A/N: It's criminal that this pairing has not come to someone's attention. Come on people, wake up. They've quickly moved up to being my very favorite.

Character(s): Donny Juice, Prince Vince, mentions of Lydia and BJ maybe.

Title: A Simple Invitation

Summary: An invitation sets Donny to musing on his friendship with the gloomy Prince of the Underworld.

Sinking down into the desk chair was probably the sweetest relief that Donny Juice had ever known. He'd been moving all day, scurrying from place to place like a criminal spider on the run from the proverbial boot. Between his mind and his hands, all of which had been going a hundred different directions, he wasn't sure whether he'd been awake for the last fifty hours or the last fifty years, his exhaustion pleaded the case for the latter.

The holidays were always especially busy in the Neitherworld, it shared the season with the Outerworld, and consequently shared more than a few responsibilities and setbacks with it's parallel self. There was Ghoul Grub on the Go, Monstrosities for little Monsters, and the Advocates for Worm Rights group, all of which Donny felt sure truly appreciated his throwing everything that he had into them; and none of which got enough support from other members of the world. He wasn't a selfish person by nature, at least he hoped that he wasn't, but the time had come for the exhausted ghostie to take a small breather.

So there he was, for the first time in about three days, sitting in an armchair in his very own apartment, with a lap full of mail that he'd successfully neglected while accomplishing other tasks. It was the usual assortment of junk: advertisements, the newspaper, a tire, an old boot, some fishing line, and a half chewed tin can. He might have tossed every bit into the recycle bin had he not caught a glimpse of something black and shimmering at the bottom of the pile. Taking just a moment to decide whether or not some jokster had snaked an electric eel into his mail box, he tugged out a square envelope, and deposited the rest of the pile to be sorted through and put to use later. Waste not, want not, after all.

Donny looked at the small piece of paper laying in his hands and couldn't for the death of him imagine what it might be or who it might be from. It had been the ribbon that had drawn his attention, the simple, black, satin thing wrapped vertically around the cream colored paper that was almost graying. He recognized the stationary at once as the very same that was used for royal matters, both official and non. A simple tarantula seal held the ribbon on and the letter closed simultaneously. It seemed to be, without question, something of an urgent matter.

It was only a moment to gently remove the seal and ribbon in a way that did not disrupt the perfection of the package, and he was able to extract the questioned document and hold it up to be read, without much problem. It read, in a very lovely, scrawling caligraphy:

To Mr. Donny Juice;

You are cordially invited to attend an evening of entertainment and delight.

The event will begin promptly at seven p.m. on Friday the 19th of December.

Please RSVP immediately.

Sincerely,

Murky Mucas

He sat for just a moment, in a bit of a stupor, before rubbing a hand through his blonde hair and saying to himself, "Well, imagine that!" He glanced over in the direction of his worm aquarium, "The royal court secretary personally inviting me to come to the castle." A grayish-green snow had begun to fall outside of the windows, and he was feeling especially relaxed by the feeling of Christmas drifting casually all around town; leaking in from the doors and windows, it was impossible to keep out. He sat the envelope to the side and returned his attention to his friends in the glass tank, "What do you think I ought to wear to this sort of event. They've really not told me anything about what's going to be going on. Do you think casual might be alright?" Before he could ask anymore questions to his unresponsive conversational partner, a small scrap of paper slipped from it's hidden place inside of the envelope. It drifted and dwindled downward, as thin and promising as a piece of confectioner's sugar untiil it settled itself on his knee, harmlessly looking up at him.

Being the sort of man that could never tolerate something out of place, he snatched it up gingerly and glanced over it with the air of someone that was all at once captivated by an enchanting mystery. Considerably less formal writing stared up at him, naked and trembling between his fingers.

Donny,

Please come.

Vince

Donny may have had to ponder the official invitation before deciding what course of action to take, but that was only because he was human. Beyond that, he was a gentleman, and he couldn't keep a personalized plea from being answered immediately. His only regret was that he'd kept his friend waiting for longer than absolutely necessary; somewhere in the back of his mind, he made a resolution to be more timely and thorough with his responses. He jotted down the assurance that he wouldn't miss a chance to be with his very good friend if the entire world strived to keep him from it. The poetical promise said, he signed his name with flourish and stuffed his reply into the mailbox to be carried out to the prince at once. He considered, briefly, going personally to give his response, but his manners prevented him from closing in on the only creature, living or dead, that actively sought to spend his time in the company of the well-meaning and overly helpful Juice brother.

