A/N: Final chapter! Thank you so much to everyone who has reviewed – your support has been very much appreciated! Sorry this one is short, but it's really just a tie-up. It's full of fluff though, so hopefully that will make up for it. Enjoy! xx
Vince's whisper was so soft that Howard only just heard him. It was dark. So dark, that even the silver light of the moon slipping into the room through the small gap in the curtains only highlighted Vince's features just enough to let Howard know he was actually still there – the fact that he could feel him in his arms completely irrelevant. That was when Howard realised that Vince was probably just as scared of ruining the delicate silence as he was. He didn't say anything in return, just shifted onto his side, propping himself up on one elbow, the change in position allowing the moonlight to bounce right off of Vince's eyes. A small, adoring smile played over Howard's mouth as they shone like the stars, and he found himself slowly leaning forwards, Vince arching up slightly to meet him as Howard caught the smaller man's lips with his own, gently brushing his mouth against him and pulling the softest of noises from his throat. Howard shivered as Vince's tongue ran across his bottom lip and gently pushed its way into his mouth, soft and hot and slick. He wanted to moan loudly, to come completely undone, but he was so terrified of breaking this fragile moment, of shattering the stillness, that he held back, his willpower working overtime.
After spending two days in hospital, Vince had been discharged into Howard's care, and while he was still apprehensive and a bit skittish, suspicious of every person who looked like they were up to no good, he'd been handling the return home rather well; he'd been especially pleased to see his own bed, but as night had fallen, he'd begged Howard to stay with him, trembling at the thought of being left alone. Howard had hugged him then, telling him that of course he wasn't going to leave him. It was a hug that had lasted a good while, giving them a closeness they hadn't shared since that kiss at the hospital. Shortly after it had happen Vince had fallen asleep, and when he'd woken up... Well, there was no denying it. Something had definitely changed. Shy smiles passed between them, hands lingered on arms longer than was normal for two men who were supposedly just friends, and the longer this had gone on for, the more Howard had wanted to just push all this silliness aside and take Vince in his arms. But he'd made a deal with himself – not whilst he was still in hospital. And since they'd got home, despite the anxiousness of being there, the tension between them had grown so much that Howard had been sure that he'd seen sparks every time Vince brushed against him. Naboo and Bollo, upon their return home, had noticed it too – Howard could tell just by the way they'd looked at him. Surprisingly though, rather than make any kind of sarcastic comment, Naboo had simply smiled knowingly and disappeared into his room with Bollo to give him and Vince some space.
Howard pulled away for air, the most beautiful sigh escaping Vince's mouth as he did so. He smiled, and rubbed his nose against Vince's, making him grin soppily. Then they made eye contact, and the grin melted into something serious and nervous.
"Yeah, little man?" Howard whispered back, gently pushing Vince's hair out of his eyes with a bandaged hand.
"What were you going to tell me?"
Howard crinkled his brow in confusion as he thought, but nothing came to him. "When?" He couldn't tell for sure, but he could swear Vince was blushing.
"In the hospital, before we... you said that if I'd... that you'd never have got to tell me... what?"
Howard's elbow was beginning to go numb, and he adjusted to make himself a bit more comfortable, shifting about nervously until he settled on a sitting position, being careful of his still sore hands as he pulled Vince up with him. He ran the exposed parts of his fingers down Vince's face, tenderly trailing them over his red lips and across his chin. Vince's eyes shone with expectation and something Howard couldn't quite define, and he moved his fingers back up to his cheek and let them rest there. He had to tell him. When Vince was looking at him like that, so full of trust and so adorably innocent, Howard found that he couldn't deny him anything, no matter what the consequences.
"That I would never have got to tell you... tell you..." Howard took a deep breath and briefly closed his eyes. When he opened them they locked directly onto Vince's, which now contained a fire he'd never seen before, and it was all he needed. "I love you."
Vince smiled so brilliantly then that Howard finally knew what he'd seen in Vince's eyes before he'd told him.
"I love you, too."
Yes, that was it.
Vince moved his arms around Howard's neck and kissed him again, slow and deep and sensual. Howard's body tingled, his skin buzzing as Vince slid his hands under his t-shirt and ran them over his back. Annoyed at the bandages restricting him, Howard settled for running his fingertips up and down Vince's arms.
"Howard?" Vince mumbled against him.
"You're my hero."
Howard was so touched he could have cried.
Vince smiled brightly at Howard as he leant against the kitchen counter top, watching the bigger man make coffee. His eyes followed the gentle curve of his face, grazing over the sprinkling of stubble on his cheeks and the inviting wetness of his lower lip from where he had been subconsciously worrying it with his teeth as he concentrated on pouring the boiling water in the mugs without burning himself further. Vince had wanted to make the coffee for him, but Howard had been stubbornly determined that he would be able to manage.
The Howard promptly slopped half of his mug onto the floor, jumping back with a yelp. Vince laughed softly and took it from his weakened grasp. "Careful there, cowboy."
Howard sulked and shuffled out of the way so Vince could bend down with the kitchen roll and mop up the floor. He then re-poured Howard's drink for him and ushered him over to the sofa, placing their mugs on the coffee table.
"I had it, you know."
Vince smiled at him lovingly. "Yeah, I know." Determined to pull a smile from Howard's pouting face, Vince kissed him.
It worked instantly.
Vince whole face sparkled. "yep."
"From now on everything's going to be great. No more hell, just you and me. I promise."
Vince lay his head on Howard's shoulder and snuggled into him, pushing him into the back of the sofa. "I know."
"Yeah?" He felt Howard grin against the top of his head.
"Your hair needs straightening."