A/N: I was studying. Honestly. I can't for the life of me remember what I was doing when I thought this up, but you're stuck with it now. Yeah, I am slightly perverted. Only slightly, mind, although I know there are some who might disagree... I wasn't sure if it should be T or M-rated, so I've put it as M just to be safe, because of swearing and sexy times. It's not too graphic though, and the ending is all fluffy cuteness. And it's set after the end of series three.

Disclaimer: If it was mine... well, it would be on way after midnight.

xxxx

Howard supposed he should be used to the loneliness, and ever since he had come back from filming that humiliating 'Blastfast' advert he'd felt more alone than ever. To say things were strained between him and Vince was an understatement, and it was with a heavy sadness that he was sitting here now, feet propped up on the shop counter with no one to talk to, the latest issue of Jazz Monthly resting open on his legs, abandoned whilst its owner stared up at the ceiling. Was it him? Was he really that bad? Did the others have any idea of how much their teasing hurt him, when they called him useless and an idiot, and when Bollo constantly got his name wrong whilst pandering to Vince's every whim?

Howard sniffed and blinked back the tears that were fast filling his eyes. It was stupid. He wasn't going to cry over them – and he certainly wasn't going to cry over Vince; the man who was supposed to be his best friend, who made him a complete person. It was over now, and he just had to except that. He knew it was his fault too, that he'd sniped at Vince more times than he could remember, but it had usually just been in retaliation. Maybe if he'd just left it, Vince would have gotten bored and everything would be normal now. Or as normal as normal could be in their strange world, anyway.

Glancing over at the clock, Howard was relieved to see that it was closing time. Swinging his legs off the counter, magazine sliding unnoticed to the floor, he trudged wearily through the shop door, yanking the shutters down with more force than intended and locking them at the bottom before going back inside and locking the door behind him, turning the sign and then moving over to the till to cash-up. He pressed a button on the till and the draw popped open, but then his mobile rang, and, thankful for the distraction, Howard leant against the edge of the counter and pulled it out of his pocket. The number was withheld.

"Hello?"

"All right, Howard?"

Vince.

Howard paused, unsure of what to say. Vince was away in Brighton, gigging with yet another shallow band he'd hooked up with. Howard rubbed at his eyes and sighed.

"Howard?"

"Yeah, sorry. Hi, Vince."

"Everything okay?"

Like you care.

"Yeah, everything's fine."

"Oh. You just sound a bit weird is all. What you up to?"

"Nothing much. I was just about to cash up, actually."

"Right. Um, are you alone?"

"Of course."

There was a pause at the other end of the line. Then:

"Are you sure you're all right?"

No, Howard wanted to scream. No. I'm not fucking 'all right'.

"What do you want, Vince?"

"I just, um... well, I've got a bit of time to myself and I just thought I'd call to see how you are."

"Hunky-dory, Vince. Just dandy. Where's the band, then?"

"Oh, just... out."

"Hmm."

Howard decided to leave the till for now and head upstairs. If Vince was going to waste his time on the phone for a while he may as well get comfortable. A voice in the back of his head told him to just make his excuses and hang up, but for some reason he just couldn't bring himself to do it.

"You goin' upstairs?"

"Yeah."

"That's good."

What?

"What?"

"Y'know, cos you've probably had a busy day, an' all that."

Never in a million years did Howard ever think that he'd be having a conversation like this with Vince, all broken and stilted, long pauses where neither could think of anything to say. He sighed heavily.

"Sorry, Howard. Do you want me to go?"

"No, it's okay, little man. I'm just tired."

Little man? He hadn't called Vince that for ages. He hadn't meant to call him it then either – it'd just slipped out. Even so, he heard Vince's voice hitch slightly at the old affection.

"How's it going with the band?"

"It's... good. Is it hot there? It's boiling here."

"It's been uncomfortable, yes."

"Yeah, it's hard to sleep at night. I've got the hotel windows open constantly, and this little, rickety old fan goin' in the corner. Doesn't do much. I'm just layin' on the bed now cos it's too hot to do anything else, y'know?"

"Um, yeah. Suppose those jeans you wear don't help. Aren't they uncomfortable in this weather?"

"I'm not wearing them."

Howard was surprised to hear that.

"What, you're actually wearing shorts?"

Vince laughed a little.

"I'm not wearing anythin'."

Howard was surprised to hear that, too, and quite annoyed as well as it brought images to his mind that he was certain he didn't want. Why they'd popped up, he wasn't sure. Actually, that was a lie. He did know. But, he wasn't sure why Vince had thought it appropriate to tell him that. Howard cleared his throat.

