finally be one-hundred percent honest about the situation with someone.

George was so damn lucky to have Paul in his life. He made sure to tell Paul that as they said their goodbyes. Paul was grateful for his words, but he wasn’t too thrilled about the crushing hug that George gave him before he could squeeze out through the door.

Once he had the flat to himself again, George settled down on the couch and just lay there, working through all the emotions—both good and bad—that the events of the day had brought on. There were a lot of things to be worried about, but overall George felt happy—free, even. Yes, if being honest with Paul felt this good, then being honest with Ringo would surely feel even better. It would be alright. It would.

Chapter Text

Over the next two days, everything went smoothly. Ringo believed it when George said that Paul had called about nothing of importance, Paul brushed off all of Ringo’s invitations to hang out—Ringo’s scheme effectively came to a standstill.

George used that brief respite to figure out how to tell Ringo the truth. He went through so many possible ways to say it, trying to find the magical arrangement of words that would work out in his favor. If only such magical words existed.

More than anything, George planned to emphasize how important Ringo’s friendship was to him. He didn’t want to lost Ringo, and if Ringo didn’t want anything more than friendship, George would be alright with that—he just might have to take Paul up on the offer to let him have a good long cry at his flat.

Once George had a good idea of what he wanted to say, he needed to decide on when. There was no use prolonging the inevitable, so he decided to talk to Ringo later that evening…or tomorrow evening. Yeah, tomorrow evening was better. That way he could make sure he was well rested beforehand. See? The decision was entirely based on logic. Not fear. Nope. Not at all.

Unfortunately, George’s ‘logic’ failed him greatly when he spent the entire night tossing and turning, leaving him yawning all afternoon the next day.

But he couldn’t back out—he had to do this. He hated not being honest with Ringo. He wanted Ringo to know the truth. So, after they finished eating dinner, George asked Ringo to join him in the living room so that they could talk. And then there really was no turning back.

They sat down next to each other on the couch, Ringo with a huge smile on his face and George unable to force a smile even if he tried.

“What’s goin’ on, Georgie?” Ringo asked brightly. “Everything alright?”

“Yeah, I’m fine—well…mostly fine,” George said, trying to steady himself for what was to come. “I just have something else that I need to tell you.”

Ringo let out a dramatic gasp. “Are you and Paul engaged?”

“Oh, fuck off,” George said, somehow laughing despite the tension. “It…um…well, it does have to do with that, in a way.”

Ringo’s face fell. “Did you tell Paul? Did it…does he not…?”

“No, no,” George reassured him, wanting to keep as much stress away from Ringo as possible. “Could you just…listen for a bit while I talk?”

“Of course,” Ringo said quietly, smiling at George to go on.

George bit his lip and took a deep breath. Here goes nothing. “Ritchie, do you remember that first night you found out that I’m queer? How scared I was?”

Ringo nodded.

“I so badly wanted to hide it from you, because I didn’t know what would happen if you found out—”

“You know I’d never hate you or abandon you over something like that.”

“Yes, I know, I know,” George said. “But I was still scared of what you’d think of me. I didn’t want things to change between us. And I thought the less you knew about it, the better it would be.

“B-but,” George continued, “I was wrong. Hiding things doesn’t make anything better. It makes it so much worse, and I should have…I should have been honest.”

Tilting his head, Ringo asked, “What are you talking about?”

George looked down and played with his fingers. “Ritchie, your…friendship is very important to me, and I never want to do anything to jeopardize that. And because of my fear, I…wasn’t completely honest with you before.”

Ringo’s eyes narrowed in question.

After taking another breath, George looked Ringo in the eyes. “I don’t have a crush on Paul.” He clenched his fists in anticipation. “I have a crush on you.”

It was silent.

“…You what?”

“I—I know you probably don’t feel the same way,” George said defensively. “And that’s okay. We can just forget all about it, and I’ll move on, and things can just stay the same if that’s what you want.” Once he had finished his speech, he stopped talking and waited for what Ringo had to say.

George’s heart raced in his chest while he waited. This was it. If there was even a chance that Ringo returned his feelings, he was about to find out.

Then, Ringo finally opened his mouth and said in a cold voice, “How could things possibly stay the same?”