The entire friendship had started out with an invitation, as he recalled, albeit a less fancy and considerably more verbal one. His brother's dark-haired nymphet had asked him if he might like to accompany the two of them on their weekly, Sunday picnic. It had been her intention to bring the two brothers closer together, he was certain, but it was all but impossible to inch your way into Beetlejuice's heart, and when he did care about you, he was more likely to claim that it was a bad case of Sand Pox than an actual feeling. He claimed to have no heart, but his persistant claim on death-challenged friend said otherwise. Still, her plan had seemed doomed to fail in that aspect, before it was even put into action. Still, he hadn't the heart to refuse a chance to visit with the two of them, and he'd been more than happy to turn up at the little get together with a covered dish of pie.

When he'd arrived, he'd been greeted by an overly enthusiastic, and exceptionally cheerful Lydia, with a very unhappy shadow on her tail. He'd given a try at cheering up his older brother, who had mumbled some nonsense about being forced into the company of his least favorite people in the after life before digging into the cockroach caserole. There had been quite the turn out, all of his brother's neighbors and friends had showed up bearing dishes of things thrown together at the last minute for the picnic. What he hadn't expected was to be pulled aside by the clever companion of his brother just before the food was served, she'd brought him to the company of a small, startlingly spider-like youth, just a bit older than she was in appearance. She'd introduced him as Prince Vince, and the boy had seemed a bit flustered by the title in the midst of all of the commonplace folk, his eyes had alternated between his feet and her face, never chancing upon the man in front of him.

He'd been interested, Donny had, the boy was a prince, after all, and you didn't meet royalty every day, even in the after life. They'd fallen into some awkward and pointless conversation after their hostess had abandoned them to see to her other guests. Donny had shuffled about, trying not to stare openly at the child beside him, and Vince had kept his wide eyes peeled for a glimpse of the doll-faced human that had stolen the heart of every one in the Neitherworld.

What no one except perhaps Lydia had expected, was that the Prince Rainclouds and Mr. Sunshine would hit it off as if they'd known each other for a millenium instead of five minutes. Pointless conversation had lead from one topic to another, and they'd quickly become some entangled in their encounter that the picnic had been over before they'd had the chance to make a plate. The friendship hadn't ended when the Prince had departed in his carriage and Donny had returned to his humble apartment, indeed they'd both laid in bed and thought about the experience for most of the night. They'd only reluctantly shared the secret with each other over lunch the next day. Invitation had followed invitation, and it had quickly become apparent, even to Beetlejuice that the relationship was for the best. It got Vince away from his mourning the rejection he continually suffered at the hands of Lydia, and it kept Donny from exerting his very well-meant intentions into every situation that didn't require him. And so the entire Neitherworld had left it all alone, in hopes that they wouldn't disturb peaceful waters.

Donny was a smart man, despite what some people might have said about him, he'd realized what was happening long before the Prince had given it any thought. He'd fallen into the very same trap that his brother had, a welcome one though it was. A dark-eyed child had come along and stolen his heart away from him before he could lay claim on it, and he'd been dragging himself along faithfully like Humber for Lolita, though in his case markedly the wrong gender for the role, ready to do anything for said creature. The relationship's progresstion had been notable for it's continued innocence, neither boy involved was one to take the first step. Vince was more than willing to go for the thing that made him happy, but he'd probably not yet come to truly realize that he wanted more than friendship with his companion. Donny was shy only for his lack of experience. He'd kissed a boy once, but it had only been a small brush in college, something neither boy had cared to talk about afterwords, and had ended with both parties ignoring their previously called friend.

Reluctant though he surely was, Donny stared at the scratched afterthought from his friend and felt his heart give a small flutter. He wasn't sure that he was quite ready to confess his affections for the Prince, but the continued pushing of the line between friendship and something more gave him the confidence that the time might actually come around sometime. He was sure that he would find the courage to say something about the growing sensation that destiny had come around as a final act of kindness, to lump two lonely people in together and create something that the both of them actually needed. First, he only had to be sure that Vince wouldn't be repulsed by the idea and lock himself back away in rainclouds.

Prudence wasn't really cowardice, after all, he decided with a small smile, a small mumble of encouragment to himself.