Cheers for reviews ;) I do believe that this is the last chapter :( We've had a good one, and I want to thank every single person who read it, reviewed it, gave me ideas for it or even badmouthed it ;) At least I know that if you do badmouth it, you've read it :D
And yes, I know there isn't a bank holiday at this point, but I couldn't think of a better reason. When you read it, you'll get it, I swear ;)
Disclaimer: For the last time (In this story anyway) it doesn't belong to me.
Howard had gone to bed that night early. He didn't want to wake Vince up, even though he was a very heavy sleeper, but the boy had been out like a light. So Howard went at about eleven, an hour before Vince should change back. When he was in bed, he had rolled over to watch Vince sleeping for a while, knowing it would be the last time he would see the tiny boy, he smiled fondly, but resisted the urge to go across and push his fringe out of his eyes. When he lay back, still looking at his friend, he realised that Vince didn't have any photos of himself when he was a child. His parents probably had a full photo album dedicated to his older brother, but it was highly unlikely that they had even picked up a camera in Vince's presence. Sighing, Howard felt so sorry for his friend. He remembered one time, ages ago, when they had been in the shop, talking about nothing in particular, when Vince had brought up the embarrasing pictures they had taken in school, in their first year,
"Urgh, I don't even think I had a fringe that time, and it was just after lunch, I think I dribbled milk all the way down my jumper" Howard had looked up, amused,
"Vince, we were about five, I think most of our class had milk down themselves. I think my Mum still has that picture, she was nearly crying as she hung it, said it made her really proud". Vince had glanced away for a second, biting his lip.
"Vince? What happened to yours?" He didn't want to tell Howard that his mum didn't want to pay for it, even though she had bought every single one with Michael in it,
"Erm, yeah, my mum hung it up too. Said I looked cute" He replied, reliving one of his younger fantasies, when he dreamt of saving his brother from a housefire or something to make them proud. He hadn't bothered telling his parents he had class photos anymore after that. They never cared.
Howard only realised now that Vince had told him his mum had hung it up. He must have been lying, because the woman Howard had met a few days ago didn't look like the kind of woman to hang pictures of her son up. It almost made Howard want to cry, but if Vince could have lived his whole life with it all and not cried (Apart from the times when he was being beaten), then Howard would have to as well.
As the toddler gave out a small sigh and rolled over, his back to Howard, the older man rolled over also, and succumbed to sleep.
He awoke with a start the next day, sure he was forgetting something. What was so important? A snuffle from the bed opposite him reminded him, and he sat up quickly, eager to know whether the potion had worked or not. His heart leapt as he saw a normal sized man (Well, ish, he was still quite small and thin) curled up under the duvet. Howard grinned and went to wake him, but held back when he saw the other man was sucking his thumb. That couldn't be good, the psychologist said he should stop any behaviour like that after his change. Maybe it was just a little too early? Maybe he had to wake up for a bit before he was completely back to normal.
Deciding to do what he thought for was for the best, he gently shook his friend,
"Vince. Vince. Come on little man, time to wake up" He whispered, which was useless, as he wanted him to wake up. Sure enough though, the younger man moaned slightly, and stretched like a cat before opening his eyes,
"Howard?" He mumbled, still hazy from sleep, "What time is it?"
"Half eight" Howard replied, and jumped as his friend leapt up in bed as he presumably remembered what should have taken place last night. Looking into the full length mirror on his wardrobe, he started laughing in delight as stared at his figure. Grinning at Howard, he went to get out of bed before noticing the panda pyjamas he was wearing had grown with him. They were now normal sized ones, that looked like you could just stroll into Topshop and buy them.
"Genius!" He laughed, swinging his legs out of bed and looking at Howard expectantly,
"What?" Howard asked, at a loss. Vince furrowed his eyebrows, but then shook his head,
"Forget it, I keep thinking you have to lift me out of bed" He smiled at Howard and got up. However, he wasn't used to his legs being long (Well, they weren't long, just longer than they had been) and his feet hit the ground a long time before he expected them to. This made him get slightly disorientated and his legs crumpled beneath him, his arms reaching out for something to grab onto. Howard threw his arms out too, and caught Vince just before he fell onto the ground fully. He readied himself for the other man to suddenly burst into tears, but just got a dizzy grin,
"Cheers Howard," He grinned back, shakily, and was asked another question, "Howard? I'm hungry, d'you think we can have some breakfast?" Howard nodded and helped Vince to his feet, as he was rather unsteady at first,
"Yeah, I'm going to cook a full english for everyone" Vince looked surprised, but shrugged as Howard left the room, muttering to himself that Vince really needed feeding up.
