Okay, so it's been forever and a day since I've updated. Life's been ridiculous, what can I say? At any rate, I don't own House, but all the other characters are mine.
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House awakened the next morning with a strong sense of disorientation. He could have sworn that Johnny had climbed into bed at some point during the night, but now House found himself alone.
It wouldn't have surprised him if Johnny had decided to stay behind. Music was the man's life and livelihood, and the bond between he and Mick was obviously strong. Despite Johnny's assurances the day before, House had little doubt that Johnny and Mick would reconnect if given an opportunity.
Just as well, House thought. It had been a wild ride while it lasted, but it was unrealistic for him to expect it to last long. House wasn't even into men, therefore the idea that things would end between them shouldn't have bothered him at all.
His dark train of thought continued as he pushed himself out of bed and wrapped his robe around him before limping down the hallway. Before he reached the living room, he heard a distinct twang coming from the living room.
"I'm telling you, man, she's out of this goddamn world." Johnny gestured expansively, cigarette smoke creating circular patterns in the air as he spoke. "Yeah, I gave her a card. Wait till you hear her. Calvin won't be able to put together a contract quick enough." He spotted House as he passed through toward the kitchen, greeting him with a quick nod and a smile. "I'll probably be back up there sometime this afternoon. Kind of depends on how things go…Alright, man. See you then."
Johnny hit a button on the side of his phone and shoved it back in his pocket as House returned to the living room with a cup of coffee. "Hey."
House nodded slightly in return and eased himself on to the couch next to Johnny. "Doing business on a Sunday?"
"Every day's a working day." Johnny answered with a short laugh, reaching over to lightly caress House's leg. "Just talking to Rex about the woman we saw Friday night. I guess she hasn't called the studio yet. Hope she does, though. She's too goddamn talented to stay in Philly."
"Sure is." House sipped his coffee, questions swirling in his mind, but he was suddenly reluctant to ask now. The last thing he wanted was to appear clingy. He was a grown man, not some stupid teenage groupie.
Finally his curiosity got the better of him, and he took in a deep breath before plunging in. "So it must have been a late one last night."
Johnny frowned a little. "Not really. I came back right after the show. You were knocked out, man."
"Your fault." House tried to sound casual. "I'm old. I can't take all this…activity."
"Aw, bullshit." Johnny snorted, brushing just inside House's knee while moving closer. "You know damn well you're tough enough to take it." He brushed a quick kiss to House's lips. "And just so you know, nothing happened. Mick's got his thing, and I've got mine."
"Do you?" House was still skeptical.
Johnny shrugged casually. "I'd like to think I do. Any reason to think I don't?"
"I guess not."
"Look, man." Johnny pointed out. "I've done…a lot in my life. Met a lot of people, done a lot of people. A few of them have been real important. Mick's one of them…and so are you."
"But there are others."
"Sure." Johnny shifted a little, his expression becoming thoughtful and almost sad, House thought. "You know how sometimes music will bring back an old memory? I mean, bring it back hard, like you're reliving it."
House nodded. There were a few songs he associated with Stacy that he generally tried to avoid.
Johnny took in a deep breath, his hand still smoothing over House's leg. "Happened to me just last night. We were trying to figure out what to play and that damn bass player wanted to hear 'Shelter From The Storm'."
"That one?" House was puzzled. "It's not exactly one of your best ones. Overly sentimental for you, if you ask me."
Johnny shot House a glare. "It's…very personal. Probably never should have recorded it. Hell, never should have even wrote it. You could say the message was lost on the receiver."
"You wrote that for someone?" House shook his head.
"Yeah, crazy, right?"
"Depends on who it was."
Johnny let out a sardonic chuckle. "I'm not telling. You won't believe it anyway."
House huffed in mild exasperation. "You can't just start a story like that and leave out the ending."
Johnny looked thoughtful for a moment before shaking his head. "Alright, brother. You really want to know?"
