Here ya go, round 2 ;) Again, any hospital staff names are stolen from Casualty ^_^
Oh yeah, defibrillators are those paddles they shock you with to restart your heart ;)
Vince rested his forehead against the doors of 'resuss', his breath misting up the window as he stared at the small body, heavily bandaged and with various tubes running in and out of him. Howard's hand rested on his shoulder in an attempt to give him some sort of comfort. And it did help, to a certain extent, his breathing stayed even and the shaking was gradually subsiding, but Howard was still concerned about the pale, ghost-like skin of his friend.
"Vince, maybe...maybe it would be best if, you left it a while, maybe came back when he's better. You could bring him a present or something..." This fell on deaf ears as Vince continued to gaze into the room, completely zoned out. He could barely feel Howard's hands on his shoulder. Suddenly, a high pitched beep was being emitted from one of the machines Adam was attached to. Howard watched in horror as the doctors rushed over, all snapping on rubber gloves. One started pummeling the boy's chest as the others watched various machine screens grouped around Adam's bed.
"What's happening?!" Vince yelped, staring into the theatre where the doctors were now using the defibrillators on the small body, "What are they doing?!" Howard looked down at his best friend sadly. Sometimes childish ignorance wasn't a good thing, but surely Vince knew what was happening? Even if he didn't like or understand it, he still knew what was going on. Still, his friend needed him right now, not just him stood there brooding, doing nothing at all. Gently pulling Vince away from where he was stood, as if trying to walk right through the door, he managed to turn him so he was facing the older man,
"Come on little man, he'll be fine, just breathe and look at me. Look at me" He murmured again, when Vince failed to do it the first time. As he looked into the deep blue eyes, bright with scared tears, Howard almost started crying himself. He almost wanted to run in there and scream at Adam, 'Why did you have to do that? Don't you realise what you've done? Vince will never get that image out of his head!', but getting angry wouldn't solve anything, he knew.
"Excuse me" said a woman as she pushed past them, desperate to get into the room. She rushed in as Howard watched, still forbidding Vince to turn and around and cradling him to his chest. She started to have an argument with a nurse, while the doctor was shouting for her to be taken out,
"I'm his mother!" She screamed at them, breaking down at the sight of her child lying motionless in the hospital bed. Howard's heart plummeted at the sight of it. He needed to get Vince out of here. The mother would be told what happened and, like Vince, blame the younger man for it all. Plus, he didn't want to seem really morbid, but he didn't think the kid would make it. At all. He needed to get Vince away before that happened.
"Why don't we go sit you back in your cubicle, wait until they've made him better before we go in" He coaxed, trying to take Vince away before...
"Time of death..." He heard the doctor's muffled voice and the mother's agonizing scream before he felt Vince collapse under him, the strain of the whole thing taking it's toll until he couldn't bear it any longer and fainted, only being held up by Howard's arms.
"Can I have some help please?!" Howard yelled, cringing as he knew he sounded like someone out of a bad medical drama. Still it got people's attention and soon several nurses were gathered around him, helping him take Vince back to his cubicle. He was only out for about five minutes tops, but even so, when he started making small mumbling noises and slowly opening his eyes, Howard was relieved. He put his hand over Vince's and said,
"Don't sit up yet Vince, just relax" Vince nodded sleepily, but gasped and burst into tears,
"Adam!" He said, between sobs, and not even Howard could stop his pathetic wailing as he sobbed so much he nearly passed out,
"Vince, you have to calm down. I know what you saw was horrible, but I know that you helped. If you hadn't been with him, and called the ambulance, he would have had even less time..." Vince buried his head in Howard's arm when he tried to put it round the man in the bed.
Vince felt completely empty inside. Well, not empty exactly... it was hard to explain how he felt. Everything in him was screaming, out of sorrow, out of guilt, out of.... Howard's arms were still curled around him, making him feel safe. However, something else stirred within him, and as he looked into Howard's eyes, he wanted to die. How could he be sat here crying when he had just discovered he was in love? The whole rush of feelings came to suddenly. Now even trying to hold back his tears, Vince just continued to cry onto Howard's shoulder, having moved upwards slightly.