His words cut through George’s heart like a dagger. “W-what?”

“You lied to me, George,” Ringo snapped, his voice rising. “I can’t just ignore that.”

“Because I was scared! I never wanted to lie to you,” George said.

“If you really didn’t want to lie, then you wouldn’t have done it in the first place,” Ringo said. “You had weeks—weeks—to fix your mistake and tell me the truth. But you just kept feeding me more lies? I was trying to help you, George. I spent all that time trying to make you happy, because I care about you. And this entire time, you knew that I was working toward nothing, and you let me keep doing it anyway.”

This couldn’t be happening. George thought he had prepared himself for every possible outcome, but nothing had prepared him for this. “No—I didn’t—that’s not—”

“Oh, stop it,” Ringo said. “You really don’t understand what you did wrong?”

“I know it was wrong,” George stammered. “And I’m sorry—I’ll never lie to you again.”

“Why should I believe that?” As Ringo’s words echoed around the room, he sighed. “Look,” Ringo said, quietly but firmly. “Let’s say you got what you wanted. Let’s say we start dating, and you tell me how in love with me you are—but the whole time, you’re cheating on me behind my back.”

“I’d never do—”

“But you would. You did. If you could keep up that lie about Paul for so long, how do you expect me to believe you won’t do it again?”

George tried to figure out what he could say, what he could do to convince Ringo that he’d never hurt him like that. But he was coming up blank. His mouth hung open stupidly as he waited for the right words to come to him, but the only sound he made was a strangled sob.

Ringo frowned. “That’s what I thought.” He stood up from the couch. “I can’t do this right now. We can talk tomorrow—if you can finally understand how you hurt me.”

Completely helpless, George watched Ringo walk toward his bedroom. He wanted to call after him, telling him again how sorry he was for lying, but George sat there, frozen. Then, when Ringo turned back for a split second to mutter a half-hearted, “Goodnight,” George broke into tears.

This was anything but a good night. The man he cared about more than anyone else was furious at him and may never want anything to do with him again. George might have just lost his best friend—hell, he might have just torn apart one of the most popular bands in the world. Everyone would find out about this—George would never be allowed to forget how badly he had fucked up.

God, he wanted to forget. He wanted to forget everything.

Scrambling to his feet, George threw on his shoes and a hat and ran out the door to make his way to the nearest bar. In his only moment of luck all day, he managed to make it there without being recognized by anyone. He found himself a stool and ordered a drink.

George took a swig of his beer. It burned on the way down. Good. Maybe this pain would distract him from the pain of Ringo hating him. Damn it, Ringo really hated him, didn’t he? George had really fucked this up. If he had just kept his mouth shut and kept his stupid queer feelings to himself like every other queer person in the world, everything would still be fine.

He finished his first drink. He never should have let himself believe that Ringo could have loved him. Why would he? All George did was keep secrets and tell lies—it was no wonder Ringo didn’t want anything to do with him. Everyone would want to avoid him if they knew the truth. Well, everyone except Paul, apparently.

He finished his second drink. Why didn’t Paul hate him? Paul knew the truth—the real truth—and Paul still liked him. Maybe it was because Ringo’s crazy plan had actually worked, George thought, bursting into laughter and not caring about the weird looks it drew from the other customers. Why couldn’t he have fallen for Paul instead of Ringo? Then Ringo wouldn’t be mad and George wouldn’t be alone.

He ordered a fourth drink. George didn’t want to be alone. Other men didn’t have to be alone. They had their stupid girlfriends and their stupid easy lives where they didn’t have to worry about any of this shite. George hiccuped. He wanted that life.

…No, he wished that he wanted that life. That life would never make him happy. He wanted to be happy. Was that such a bad thing?

George slammed his empty glass on the counter. He deserved to be happy, dammit. And he would get himself that happiness—he’d make things go the way they should have gone. He hastily paid his bill and stumbled out the door.

In the pitch-black night, George wandered through the streets. Even though his mind could barely remember which direction to go, his feet remembered. It took him much longer than usual to get there, but he made it. He made his way into the building and found the right door. Then, wobbling slightly, he pounded his fist against the door.

