Word Count: 3,054
Summary: Desperate to get Johnny to open up, Jack asks Johnny to get high with him. Humour. Angst.
Disclaimer: Tragically, fiction. I can't say for certain that it has never happened, because that's impossible to know. But if it has, I certainly haven't seen it. And if I had, I would have money for which Jack and Johnny might sue me.
Quote: "Jack leans forward, lips first. He needs this. Something to remind him that he may be inept as a person, but he can still make Johnny come. The way Johnny acts outside of motel rooms makes that easy to forget."
Author's Notes: So, after bemoaning the lack of Deppenport in the fic-dom I decided to get off of my lazy ass and make my own contribution. Hope you guys like. Also, to credit, the title comes from Radiohead's 'High and Dry' and a few lines of this were inspired by a comedy routine by Greg Proops, whom I adore--but not as much as I adore Jack/Johnny hotmansex.
Don’t leave me high and dry (Part 1/2)
Johnny’s a cinderblock kinda guy…No, that’s a terrible metaphor. What’s a good metaphor for being soft on the outside and hard on the inside? Burnt fish sticks?—Nah, that’s cold on the inside, black and flaky on the outside and Johnny’s neither flaky nor black. And Johnny’s not cold. When he asks you how you’re doing, he means it—Seriously! If you say fine , Johnny’ll say, “No. Hair is fine. Art can be fine. There is a fine line between rebellion and patriotism. But a person is not fine.”
Johnny’s more like a…safe. A big, polished titanium safe that’s finely-wrought in and of itself, but you’re itching to unlock it and poke around its secrets. Jack’s pressed his ear to the loc and strained to hear the keypad clicking of the tumbler, but he can’t quite suss-out the correct configuration to open him up. He’s excited and terrified about what he’ll find, and just plain terrified of what he won’t. That’s the problem with safes like that—something that elaborately fortified certainly looks like it contains something remarkable, but it’s just as easily empty.
Johnny’s no birthday present. No Easter egg. No lottery ticket—you can’t just scratch and see what’s underneath.
Maybe that’s why women (and men, Jack reflects) are so drawn to him. He doesn’t immediately present himself. You’ve always got the feeling that he’s concealing something immense—probably with major sexual implications. And it’s that ever-present sense of waiting and wanting and wondering and mulling over the many multitudinous multiplicity of possibilities that creates that wonderful tension that really is the root of all desire. Infinite desire is never knowing the depths of someone.
People are poems. You read ‘em and read ‘em and you pick out insights by the stem, like cherries, but you can’t whittle down a whole poem (or person) into something conceptually manageable. If you have, you’ve either stereotyped or they’re painfully shallow.
But Johnny, oh man, you wanna call him enigmatic but it sounds painfully “Entertainment Tonight.”
He’s just confident and intense and focused and it’s no wonder that this is often mistaken for detachment. And you think that if you can focus that intensity on yourself, if even for a second, you’ll carbonize. He’ll melt your matter back into its primordial energy. [And if E=MC^2 and the speed of light is an improbably large number…so the speed of light squared must be im-fucking-possibly huge. Imagine the energy bustling in your atoms. Well, you figure there’s an H-bomb in every two neutrinos, so that amounts to…enough force to blast all the matter in the universe back into nebular clouds of gas and dust literally packed into your little finger. That’s what Johnny’ll do to you. The trick is turning that powerful beam onto yourself, because Johnny’s loathe to turn it onto people.
That’s why Jack wants to ask Johnny if he would smoke some cannabis with him.
You see, Jack and Johnny have been fucking on and off since 2002, and Johnny’s satisfied with having a close friendship jazzed-up with sporadic sexual encounters between strange motel sheets, scratchy, stiff-starched and bleach-scented. And of course he thinks that Jack’s OK with it, because Jack would never own up to loving him—then he’d just come off as gay. And he can’t tell him that he wants this to be “something more”—then he’ll sound like some clichéd, bent-up other-woman who’s miffed because her midnight, dirty-martini sugar daddy has been promising to divorce his wife for two years and why won’t you hold hands with me in public? No. Part of love is respect, so Jack respects Johnny’s inclination to keep this all simple and unentangled.
