Last Chapter! I just wanna send out a huge thanks and a hug to everyone who ever reviewed, gave me an idea, corrected me or even read the flipping thing! I hope this ending is happy enough for you all :P I honestly don't know what to do now :( Anyone got any requests for new stories?
Disclaimer: Last one. Not mine. Fielding and Barratt own all (Well obviously not EVERYTHING but you get the meaning)
I seriously love you all! And I have the song 'So Close' by John Mclaughlin in my head :) It's a beautiful song, so check it out!
One more thing, sorry this took SO long, but the chapter fought me all the way...
Howard sat at the table, at half past seven in the morning. He was tapping his spoon anxiously on his bowl of soggy, half eaten cereal, and kept stealing glances at the clock. He kept stiffening whenever he heard someone behind him, but it was always either Bollo or Naboo, trying to find things to make resolves with (After Vince was put to bed they had celebrated their success). Just be calm, Howard thought, it'll be fine, you'll easily slip back into how it was before. Who was he kidding? He'd probably try and wake Vince up with a hug or something.
"Howard?" Nabooslouched into the kitchen, "Has Vince woken up yet?" Howard shook his head
"Ok, I just want to lay down some rules right?" Howard looked at Naboo, startled, but nodded again, "Right. You can't say anything to Vince about this ok?". Howard nodded again. "Also, I know it's kind of hard for you to pretend that nothing happened, but you have to try not to do anything stupid, like speak in all that 'cootchie coo' crap"
"Naboo, I didn't speak to him like that anyway. It'll be fine alright?" Naboo gave a slight sympathetic smile and looked at the clock.
"You should probably open the shop, me and Bollo have got some stuff we need to do. Go and wake Vince up"
"Couldn't we give him a couple more hours?" Howard asked. Naboo's face was stony (A/N not in the stoned sense, in case you were wondering, I just couldn't think of a better word), so he just sighed and nodded some more.
Howard poked his head around the bedroom door, and saw Vince curled up under his duvet. He looked even smaller and more vulnerable than when he thought he was three. He smiled and started forward, wondering how to wake him up. He stopped and shook his head. Don't be an idiot Howard he thought, just go and wake him up. You have done plenty of times before remember? He sighed and just walked straight over to Vince and shook his shoulder gently.
"Vince?" Said sleeping man moaned softly and closed his eyes tighter, "Vince, come on now, you have to get up".
Vince opened his eyes blearily from sleep and looked up to see Howard smiling at him. This was odd. Normally when Howard woke him up, it was either a kick up the backside or just have the cover ripped off.
"C'mon Howard, five more minutes" He turned over, but felt a hand rest on his shoulder.
"No. Now. Come on". Vince stubbornly pulled the covers over his head, smiling slightly. When Howard was in a good mood like now, he sometimes...
"Am I going to have to tickle you?"
Howard smiled. He bent over Vince, and tore the covers off Vince. Normally, even if he did start to tickle him, which was hardly ever, he wouldn't dare do that for fear Vince was wearing his most revealing pyjamas, but Howard had actually dressed him in the ones he was wearing now, so he knew it was ok.
Howard merclessly started tickling Vince, grinning at the childish giggles that errupted from his friend. Vince tried to shield his ribs from the onslaught, but was unsuccessful.
"How-Howard!! Stop! I'll g-get up!"
"Fine, I'll meet you in the shop in ten minutes". Vince stuck his tongue out sulkily at him.
Howard tapped his feet anxiously against the floor, sat on the stool behind the counter, and waited for Vince to appear. Naboo had left early on, and gave Howard a significant look.
When Vince did show up, he looked rather pale, and flopped down onto his seat and flipped open a magazine without much enthusiasm. Howard frowned slightly.
"You ok little man?" Vince smiled up at him (And Howard noted it was that smile he had gotten so much of the last couple of days, a completely trusting one)
"Yeah, I've just got a really bad headache. Did we go drinkin' last night? It's just, I can't really remember much, so did we get really drunk?" He tailed off, leaving Howard smiling slightly. He had been thinking all morning of an excuse as to why Vince wouldn't really remember anything, and he had missed an obvious one.
"Er, yeah, Bollo got a really good DJing gig, so we were there all night, just knocking the drinks back" He wasn't sure Vince would buy this, as it was well known that Howard Moon never got drunk, as a man of action you need a clear head, but Vince just grinned and said,
"Genius, where was it?" Howard panicked for a moment, but stopped frantically thinking up club names when some of Vince's friends came crashing through the door.
"Alright Vince! 'Aven't seen you lately!" Vince grinned at them, but Howard could tell it hurt him to do that.
"Yeah, we had a wild night out and got absolutely plastered" His friends cheered and clapped, and Howard noticed that Vince flinched and rubbed his temples, becoming even more pale as the loud noises spurred on his headache.
"Ok, if you don't mind, we've got a lot of stock taking to do, so you'll have to leave" Howard told the group of men forcefully, and after a few laughs and muttered insults thrown in his direction, he finally got them to leave.
He turned to see Vince groaning slightly, massaging his head, not caring that he was messing his hair up. Howard's parental instincts consumed him, and he swept up to Vince.
"Come on little man, I think we have some paracetamol in the medicine cabinet" He was about to pull Vince up by holding his hand, but mentally shook himself and settled for a wrist instead.
He gave the younger man a glass of water, and smiled as Vince swallowed the whole spoonful of medicine in one and shuddered..
"What?" Howard paled. He hadn't meant to say that out loud.
"Erm, what?" Howard said back. Vince frowned, looking puzzled.
"I, I thought you said something..." Howard hated lying to his best friend, but sometimes it was necessary. He cocked an eyebrow.