Quick footsteps sounded from the other side. See? He cared. The door opened, and wide eyes stared back from the other side. “George?

“Paul.”

It was time for George to get his happiness.

Chapter Text

“George, what are you doing here—are you alright?”

George barely registered Paul’s words as he pushed his way inside Paul’s flat. “He hates me,” he mumbled.

“Huh?” Paul grabbed George’s shoulders to keep him from wandering away. “I can’t hear you when you slur your words like that—Jesus, how much did you drink?” he asked, scrunching up his nose and leaning away from George’s face.

“He hates me,” George repeated, practically screaming the words as more tears threatened to spill out of his eyes.

“Who? You—you don’t mean Ringo, do you?” Paul asked.

“Who else would I fucking mean?” George snapped. “I told him everything, and now he doesn’t wanna talk to me.”

The words hung in the air for a moment before Paul finally said, “Oh god, really? You’re serious?”

George couldn’t put together a coherent response, but hopefully his sniffles got the point across.

“Oh. I didn’t think…how could he hate you?” Paul asked in shock, lightly touching George’s shoulder as he tried to lead him to the couch.

But George just wobbled and kept his feet planted in place. “‘Cause I’m a liar. ‘m not trustworthy,” he said. “Ritchie’s never gonna trust me ever again.”

“But you stopped lying—you told him the truth.”

“Not good enough. He’s mad. He’s—hic—he’s so mad.” George’s heart pounded in his chest.

“George…George, I’m so sorry,” Paul said, tightening his grip on George’s shoulder. “I never thought Ringo would react like that. I still can’t believe…why the hell would he do that?” He grabbed both of George’s shoulders. “I don’t know what’s gotten into Ringo, but you’re perfectly trustworthy, George. You’re a wonderful man, and you don’t deserve to be talked to like that.”

Immediately, George threw his arms around Paul and held him close. Paul tensed up for a few seconds before hugging him back and soothingly running his fingers through George’s hair. “I’ve got you,” Paul whispered.

George buried his head in Paul’s shoulder. See? Paul still liked him. “You’re not mad at me,” he muttered.

“Of course not,” Paul said.

“Good,” George said. “You still like me.”

Paul sighed. “I do.”

Lifting his head from Paul’s shoulder, George moved it closer to Paul’s neck. “I like that,” George whispered against Paul’s skin before pressing his lips to the skin as well.

Paul froze instantly. “What are you doing?”

“Shh,” George said, sloppily pressing his fingertips to Paul’s lips to shut him up as George lifted his head completely. “You like me,” he said, staring into Paul’s very, very wide eyes. “You like me,” he said again before shutting his eyes and leaning in until his and Paul’s—

No!” Paul’s shout was so loud in George’s ears as Paul jerked himself away, leaving George to stumble forward, crashing into the kitchen table before he could completely collapse on the floor. “George, what the fuck are you—fuckin’ hell—did you just try to—”

George got back on his feet as Paul kept trying to put a sentence together. Over the course of ten seconds, Paul’s face went through twenty different emotions, ranging from anger to fear to concern.

“Please,” George whimpered, “kiss me. Why don’t you want to kiss me, Ritchie?”

Paul’s eyes softened. “What?”

“Ri—Paul. Wait—who—you’re not—” George broke off when a wave of nausea rushed over him. He doubled over and clutched at his stomach.

“George?” Paul asked worriedly, but all George did in response was cover his mouth as he tried not to retch. “Fuck,” Paul muttered to himself as he scrambled to the other side of the room and returned with the bin.

With Paul’s hand resting on his back, George vomited into the bin until the nausea disappeared. He sat on the floor helplessly, leaning against the painful wooden chairs while Paul took the bin away and brought him a glass of water. Half the water was gone within seconds as George tried to quench his suddenly massive thirst, but he still felt like shite.

“George,” Paul whispered. “Why did you come here tonight?”

“I dunno,” George said, tapping a fingernail against the glass and listening to the sounds it made.

“Why did you try to…,” Paul winced, “…kiss me?”

George set the glass on the floor and hugged his knees to his chest. “Didn’t wanna be alone. Wanna be with someone—like, really with someone.”