Howard looked down at his friend. How would he ever get over this? How would Vince, the sunshine kid, ever forget seeing a small child get ran over? And then dying? He knew it wasn't the right time at all to think this, but Vince had never been more beautiful. Tragically beautiful, with the tears sliding down his face, somehow highlighting his perfect features. His hair adorably ruffled and he honestly didn't care. Howard had always loved him, it was impossible not to. He decided to put this to the back of his mind, and just be a really good friend to him at the moment. That's all he needed. He didn't need some 'northern jazzy freak' trying to get Vince to notice him. No, what he needed was a simple friend.
As Vince was finally calming down, snuffling and hiccoughing the curtains slid open and another nurse, not one they were familiar with peeked in,
"Hiya! My name's Kelsie, how are you feeling Vince?" Vince nodded but grimaced, a headache already in full swing after the torrents of water were expelled from his eyes. Kelsie picked up on this and said,
"Do you want anything? Paracetamol?" Vince was going to protest, but Howard squeezed his hand and said,
"Yes please, he needs it" Kelsie nodded and walked out. From the gap in the curtains they saw her rummaging in the medicine cabinet. Suddenly, yet another nurse came in.
"Vince!" She said, pleasantly, and Howard realised it was Jessica, probably checking on him, he thought, "Vince, I've got some good news for you" She smiled as some colour started to come back into his cheeks and he looked up, sniffing. He still wouldn't let go of Howard, but he was paying attention to something.
"Adam's alright! His mother insisted on one more round of CPR, so they had to comply, as they hadn't finished announcing him yet..."
"Announcing?" Vince asked, interrupting, but a spark coming back into his eyes.
"That's what you heard, when they were announcing his time of death. anyway, they last round payed off and they've finally declared him stable enough to be moved into a ward" Vince's face lit up, making Howard melt inwardly. The younger man tried to leap up, but his pounding head stopped him from doing that.
"Owwie... can I go and see Adam?" Jessica chewed her lip, not sure. No-one had given her any instructions concerning the little boy, and that included who could or couldn't visit him, but she knew the mother was with him, and if she knew who Vince was, chances are she would blame him, which was something Jessica wanted to avoid, her patient already having quite a lot of stress at the moment.
"Erm, I think you can," She said, backing down under those blue eyes, "But I have to warn you, his mother will be there, and if you tell her that you were with Adam when it happened, chances are she might blame you. It wasn't your fault at all though" She said quickly, scared of Vince breaking down again.
Howard nodded, agreeing with her and, not trying to extract himself from Vince just yet, and said to Vince,
"Vince, she'll be really sad, so try not to listen to anything she says. In fact, why don't we just come back another time?" He looked right into Vince's eyes, both feeling the extreme chemistry and fireworks, and Vince eventually lowered his head, exhausted,
"Ok," Howard squeezed his arm one more time, but Vince clutched at his arm as they made to get up, "No! Wait! I told him I'd give him his football!" He looked wildly around the cubicle and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw it sat on the visitor chair. Grabbing it, he looked up at Jessica and said,
"I can at least give him this right?" His voice was as hopeful as a child's on Christmas day, and Jessica couldn't let him down. Despite only knowing him for about, at least an hour and a half, she felt a warm affection for him as she nodded and smiled, and as he and Howard exited the cubicle, she touched Howard's arm,
"Don't think I didn't see all that between you," She smiled, knowingly, "Be gentle with him, he's still under quite a bit of strain" Howard smiled and nodded, before being pulled away by a slightly shaking hand.
