Passed in Paris

A/N: Months ago someone sent me a photo (http : / / icmezzo(dot)tumblr(dot)com/post/10596368068) and asked what I thought the man was thinking about, and wished for a story on that very subject. This is an attempt to fulfill that request instead. I hope you enjoy.

Slash. AH. Rated M. Thanks to ArcadianMaggie for prereading and TwilightMundi for betaing.

All copyrights, trademarked items, or recognizable characters, plots, etc. mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without express authorization.


Passed in Paris

"You can't escape the past in Paris, and yet what's so wonderful about it
is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn't seem a burden."
Allen Ginsberg

He'd always dreamed of coming to Paris.

The history, the art, the architecture, and the food all beckoned to him.

He decided to respond to the call.

With a few months to go before the start of his final few semesters of grad school, he packed up his backpack, purchased a guidebook, a French phrase dictionary, and a plane ticket. He kissed his mother goodbye, and set off intent to find adventure and, he hoped, an answer to the rumble of discontent that rarely left his belly.

The first days were glorious. He meandered along the ancient streets and saw the famous sights. He sipped cafe au lait as he jotted down frank descriptions of various passersby in his journal—and on occasion, the thoughts in his head as well. He learned the nearest metro stop to his hostel, and how to count the correct change for a croissant in the morning, and for a beer at night.

Everything was perfect, exactly what he'd hoped it would be.

Which is why he had to assume the melancholy settling over him for the second day in a row was a result of the gloomy weather, and, perhaps, just a touch of homesickness.

After all, he had finally made it to Paris, he reminded himself frequently. What else could it be?

It was mid-morning now, and he'd been wandering the streets yet again when he paused abruptly at the corner of Rue des Abbesses and Rue Ravignan, contemplating his next destination, and ended up stumbling forward a bit when someone bumped into him from behind.

Startled, he was unable to recall the words he needed—a simple excusez-moi would have sufficed—as his memory was inexplicably flooded with images of a man he had known years ago.

Flashes of rust.

An emerald gaze.

Lips parted just so.

Pale, pale flesh, the first he had ever known.

As another stranger, a tall woman with sharp elbows and a quick tongue, brushed by him, nearly knocking him over, he realized it would be best to get out of the way.

Ducking into an empty doorway, he tried not to remember as the stranger faded into the crowd.

The scratch and scruff of his jaw.

His salty, musky scent.

Messy, sexy as fuck hair.

Entangled limbs, writhing bodies.

The catch in his voice when he was going to come.

The sweet, soft rhythm of his steady heart as it beat against his own.

Edward.

Merde.

He tried to shake his head clear; he'd not come halfway around the world to remember the past.

Too many years had gone by the wayside for such memories to still consume him. They always left him emptier than he was before. Besides, what was it about the man on the street that brought them crashing through his mind yet again, gutting him for the millionth time in the process? The stranger had been too tall; his hair had been all wrong, and his lips were twisted into an unfamiliar expression. The eyes had been a brilliant green, but they weren't Edward's.

And anyway, such a serendipitous encounter wouldn't be in his cards. The man he couldn't forget was certainly back in the U.S...

But what if it had been him?

What if his Edward had chosen to make a timely jaunt through Europe? And what if they'd bumped into each other on the streets of Paris?

He'd pause abruptly along Rue Ravignan to contemplate his next destination and end up stumbling forward a bit when someone bumped into him from behind.

Startled, his mouth would go dry, and he'd be unable to choke out the appropriate Excusez-moi as his memories blurred into the image before him, the man he had known years ago.

Flashes of rust.

An emerald gaze.

Lips parted just so.

Pale, pale flesh...

"Edward." Surprise would color his voice as the name fell from his mouth.

Edward would be just as stunned, and far more gorgeous than he'd remembered.

A tall French woman with sharp elbows would brush by, but Edward would grasp his arm to steady him. Realizing it would be best to get out of the way, they'd duck into an empty doorway.

You're here. Is it you?

How long, since when, until?

Are you alone?

Will you? I will.

They'd wander, the two of them, to Montmatre Hill, brushing against each other, exchanging shy glances. Unable not to.

The scratch and scruff of his jaw, darker now and square.

Messy hair, a bit shorter but still sexy as fuck.

Lips parted, just so.

Edward.

They'd have lunch. The cheese and wine from the bistro would burst on his tongue and he'd be reminded of other flavors he'd once known … and he'd wonder why he ever tried to forget. Afterward, they'd walk—up and down streets he'd already seen, yet only now would understand, on and on and on until the sky pinked and purpled with the day's end.

Still, they wouldn't part, their meeting too fateful to question. They'd find a little restaurant, and their server wouldn't mind at all when the aperitif would embolden him just enough to lean over and place a small kiss on his wide-eyed companion, tasting the drink on his lips. Quick glances by candlelight would turn to looks of desire, their bodies craving a reminder of what had once been so good as their minds forgot why they'd thrown it away.

Dark emerald eyes and parted lips.

Salty, musky skin.

The flush that heated pale, pale flesh.

A mess of entangled limbs as bodies writhed.

The catch in his voice when he was going to come.

They'd both want to remember. To touch. To taste. To experience again the best they'd ever known.

You're here. Is it you?

How long, since when?

Are you alone? Not anymore.

Will you? I will.

They'd take their leave from the restaurant, their steps quicker now, winding along the ancient paths to an unspoken destination, the solitary kiss still tingling on their lips.

Hurrying along through the moonlight, they'd arrive back at a hotel. Edward would hold out his key.

Are you alone? Not anymore.

Will you? I will.

They find the elevator, and once the doors closed, he'd pull Edward back against his chest, holding tight the man he'd had to let go.

Salt and musk.

Entwined flesh.

Hearts beating together again.

The catch in his voice when he said, "This is my floor."

They'd go to Edward's room, remove their worn clothing, and peel off the shoes that had gotten them this far. Then they'd hold each other for a while until he'd draw his tongue along Edward's neck, taste his salty skin, feel again the rough scratch of his jawline. He'd take in his scent and hear the soft sounds that only Edward made. And he'd reach for Edward and touch him and remind him, and give and give and give until he once again heard the catch in Edward's throat.

They would remember together.

They'd understand all that they'd had.

And maybe, just maybe, as the sweet, soft rhythm of Edward's heart beat steadily against his own, they'd realize it would be best if they could find a way to make new memories.

But then, it hadn't been Edward, had it?

It hadn't been.

It hadn't been Edward with his emerald eyes and salty skin and fucked up hair.

Hadn't been his Edward, who made the soft sounds and rested against him afterward, heart against his own.

He stood in the doorway, watching as people meandered by, headed to work, or to the market, or to a hotel to remember.

Quickly brushing away the salty tear that threatened to escape the corner of his eye, he emerged again from the doorway.

He had the streets of Paris at his fingertips and it was time to go.

When he reached the corner of Rue des Abbesses and Rue Ravignan this time, he didn't pause, and didn't get bumped into by a man with green eyes, or a tall woman with a sharp tongue.

This time, he simply turned left.