“…Do you want to be with me?”

Looking down at the floor, George shook his head.

“Then why?”

“…Can’t have what I really want.”

Sighing, Paul wrapped his arm around George again. “George…I still don’t know exactly what happened with you and Ringo tonight, but I do know that you’re in no state to talk about that now. You need sleep.”

“N—no,” George said, coughing through his words. “I don’t wanna go home.”

“Good, because there’s no way in hell I’m letting you stumble back home in this condition—god, how’d you even make it here without dying?” Paul said, rubbing his hands over his own face. “You can sleep in my bed—I’ll take the couch.”

“You don’t hafta sleep on the couch,” George said. “We can share—”

“And risk you vomiting all over me?” Paul asked. “Thanks, I’ll pass. Now c’mon, let’s get you up,” he said, grabbing George’s arm and helping him to his feet. They slowly made their way to Paul’s bedroom. George stripped off his dirty, alcohol-scented clothes and changed into the shorts and t-shirt that Paul handed him—Paul also provided him with a spare, unused toothbrush, thank god.

George fell asleep seconds after he hit the bed.


George’s head was pounding when he woke up the next morning—if it was even morning. It felt like he had slept for a whole day. He squinted around the room, trying to keep as much of the sunlight away from his eyes as possible. But the room didn’t look familiar…where the hell was he—

Fuck.

The memories of the night before rushed back all at once. Telling Ringo the truth, their fight, almost kissing Paul…

George pulled at his hair. What the hell had he been thinking? Everything about this was a disaster, and he had no idea how to fix it. So, he climbed out of bed and shuffled back to the kitchen.

“I made you breakfast,” Paul said as George entered. Sure enough, there was a plate of eggs and a glass of juice waiting for him on the table.

“Thanks,” George muttered, keeping his head down. After everything he had done, he didn’t want to make eye contact with Paul and see the way that Paul would surely get uncomfortable and look away. “How did you know I was awake?” George asked as he sipped his juice.

Paul snorted. “I heard you saying curse words to yourself. You need to watch your mouth, George—I’ve never heard someone say ‘fuck’ so many times in a row.”

“Oh, god,” George said, feeling his face heat up.

Laughing harder, Paul took a seat across the table. “I’m assuming that those ‘lovely’ words meant that you remember everything from last night?”

George nodded and swirled his fork around his plate. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“You weren’t thinking—you were drunk,” Paul said. “I’m just glad you made it to my flat safely—you…you really weren’t doing well last night,” he said softly. “Are you able to talk about what happened with Ringo? Was he really that upset?”

George shut his eyes. “It was awful.”

Paul listened as George told him the story. George hated reliving the way that Ringo had yelled at him for lying and how Ringo didn’t believe that he could fully trust George again. It hurt so much. When he finished talking, he was blinking back tears.

Surprisingly, Paul reached out and placed his hand on top of George’s. “Deep breaths,” Paul whispered as he ran his thumb over the back of George’s palm. “I’m so sorry. I never thought he would have been like that.”

“It’s not your fault,” George said. “You’re not the one with these stupid queer feelings.”

“Hey,” Paul said, squeezing George’s hand. “They’re not stupid feelings—don’t say that.”

George huffed.

“George,” Paul said. “I may not entirely understand the whole ‘queer’ thing, but I’ve listened to you talk about Ringo a lot over the past few days. You obviously care very deeply about him, and there’s nothing stupid about that at all. Hell, most people I know have never cared that much about someone ever,” he said with a giggle. “And I really can’t believe how upset he got. It just…doesn’t make any sense.”

“God, I know,” George said. “I’ve replayed every word of that conversation in my head so many damn times, and I still can’t figure out what I should have said differently.” He pulled his hand away from Paul’s and buried his head in his hands. “Maybe it was inevitable for him to hate me.”

“No,” Paul said, yanking George’s hands away from his face. “He doesn’t hate you, he’s just upset.” Paul sighed—then a strange look appeared on his face. “Wait—you said you replay every word—”

“I know, it’s pathetic,” George said.

“That’s not what I’m saying,” Paul said. “So what you just told me is everything that Ringo said? You didn’t leave any parts out?”