As Vince looked up and down the various beds in the ward, looking distinctly nervous, Howard wondered if this was such a good idea. Vince was still in shock, that would only be duplicated if there was a fierce confrontation with the mother. However, Vince squeaked and pulled Howard faster as he saw a bed that had not only a boy on his own iin it, but an awake boy in it,
"Adam!" The boy looked up when he heard his name being called and grinned, his eyes lighting up,
"Vince! C'mere, c'mere, look at this!!" Vince beamed and went over, scared to sit by him in case he hurt the boy, but Howard pushed him forward, "Check out these scars!" He said proudly and pulled his hospital gown upwards slightly so they both saw an impressive scar on his leg. Vince paled and bit his lip,
"I am so sorry Adam. I should've... I dunno, I..." Howard patted him on the arm and said,
"Stop apologising Vince, it won't do any good" To his surprise, Adam piped up,
"Yeah Vince, toughen up, it wasn't your fault anyway!" Vince looked up, barely daring to believe it,
"U-huh! My mum already gave me this huge lecture about not watching what I was doing, so I guess she thinks it was more my fault than yours!" Vince looked over at Howard, eyes shining, making Howard's leap in happiness, it felt like it had been years since Vince had smiled properly without any doubt in his face. He then pouted slightly, trying to remember something,
"Erm... oh yeah! I don't know if you realised, but when I was waiting with you, I promised you we'd have that football game, so I've brought it for you" He produced it from behind his back, enjoying seeing the ecstatic look on the small boy's face,
"Wow! You picked it up for me? I asked Mum about it, and she said she'd get me another, but now she doesn't have to! Thanks Vince" He looked up at the blushing mod with adoration in his eyes, as if he was the most wonderful thing in the world. Which, Howard reasoned, is quite true. Suddenly, Howard's phone rang and, pulling it out of his pocket, he read the caller ID. Ah, Naboo would be home now and would more than likely have read his note. What had he put again?
"Hey Naboo, how are things?"
"Is Vince ok?"
"Yeah he's fine, what did I write in the note?"
"You wrote, 'Vince in hospital, I've taken van, we need more orange juice"
"Oh," Howard said, going silent for a minute, "Listen Naboo, I need to go, I shouldn't be using this is here"
"Wait! What happened to Vince?"
"I'll tell you when we get back to the flat" He promised. With that he rung off and switched the phone off.
He sat down back next to Vince who chatted to Adam about god knows what, and smiled. He loved seeing Vince happy, and there had been hundreds of moments today when he wondered if he would ever be happy again. This happiness soon gave way to worry as Howard heard,
"Who are you? How do you know my son?" A confused an slightly wary tone caught his ears as he turned as saw the woman who almost collapsed in resuss about half an hour ago.
"Hello, my name's Howard Moon," He held out a hand for her to shake, which she shook, but cautiously, "And this is Vince Noir he phoned for the ambulance" Howard said, trying to just not mention the fact that Vince was there when it happened,
"Oh! Yes, Adam told me about you!" She said to Vince, and swept him up in a hug, "Thank you so much Vince! If you hadn't been there, I don't know what would have happened!" Vince looked bemused but latched onto her, hugging her tightly and sniffing,
"Thank you. I... I thought it was my fault, 'cause..." In an instant, this motherly figure pulled Vince away from her by his ear,
"Don't you dare think that!" She shouted, making Howard wince, feeling sorry for his friend, "Don't you dare Mr Noir! You saved my son's life!"
"But I was there!" Vince whimpered, "I should have done something!" This got him a further twist on the ear, Howard now almost amused at the situation Vince was in,
"You were absolutely perfect!"
"That's what I told him" Howard muttered, now amused as Vince was starting to look like a guilty child,
"And if you don't mind, I would like your phone number. Apparently you owe my son a football game?" She looked so strict that Vince giggled slightly as Adam looked ecstatic. Howard smiled, for some reason the belt across his chest had been loosened after hearing his friend laugh. It was the first time he had laughed since it all began. After a few goodbyes, Howard led Vince out of the hospital and said,
"The van's parked over there, c'mon, I'll even make you a hot chocolate if you want" Vince turned to face him and grinned,
"Genius! Cheers Howard" Howard twinkled at how happy his friend was, and at the noticeable glances he kept giving him before looking away as soon as Howard looked over. He grinned all the way back.
Vince curled up on the sofa, a blanket wrapped around him (The heating was broken) and was warming his hands, which were wrapped around a mug full of hot chocolate covered in whipped cream and marshmallows. He sighed and and started thinking about today. He shivered as he remembered the sight and sound of Adam being smashed off a car and squeezed his eyes shut, hoping the image would fade away.