"So, do you have any plans for tonight?"

"Yeah. Well, I hope so. Depends."

Howard wondered why Vince sounded nervous. Maybe it was just the heat getting to him.

"Depends on what?"

"...stuff. God, it's hot. It's not even a 'good' hot. It's just muggy. Muggy and sticky. Urgh. I hate being sticky. The sheets are stickin' to me back; it's 'orrible. I've had, like, two showers today already."

"Uh-huh. Well, you know the British weather, it won't last long I imagine."

Howard chucked slightly to alleviate the sudden uncomfortable twist in his stomach. Why was Vince telling him this?

"Yeah, well it better end soon. I feel so dirty all the time. I'm lookin' down at myself and me skin's glistening. Aren't you melting?"

Howard was having a bit of a dilemma. Recently, he'd been trying to make himself hate Vince, because he thought that if he hated him, then the disintegration of their friendship wouldn't hurt as much. However, it hadn't really worked, and now, with Vince talking to him like that, it really wasn't helping things at all. Vince sounded all breathless and exhausted from the heat, and while he thought it was probably muddling his brain slightly, and that was why he was talking to him in the way he was, Howard couldn't help but feel slightly aroused. It's true he'd always thought Vince was gorgeous, but ever since that kiss at his ill-fated party, Howard had found himself thinking of Vince in ways he shouldn't have been, so trying to hate him wasn't really working. And he didn't want to feel like this now, because Vince was only talking to him because he was bored. He took a deep breath and tried to focus. Maybe he should hang up...

"Howard? You still there?"

"Yes, sorry. Was just looking at something out the window."

"Oh."

"Sorry, Vince. What were you saying?"

"About bein' hot. Aren't you?"

"Um, yeah. Doesn't feel like there's any air in here."

"Maybe you should loosen your clothes a bit. Take your shirt off. I know you – you'd rather sit there sweltering than walk about naked. You said you were on your own, yeah?"

"Yeah..."

"Well, no one's gonna see ya then, are they?"

Vince was right, Howard knew. But the thought of sitting on the sofa in his birthday suit still worried him slightly. Even so, he was really, really hot. He unbuttoned his shirt and slipped it off, dropping it down next to him.

"You done it?"

"Maybe."

"Tease."

Was Howard imagining it, or did Vince's voice just drop several octaves?

"Just my shirt."

"Aw, Howard. Come on, and the rest."

Why was Vince so keen for him to get his clothes off? Sure, he was relaxing a bit now, almost able to fool himself that things were like they used to be, with the banter – although this was a different kind of banter altogether, and he wasn't quite sure if Vince was messing with him or not. Still, it wouldn't be the first time he'd been made a laughing stock. Anyway, Vince couldn't see him, so he could always say he'd lied.

"Why are you so keen?"

"...I just don't want you to be uncomfortable, Howard."

Howard slipped his trousers and underwear off and sat back against the sofa. He had to admit, he did feel a lot better.

"Okay."

"Really?"

Howard frowned.

"Why is that so hard to believe?"

"I didn't mean it like that. How does it feel?"

"Cooler."

"Good. So, what you doin'?"

"Talking to you, you freak."

"All right! ...I miss you, you know."

Howard laughed. He couldn't help it.

"Oi!"

"You can't blame me, can you? You upped and left without a second thought!"

"You upped and left to be with Jurgen without a second thought."

"You were gonna leave to tour with The Black Tubes, anyway."

"Didn't work out though, did it?"

"Not the point, Vince."

Silence.

Ha, got you there, didn't I little man?

"So, what did you say you were doing this evening?"

"I didn't. I said it 'depends'."

Howard heard Vince sigh heavily, the bed he was on creaking slightly as he shifted.

"Maybe I should have another shower; the air's nice and cool on your skin when you're wet. Or I might just run a cool bath and stay there for the night. What d'ya reckon? Although, I'll just get sweaty again about five minutes after, it's that hot."

"Hmm, yeah. Maybe not for the best then."

"Maybe. Are you sticky, Howard?"

Howard closed his eyes at the deepened sound of Vince's voice. He sounded a bit... well, lustful. Howard's head swam slightly, his breathing quickening without his permission, a tightening from down below alerting him to the fact that Vince was having more of an effect on him than he'd realised. He wasn't quite sure how he felt about that. Or was he? A small moaning sound brought him back to his senses.

"Vince?"

"Mmm, sorry... just... so hot. And tense. Maybe I need a good massage. Remember that massage you gave me - ooh, ages ago now, it was. When I 'ad that knot in my back and you worked it out for me; d'you remember?"