“Yeah, that was everything,” George said. “Why does that matter?”

“…George. Do you realize that not once during your conversation did Ringo say that he doesn’t return your feelings?”

“Hah, it was pretty obvious that he doesn’t feel the same way,” George scoffed.

“Is it?” Paul asked. “Think about it—what did he say?”

“That he doesn’t trust me. Can we move on from this now? I don’t like remembering this.”

“I know—just give me one minute,” Paul said, shaking his index finger. “Ringo went on and on about how much he trusted you and how you broke his trust, right? Now, what’s the foundation of every good relationship? Trust.”

“I don’t know where you’re going with this, but I know you’re wrong.”

“George, please,” Paul said. “What about what he said at the end? When Ringo brought up the idea of you two dating and falling in love.”

“You mean when he was telling me how I’m the type of guy who would cheat on his partner? Oh yeah, that felt great.”

“You never mentioned anything to him about love,” Paul continued as though George hadn’t interrupted. “So why would Ringo bring that up? …Unless, you know, it was already on his mind.”

“You’re delusional,” George snapped. “I appreciated it when you were trying to help, but now you’re just playing with my emotions and setting me up for even more pain.”

“George, I’m not—”  

They stopped talking when someone pounded on the door. George frowned at the interruption. This moment, no matter how annoying, was between him and Paul—no one else. The person knocked again, and George was ready to punch the arsehole in the face.

Then George heard a familiar, deep voice calling his name from the other side of the door, and he forgot that Paul even existed.

Chapter Text

Hello? Paul? George? Is someone there?

George stood frozen as Ringo pounded on the door of Paul’s flat. Ringo was there? And he was looking for him?

Fuck—please? Anyone?” Ringo’s cries grew more desperate as George and Paul shared a look.

Then, once George had nervously nodded his approval, Paul went to open the door. “What?” Paul snapped.

Ringo, who had large bags under his eyes, glanced at Paul before his eyes began darting around the flat. “Paul, thank god. Have you seen…” He trailed off when his eyes landed on George. “George! Oh my god, you’re alright.”

Ringo rushed past Paul and approached George, who took a small step backward. Despite the way George’s heart leapt at the sight of his crush, seeing Ringo brought the painful memories of their last conversation back in full force.

“George—when you disappeared last night—I was so scared,” Ringo rambled, his eyes wide. “—But you’re okay—thank god, you’re okay—I need to talk to you.”

Just before Ringo could take another step toward George, Paul stepped between them. “Talk to him about what?” Paul asked, crossing his arms.

“It’s just some stuff,” Ringo said, trying to make his way to George, but Paul didn’t budge. “Please, Paul, this is important.”

“What kind of important? The kind of important where you shout at your best friend for no bloody reason?”

Ringo was taken aback. He looked between Paul—who kept staring straight at Ringo—and George—who pointedly kept staring anywhere but at Ringo. “George, you told him?” Ringo whispered.

George nodded and continued looking at the ground. “Yeah. Paul knows everything.”

Wincing, Ringo started fidgeting with his rings. Then he tried again. “Paul, I know why you’re upset with me—I was an arse. But I didn’t spend the last hour looking all around town for George just so I could be an arse again. Please, can I just talk to him?”

An hour? Ringo had looked for him for an hour? George couldn’t suppress the tiny glimmer of joy that shot through his body at that revelation. Ringo may not return his feelings, but he still cared—he didn’t hate him after all.

Paul turned back to face George, and George nodded. “I wanna talk to him, too,” George said.

After taking a deep sigh, Paul relented. “Fine. You can use my bedroom for privacy. But if I hear you yelling at him again, Ringo, I’m kicking you out on your arse.”

Ringo laughed softly while George rolled his eyes. George appreciated Paul looking out for him, but he wasn’t a child. He could take care of himself just fine…well, maybe not so much last night, but that was different—he had been drunk.

Pushing those thoughts from his mind, George made his way back to Paul’s room with Ringo following close behind. George’s heart sped up in anticipation of what was to come. More than anything, George just wanted to give Ringo a proper apology for lying to him. Even if Ringo would never see him as more than a friend, George needed Ringo to believe that he could be trusted—he had never wanted to make Ringo think that he would hurt him.

