Title: Black Pine and Blues
Author: Ponderosa (ponderosa@dragonworld.com)
Pairing: Johnny Depp/Orlando Bloom
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Quiet conversation and the questions that arise.
Disclaimer: Pure fiction. Don't claim to know them. Etc. etc.


These days, wine is Johnny's drink of choice. Like him, it's sophisticated, subtle, layered--sometimes sweet and sometimes bitter, but always intoxicating. Tonight it's smooth, flowing from bottle to glass to throat in a red river that carries easy conversation and easier laughter between him and Orlando.

"You play?" he asks, when he catches Orlando eyeing his guitar.

The younger man pauses. "A little," he admits, before tossing back what wine is left in a squat, silver trimmed glass.

Johnny grabs the guitar by the neck, hefts it. The ring on his finger clicking and squealing along the strings, he swings the guitar around and holds it out. "Go ahead," he offers.

Orlando shakes his head, as he really isn't all that good, but Johnny insists. His dark eyes are serious, intense, but something in them says, 'I won't laugh if you suck.'

Orlando hesitates, but sets his cup at his feet. The heavy glass topples as he draws his fingers away, a trickle of red bleeding out to stain the thick shag carpet. Johnny tells him not to worry before he has a chance to apologize, and with a giddy laugh, Orlando settles back in his chair with the instrument in his lap.

He cradles the wooden body close and slides his slim fingers along the strings, pretends to admire the pearlescant inlay on the frets as his brain scrambles to remember what to do through a fog of alcohol and not enough sleep.

"Oh, what the fuck," Orlando says, and launches into a song. His fingers fumble, missing a note here and there, and he plays more than a few chords sour, but Johnny's eyes are closed, absorbing everything.

"Not bad," Johnny murmurs, when Orlando runs out of music. He opens his eyes, smile curving beneath his mustache, and leans back to fumble in his pocket for a smoke. "Although," he adds, hanging a brown-papered cigarette on his lip, "not very good either."

Orlando chuckles. "Would help if I wasn't drunk," he says, lifting a hand off the body to rub his nose. "Still, I'd like to get better someday."

A match hisses and a flame is born, glowing a gentle orange between Johnny's fingers as he holds it to his face. Then, with a shake, the match signals its death with a wisp of smoke and is discarded into an Altoids tin that has been serving as an ashtray since Johnny moved in.

"Playing music is like sucking dick," Johnny says.

"What do you mean?" Orlando asks, trying to see the connection.

"What do you think I mean?" Johnny replies, taking the cigarette from his lips and blowing a long stream of smoke into the air.

"Easier said than done?" Orlando guesses.

Silence reigns.

Thin brows furrowing, Orlando tries again, "Takes practice to get good at it?"

Still no response, and Orlando decides Johnny is fucking with him. "What then?" he asks, setting the guitar aside, propping it against the houseboat's paneled wall. "Something everyone should try at least once?"

Ash dangling precariously from the tip of his cigarette, Johnny points two fingers at the younger man. "That's the one," he says, eyes and gold teeth glittering as he grins.

Orlando can't tell if he's joking.

Still can't, even when he finds himself clutching Johnny's thighs, and slender fingers cradle his skull.

END