House nodded. His curiosity was good and piqued now.
House had to think about that one for a minute before it clicked. He heaved himself off the couch and made his way over to his CDs, flipping through them until he found the one he was looking for.
"This guy." House tapped the cover with one finger.
Johnny took the CD and studied it intently, his expression changing ever so slightly. "Yeah, him."
House took back the CD and looked it over. "You know, I only bought this one because I was a fan of your music. Didn't think much of Jeff Wheeler. Of course, I only knew of him because of Midnight Sun."
"Didn't care for Midnight Sun, huh?"
House shook his head. "If I want hippie music, I'll listen to the Grateful Dead. If I want the blues, I'll listen to…well, anything but Midnight Sun."
Johnny chuckled slightly. "Fair enough. Tell you what, though, that man had a voice on him. When he really worked it…man, it was something special."
"Yeah, found that out when I listened to this one." House waved the CD around.
Johnny nodded, that slight smile never leaving his face. "Why don't you go on and play it?"
"Are you sure about that?"
"Yep." Johnny pulled out his cigarette pack and fished out a joint, placing it in his mouth and lighting up. "Haven't listened to it in a long time."
House made his way to the stereo and put in the CD, and soon the opening guitar notes rang out in the apartment. Crisp, clean, precise, while still soulful and expressive. Classic Johnny Rocket.
Jeff Wheeler's voice joined in behind, a soaring tenor that blended in perfectly with Johnny's guitar line. Even after all these years of listening, House still marveled at how synchronous the two musicians were. He should have known there was a more personal connection there. It made perfect sense.
Johnny handed House the joint as soon as he returned to the couch, his expression a little more melancholy now. "Man, there's so much I would have done differently with this one."
"You're crazy." House told him, taking a long hit off the joint and handing it back to Johnny. "It's damn near perfection as it is."
"Not even close." Johnny shook his head. "But Jeff insisted on just booking a studio for a week and treating it like an extended jam session that someone just happened to catch on tape. Said something about it being more 'organic' or 'pure' or some shit. I still don't buy it."
House huffed irritably. "Obsess much?"
Johnny held out his hand. "Hey pot, I'm kettle. Nice to meet you."
"Every chance I get." Johnny leaned in to steal a quick kiss before leaning against House. "Don't get me wrong, the whole session was amazing. We were firing on all cylinders that week. I just think it could have been better."
House put a finger over Johnny's lips. "Quit talking. You're harshing my mellow."
Johnny snorted and kissed House's finger, but otherwise fell silent.
The music flowed easily from one track to the next, the spare production showcasing both men's talents. There was an easy give and take between them that almost made House envious.
Johnny sighed heavily as he finished the joint they had been passing back and forth, putting it out in the ashtray and returning to lean against House. His hand rested on House's thigh, lightly stroking with his thumb.
"Goddamn, I miss him." Johnny suddenly blurted out. "He was fucking brilliant. Fucking brilliant, and he pissed it away. Thing is, he knew he was pissing it away, even as he kept doing it. I don't fucking get it."
"Oh, please." House snapped softly. "You've been there. You're telling me you didn't know you were fucking up while you were fucking up?"
"Of course I knew." Johnny answered defensively. "But I knew I had to quit, too. Didn't have a choice."
"Sure you did." House argued. "So did he. We've all got choices."
"But why would he choose to…" Johnny shook his head. "Forget it. Fucking forget it. He's dead. It doesn't fucking matter anymore."
"If it didn't matter you wouldn't be going on and on about it." House pointed out.
"Yeah, you're probably right." Johnny nodded in agreement, his fingers playing out the guitar notes on the inside of House's leg. "Just wish he could have seen how fucking amazing he was. Maybe he wouldn't have wrecked himself."
"He would have." House told him. "You can almost count on it."
Johnny fell silent, his fingers now stroking House's leg lightly, sending little shivers through House. If only he'd keep that up instead of running his mouth, they might be better off.