Ringo sat on the bed first, and George joined him, making sure to leave a bit of extra space between them to avoid making Ringo too uncomfortable. The silence was crushing, and George needed to escape it. “Ritchie, look—I’m so sorry that I—”

“Can I talk first?” Ringo’s interruption was firm, but not harsh. “Last night you talked while I sat back and listened. Today, can you listen?” Ringo sighed and clasped his hands. “I have lots of things I need to say.”

George bit his lip. “Alright.” Hopefully surviving the events of the previous night had hardened George up enough that the heartbreak would hurt less the second time around.

Ringo placed his hands solidly on the side of the bed and looked down at his lap. Then he turned his head toward George. “I’m so sorry about the way I acted last night,” Ringo began. “I was just mad, and surprised and confused—but that doesn’t make it okay that I yelled at you like that. You were usin’ all your courage to open up to me, and I just spat right in your face.”

“—But you were right—I shouldn’t have lied,” George blurted.

“That doesn’t matter,” Ringo said, scooting closer to George. “Well, it matters a little—I’m…still not particularly happy about the lying—but I get it,” Ringo said. “Or, at least, I want to get it.” Ringo moved his hand to rest right next to George’s thigh. “George, I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for you, to hide something so important about yourself from so many people for all that time. It must have been fucking awful.”

Lowering his eyes for a moment, George nodded. “It is,” he whispered.

Ringo’s hand lifted off the bed and inched closer to George, froze for a second, then returned to the bed. “In the hotel that first night, when you slipped up and told me that you liked a bloke, you looked so scared,” Ringo said. “And I tried to show you that I’d never stop caring about you, no matter what—and I thought you understood that. So to find out that you were still scared to talk to me about something…it hurt. We’ve always been so close, Georgie, and finding out that you were lying—it felt like I must have done something wrong to keep you scared of telling me, or maybe that we weren’t as close as I’d thought.

“But I was thinkin’ about it all wrong,” Ringo said. “I was forgetting about your feelings—of course you’d be scared to talk about that—especially since…you know….” Ringo cleared his throat and brushed his hair off of his face. “You…you really…it’s me?” Ringo asked quietly. “It was me the whole time?”

“Of course it’s you,” George whispered. “I don’t know how anyone in the world—man or woman—could resist falling for you. You’re spectacular, Ritchie.”

Their eyes met, and George wanted nothing more than to grab Ringo’s face and kiss him. “B-but I don’t mind if you don’t feel the same way—I really don’t,” George added. “You’re right—I’ve always felt that the two of us were close too, and I don’t wanna lose that. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had, and if friendship is all you want, then friendship would make me so happy.”

“You’re never gonna lose my friendship, George—not in a million years,” Ringo said, smiling. “As for whether I want more than friendship…”

This was it. George would finally, really get an answer.

“I…,” Ringo began shakily. “…What if I’m not sure yet?”

George’s heart began to sink. “Ritchie, you don’t have to protect my feelings—if you don’t fancy me, just tell me.”

“What?—No, I didn’t mean that,” Ringo said, reaching out and placing his hand on top of George’s. “I’m really not sure,” Ringo repeated as he stared down at their hands. “I’ve been…I’ve been thinking, during the past few weeks….” He trailed off and started tracing around the back of George’s hand with his fingertip.

George could barely breathe. He still wasn’t sure what Ringo was trying to tell him, but the way Ringo was touching his hand felt like a dream.

Ringo took a deep breath and tried again. “When I was growin’ up, I never thought about being queer, ‘cause, you know, it just wasn’t something you thought about—well, I guess you probably thought about it—whatever, that’s not the point,” he muttered, shaking his head.

“After you told me about yourself,” Ringo said, “I started thinkin’ about what it would be like to be queer—trying to put myself in your shoes. And thought it was gonna feel really odd, but it didn’t feel odd like I thought it would. Then I started talking you up to Paul, saying all those great things about you—and it was so easy to talk about you, George, because you’re just that amazing. And the more I talked about you, the more natural it got, and…I dunno…my mind started wandering more, and…it’s all really confusing…”

As Ringo kept trying to figure out how to say what he wanted to say, George stared at him in shock. Was it really possible that Ringo might feel the same way?

