Pairing: John/Freddie (Queen)
Summary: John was swiftly reaching the conclusion that if there was such thing as a hell on Earth, it was probably somewhere in Texas.
Note: Originally posted in queen_slash. I'm putting it here for safekeeping.
John was swiftly reaching the conclusion that if there was such thing as a hell on Earth, it was probably somewhere in Texas. Houston was making a pretty strong case for itself at the moment. This was where they happened to be located for their only day off on this leg of the tour, as opposed to someplace habitable.
Nobody else seemed to have much of a problem with this. Brian had cheerfully gone off to the Space Center, and Roger was touring a brewery or some damned thing. John would have liked to stay at the hotel and get some much-needed rest, but somehow he'd been talked into tagging along with Freddie, who was hell-bent on visiting every art gallery in the city.
The problem wasn't just the heat. If it had been, John might have gotten used to it after a while. Unfortunately, every building they entered was air-conditioned beyond all reason, and the perpetual shifting between blistering heat and arctic cold was giving John a massive headache. Freddie didn't seem to mind much. He thrived in hot weather, and he was always too entranced with the art to care how cold it was indoors.
Freddie kept up a constant stream of chatter, explaining what surrealism was, or the life of Monet, or the relative merits of oils and pastels, but John found it difficult to take an interest. Freddie accused him of having the aesthetic sensibilities of a turnip, and he didn't disagree.
Sometime in the early evening, when John wanted nothing more than a glass of water and a five-hour nap, they found themselves in the Rothko Chapel. It seemed, without a doubt, the most pointless stop on their excursion. “How is this art? They're all just...black.”
Freddie sighed exasperatedly. “You need to look at them, dear, not just glance. Here.” He directed John to sit beside him on a bench. “Relax, clear your mind, and focus.”
John dutifully sat down and tried to clear his mind, but thoughts like This is ridiculous and God, I hate Texas kept popping into it. Slowly, though, the quiet and stillness of the little room seeped into him, and shapes began to emerge from the black panels. They didn't look like anything in particular, but were soft and subtle, like clouds in the night sky.
As John moved his gaze from one painting to the next, taking in their hidden beauty, he felt the tension melting from his body. His breathing grew deeper, and his headache dissolved away into nothing. The paintings, though not strictly representational, began to suggest things to him--misty landscapes, shadowy figures, half-remembered dreams.
He felt a sudden swell of gratitude, wanted to thank Freddie for this moment of perfect serenity, and turned to look at him. And then it was like the magic that brought out the beauty in the strange, dark paintings made him notice new things about Freddie as well--his lovely long eyelashes, his graceful shoulders, his full lips. John felt as though speaking would ruin the peace that had settled over them, and he'd never be able to find the right words anyway. He reached out, tentatively, and touched Freddie's hand.
Freddie turned to look at him, eyes wide with wonder. John summoned up all of his courage and leaned forward.
It was barely a kiss at first, just a delicate brushing of lips. Then Freddie placed a hand on the back of John's neck and pulled him closer, bringing their mouths more firmly together. Every movement was achingly slow. John's heart fluttered in his chest, and Freddie, as though sensing it, stroked his hair gently, trying to calm him. John trailed his fingers over Freddie's thigh in response, and Freddie shivered, hair standing up on his arms.
They paused for breath and just sat looking at each other. Neither felt the need to speak; everything between them was complete, in and of itself, without needing to be defined. Freddie smiled warmly; John felt suddenly shy, and lowered his eyes. Freddie reached over, tilted his chin upward, and kissed him again.
When they broke apart once more, Freddie's eyes flicked towards the door, then sent a questioning look back at John. John shook his head; he didn't want to leave just yet. There would be all the time in the world later that night, to do whatever they wanted in the privacy of a hotel room. For now, he wanted to savor this rare moment of tranquility, lock it inside his heart and keep it there forever.