That being said, Jack believes that some psychotropic drugs might shuffle Johnny loose from his emotional reserve. Maybe it will reveal that Johnny’s emotions correspond to his own…or maybe it will just reveal a sharp, rusty Occam’s razor. [The most likely explanation is the simplest explanation—Johnny hasn’t displayed these feelings because he does not entertain such feelings for him. Jack’s greatest fear—the door swings open and gaping emptiness, like a gaping maw. [Again with that damn safe metaphor!]
Ah well, even if it does confirm Jack’s gravest fears, at least it would be gratifying to see Johnny’s well-schooled demeanor soften into giggles. Maybe Jack wouldn’t be so intimidated by him afterward.
Jack hasn’t smoked before. Well, he hasn’t smoked cannabis before, but everyone does it. A university friend described it as, “like being drunk, except you can drive.” [And this is not the part where Jack moralizes that statement by saying that ironically, that friend died when he ran into a lorry on the motorway. It was actually a parked lorry in front of a Tesco and the bloke was completely sober. And he doesn’t have a death certificate, just a six-month driving ban.]
Sure, Jack has his reservations. After all, cannabis is schedule-one in the United States, meaning that it is illicit and of no medicinal or therapeutic utility [ridiculous Puritan prejudices if you ask him, but that’s what happens when evangelical logic dictates that a generous interpretation on a single Old Testament “your body is a temple” assertion supercedes the needs of chemotherapy patients and glaucoma sufferers. Thus neglecting all edicts to care for the sick as well as all of those niggling charity and “love thy neighbor” clauses…but that’s another week-long, discursive rant for which Jack is currently taking Welbutrin] but he has made up his mind on the matter. He just hopes that Johnny will agree.
Everyone knows that Johnny smokes cannabis, but no one talks about it, especially not Johnny. It makes sense, Jack supposes. After all, possession could land him in legal trouble, and he has his family to consider, not to mention his reputation. Everyone knows that misdemeanor marijuana possession spirals into “checks into rehab after month-long crack bender” according to the tabloid headlines.
Regardless, Jack’s resolved on the issue. Come Hell or high water…well, maybe he’d clear out for Hell, should it decide to come. High water, well, he could float on that.
The female interns have perked-up, like she-wolves downwind from a bleeding moose—Johnny must have just arrived.
Jack jogs outside to the parking lot, where Johnny is busy locking his battered green Jeep and the sight of him finally rams home the immensity of what he’s asking and the fact that in all likelihood he’ll answer with an emphatic “No”—Jack isn’t even sure that Johnny smokes cannabis. Again, Occam’s razor, its screeching steel voice whispering, “He doesn’t talk about it because he probably doesn’t do it.”
What if he doesn’t? What if he has strong moral convictions against it? What if he’s offended that Jack has presumed so, and assumes that he’s some kind of drug-addicted moral degenerate? He’d lose what little zygotic relationship that has developed between them. But if he doesn’t asks, he knows he won’t catch a wink of sleep for weeks, torturing himself over what may have transpired had he not been such a craven prat. That’s the problem with neuroses—if he asks, he’s sure he’s going to be rejected; if he doesn’t, then of course Johnny would have accepted and revealed his hidden, profound love for Jack.
Johnny catches sight of him, and suddenly Jack’s stomach is twisted in knots and swollen in his throat.
“HEY,” high-pitched. H sounds like he just sat on his balls.
“What?” Jack’s nervous squeak must have been of a frequency that only dolphins can hear.
“Hi. Johnny. How—are you?” Damn.
“Honestly, man? Terrible. Alzheimer’s finally took Grandma Jane. She was really an amazing woman.”
“Oh.” Think of a segue way, genius. “Erm, that’s unfortunate…But, whenever I’m, er, bereaved I smoke some cannabis. Makes me feel loads better.”
“Really? You know, drugs don’t make the grief go away, they just post-pone it. If you think you’ve got a problem, I know people who’ve really turned their lives around in twelve-step programs. I’ve got the num—“
“—No!,” he pipes, a little desperately. He’s so nervous he probably sounds like an addict. If he says that he doesn’t have a problem, well, denial’s the first step to admitting you have a problem. And if he says he has a problem, then he has a problem. There’s really no way out in this situation. “I didn’t mean it that way. I meant that, er, I don’t smoke cannabis to escape because grieving…it’s a process. And, like you said, I’d just be post-poning it. It’s just that if I smoke some cannabis, with a good friend,” he gestures to Johnny “it reminds me to appreciate those who are still here. You know?”
“Um, not really, but whatever works for you. I don’t judge. Just watch out for yourself, all right?”