Vince walked shakily towards his wardrobe and opened it to find rows of skinnies and jumpsuits greeting him. Not that he didn't like them, but he felt that for a few days he should wear easier clothes, until he was used to being this size again. After several minutes of looking, he found nothing like that, and merely shrugged as he kept the panda pyjamas on. He was about to go out the door, but shivered as he just registered how cold it was. Looking back in his wardrobe, he found no warm jumpers and frowned, before opening the last two bottom drawers, which consisted of Howard's clothes and pulled out one of his huge jumpers that Vince affectionately nick-named 'The bear', as it was huge and fluffy, warming anyone wearing it up beautifully. It was quite large, but he had worn baggier, and walked out to find what he was having for breakfast.
Howard, Naboo and Bollo were sat at the table talking quietly when Vince stumbled out. His legs weren't co-operating with him today, and he tripped over a rug, sprawling over the floor and nearly going head first into a door frame. Howard leapt up to help him, and smiled as he wasn't batted away, like he would have been before all of this madness.
"You ok?" He asked in a low voice, as Naboo and Bollo were watching interestedly,
"Yeah I'm fine, you jumper stopped me getting any carpet burns" He joked, but brought Howard's attentions to the big jumper he was wearing,
"Wh-why are you wearing that?" He stutterd,
"'Cause it's comfy and it keeps me warm over my pyjamas," He lifted the jumper slightly and saw that Vince was indeed still wearing his pyjamas, "I'm still wearing 'em 'cause I can't really walk that well, and I thought it would be easier than trying to walk in skinnies" He explained to Howard's baffled features.
"Erm, right, fine. Anyway, do you, er, do you want breakfast?" Vince nodded enthusiastically and Howard helped him to the table, as his legs were still incredibly shaky.
"Alright Vince?" Naboo asked, almost sounding concerned.
"Yeah, cheers Naboo! Oh yeah, and thanks for the pyjamas" He grinned at the shaman, who nodded and continued with his breakfast. At this, Howard put Vince's breakfast in front of him.
"Jesus Howard, when I said I was hungry I didn't mean I could eat a whole pig!" He exlaimed, at the amount of bacon, sausage and black pudding on his plate, which was loaded up, and nearly twice the size of Howard and Naboo's, and had about the same amount of Bollo's.
"You trying to fatten me up?" He joked as he picked up his knife and fork, not seeing the slight blush in Howard's cheek, as that was exactly what he was trying to do.
During the meal very little was said, and every so often someone glanced in Vince's direction, as he was being quite clumsy. At one point he dropped his cutlery, and as he dived under the table to retrieve it, Howard and Naboo shared a similar concerned look before Vince came back up, grinning. Also, he had dribbled orange juice down himself more than once, leading to Naboo having to tell him, as he was completely unaware of it. As he scrubbed it away with some kitchen roll, Naboo gave Howard a look which meant 'Talk to me when we're done'. Howard nodded to show he understood, but pretended to ignore Naboo's glare as he rolled his eyes playfully as one of Vince's sausages went flying, due to him not holding it more carefully with his fork, and decided to cut his sausage in half for him. Vince blushed and mumbled a small 'Thankyou'.
When everyone was finished, and Bollo was lumbered with washing up, Howard saw Naboo's glance and said,
"Vince, why don't you try your drawing?" Howard suggested, "See how it is now?" Vince's face lit up as he stumbled to where they kept the paper and pens. Sitting at the table, he immersed himself in it, leaving Howard free to go and talk to Naboo.
They went inside Howard and Vince's bedroom and shut the door,
"What Naboo?" Howard started the conversation, knowing it would somehow come back to him trreating Vince like a toddler still,
"What do you mean what? You did see how he was at the table right?"
"I couldn't really miss it Naboo!" Howard hissed, "He's just not used to it, it'll just take him a couple of hours and he'll be fine again!" Naboo shrugged,
"If you say so. By the way, has he done anything else... toddler like?"
"You mean apart from spilling drink, dropping food and being extremely unsteady on his feet?" Naboo glared at Howard's slight sarcastic tone, "Sorry, sorry. No. He was fine when he woke up. Well actually, when he was sleeping he was sucking his thumb" Naboo simply shrugged again,
"It'll be fine. I think he might keep a few small traits, due to the concentration of the potion we gave him, but it shouldn't be anything major". Howard's eyes widened,
"You're telling me this now?!" Naboo walked out of the room, saying over his shoulder,
"You never asked" He paused for a second and said, "Oh, and Howard?"