“…But,” Ringo said, “I’m not sure I can give you what you want, George. If you really care about me as much as you said you do, then you probably want some big, intense relationship right now, and I don’t think I can commit to that.”

“I don’t need that,” George interrupted. “I don’t need to jump right into a relationship if that’s not what you want… What do you want?”

Ringo laughed nervously. “I don’t know. I don’t fucking know. God, I sound crazy—”

“No, you don’t.”

“Well, I feel crazy,” Ringo said. He wrapped his hand around George’s and squeezed. “I want to figure out what I’m feeling for you—I’m not sure what it is exactly, but it feels strong. But I don’t know how long it’ll take for me to figure it out, and I don’t wanna string you along if my feelings turn out to be nothing.”

George looked at their clasped hands. “Does it feel like nothing to you?”

“…No. It feels like something. Something very good,” Ringo said.

With his lips slowly spreading into a smile, George laughed. “I can work with that,” he said. “We could take things slow—if, you know, if you want to do this. Do you?”

Ringo smiled back. “I do.”

George had never heard words more beautiful than those two. “Oh my god, Ritchie,” he whispered, more to himself than to Ringo. “Anything we do, you can set the pace,” George said excitedly. “We’ll take this as fast or slow as you want—whatever you want.”

Laughing, Ringo brushed the back of his hand across George’s cheek. “That’s awfully generous of you to offer me ‘whatever I want,’ but you better not ignore the things you want,” Ringo said.

“You know what I mean,” George said, feeling his cheek heat up beneath Ringo’s fingers.

As he watched George, Ringo’s expression changed—it softened. George thought he saw something else in Ringo’s eyes, something bigger that he couldn’t quite put his finger on.

“There is one thing I know that I want,” Ringo said.

“What’s that?” George asked.

Ringo’s eyes flickered downward. “I want to know what it feels like to kiss you.”

George’s breath caught in his throat. “You—you what?

“I wanna kiss you,” Ringo repeated. His cheeks darkening, he shrugged and added, “Just think it might feel nice, is all.”

George sure as hell couldn’t disagree with that. “Alright then,” he said, sounding much calmer than he felt. He was about to get the kiss he had dreamed about for months—it was too good to be true. But, as Ringo shifted his weight around and leaned in a few centimeters closer, George knew that this moment was very, very real.

Ringo’s movements slowed when their noses were about to touch. Was he changing his mind? But Ringo didn’t pull back—he waited, his face hovering just in front of George’s….He was nervous. The idea of kissing George was making Ringo Starr nervous and flustered, and George had no idea how his entire life had led to this surreal point.

Their breaths mingled together as their faces remained frozen in place. Ringo still wasn’t showing any signs of moving. If Ringo wasn’t going to do it, so be it—George would just have to do it himself.

George raised his hand and placed it on the back of Ringo’s neck. Then, gently, he pulled Ringo forward and kissed him.

As soon as their lips met, Ringo sprung back to life. He gasped against George’s mouth and wrapped an arm around George’s back, pulling him closer.

George was in absolute bliss. He was kissing Ringo. He was kissing Ringo. Ringo’s lips were slightly chapped and his stubble scratched at George’s face—it was the best feeling in the world. And Ringo’s hand was rubbing across his lower back, and George’s shirt had ridden up, and Ringo’s little finger had slipped below the bottom edge of George’s shirt and pressed against his skin, and Ringo was still kissing him.

Both of George’s hands came up to Ringo’s cheeks, cradling his perfect face as George’s placed one more small kiss on Ringo’s lips. George’s eyes opened as he leaned backward, taking in the beautiful sight of Ringo’s flushed face and deep red lips. He slid his hands off of Ringo’s face and down his arms to finally clasp Ringo’s hands.

“Oh my god,” Ringo whispered as he blinked his eyes open and looked at George. Then he smiled, and George had never seen him look more radiant than he did in that moment.

“Oh my god,” George echoed, matching Ringo’s smile. George felt like he already knew the answer to the question, but he still needed to ask: “How did that feel?”

Ringo just laughed and kissed him again.


