Author's Note: Big, big, big, HUGE apologies! I went on holiday for two weeks just after I finished the last chapter, and I've been working fulltime in an office ever since I got back. So I was usually feeling too tired to do anything apart from go to sleep in the evenings! Also had birthday celebrations to deal with etc, so I'm very sorry. But here it is! The last chapter! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Absolutely not mine. Lyrics belong to Lily Allen. Apart from Pete – forgot to mention that in previous chapters! He is mine – unfortunately.

Howard Moon lay in bed, his arms crossed over his head. Early morning light was seeping through the chink in the bedroom curtains. He was contemplating how different his life had become since that horrible night four weeks ago. He glanced down at his right hand side, and saw Vince Noir, still deep in sleep, curled up in a foetal position, one pale arm flung across Howard's broad chest. Absent-mindedly Howard moved his arm, and started stroking Vince's dark hair away from his forehead. Suddenly such a powerful rush of love coursed through him that he actually had to take a few deep breaths. Vince's face was relaxed and happy in sleep, the tensions of the past few weeks all smoothed away. He'd got out of hospital within a week, once he'd had a blood transfusion to replace all that he'd lost. Howard reflected that it was damned lucky they'd had a supply of the right blood type at the hospital. Now all the physical remains of his ordeal were scars on his stomach and shoulder where Pete's bullets had entered his body, and still fading bruises on his face and torso. His rib had taken a little longer to heal up. But Vince was a little different from the carefree man he had been. Whenever they were out on the street and someone slammed a door, or a car backfired, any loud noise, he flinched, and his blue eyes darkened with fear. Then he'd glance ashamedly at Howard and paste a huge smile back onto his face, chattering nineteen to the dozen again. He hadn't gone out without Howard since the attack, and had lost touch with most of his friends, except Leroy. His sunny confidence had taken a severe knock, and Howard wondered whether he'd ever fully get it back again. Tiny little disagreements that he and Vince had made Vince lose it instantly, becoming moody and unreasonable. Just thinking about it made Howard's fist curl in anger. Pete had done this. Pete had made Vince so terrified that he was a shadow of his former self. Howard felt ashamed even thinking it, but he wished that Pete had died. That would have been some sort of proper payback. Instead he'd just been jailed for twenty years for attempted murder and grievous bodily harm. And Pete had been with the group of thugs who'd attacked Vince in the alleyway. Howard didn't think he'd ever forget seeing Vince curled up on the freezing ground like that.

Next to him Vince stirred, and his eyes flickered open, fixing on Howard's face.

"Mornin' Howard."

"Morning, little man. How're you feeling?"

"Good. Hungry. Have we got any jelly worms left?" Howard grinned and swung his legs out of bed, placing a kiss against Vince's temple.

"You can have all the jelly worms you'd like my love." Vince fell back into the pillows, a happy smile creasing his face.

"Genius."

Howard padded out of the bedroom and into the living room, idly flicking on the television as he did so. Nothing of interest on it though, so he went into the kitchen and started making Vince's breakfast. As he was turning to throw away the teabag from Vince's mug of tea, his eye caught sight of the mail from yesterday, lying on the living room table. He hadn't really looked at it, just picked it up and dumped it. But now he wandered over, and picked up the letter that had caught his attention.

His breath hitched in his throat. It was a prison visitation request. Pete wanted him to visit him in prison.

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Vince lay in bed, curled up with his slim arms clasped around Howard's pillow. His face was buried deep, breathing in Howard's comforting scent. He was feeling good this morning, better than he had in a long time. Howard had been so supportive, he'd put up with his mood swings, that Vince was aware he was having but seemed to be unable to stop, and his newly developed clinginess. Howard had left him for four days in the care of Naboo and Bollo while he went up to Leeds to explain things to his mother, and it had almost torn Vince apart. No matter what Naboo or Bollo did to try and cheer him up, they just weren't Howard. It wasn't the same.

For the first time in weeks, Vince swung his legs out of bed and moved immediately to heat up his straighteners. He hummed to himself as he organised his dark hair. Oh yes. He'd forgotten how fun this was. Oh, but that bit of hair wasn't right. Better do it again. Oh no, now that bit was sticking up funny. He looked ridiculous. Right. Start from the top. An hour later and Vince was finally satisfied with his hair. Then he turned his attention to his wardrobe. For the past few weeks he'd been slobbing around in a large T-shirt of Howard's that drowned him, and his oldest pair of baggy tracksuits. Now his large blue eyes gleamed in pleasure as he surveyed his clothes. He'd missed this.