"Stop treating him so much like a toddler. He isn't anymore, remember?"
"And there it is!" Howard exlaimed, securing his bet that Naboo would somewhere bring him up on that. The shaman just gave him the look of pity that a sane person would give to a person in an asylum and walked out.
They came back into the living room to find Vince dozing on the sofa, Bollo shuffling his feet uncomfortably,
"What's wrong?" Naboo asked the gorilla, smiling slightly at Vince,
"Bollo not sure whether to wake precious Vince up or not. Bollo knows Harold would say he shouldn't, but he is idiot". Naboo chuckled as Howard came into the room, but told Bollo to wake Vince up,
"He's cluttering the room" Was the excuse he used. Bollo bent over Vince and shook his shoulder extremely roughly, almost shouting in his ear.
"Ok Bollo, I'm up! God, you gave me a headache". He moaned, rubbing his head, looking up at them, especially Howard. His eyes weren't watery, but Howard could see the hurt in them, and immediately said,
"Leave him alone Bollo. Vince, go and get some painkillers" He didn't want Naboo smirking or telling him off for getting them himself. Vince nodded and swung his legs off the sofa. He was slightly more coordinated now, and managed to only stumble a bit on his way over to the cabinet. Getting there, he picked a sachet of nurofen up and swallowed it in one, shuddering at the taste, pulling a disgusted face, much to the others amusement.
"Alright guys, go open the shop now" Naboo said to them. Raising their eyebrows at each other, they both shrugged and went to the shop, Howard going down first. When he was at the bottom he turned to see where Vince was, and to his surprise the other man was going down on his backside like before.
"Er, Vince? You do realise you can get down normally now, right?" Vince jumped, as if he hadn't registered Howard's presence. He blushed and got to his feet, taking slightly longer than he normally would, but his feet still weren't agreeing with him as much as he would have liked.
"You ok?" He asked, as Vince finally go to the bottom.
"Yeah. 'Course. We gonna open then?" He asked, then gave Howard a smile, hoping he hadn't sounded cold and distant when he said that. He got a smile back and Howard moved forward to turn the sign around.
Vince settled himself on one of the stools behind the counter, and picked up a magazine under it. He yelped,
"Howard!" Howard spun around to find Vince looking at him, his face full of fear and shock,
"I still can't read!"
"I mean, I can, but there are some long words that I just can't make out". He looked like he was about to cry, a face that Howard had seen a lot of the last few days, which put the older man on high alert.
"Don't worry little man, I'm sure it just needs to wear off. Here, I'll help you," He stopped an blushed, stuttering out, "Y'know, if... if you want, I mean". But Vince gave him a glowing grin,
"Really? Cheers Howard!" So Howard went over, and Naboo found them hunched over the counter half an hour, Howard sometimes prompting his friend,
"Ray...Razor....Razorlight! Razorlight play gig on roof of Amy Wine...Winehouse's fa....fay...fav..."
"Favourite" Howard said quietly,
"Yeah! Favourite pub!" Vince looked up from the headline of one of the articles in his NME and grinned at Howard, "Thanks Howard!"
"No problem, and don't worry, I bet by tonight you'll be reading again" Vince grinned again and started on the next headline,
"The Kil...Killers sup..supp..su..."
"Support" Naboo lisped from his position on the stairs, and both men behind the counter jumped and looked up,
"Cheers Naboo! Yeah, The Killers support... Glas....Glas..." He looked up at Howard, who smiled,
After watching Vince nod and finish the whole article, throwing his arms around Howard afterwards and hugging him warmly, Naboo crept back upstairs.
An hour later, Vince and Howard came back upstairs,
"What're you two doing?" Naboo asked, "You're supposed to be running a shop!"
"No point," Vince said lightly, going to get a drink, "Bank holiday" He grinned at Naboo.
"Yeah, we only realised when Vince read that the next issue wouldn't be out until tommorrow because today was a bank holiday" Howard explained.