"You know, I don't mean to unload all this shit on you." Johnny spoke again.
"No, it isn't." Johnny told him firmly. "It doesn't matter how many times I go over it. It doesn't change anything. All it does is bring me down." He shifted slightly, reaching up to trace his thumb across House's forehead.
House closed his eyes, enjoying the sensations. "Does this mean you're done talking?"
"For now." Johnny moved in closer, his hand covering House's cheek, his thumb grazing across his cheekbone as he touched his lips to House's.
House quickly lost himself as the kiss deepened, Johnny's hand moving to the back of House's neck, his fingers stroking through his hair. He was vaguely aware of Johnny shifting slightly before he felt himself being guided to his feet.
"Are we going somewhere?" House tried to sound casual.
"Figured we'd try out your bed." Johnny answered, his hand still curled around House's neck. "Seems like we never make it that far."
Johnny's mouth quirked in a little smile as he turned and headed toward the bedroom while House followed close behind. In almost no time, Johnny was tugging at the belt of House's robe, letting it fall open before pushing it off his shoulders and onto the floor.
House moved his hands under Johnny's shirt, thrilling to the sound of the other man's breath catching in his throat. Johnny pulled away just enough to pull off his shirt and throw it aside before capturing House's mouth in a rough kiss, his tongue demanding entrance.
He could already feel Johnny's hard cock between them, and his own was just starting to catch up. Johnny guided House's hands to his belt, and House quickly started undoing both belt and buttons while Johnny slid his hands down the back of House's sleep pants.
Soon both of them were naked and moving toward the bed, falling with a hard thump. They were nothing but a tangle of limbs, lips and hands wandering as far as they would go.
Johnny soon had House on his back, and he reached over to the floor to pull a condom and lube out of his jeans pocket. He gave House an admiring look as he rolled the condom over himself and squirted out some lube onto his fingers.
"Wanted some of this last night." He told House as he slid two fingers deep inside, leaning over for a quick kiss.
"You could have woken me up." House answered roughly, squirming as Johnny's fingers brushed against the bundle of nerves deep inside him.
"I could have." Johnny agreed, shifting so that he lay on his side next to House, steadily working his fingers in and out. "But it's kind of hard to see your reactions in the dark."
House jumped and gasped in surprise and pleasure as Johnny's fingers kept probing, sending little shocks through him. Johnny murmured in response, pressing his body against House and starting a line of kisses down his jaw, working down his neck.
He was so lost in the pure pleasure he was receiving that he barely noticed that Johnny had shifted again. Now he was between House's legs, pulling his fingers out and quickly replacing them with his cock, easing his way in at first before pushing all the way in.
The initial sharp pain gave way to intense pleasure as Johnny started pumping into him, leaning over him to kiss him hard, their tongues almost fighting for dominance as they clung to each other. The dual sensations of Johnny moving inside him and his own cock rubbing between their stomachs was almost too much for House, and he soon felt his climax building, his whole body tensing until everything exploded, warmth and stickiness shooting out between them.
"Fuck." Johnny groaned in House's ear, shoving hard into House with one final stroke before coming hard, the pulses sending aftershocks through House's body.
He relaxed with a hard sigh, resting his head against House's shoulder, their rough breathing the only sound in the room. House was reluctant to say anything to break the silence. He was only slightly surprised to find himself enjoying the simple, quiet intimacy between them. Even if it wasn't real, it felt real enough that he didn't want to kill the buzz.
Finally Johnny moved away long enough to strip off the condom and toss it in a nearby wastebasket before settling in next to House, propped up on one elbow, his arm draped over House's chest, studying him with a serious expression.
"I don't want this to end." Johnny told him quietly.
House was baffled, fear flashing briefly through him. "Care to explain that?"