"Er, yeah. You were very tense."

"I was. You were good. Great, in fact. Your hands were all firm and gentle at the same time. You remember that?"

"I remember that your skin was very soft."

Howard's eyes widened and he swallowed heavily. Had he really just said that? According to a certain part of his anatomy, yes, he had.

"It still is. If I run my hands down my body it feels all velvety."

Howard's mouth went dry, and he panted without meaning too.

"Really?"

"Uh-huh. You know when I said I missed you? I meant it. Do you miss me?"

All the time, Howard thought.

"Yes."

"You sound a bit breathless, Howard. You okay?"

Oh, God. Has he been talking to me innocently all along? Oh well, at least I can leave before he comes back.

"...I'm fine, Vince."

"Can you give me a massage over the phone?"

Howard blinked.

"What? How am I supposed to do that?"

"I dunno, just describe it to me. What would you do?"

"You know what I'd do. Just... think about the last time."

There was silence as Vince shifted again and groaned slightly. Howard's breath caught in his throat, his hands aching to touch his now fully grown erection. He was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to ignore it for much longer. He moved off the sofa and went to his bedroom. Knowing his luck, Naboo and Bollo would come back at any minute. He locked his door and lay down on his bed.

"Please, Howard – for me."

Oh, what the hell.

"Okay, well, um... first I'd rub your shoulders -"

"How?"

"What?"

"How would you rub them?"

"...firmly. But gently. Then I'd slide my hands over your back, rubbing over your shoulder blades and digging my thumbs in just beneath them."

Howard heard Vince moan gently, and his cock twitched in protest. He wanted to believe for all the world that Vince was as turned on as he was, but part of him refused to believe it. He was either messing with him, or he really just wanted a massage.

"Then I'd knead my fingers slowly down your spine, then up again. I'd find any knotted bits and work them out slowly."

"Mmm..."

"Then... then I'd... then I'd run my hands all over your back, run my fingers up your sides and back down again..."

God, what was he doing? This was it. The end.

Vince gasped down the phone.

"Howard?"

"Yeah?"

There was a pause, and Howard wondered if Vince was trying to work out how to tell him he'd caught him out.

"Are you hard?"

Fuck, yes.

"I..."

"I am."

Oh.

"Yeah. Yes."

"Good. If you were here, what would you do to me?"

Vince's voice was now so thick and heavy, that Howard didn't think he'd be able to last much longer if he kept talking like that. What was he supposed to say though? He'd never even had sex before, let alone -

"Howard... Howard, please..."

Howard shivered, and reached a hand down to touch himself, whimpering at the sensations rippling though him. Maybe he should just say things that he himself would enjoy. Christ, what was he thinking? Had he gone mad? Was he really going to go through with this?

"I'd... I'd lean down over you and kiss you; run my tongue over your lips and into your mouth, tasting you and sucking your tongue. Then I'd... I'd place soft kisses along your jaw-line and down your neck. I'd bite at the skin and drag my tongue over it, licking you and bringing up goose-bumps on your flesh. I'd trail down over your collarbone and suck along it, my hands coming up to... to rub over your nipples, pinching at them until they're hard -"

"Oh..."

Now Howard knew he was well and truly stuffed.

"Then I'd move down your body with my lips, licking down your chest, over your stomach, my hands skimming over your thighs and your hips, then up into your hair..."

Howard expected Vince to protest at that, but he didn't – he moaned instead. He heard the bed creaking again, more continuous this time, Vince whimpering as he tried to relieve himself. Howard tugged on his cock, running his thumb over the head, hand moving his shaft up and down firmly.

"Howard... Howard... Howard, I want you. I want you... Do you want me?"

"Yes. Yes – I want you. Fuck, I want you. Tell me what you're doing."

Howard no longer had control over his speech, his words spilling out huskily, breathlessly. He felt like he was in a porn film.

"Touching myself, pretending it's you... thinking about how much I want to take you in my mouth. Run my tongue over your cock, kiss the tip, slide my wet lips all the way down, taking you in all the way, sucking, licking..."

Howard moaned loudly, gasping as he sped up his hand movements. His balls were so tight that he knew he wasn't going to last much longer.

"God, Vince..."

"I want you, Howard. I want you inside me. I want you to fuck me... Say you'll fuck me..."

"Yes, yes, I'll fuck you..."

"... Howard, I'm so close..."

"Me too..."

"I want you, everywhere. All over me..."

"I will. I want you panting and writhing beneath me. I want... I want... I wa... I... Vince... Oh!"

