A/N: ok, suffering from tremendous period pains so I'm trying to get my mind off it. If this chapter sucks please let me know and I'll change it when my insides stop feeling like they're being ripped out through my belly button.


Howard was sat back on the sofa by the window, his hands in his lap as he nervously rubbed them together. After being sat in silence for ten minutes Howard had finally plucked up the courage to say something, but as his mouth opened Vince had offered a cup of tea, and so he'd left Howard alone in the living room whilst he practically ran off to the kitchen.

Sighing, Howard rose from the sofa and set off in the direction of where Vince had gone. Walking down the corridor he saw the open kitchen before him and headed for it, passing an open door to his left. There was a table lamp switched on next to a bed and Howard glanced in as he passed but stopped and doubled back to get a better look. His eyes widened as he entered the room, standing just inside the doorway and taking in his dimly lit surroundings.

The walls were covered in drawings, paintings, collages, there wasn't a speck of wall to be seen, some paintings even tacked to the ceiling. But they weren't the paintings Vince used to do, portrait's of friends and bowls of sparkling fruit, these pictures were dark, depicting hooded figures, some forcing themselves on trembling victims, vicious animals, pain and fear. Most pictures were black and red, dark blues and the occasional patch of white for contrast, the room was covered in them. Howard's eyes scanned the images of frightened children, cowering forms hiding in corners and terrifying beastly creatures until he focused on the largest picture in the room, a huge canvas hung above the double bed covering the space between the top of the bed and the ceiling. There was an open door in the picture, a beam of white light entering a black room. A figure stood the other side of the door casting a black shadow across the floor of the room, his back turned on another figure sat alone in the room, knees drawn in tight to their chest, red tears falling down their blue cheeks. Howard moved towards the painting, reaching a hand out and touching the rough surface of the canvas. The paint was slapped on in large amounts but with such precision Howard knew exactly what the scene was supposed to be. He looked at the frame of the canvas and read the date; 2 weeks after he'd left the Nabootique. Looking pained Howard turned and left the bedroom, gently closing the door behind him, trying desperately to keep Vince's broken heart in there with his paintings, unable to completely face he destruction he'd caused.

As he walked into the tiny kitchen he saw Vince standing with his back to him holding the kettle, his hands were shaking madly and it was obvious he'd been standing like that for a while, the kettles mouth poised just above a mug, spilling the occasional drop of boiling water on the counter or down the side of the mugs. Howard walked up behind him quietly and put his hand around Vince's to steady the kettle making Vince jump an inch into the air. Howard slipped his other arm round Vince's waist as the smaller man looked up into his eyes, a slightly scared expression on his face.

"I'm sorry." Howard whispered into his ear putting the kettle back on its stand, and with Vince's hand still tightly grasped in his, wrapped his other arm across Vince's chest, pulling him as close to his body as physics would allow. "I'm so sorry Vince. I was being childish walking out on you all those years ago. You'd upset me, so I wanted to upset you, and then after a while of brooding on the subject my upset turned into hate and I didn't go back just to spite you." He could feel Vince's body shaking beneath him as tears dripped onto his arm.

Turning Vince round to face him, his arms still wrapped tightly round him, he planted a soft kiss on his forehead. "I'm sorry about yesterday as well, I didn't want to leave, I was just so scared." He looked deep into Vince's crying eyes and put their foreheads together, bringing a hand up to stroke Vince's unkempt hair. "I didn't think for a moment that you'd try to…" Howard's voice trailed off as the image of Vince stepping into the road flooded his vision, tears welling in his eyes. "I'm so sorry, please forgive me."

Vince wrapped his arms round Howard's waist and closed the gap between their mouths, their lips locking gently, eyes closed, fireworks erupting all around them, stomachs back flipping, electricity filling their bodies.