Once he was dressed, an hour and a half later, Vince's thoughts turned to Howard. Wasn't he supposed to be getting him breakfast? Just how long did jelly worms take to prepare? It had gone awfully quiet in the other room.

He threw open the bedroom door, and spotted Howard sitting on the sofa, a piece of paper in his lap. He bounded over, and plonked himself down right on top of his boyfriend, snuggling into his shoulder.

"Thought you were supposed to be making me breakfast?" he murmured into Howard's ear, fiddling with the fine brown curls of Howard's hair.

"Sorry Vince, got a bit distracted." Vince took note of Howard's tone. He sat back, and looked at him properly.

"What's the matter?" Howard looked at him. Vince could see he was debating whether or not to tell him the truth.

"Don't worry, I can handle it. I feel loads better today. C'mon. What's up?"

Slowly, Howard handed him the slightly scrunched piece of paper.

"It's a prison visitation request. Pete wants me to see him." Vince swallowed, but his eyes held Howard's.

"What you gonna do?"

"Well, I don't know. What do you think?"

"It's not my letter, Howard, it's yours. He is your brother, after all, even though he's a raving psychopath. Will you regret it if you don't go and see him?" Howard gaped at Vince. His boyfriend had sounded so mature and grown-up. Vince's serious face stared back at him. "Oooh, wait for it though, Howard. Just gotta go and get my jelly worms." And with that Vince had darted off his lap and headed towards the cupboard where he knew the sweets to be. Howard shook his head and chuckled to himself. Good to see that some things never changed.

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It was the next day, and Howard had decided. He was going to go and see Pete in prison. It would be interesting to hear what he had to say in defence of all the awful things he'd done. If he said anything in defence, that was.

In their bedroom, Howard fidgeted nervously with his orange tie.

"D'you think I look okay?" he asked.

Vince stood in the corner of the room, a slightly tortured expression on his pretty face. Howard glared at him.

"What? What's wrong with it?"

Vince cleared his throat, and tossed his dark fringe out of his eyes.

"There's nothing wrong with it, Howard, it's just... well... it's..."

Howard's small brown eyes narrowed. "Spit it out."

"It's ugly, Howard! You can't wear that, you just can't!" Vince wailed.

"What do you mean, ugly? This is man's finest yellow and brown tartan material, I'll have you know sir. And the tie, I feel, gives it a certain edge."

Vince rolled his eyes and wandered over to Howard. "You know you can always wear whatever you feel comfortable in, Howard. But you gotta know that the combo you've got on really doesn't work. Why are you making such an effort? Just go in your normal creepy rollneck and cords." Howard blinked, ignoring the reference to his style being creepy.

"You're right, Vince. I'm going to go and dig out my special nutmeg cords." Vince grinned, and fiddled with his fringe as he watched Howard hop around, trying to take off the suit trousers and get into his cords.

"You know you look hot like that." Vince smiled as Howard glanced up, bent double whilst trying to force his right leg into the cords.

"Yeah, right," he scoffed. If anyone in the room looked hot, it was Vince, for certain. He was wearing white skinny jeans with a tight, slashed purple top and a leapard-print coat. His hair was fluffed out around his face, and he'd put on one of his favourite white fedoras. Vince sauntered across the bedroom, and wrapped his arms around Howard's waist.

"You do look hot," he muttered, and pressed a kiss against Howard's lips. Howard let his cords go, and pulled Vince closer into the hug, kissing him back. After a few seconds Howard pulled back slightly, and looked Vince in the eyes.

"Are you sure you're okay with me going? I can stay here if you want. But Bollo and Naboo'll be round in a bit..." He trailed off. Vince smiled slightly, and tightened his arms around Howard's waist.

"I'll be fine, Howard. Don't worry bout it. I feel sorta like... like something's been lifted from me. Does that make sense? I feel happier. In fact, I gotta get down to Topshop soon, they've got loads of genius new stuff in – I don't wanna get left behind do I? Someone's got to be fashionable in this relationship."