"No. Are you feeling ok?" Vince nodded.
"Can we go out somewhere Howard? I mean, it's not as if anyones gonna come into the shop are they?" Howard sniffed and raised his head a bit.
"You may mock Vince, but I think we'll be seeing more customers any day now" Vince rolled his eyes, and Howard heard him mutter "Whatever" under his breath. Maybe it would be good to get some fresh air, especially for Vince, who looked in need of some good, cold breezes.
"Ok, but remember how cold it is outside?" Vince again looked puzzled, as Howard remembered that Vince hadn't been to the park to feed the ducks, or gone into the town with him.
"Well, it is, so wrap up". Vince nodded, a grin plastered on his face
They were out for less than half an hour before Howard almost made another big mistake. Walking past the Velvet Onion, Vince saw a few of his mates (Although Howard noted they weren't the ones who came to the shop) and, though he didn't really want to stop on his walk with his friend, he exchanged a few words with them.
Howard waited patiently behind Vince, but then heard one of the younger man's friends remark,
"Hey Vince, is that your Dad?" he stepped a little closer to hear Vince laugh it off, but say bye to them, sounding rather annoyed. He turned around and gave Howard a look that said to follow him. He did so, and they walked in a slightly uncomfortable silence for a while, before Vince tried to break it by joking,
"Isn't it funny how everyone thinks that? Ha, imagine if you were my Dad? Ha, Daddy, over here!" Howard just stared at Vince, hearing those words fall out of his mouth again making Howard feel like he wanted to cry. Why was it so difficult for him to get over this?
"Er, why don't we go down to the park" Vince was slightly uneasy at the fact that Howard hadn't replied, and seemed to be deep in thought. The older man shook his head and broke out of his reverie.
"Yeah, that seems like a good idea" Vince shook his head at the way his friend sank back into his deep thinking. He didn't believe in deep thinking. Hurts your brain. Whilst thinking these thoughts, he failed to see a huge patch of ice stretching across the pavement.
All Howard heard was a crash, and a cry of 'Shit!" as Vince went sprawling down onto the pavement, cracking his head off the side of a bench and hitting his knee pretty hard on the ground.
He spun around to find his young friend groaning slightly, and all his senses went on high alert. He was unaware of how much he was panicking, as he hurried over to Vince and carefully checked him over for broken bones or any sign of concussion. Vince struggled to focus on his friend, and when Howard did a quick sweep of his head, he found an enormous lump protruding on the side of it.
"You've gone to town here little man" Howard murmured, now checking Vince's knee. Vince just looked up at Howard. These events seemed vaguely familiar to him, but he couldn't for the life of him think why. Howard found the knee to be just badly grazed, and focused his attentions on the slightly slurred quality of Vince's voice as he asked,
"Is it ok Howard?". As well as making Howard twinge at the way he said it, full of the sound of concussion, he again sounded completely trusting, like he was really worried, but Howard could make it all better.
"I think you've got concussion Vince, we'd better get back". He hauled Vince to his feet, worrying some more when the younger man swayed a bit as he tried to regain his composure.
"I'm gettin' kinda tired Howard..." Howard looked sideways at Vince, who by this time was slung over Howard's shoulders so that he wouldn't fall over. The older man gave him a kind smile, and said,
"Don't worry, you can go to bed when we get back". As soon as he'd said this he regretted it, because he rembered reading somewhere that people with concussion should NEVER go to sleep. He couldn't remember why, but he knew it wouldn't be good. Still, Vince was reassured for now, and he tried to walk with his friend, towards the shop.
"Yes little man?"
By this time, they were both sat on the sofa in the flat, Vince with a cup of hot chocolate, and Howard with some tea and a medical book (He still couldn't find why you couldn't sleep with concussion damnit!). Vince had been shaking slightly as they returned, so Howard made him change into the comfiest things he had, and then when he was sat on the sofa, draped a quilt of him.
"When I was, y'know, hungover, were you loking after me?" Howard's insides dropped like bricks.
"It's just, I've been gettin' kinda like, flashes of memories all day, if that makes sense, and you were there, and we were just like this, but I felt much more, I dunno, sort of, peaceful. And we were sat like this..."
Vince put his mug down and shuffled onto Howard, so he sat on his knee. He gave him a worn out smile, and brought the quilt over with him, so he could have dropped off to sleep right there. Howard didn't have a clue what to do. He couldn't throw him off, what with the concussion, but he couldn't exactly keep him on, could he?
Vince yawned, bringing Howard back to his senses.
"I'm really tired..." His voice was slurry due to sleepiness and concussion, but he sounded so cute, Howard just said,
"Right, fine, just sleep Vince". Vince muttered something that might have sounded incoherent to other people in the room (Which there weren't) but Howard understood it perfectly, and, just before replying, had a tiny think to himself.
He didn't think he would ever get over that cute little boy he looked after for a short while, but Vince seemes better after it. They hadn't had a single argument all day, and he was being just as cute in moments like these. If things like this happened, not very often, just sometimes, Howard thought he'd get through it. He knew he would have to keep those parental nudges under control, but he would manage that, in time. He smiled down at the now sleeping Vince in his lap, and replyed to his friend's earlier incoherent statement.
"Don't worry little man, I'll be right here when you wake up"
OMG! Has she just finished a fic? I think she has ladies and gentlemen! Jebus, I don't know what to do with myself now... Hope the ending didn't disappoint, sorry if it did :s Any requests for future fics? I love everyone who reviews or did review. Plus, I'm sorry for any spelling mistakes, or mistakes with things like the symptoms of concussion. A girl can only guess.