"Vince?" Asked a curious voice from the doorway. Howard had appeared with a cup of tea, "Are you alright?" Vince nodded and tried to smile, but it was hard-going. Howard sighed and went to sit next to him,
"Vince, you can talk about you know. With me. I'm here for you" He put his hand over Vince's, making the younger man's heart leap and he stuttered slightly as he said,
"Erm, I'm... I'm fine Howard, I mean... I guess I'm a bit shook up about it all, but it's not like I can...not like I can still remember the sound or anything..." With that he broke down, Howard carefully pulling the drink out of his hand and placing it on the table. Simultaneously doing the same with his own, he gently pulled Vince across so that the man was almost lying on the sofa, his head resting on Howard's lap. Howard started combing his fingers through his hair,
"Vince, you know you need to put all this behind you," He said quietly, "It wasn't your fault, even Adam and his mum said so. Everyone's fine, and you are too" Vince sniffed and suddenly sat up, rubbing at his eyes like a little kid does after a nightmare. Looking Howard straight in the eyes, he leaned in a kissed him on the cheek,
"Thank you" he whispered, before getting up and walking to their bedroom. Howard sat there stunned. What the hell was that? It's just because he's really fragile at the moment, Howard reasoned, and I'm showing him a lot of sympathy and attention.
Lost in his musings, he didn't hear the door open and jumped when Naboo appeared next to him,
"So? How's Vince?" Howard looked up, his face etched with tiredness,
"He's fine, he saw a little kid get hit by a car, and he needed to go in for shock and stitches, and he's completely wiped. Because he was there he thought it was his fault, thought he should've done more" Naboo blinked,
"Shit," Was all he said, but managed to add more, "Is the kid ok?" Howard nodded,
"He's fine, Vince just owes him a game of football. That's why he was there, he was about to play football with him" Naboo smiled,
"Do you want me to make a potion or something? Calm him down?" Howard looked down the hallway at their door.
"Nah, he'll be fine" Howard announced, actually believing himself as Naboo shrugged and went to turn the kettle on. Unconsciously, Howard gently touched the spot Vince had kissed him, slightly open mouthed and not answering when Naboo asked him if they had any orange juice.
The next day, Vince appeared out of their bedroom. He wasn't as happy and bouncy as Howard hoped, but he was much better than he had been yesterday,
"Morning little man," Howard said warmly, "Naboo gave us the day off, what do you want to do?" Vince looked thrilled at being able to choose,
"Can we do something that's just me and you?" He asked, eyes shining hopefully,
"Of course" Howard answered, slightly touched that Vince wanted to be with just him. Either that or he felt sorry for him. But then why that kiss last night?....
"Genius! Ok, I pick...that park opposite the corner shop, wait! The corner shop first, I forgot my hula-hoops and lucozade the other day!" Howard just nodded as Vince skipped off to go and get ready. It was obvious why Vince wanted to go there, precisely where it happened, but Howard chose to ignore this in the hope that he was just being slightly paranoid and that Vince simply wanted to go there because it was quite a nice place to be.
They got out of the flat quite quickly and trudged along the road. Vince sighed shakily. It was quite nice to be back in the fresh air, but maybe he had made a mistake? Would he suddenly have an all-out panic attack as they came to the spot? Would he break down, leaving Howard to look embarrased at having to haul him back? He started shaking again, he could see where it had happened, they were coming closer to it...
"Howard, I think I've changed my mind, I wanna go home" He murmured, tugging at Howard's coat like a child. Howard looked down sadly. Vince needed to be out, it wasn't healthy for him to sit in the flat all day.
"How about we go round this way," He said, steering Vince down a different street, "We can get into the park just as easily" Vince nodded but didn't let go of his death grip on Howard's jacket.
In the park, there were people taking runs, couples out, sat on benches and chatting, and children running, some walking their dogs, others on scooters or bikes. Vince smiled at all the movement and, forgetting what they were near to, could think of no place he'd rather be right now.