Howard smiled back at him, ignoring the jibe. "Okay. If you're sure. I won't be back late, no later than half seven, okay?"

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Vince spent a happy three hours after Howard left flicking through his old copies of Cheekbone and laughing at all the ridiculous fashions that had been in style a few months ago. God, he remembered wearing that full blown clown suit. It had been really uncomfortable, particularly as it had been in during one of the hottest summers on record. He still had it, actually, tucked away at the back of his wardrobe.

Bollo and Naboo were slumped on the sofa, too stoned to do anything but mutter nonsense words to each other and then laugh hysterically. Well, Naboo laughed. Bollo just grunted. Vince wandered over to his laptop in the corner of the room and logged onto the Topshop website. He was just admiring some new platform boots when he heard the door go downstairs. He glanced at his watch, confused. He wasn't expecting Howard back for ages. He turned around as his boyfriend appeared at the top of the stairs. Howard's face was grim and unsmiling.

"Howard? You okay? I didn't think you'd be back for ages! How'd it go? What did he say? Did he talk about me? I bet he did, didn't he? Howard? Howard?"

"Vince! Just... just give me a minute okay? Let me get my breath." Vince fell silent, his bottom lip wobbling slightly. There was quiet in the room for about a minute. Vince twirled awkwardly on his chair, while Howard merely stood at the top of the stairs, one hand resting on the bannister, apparently deep in thought.

"D'you want a cup of tea?" Vince asked eventually, in a meek voice. Howard jerked, startled.

"Oh. Yeah, sure, little man," he said absently. Vince started boiling the kettle, and getting out teabags and mugs, glancing anxiously at Howard every once in a while. As he was pouring the water, he saw Howard move across the room and join him. Howard stood behind him and slipped his arms around his waist, resting his head on his shoulder, nuzzling into it slightly.

"I'm sorry I snapped. It's just. Well. I'll tell you when those two have gone. If they even have enough brain cells left to move." Vince didn't say anything. He put the kettle down and just enjoyed standing there with Howard holding him. They must have stayed like that for about five minutes. Howard didn't appear to want to let him go.

Finally Vince managed to twist around. "Your tea's gettin' cold," he said softly. Howard blinked.

"Oh, yeah. Thanks Vince."

They curled up on the sofa together, watching Colobos re-runs. Naboo and Bollo got up after about half an hour and decided to stagger home.

"You two okay here, yeah?" Naboo asked, slurring his words slightly. Howard glanced up.

"Yes, Naboo, thank you. We're fine."

"Hey, Howard, you go prison today?" Bollo muttered.

"Yep. See ya Bollo."

Bollo headed towards the door, muttering something that sounded suspiciously like 'idiot' under his breath.

As he reached the stairs Naboo turned round.

"Just wanted ya to know, Howard, that violence is never the answer. We should all live in peace and harmony with each other." He wagged a finger admonishingly about two centimetres away from his face.

Howard and Vince glanced at each other. Vince rolled his eyes, and grinned.

"Yep. See you tomorrow Naboo."

"Awright."

As soon as they had shuffled off down the stairs and crashed out the door, Vince turned to Howard.

"So? What happened at the prison?" Howard took a minute to answer.

"Well, I got there and had to wait for a bit." Vince nodded. "There were a few other people waiting there too. They all looked incredibly miserable. Well, I suppose you would." Vince nodded again. "Anyway, I got in to see Pete. You have to sit on a chair one side of the glass wall, and they sit on the other. You get a phone to talk to them..."

"I know Howard, I have seen The Bill, you know. What did he say?"

Howard sighed heavily. He flicked an anxious glance at Vince.

"He, well, he, um, he asked how I was. I told him I was doing well, under the circumstances. Then he said he'd been seeing the prison psychologist. Getting therapy, you know."

Vince nodded and muttered, "He needs it."

"Yeah. So he seemed calm. Wouldn't say he was exactly friendly. Anyway, then he, he asked why I'd come by myself..." It seemed Howard had finally come to what had been bugging him all evening. He took a deep breath. "He wants you to come and see him with me, Vince." Vince swallowed, eyes wide. Howard plunged on. "Of course I told him it was out of the question. I said no way, not after what you tried to do to him. What, does he think I'm insane? That he could even think to presume that..."

"I'll go."