“Oh. Yes. Completely.”
Johnny nods, and starts walking to the gate. Panicked, Jack grabs Johnny’s arm.
He jerks away. “Hey man, what’s your problem today?”
“N-n-nothing. I just—“ he breathes, hoping perhaps to exhale some of the tension in his throat.
“I was wondering if you’d, erm, mind smoking with me after shooting today?”
Johnny doesn’t say a word, just looks at him like Jack’s a puppy who keeps shitting on the carpet. “Jesus, is that why you’re so agitated?”
Jack nods. It’s all he can do. His mouth’s cotton-dry and his tongue’s clay.
Johnny relaxes visibly. He knows about Jack’s anxious tendencies—Not that he always forgives him for them. “Sure, I guess. But I’ve only got a half pack of Marlboros, and those are gonna be gone by the time we rap, but if you can find someone who’ll bum you one…”
“No, I didn’t mean—“ he looks around, lowering his voice to a raspy whisper, “cigarettes.” He’s dropped the bomb. This’ll make a mess of his head when it blows up in his face.
Johnny laughs. Not hard. It’s a laugh rooted in a rather absurd realization rather than mirth. “Man, you can be such a head-case sometimes. Have you been hitting the expresso shots again?”
“Yeah,” Jack affects abashedness. He’s never had expresso shots in his life.
“Let me think about it. I’ll get back to you later today, all right?”
“All right.” (Not at) all right.
Jack leans forward, lips first. He needs this. Something to remind him that he may be inept as a person, but he can still make Johnny come. The way Johnny acts outside of motel rooms makes that easy to forget.
Roughly, Johnny stabs his hand between them.
“Yeah.” An 18-wheeler roars past, drowning out the sound of Jack shattering. “I understand.”
“Hey Irma,” Johnny greets the grim-faced security woman, with the wiry black hair and sagging jowls. She smiles, jowls wobbling giddily and waves Johnny through.
Jack moves to follow, but she blocks him bodily, smile wiped clean away. “ID,” she demands.
Eight hours and Jack has recited the same two lines in as many different inflections, emphases and phrasings as his range allows—he even tried his hand at differing affectations.
“Hey Gore, why don’t I try a different accent? Check my résumé. I can do American—Southern, Western, Southwester, New York and even Boston. Paak the caar in Haarvaard Yaard. Or maybe something more exotic. South African. No, I’ve got it—New Zealand!—I can play this one as Peter Jackson. ‘Oi, before I directed Lord of the Rings I made a movie where I vomited in a bowl and aliens ate it. And don’t get me started on my movie where puppets had a gun battle with AK-47s.”
“Cut. OK, that’s enough. But if I can’t find a satisfactory take, we’re doing this tomorrow.”
“Thank you, commandant.”
Jack’s done for the day, but Johnny hasn’t approached him to render his decision. Maybe he’s avoiding him. Maybe he’ll always avoid him. Maybe he’s revoking the modicum of intimacy he shares with him [And it’s little consolation that he’ll be filming with him for months, knowing that off-camera, Jack is a non-entity in his eyes.] And Jack has no recourse. It’s not like Johnny owes him anything. What’s he going to say? I sucked your cock, so you owe my feelings some consideration!. Their exchanges are limited to bedroom etiquette. Jack sucks off Johnny; Johnny wanks Jack. Jacks sucks Johnny’s cock mind-blowingly (and Johnny feels generous); Johnny lets Jack fuck him. But all debts are cleared by morning. Non-transferable, especially to emotional currency. These are strictly back-room negotiations—savvy?
Jack hurries to the costume trailer, praying to any God who still has sympathy for his sinful arse for Johnny to still be there.
He climbs in, peeking under the stalls. [Yes, stalls. A major drawback to shooting in a hangar rather than a studio. You’re relegated to changing in a hot, cramped trailer in what’s essentially a bathroom stall.] At the end of the row, he spies a pair of sun-darkened feet with y-shaped sandal tan-lines. He moves closer to check under the door—
“Damn it!” He grabs his throbbing head, hissing.
“You OK?” a disembodies voice asks disinterestedly from behind the door.
“Yep,” Jack grunts through clenched teeth, “Never better—I was just…I was wondering if you’ve come to a decision?”
“The, er, smoking…cannabis. Smoking cannabis.”