Howard's cock throbbed, the aching in his groin slowly subsiding as he came hard over his hand. He listened as Vince cried out, shouting Howard's name as his orgasm overtook him. Howard lay there panting with the phone against his ear, spent and exhausted. Neither of them spoke for a while. Howard ran a hand through his hair, his brain trying to process what the hell had just happened.

"Howard?"

"I'm here."

"Howard, I'm coming home."

"What? What about the band?"

"The band can get stuffed – they're arseholes. I need you. I'm coming home. We're not staying too far from the station so I'll be able to get a train soon."

"I could come and get you?"

"No, no. I want to be at home; I want to leave now. God, Howard – I've been so stupid. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. It's taken me so long to face up to what I really want. I'm so... I'm sorry. I'll see you soon."

Before Howard could get a word in, Vince had hung up. He sat up and stared at the wall, heart pounding at a million miles an hour, his head spinning. Vince was coming home... Home! And had he... had he really just spoken to Vince like that? Had he really just turned into some sort of sex-line operator? Had he really just made Vince... Had he just... He felt his cheeks start to burn and he shook slightly with the shock of it, adrenaline still pumping through his veins.

Shower. He needed a shower.

--

Howard's phone beeped as he walked back into his bedroom, towel wrapped around his waist. He felt a lot calmer now, or he did until he picked up his phone and opened the text message he'd just received.

Sender:

Vince

Sent:

5-Jul-2008

18:52

Train to London Bridge

in 10mins. Takes about

an hour. Will get taxi

from station. See ya

soon. xx

Howard dropped his phone back onto the bed and ran trembling hands through his hair. He paced for a few moments, not knowing what to do. Eventually he settled for delving into his wardrobe, looking for something... Something. God, what was he doing? Whatever he put on, he was sure it was just going to end up on the floor. He wanted to look like he'd made some sort of effort though.

In the end, Howard just shoved on a pair of light cotton trousers and a short sleeved navy shirt. He remembered how Vince had once said he'd preferred Howard's hair when it was curlier and... what had he called it? Tousled. He ran his hands through the damp strands and mussed it up so it dried wavy. What else was he supposed to do? Cologne? Or would that seem like he was trying too hard? Maybe just a little splash. As he checked himself in the mirror, his eyes rested on his phone. He supposed he'd better text Vince back – he didn't want him to think he was ignoring him.

Can't wait. x

xxxx

Howard sat on the sofa nervously, his legs jiggling up and down as he waited. Only a few hours ago he'd been thinking that he and Vince were finished forever, and now... He shook his head in disbelief. Maybe fate was on his side after all. This was it. He'd waited forever for this. No backing out. He quelled the sick feeling in his stomach by taking a few deep breaths, then stood and walked about the room, the pacing helping to calm him.

The door opened downstairs and banged shut quickly.

Howard froze.

Footsteps hurried up the stairs, a case banging behind them. Then Vince appeared at the top, looking flushed and glowing. He dropped his case and stared at Howard.

Howard stared back.

Then, as if someone had flicked a switch, they both rushed forward. Vince jumped on Howard and pushed him backwards into the wall, legs wrapping around his waist, their lips crushing together in a desperate, frantic kiss. Howard steadied himself before the momentum sent them both toppling over and then moved them away from the wall, carrying Vince into his room and falling down onto the bed with him.

"You smell gorgeous," Vince mumbled against Howard's lips as he fiddled with his shirt buttons, a few of them popping off in his haste, his breathing already becoming erratic. "You look... gorgeous... too."

Howard could feel himself blushing, but he had no time for bashfulness. "I missed you. For ages, I've missed you. I'm sorry, Vince."

"No, don't be; it was never your fault," Vince panted.

"But -"

"No, please Howard," Vince said, tugging off Howard's shirt and throwing it across the room. "It's my fault - I'm sorry. And I've missed you so much." He leant forward so Howard could pull his t-shirt over his head, then captured his lips again.

They rolled about on the bed for a bit, kissing and groping and moaning like they'd never needed anything so badly in their lives. Maybe they hadn't. Howard pressed his hand against Vince's erection, squeezing gently, and Vince arched into his touch, gasping and throwing his head back.

"Howard, I want everything you said. Everything you said you'd do to me, I want it all; please."