Johnny traced over House's chest with one finger, his expression turning thoughtful. "Ever since…you know, Jeff…I quit trying to get too involved with people. Wasn't worth it, didn't have time, all that shit." He sighed a little, laying his head on the pillow, resting his hand on House's chest. "I figured you and me were just going to have some quick thing, and that would have been cool. But…I don't know what happened, but it's gone way past that, at least for me. Can't speak for you."
House thought his heart was going to explode out of his chest. Johnny had to be kidding. There was no way this legend was in any way falling for him. He was no one special. House couldn't understand what the other man saw in him outside of an easy fuck and a jam partner.
"Why me?" House asked quietly.
"Hell, man, I don't know." Johnny answered almost irritably, shifting so that he was looking House straight in the eye. "I just know that whatever this is, it's working. Seems to be, at least."
House carefully studied the other man's expression, surprised to spot something like fear in Johnny's eyes. It was almost as if he was seeing the real Johnny Rocket for the first time, the man behind the tough and wild exterior, the man behind the music.
Johnny was all but handing out his heart to House, and House had no idea what to do. The sex was far beyond what he had ever experienced, and he enjoyed hanging out with the man. But was there more than that behind it all? Perhaps there was and House was deliberately turning a blind eye to it.
House turned so that he was on his side facing Johnny, nervously running his hand along his side and coming to rest on the other man's lower back. Finally he collected his thoughts enough to speak.
"I…like what's happening." He told Johnny. There was a long silence before he continued. "Sorry, I don't know what else you want me to say. This isn't exactly familiar territory."
A slight smile lit Johnny's face. "It's cool. I kind of laid a lot on you."
House nodded, somewhat relieved. "So…we're okay?"
Johnny's smile widened as he stroked House's face. "Better than okay, don't you think?"
House couldn't help rolling his eyes. "We'll see about that."
"Fair enough." Johnny leaned in for a hard kiss, sliding one leg over House's.
House soon found himself drawn in again, responding in kind. There were worse things than being some legend's lust object. He'd take it for as long as it lasted.
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Johnny finally packed up his guitar and his bag later that evening, preparing to go back to New York. He'd been putting it off all day, but he knew both he and House had to go back to their respective lives. Another weekend would come soon enough, although it wouldn't really be soon enough for him.
House stood near the door, shifting back and forth and leaning heavily on his cane. "Finally had enough of me?"
Johnny laughed at that. "Never enough, brother. But I guess it'll be enough to hold me over for a few days."
A slight smile started to creep over House's face until he suppressed it behind an eye roll. Johnny merely shook his head and leaned in for a quick kiss. "Call me later in the week."
"Will do." House subtly pushed Johnny away, his eyes shifting between Johnny and the floor. "Get out of here before you end up having to stay another night."
"Yeah, because that'd be a tragedy." Johnny cracked, picking up his guitar case and bag and turning toward the door. He paused just before he opened it. "I meant what I said, you know. I want to keep seeing you."
"I know." House's tone sounded somewhat resigned. "Now go."
The parting comment hurt a little, but Johnny pushed it aside. He wouldn't get anywhere with House by pushing him. He'd probably said too much already.
He closed the door behind him and made his way to the Mustang, placing his guitar and bag in the back seat. After he climbed in and buckled up, he took one more look behind him. Sure enough, House was staring out the window, an unreadable expression on his face.
Johnny flashed him a quick smile and a wave, and House responded with a brief wave before disappearing from the window. Johnny let out a little sigh as he started the car and found some music.
House wasn't much on words, that was for damn sure. But it was clear from the way he expressed himself physically that there was something happening on House's end, even if he wasn't willing to verbalize it.
Johnny shook his head as he wove through town and got on the freeway. He was investing way too much energy in this. If this kept up, he wouldn't have any left to work on his music.
His phone rang, jolting him out of his thoughts. At first he considered letting it go to voice mail, but instead he picked it up and answered. "Rocket."
"Johnny!" Bella screamed. "Why didn't you tell me you were playing with Mick Ronson last night?"