“Oh yeah. Thanks for reminding me.” Jack desperately wishes he could see Johnny’s face, because the tiptoe-flexing of feet is no indication of what Johnny thinks about the whole thing. Then again, Johnny’s face is never much of a give-away either.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
“Wh-at?” his voice cracks in the middle. Well, for normal people marijuana is mellowing and mildly psychoactive, but for people with panic disorders, depression and anxious tendencies, it can literally be a trip to hell. And as a friend, I wouldn’t recommend that you try it.”
“But I’ve smoked hundreds of times. A-and I was just fine. Had a laugh. Ate some chocolate biscuits.” Jack is thankful that Johnny can’t see his lying face. When Johnny looks at him, he feels thin as cellophane and just as transparent. Johnny doesn’t look at you. He looks into you.
Johnny steps out in his own clothes, but with the dark vestiges of Jack Sparrow make-up smeared around his eyes. God, Jack wants to fuck him. [No—Jack wants to be tied to the bed post of a massive four-poster with black, silken sheets in a castle with a lightning storms raging and rain smacking against the window and Johnny with those demon-dark eyes whispering, “May darkness take you—hard, with impunity.”
“You sure? Because I’ll admit, babysitting you when you freak-out is low on my list of things to do today.”
“I’ve never freaked out.” “…on cannabis,” he amends. Which is the truth. But seeing as though this is only because he’s never actually smoked it makes his statement misleading at best.
“What time is it?”
Jack checks his mobile, “Four.”
Johnny considers, but seems a bit apprehensive, as if something’s still nagging at him. “We can smoke at my house. The kids are at their grandma’s right now, but Vanessa’s going to be home at eleven, so you’re going to have to sober up before that.”
Johnny’s house? Jack’s never seen Johnny’s house. They’ve only ever met in neutral places. Bars. Motels. Entering and leaving a full half-hour apart. Jack has memorized how to say “Do Not Disturb” is five languages just by reading the sign on the door. It’s more than he could have rightfully expected, but he pushes his luck a bit further.
“Can’t I just crash for the night? I mean, you’ve got that massive mansion in Brentwood—surely you can spare a room.”
“Space isn’t the issue man, you know that. Look, if we’re going to maintain our arrangement we’ve got to be careful. That’s why I don’t bring you up to Vanessa, and so far she doesn’t seem to suspect anything, or at least she’s not showing me that she is. But if she saw us together that might just be what triggers her suspicions.”
“I understand,” that you don’t want to admit that you’re a faggot.
“I knew you would. Anyway, you know how to get there, right?”
“No. I’ve yet to have that pleasure.”
“Ok. Just come out when you’re done and follow me.”
Jack has that absurd urge to kiss him again, but it would only piss Johnny off. Anyone oculd walk into this trailer at any time, and any grip with a camera phone could turn a handsome profit on their stolen moment. Jack’s got nothing to lose. He’s nobody. But Johnny has a lot at stake. If the pictures hit the tabloids, every grocery counter in the world would be lined with the cover story, “Johnny Depp caught in GAY affair with unknown lover.” Jack doesn’t want to be responsible for that.
“Be right out.”
Johnny is impossible to follow. Traffic on the 14 is spotty because people are suddenly slowing down to catch a glimpse of the various brush fires lining dotting the horizon, so Johnny darts back and forth across all four lanes, never releasing the accelerator by a millimeter, holding steady at 75 when the rest of the freeway is crawling along at about 50. Jack, who would be perfectly content to hug the right lane and ride the current of cars to his destination, is forced to careen through daredevil maneuvers just to keep up, always keeping that forest green Jeep in sight.
What’s worst is when the people around Johnny realize that they’re driving beside Johnny-fucking-Depp, so they slam the brakes to stay level, creating a bright, braked-lighted column of cars that is impenetrable by Jack’s hulking Escalade. Why did he buy this thing? He’s in Los Angeles, where there’s not an iota of unpaved space and he’s driving a Humvee assault vehicle.
The theory was that in the event of an accident, the bloke in the bigger car lives. So he bought an ostentatiously big car so that the energy-conscious bloke in the Prius eats it instead of him.
His heart’s thumping like a bass drum-roll. High-risk driving. High-risk fucking. Johnny loves living on the edge. But he’s always ALWAYS in control.
Jack struggles to keep pace.
R&R! It validates my existence. Also, con-crit greatly encouraged. It's what keeps me from continuing to suck and I really want to know if I'm doing a good job creating the tension.