The pleading in Vince's voice drove every last bit of coherent thought out of Howard's brain. He swiftly unbuckled Vince's belt and popped the button on his jeans, yanking down the zip and tugging the trousers down. He struggled for a bit, the tight material getting caught around Vince's knees. Vince giggled slightly and helped Howard to get them off, his silver Chelsea boots and socks getting pushed off his feet as the jeans were pulled over them. Howard stopped for a second and stared down at him, his eyes roaming up his body, over the bulge in his tight boxers, up, up, up until they rested on Vince's gaze. Howard smiled.

"What?" Vince said, smiling back, cheeks stained pink, lips rosy, raven hair spread out like a fan over the white pillowcase.

"Nothing, it's just... You look beautiful."

Vince's smile widened and he reached out for Howard, pulling him back down on top of him and kissing him firmly.

Howard soon pulled away and moved his mouth to Vince's neck, sucking gently on the pale skin. Vince whimpered, and reached for the fastening on Howard's trousers.

Soon, they were both completely naked, gasping and panting, bodies glistening with sweat as they writhed against each other. Using all the strength he could muster, Vince rolled them over and moved between Howard's legs. Howard's eyes widened in anticipation, remembering what Vince had said to him on the phone. Moments later, all he could see was Vince's head bobbing up and down as he worked his cock with his mouth and tongue. Howard had never known pleasure like it, and he squirmed and thrust upwards, hands in Vince's hair, tugging at it gently. Vince hummed softly, the vibrations sending tingling waves like mini electric shocks through Howard's groin. A minute later, and he wasn't sure how much longer he'd be able to last. Sensing this, Vince pulled away and slid up Howard's body, kissing his way up his chest and nibbling at his bottom lip before whispering against him;

"Make me yours."

Howard made a sound not unlike a low growl and ran his hands over Vince's perfect backside, giving it a cheeky squeeze, a noise catching in the smaller man's throat. Then he flipped Vince over so he was underneath him, kissed him desperately, and did just as he'd asked.

xxxx

When Howard awoke the next morning, it took him a few moments to remember what had happened. Then he smiled, although it then took him another few moments to realise that there was no longer a warm body pressed against his. Just as he was about to panic, a familiar voice rang out to calm him.

"Morning."

Howard rolled over to face the window. Vince was sitting on the ledge, cup of tea cradled in his hands. He was wearing one of Howard's old white shirts - which drowned him – and his hair was ruffled up from sleep. He was completely natural. The curtains rippled gently in the breeze, sunlight pouring in and bathing Vince in a golden light. Howard had never seen anything so stunning in his whole life.

Vince beamed, and Howard grinned back at him, pushing himself up into a sitting position against the pillows and opening his arms. Vince slid off the windowsill and went over to him, snuggling into his embrace and tilting his face up for a kiss. Howard pressed his lips gently against his mouth and then smiled.

"I made you some tea," Vince said, nodding towards Howard's beside table and taking a sip from his own mug. Howard reached for it and took a mouthful. It had cooled to just the right temperature.

"Mmm. Thanks," he said, kissing the top of Vince's head.

Vince smiled and looked up at him. "Last night was incredible."

Howard blushed, and Vince giggled.

"Are you laughing at me?"

Vince hid behind his mug, grinning. "No, never."

Howard shook his head and plucked Vince's mug from his hands, placing it on the bedside table along with his own.

Vince, thinking Howard was about to ravish him again, squealed in shock when Howard pinned him to the bed and proceeded to tickle him. He gasped and squirmed under Howard's wandering hands, laughing his head off and begging for mercy, all but screaming when Howard's hands moved under the shirt and attacked the sides of his waist.

"Stop, stop, stop!"

"Sorry, little man. No one laughs at Howard Moon and gets away with it."

Through his hysteric giggling, Vince somehow managed to free one of his arms. "Not even if I do this?" Before Howard realised what was happening, Vince had put his hand behind Howard's head and pulled him down for a deep kiss.

"Sneaky," Howard said, when they finally parted for air.

"Worked though."

"Hmm."

Vince shifted so he and Howard were laying on their sides, facing each other. He picked up one of Howard hands and laced their fingers together.

"Hey, what's wrong?" Howard asked gently, as Vince's eyes started to shine more than usual.

Vince sniffed and blinked back his tears. "I nearly lost you. I nearly lost us."

Howard reached out his free hand and trailed his fingers down Vince's cheek. "Please don't," he whispered. "It's over now. Everything's right again. That's all that matters."

Vince nodded and gave Howard a watery smile, leaning into his touch. "Yeah, you're right."

"Course I am. What do you want to do today?"

"You mean, after we've made love again?"

Howard smiled. "Yeah, after that."

Vince thought for a moment. "Out for lunch?"

Howard kissed the tip of his nose, then rubbed his own against it. "It's a date."