"Howard? Do you want to sit on a bench?" He asked, motioning towards one that was quite near a couple engaged in a tongue-wrestling match. Howard gulped at the sight but nodded, sure to be the one with his back facing them, which meant that Vince was the one left to watch them. He giggled and put his eyes down, not wanting them to feel like they were on display. He looked up at Howard, who was looking back at him, smiling as he saw how relaxed his friend was. Vince smiled some more, never really appreciating just how handsome Howard was. Vince nibbled his lip, trying to think of a way to tell Howard how he felt. Ok, so he was a bit of a coward, but never about things like this. So why was it atking him so long to say a few words?
There was a similar battle waging in Howard's head at this point. Sure Vince had kissed him last night, but that was on the cheek, it didn't mean anything. It was just Vince's way of displaying affection. So why did Howard find his hand creeping towards Vince's? Why was he edging closer, praying that Vince wouldn't notice and edge away? Wait, was Vince shifting closer as well? Nah, it was because he was cold, that's why. And his lips are cold, so he's licking them to...
Howard let out a little strangled squeak as he couldn't tear his eyes away from his friend. Should he just go for it? If Vince pushed him away, yeah he would probably die, but if he didn't? Suddenly, he thoughts were interrupted as he felt lips on his own, finally focusing, he was met with a blurred image of Vince right next to him, having closed the gap between the two of them. Howard closed his eyes and started to kiss back, not wanting Vince to think he didn't want to.
Vince's heart started doing somersalts and letting off fireworks as he could feel the unmistakeable touch of someone kissing back. He smiled as he kissed, all bad thoughts about yesterday sweeping away as he and Howard were stuck together in a warm and sweet embrace.
Finally surfacing for air, Vince smiled shyly at Howard, his hair falling in front of his eyes as he ducked his head but continued looking at Howard. Unable to stay in the silence, he broke it,
"So er... you ok?" He mentally kicked himself as he realised how stupid that must have sounded. Fortunately, Howard smiled and said,
"Now I am" And put his fingers under Vince's chin, pushing it up so they were looking at each other once more. Vince grinned and they walked back to the flat, hand in hand.
--3 months later--
"Vince! Over there! By that tree! No by your left! Your other left!" Howard almost collapsed with laughter as his boyfriend was practically running in circles, trying to run after a football that a small boy ahd kicked him. They had gotten a call for Adam himself a few weeks ago saying that he'd had to rest but he'd love to still have that football game. So they had turned up in that same park, and now Howard was sat on a bench watching Vince and Adam play. Vince had never looked so happy, and his cheeks had gained colour he never knew existed as his eyes shone.
He still had nightmares though. He'd often wake up breathing heavily, moaning about the sound, and the crack he made off the windscreen, but Howard had been able to calm him, rubbing his back and whispering to him, softly kissing him on the neck, making him fall asleep again. It was hard work but he had to. He didn't want to see the man he loved constantly tormented by this. And he was getting better. It was less frequent, and Howard was sure after this there'd be no more. Vince had seen that even Adam had put it behind him, so it wouldn't be long before Vince joined him.
Soon, the game was over, Vince losing phenominally (Although Howard had a theory he'd done that on purpose) as Adam cheered in victory. After a few goodbyes, they parted ways, Vince giving Adam a hug before walking over the the bench, smiling happily as he threw himself down,
"Hiya!" He grinned, issuing Howard a kiss before he could say anything. Howard happily kissed back, and when they were apart, Vince said,
"Thanks Howard" The older man was puzzled and replied,
"Why? What for?"
"For everything you did, y'know? I believed you when you said it wasn't my fault, and you set up the whole meeting. Thanks" Howard wrinkled his nose up,
"Everyone told you it wasn't your fault Vince, you believed them" Vince shook his head,
"Not really. I only properly believed it when you told me" He smiled and snuggled into Howard's arms,
"So no more nightmares d'you think?" Howard asked. Vince looked up, smiling coyly,
"Oh I don't think we'll have much time for sleep, let alone nightmares"
As my good friend Roz would say, Ta da! Anywho, thanks for reading it, it took me a while, 'cause I was debating whether or not to let Adam live and whether his mum would be forgiving or not. Hopefully this meets everyone's standards ;) Thanks again, and please review! :)