Ten minutes later, George and Ringo emerged from the bedroom and made their way back to Paul’s kitchen. When he caught sight of them, Paul shot up from his chair. “Well…?” he asked, waiting.

George looked to Ringo, waiting for him to answer. Ringo just smiled and entwined his fingers with George’s.

Slowly, the corners of Paul’s mouth curved upward, and he rushed forward to pull them both into a hug. “It took you kids long enough.”

Chapter Text

For the next few days, George felt like he was in a constant dreamlike state. Waking up in the mornings was so much easier knowing that once he made his way to the kitchen, Ringo would be there to greet him with a kiss. And as if that wasn’t incredible enough, they spent the full length of their breakfasts with their toes playfully touching under the table.

Whatever doubts Ringo had at the beginning faded quickly. After only a couple weeks, he was ready to fully commit to George—an announcement that sent George flying toward Ringo to throw his arms around him and capture his mouth in a kiss that ended up being more teeth than lips with how much they were both smiling. When they paused kissing to breathe, George didn’t miss a beat in calling Ringo his boyfriend for the first time, and Ringo’s lips were back on his within seconds.

It was a relationship like none other that George had experienced—no awkward flirting stage, no worrying that the other person would run off whenever they discovered a new side to him—and, of course, the obvious ‘no secretly hating that the person he was with was a girl.’ He and Ringo already had years of best-friendship behind them, and taking things to the next level with him was so easy and natural. It just fit.

It was, however, a bit disappointing that they couldn’t be as open about their budding relationship as they’d prefer to be—nothing would have been more romantic than strolling around town during sunset hours, just holding hands. Luckily, the fact that they were already roommates and could easily spend every evening together eased the pain a little. But, George thought as he woke up with a sleeping Ringo in his arms, it did seem wasteful to continue paying for a two-bedroom flat when they were only using one.

They didn’t have to be entirely secretive, of course. Since the first night George had talked to him, Paul had really come around to what he was now calling his ‘favorite couple’—something he would never let John and Cynthia catch him saying. It was so nice for the three of them to relax in the living room, carrying on a normal conversation while Ringo’s arm was wrapped around George’s waist, and Paul didn’t mind a bit. Still, that didn’t stop Paul from jokingly telling them to ‘get a room’ each time they shared an innocent kiss.

With Paul already being in the know, George and Ringo figured that they should get around to telling John eventually—they just weren’t sure how. In the end, the decision was made for them when they lagged behind in the studio one day, thinking that they were the only two left. George grabbed Ringo’s hands and pulled him in for a quick kiss, which turned into another kiss, and another.

It wasn’t until John interrupted them with a quick, “Goodnight, mates,” on his way to the door that they realized they weren’t as alone as they had thought. They quickly pulled apart and stumbled over their words, trying to explain to John what he had just witnessed. But their attempts at an explanation left John looking very confused. “What the hell are you two on about?”

“We—we just,” Ringo sputtered until George grabbed his hand and squeezed.

“We’re together,” George said finally.

“…Well yeah,” John said plainly. “You’ve been shagging for a year already.”

What?” George gasped in shock. “No, we haven’t. This is only a few weeks old.”

“Really?” John cocked his head. “Nah, I don’t believe you. There’s been something goin’ on with you two for way longer than that.” George was about to interject, but John was already opening the door. “See you tomorrow, you liars,” John said as he left the building.

George and Ringo stood in silence for a few seconds before bursting into laughter. “What the fuck was that?” Ringo asked.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” George said while wrapping his arms around Ringo again, just to hold him.

“You know what I don’t understand?” Ringo continued. “How the hell did John and Paul figure out how I felt about you before I did?”

“Lucky guess on Paul’s part…delusion for John.”

Ringo cracked up again and ran his fingers through George’s hair. “C’mon, love—let’s get home.”

George happily agreed, and they shared one more kiss before heading outside themselves. George could still hardly believe that Ringo had fallen for him. But as they headed home side by side, brushing the backs of their hands together accidentally-on-purpose, George knew that it didn’t matter whether Ringo had discovered his feelings a year ago, a week ago, or twenty years in the future. They had found each other eventually, and that was more than enough.