Slowly Vince pulled away from Howard's lips and looked into the taller mans eyes. "I don't blame you Howard, I was a complete prick to you, I was just too blind to realise the damage I was causing." Smiling shyly he dropped his gaze, suddenly feeling rather silly. But Howard slid his hand round Vince's neck and lifted his chin up, pulling him into another gentle kiss.

"It doesn't matter, because we've found each other again." Vince smiled and buried his head in Howard's neck, the older man once again taking to stroking his hair.

"I get what you said yesterday, about not being able to go back to the way things were. Like you said, we're different people now." Vince tightened his grip round Howard's waist and planted a soft kiss on his neck causing him to shiver slightly, a quiet giggle escaping Vince's lips.

"I didn't mean it." Vince lifted his head so he was looking at Howard, hope in his eyes for the first time in a long while. "Now I've got you, I never want to let you go." Howard placed his hand at the base of Vince's neck and they both moved in for another kiss, more passionate than the last, hands wandering over each others body, years of denying their feelings for each other forgotten as they lost themselves in the moment.

Vince's hands moved under Howard's jumper, his fingers tracing lines across Howard's skin causing Howard's fingers tightened around Vince's hair at the contact. Vision's of the night outside the club flooded Vince's mind, that maniacs hands gripping at his hair, making him pull back from Howard suddenly. Howard looked puzzled until it dawned on him what he'd done.

"Sorry, I got carried away." Vince shook his head and smiled slightly.

"Its fine, I've had worse." Immediately Vince cursed himself, Howard's expression one of confusion and anger.

"What do you mean, 'had worse'? Has that happened to you before?" Vince dropped his gaze, shrugging slightly.

"I didn't mean it like that." He made to remove his arms from Howard's waist but Howard wouldn't let him go.

"Yes you did." Vince's face screwed up as he fought desperately with the tears behind his eyes. Howard lifted his head up with his hand, Vince's gaze meeting Howard's. "I'm sorry I left you Vince, if I'd have been there I could have stopped it." Howard's eyes were full of hurt as he realised exactly what Vince meant. The pictures in his room of cowering figures, hooded beasts pinning crying people to the floor, it all meant so much more now, and it broke Howard's heart to think of Vince going through such hurt alone, silently crying out for Howard's help, Howard being to proud and selfish to return to him.

"You did stop it, the other night, he'd probably have killed me once he was finished with me, but you turned up, just in time." Vince smiled at him sincerely and placed a hand on his cheek. "You rescued me, even when I'd given up on everything, you came. I can't thank you enough Howard." He rubbed his hand across Howard's cheek, brushing his fingers against the older man's lips.

Howard smiled and hugged Vince close to him before lifting him onto the kitchen counter, causing the man to squeal slightly. Vince wrapped his legs around Howard's waist and pulled him into a kiss, again their hands beginning to wander, though Howard stayed wary and settled for stroking the younger mans hair, his other hand stroking his back.

Vince moved his hands once more under Howard's jumper, feeling every ripple and freckle on the mans body. As his hands moved up Howard's chest he took the jumper in his hands and began to lift it over Howard's head. Howard pulled his lips away from Vince's, smiling shyly before doing as he was told, letting the jumper be pulled over his head and thrown to the floor. Vince began to unbutton his own shirt, Howard watching eagerly like a child watching his ice cream being scooped onto its cone causing Vince to giggle slightly. Howard smirked at him and raised his eyebrows.

"Think its funny do you?" Grabbing Vince firmly at the base of his spine he pulled the younger man off the counter, his legs still wrapped round Howard's waist, into a kind of front piggy-back. Vince squealed once more, quickly wrapping his arms round Howard's neck for support. Howard turned from the kitchen and made his way to the bedroom door, fighting with the handle whilst he kept Vince's form firmly attached to him.

"Don't." Vince whispered causing Howard to take his eyes of the door and look at the younger man. His face had fallen into a solemn frown as he stared at the wall just behind Howard's head. "Don't go in there, its-" But Vince couldn't find the words to express the sheer volume of pain the room held. Howard shifted his grip on the younger man so he had to face Howard, a child like fear on his face.