"Oh. Fine" Naboo shrugged and just got back to the hookah he and Bollo were sharing. Howard shrugged and turned back to Vince, who was trying not to spill the water he was pouring into his cup all over the floor. While Howard was helping him, Naboo turned around and said,
"We're gonna put 'Colubus the crab' on. Interested?" Both boys nodded and went over to the sofa. Unfortunately, it had been ages since they had all sat on the sofa (Normal sized) and had forgotton that they had made a rule that one person always had to sit on the floor. They all looked at Howard first, who shook his head,
"No way, I did it last time". All heads turned to Vince, who also shook his head,
"I've just had my body twist into the shape of a man again, I ache".
"Well it's my flat, and Bollo and me need to share the hookah". Vince shrugged and said,
"I don't mind sittin' on someone's knee. S'not like I haven't done it before" Everyone looked at Howard, who was outnumbered,
"Fine. Climb up" Vince smiled and sat on Howard, trying to make sure he didn't obscure his friend's view of the telly. However, he shuffled so much he almost shuffled right off Howard, who had to grab Vince by the waist to keep him on,
"Watch out little man" He pulled Vince closer to him, who smiled broadly at him and continued watching the telly. Howard only realised he hadn't been able to see the TV until the episode finished and Naboo stood up,
"Get the tea ready Bollo". Bollo grunted and stood up as well, leaving Howard stuck on the sofa until Vince moved,
"Vince, I need to get up," He said, but didn't get a reply. Frowning he said, "Naboo, is Vince asleep?" The shaman came over and smiled,
"Yeah, he's got his thumb stuck in his mouth as well" Howard couldn't help smiling as he pictured the scene, but he needed to get up. He slowly moved Vince from on top of him and layed him down on the empty space on the sofa. He did indeed have his thumb in his mouth, and was breathing deeply and evenly, smiling all the while. Howard got his duvet and put it over him, as it was still quite cold in the flat.
"He'd only have gotten more tired during the evening" He explained to Naboo, who was narrowing his eyes at Howard.
They had left Vince sleeping until the tea was ready, when Howard went forward to wake him,
"C'mon Vince, tea". Vince awoke and smiled at Howard,
"Genius," He yawned, "What're we having?"
"Bollo cook his famous cockney mash for precious Vince, with bangers" Vince grinned, his favourite meal on the table for him.
When they were sat at the table, Vince spoke,
"Hey guys, I know sometimes I don't like... make out that I'm grateful all the time, but I swear I've changed. Me 'n Howard talked a couple of days ago and it's kind of been sorted out. Anyway, I wanna say thanks to you all, for looking after me". Bollo got slightly watery eyes, much to their surprise, but Naboo grinned,
"No problem. But you know it was mostly Howard" Vince nodded and gave Howard a glowing grin.
Vince yawned widely. He was curled up like a cat on the end of the sofa, as Bollo was washing up and so hadn't got to sitting down yet. Howard picked up on the yawn and said,
"I think you should go to bed Vince. You've had a long day after all". Vince shrugged sleepily and got up, stumbling, which was partly due to tiredness and that he was still getting used tp his feet again. He muttered a sleepy 'Night' to Naboo and Bollo and walked off. Howard got up to and, ignoring Naboo's questioning glance, followed Vince to their bedroom.
"Vince?" Howard said, slipping into the room,
"Mhmm?" Vince mumbled, already in bed,
"I just want to say, thanks for y'know, saying thanks" He said, feeling stupid, as he was aware that that hadn't made too much sense. Vince seemed to understand however, and nodded,
"'Welcome" He muttered, rolling over, the light from the overhead light hurting his eyes. Noticing this, Howard switched it off, but once again turned the nightlight on. Vince saw this, but smiled, grabbing Mitch and hugging him gently as he drifted off to sleep. Just before this, however, he said,
"Hey Howard? I've been thinkin' 'bout my dad alot. And I just wanna say, when I was small, I think you were the best dad ever. Kinda like the one I never had..." With that he sighed happily and fell asleep.
"Thanks Vince. It was good while it lasted. See you in the morning" With that he left the door slightly open as he hurried off to the bathroom, making sure his eyes weren't red from the happy tears sliding down his face.
The end. And the all lived happily ever after. Then they woke up and it was all a dream lol. You pick. K, this is where the reviews are most important, cause I was struggling with how to end it. The chapter was niggling the back of my brain and I just had to finish it. So after this I'm starting my crossover ;P So yeah, please review, even if you hadn't any other point, please do for this last chapter, let's try and get this story to more than 100 reviews! Oh yeah, sorry if it disappointed anyone, feel free to think up your own ending ;) I love you all