Johnny was baffled. "How the hell did you know about that?"
"It's only all over You Tube." Bella told him. "All the major entertainment sites have picked it up. You've got to go check it out."
"I'm on the road, girl." Johnny pointed out. "I'll check it out later."
"You'd better." Bella answered. "The thing's gone fucking viral. Talk to you later."
With that she was gone, and Johnny tossed the phone back in the console. He was having a hard time believing his ears. Surely there were a thousand other acts that were more popular than he and Mick. It must have been one hell of a show.
His phone rang again, and Johnny picked it up with a sigh. It was going to be a long drive back to New York at this rate. "Rocket."
"Just saw the video of you and Mick Ronson." Calvin started with no prelude. "Great stuff."
"Wasn't nothing." Johnny answered, already a little embarrassed at the attention. "Just a couple of old friends playing music."
"The hell it was." Calvin snapped. "That was pure magic. You need to get your ass back up here and get in the studio so you can capitalize on it."
Johnny was pretty sure Calvin was talking more about himself than anything else. The sooner Johnny got an album out, the sooner Calvin could start making some money off him. "I'm on my way back now. Got some arrangements ready. All we need is some studio time."
"You know you can get that anytime you want." Calvin told him. "You're the big dog around here, or have you forgotten that?"
"I'll make it happen." Johnny was getting irritated.
"Good." Calvin replied firmly. "See you when you get up here. Hey, maybe you could convince Ronson to work with you. It'd be one hell of a collaboration, don't you think?"
"Yeah, it would." Johnny agreed. "He said New York was his next stop. I'll talk to him."
"You do that." With that Calvin abruptly hung up, and Johnny tossed his phone aside. He wondered who else would end up calling before he got back to New York.
The rest of the drive went relatively peacefully aside from the normal traffic, and Johnny soon pulled into his parking garage, where the attendant greeted him with a nod before lifting the gate. He parked the car and pulled his guitar and bag out of the back seat, making his way toward the building.
The apartment was eerily quiet when he entered, and Johnny realized just how quickly he had gotten used to having another person around. He vaguely wondered what it would be like to have House around full time. Surely someone of his brilliance would have no trouble finding work in New York.
He pushed the thought aside almost as quickly as it came up. Talk about getting ahead of himself. Johnny wasn't even sure how the man felt about him, or why it was suddenly so important to him.
It didn't matter right now, he decided as he unpacked before heading down several floors to his office, booting up the computer and opening his Internet browser.
He typed in the address for You Tube, his heart pounding as he did a quick search. The quick search revealed what he was looking for, and even he was astounded at the amount of traffic the video had gotten. Almost a million hits, and hundreds of comments, almost entirely positive.
Johnny couldn't believe it. He clicked 'play', trying to watch it as if he were an outside observer. Mick was brilliant, of course, but he was also surprised at his own sound. It wasn't half bad, all things considered.
He leaned back in his desk chair, feeling a little smile creep onto his face. If the traffic and the comments were any indication, maybe he wasn't completely washed up just yet.
He pulled out his phone and dialed Rex's number, impatiently waiting for the other man to pick up.
"Yeah?" Rex answered with a growl.
"Hey man, it's Rocket." Johnny knew he was stating the obvious, but in his excitement, he couldn't help it. "You got anything going on tomorrow?"
"I've got a session in the morning, but I think that's about it. Why?"
Johnny took a deep breath. "Well…I think it's about time I started laying down some tracks."
Rex laughed heartily. "This got anything to do with that video of you and Mick Ronson?"
"Maybe." Johnny answered with a laugh of his own. "Got a problem with it?"
"Hell, no." Rex replied. "Whatever gets your ass in that studio. Let's set it up."
They agreed on a time and studio, and Johnny could feel the excitement pumping through his veins. The spark had finally been lit, and Johnny could hardly wait to see what would come of it.
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