"Its ok, I've seen it." Vince's fear grew slightly, his eyes widening. "Whilst you were in the kitchen, I walked past and the door was open." Vince's gaze dropped once more to Howard's naked chest, suddenly finding a small mole very interesting. "I didn't mean to intrude, I was just curious," Howard paused as Vince's gaze stayed fixed on his chest. "and worried." He lowered his head and kissed Vince on the cheek. "You don't need to feel like that anymore, I'm not going to leave you, never again." Vince's grip tightened around Howard's neck and the older man placed a soft kiss on Vince's neck, closely followed by another kiss, and another, a quiet moan escaping Vince's mouth, a smile ebbing at Howard's lips. He put his hand on the door handle once more and turned it, kicking the door open. When he walked into the room both men forgot their surroundings and Howard laid Vince's small body on the bed, climbing on top of him. "No one will ever hurt you again." He whispered in between kisses, all the while unbuttoning the rest of Vince's shirt until he too was topless.

Vince pulled back from Howard's kisses and smiled. "I know."


When Howard awoke it took him a few seconds to remember where he was, but as it came to him a wide smile crossed his lips. "Vince." He whispered, opening his eyes and scanning the empty bed beside him, a frown now on his face. "Vince?" He called slightly louder.

Pulling the duvet back he rose from the bed and slipped his corduroy trousers on, making his way out of the dimly lit bedroom and into the dark hallway. He wasn't sure of the time but no light came through the open curtains, no sound of cars or passing people, only darkness and the faint outline of the moon through the grey clouds.

Making his way towards the living room he saw a slight glow coming through the doorway. As he reached it he leant against the doorframe, slightly puzzled. Before him stood a naked Vince, surrounded by the glow of candle light, dozens of coloured and scented candles covering the floor, the shelves and the window ledges. In front of Vince was the large canvas that had hung above the bed, Howard hadn't noticed it was missing. Vince had a paintbrush in his hand, black, white and blue paint stained his arms, legs and hair. He was lost in his own world as he flicked his wrist against the canvas, putting the last finishing touches to his greatest work.

Howard walked up behind him and slipped his arms round Vince's waist, Vince once again jumping slightly but quickly relaxing into Howard's embrace. The older man rested his chin on Vince's shoulder and looked hard at the picture before him, wet paint covering its surface.

"What do you think?" Vince asked, paintbrush still hanging limply in his hand dripping paint on the carpet and his toes. Howard smiled and squeezed his arms tighter round Vince's waist.

The figure by the door now had a face, his body changed so he was now looking into the dark room, a room that was no longer so dark. Candles littered the room in the picture much like the room Howard and Vince stood in now. The red tears that cascaded down the crouching figures cheeks were now blue, but the slight smile on the figures face showed them as tears of joy. And now, instead of them hugging their knees, the tiny hands held a pure white dove whose eyes looked at the figure standing by the door, the smile on his face partially obscured by the large moustache that swamped his top lip.

Howard kissed Vince's jaw line just below his ear and smiled. "I love it. Especially the strapping man by the door, very refined." Vince giggled and turned his body round to face Howard.

"Yeah, I based him on my postman, I love it when he comes round, we make cake, drink tea and watch chick flicks all night long." Both men laughed together, the friendship and love they both shared all those years ago returning with ease. And as the paint on the canvas began to dry, Vince and Howard once again fell to the floor, passionately kissing each other, running inquisitive hands over each others frames, making a silent promise to never leave each other again.


I'm pleased with the end of this, its taken me bloody long enough but its finally finished, and I've gotta say I'm pretty proud. I never finish a series I start and to finally do so makes me feel very proud of myself (ego boost) lol please review, let me know what you think, and hopefully you'll be hearing from me soon with some new stuff.