"... you'd go and see him. He's disturbed though, Vince, we mustn't forget that, no sir..."

"Howard."

"... but even so, I mean it's taking the piss. So I definitely put the record straight that he was delusional if he ever thought..."

"Howard."

"... you'd ever set eyes on him again, or that I'd let him..."

"HOWARD!"

"What?"

"I said I'll go."

Howard blinked. "What?"

"I'll go. I think I need to. It's, it's, what do they call it, cl... clos..."

"Closure?"

"Yeah, that's the one." Howard looked at him anxiously, and timidly put a hand on his leg.

"You, you don't think it's too soon? Maybe in another couple of weeks, or a month..."

"No, Howard. I want to go. I'll finally be able to put it all behind me then. I'll go and see what he has to say, and it'll be finished. Over. Okay?"

Howard gazed at his boyfriend. Vince's face was pale, paler than it usually was, but his eyes and voice were steady. He'd grown up a lot in such a short space of time. Howard squeezed Vince's thigh affectionately.

"Okay. We'll go at the weekend. I'll arrange another visit."

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Vince sat nervously on the hard plastic chair in the waiting room, his hand clasped tightly in Howard's. He'd spent days planning his outfit for today, and he was proud of the results. The predominant colours were black, white and blue, to fit in with the prison. He'd gone for his white flared bootleg trousers which had a slash up to the knee in either leg. Blue sparkly material had been sewn into the gap. His boots, the new ones from Topshop, were black with little blue stars etched deep into the leather, and they gave him a good few inches extra height. The figure-hugging, tight black top with white swirls was off the shoulder, and the sleeves came right down to his wrists. Perched on his head was his jaunty blue velvet hat. He was getting a good few stares from the other people waiting, they were dressed mainly in dark colours, they obviously didn't think a prison was the correct place for wearing colour.

Howard kept stroking his hand, and whispering little words of encouragement into his ear, but Vince wished he wouldn't. It was just making him more nervous. He knew he had to do this though. He couldn't let his last memory of Pete be one where he was standing over him with a loaded gun aimed at him.

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The first thing Vince saw when he walked in with Howard was Pete's cold grey eyes staring straight at him. They were just as menacing and hate-filled as when he'd first met him. Vince gulped. Howard squeezed his hand, and they sat down in front of the glass.

Pete picked up the phone on his end, and motioned to Howard to do the same. Although he was talking to Howard, his eyes remained fixated on Vince. Howard noticed this and slipped an arm around his boyfriend's shoulders.

"Um, Vince, he wants to speak to you, alone, he says. Is that okay? I'll stay here if you want me to, no problem." Vince stared into Pete's eyes, then turned to Howard, his voice shook a little.

"Yeah, I'll speak to him. But wait outside the door, yeah? Don't go anywhere else." Howard shook his head vehemently.

"I won't. I'll stay right there, I promise. Even if I need the loo I'll hold it in till I wet myself." Vince smiled a little.

"Cheers Howard."

Howard got up, threw a warning look at Pete, squeezed Vince's shoulder briefly, and then left the room. Vince turned back to the partition separating him and the man who'd tried to kill him. Pete looked the same as ever, maybe a little thinner. With a hand that only shook a little, Vince picked up the phone and held it to his ear.

"Nice outfit, Vince."

"Cheers. Not too bad yourself, although it's tough that the prison inmate look is out right now."

Pete grimaced through the glass. "Stop with the wisecracks and all the poofy comments, okay?" He surveyed Vince through the glass.

"To be honest, I didn't think you'd come. Didn't think you'd have the balls."

"It doesn't take balls to meet you, Pete. You're not nearly as big an' tough as you'd like to think you are."

"Look, you little poof. There are a few things I need to get straight with you. One, I still think that you're a freak of nature who doesn't belong in this world, Two, I will always hate you for the relationship you've got with Howard. He cares about you a lot, and that really pisses me off. But since I've been taking counselling here I've realised that the problem isn't actually with you, it's with my bitch of a mother. I've got 'abandonment issues' apparently, it's something I need to work on. What I really want to say is, I don't understand you and all your kind, but, well, look after my brother for me, won't you?"

Vince sat, slightly open-mouthed, on the other side of the screen. The look in Pete's eyes was intense. Vince realised that Pete did actually love Howard a great deal, it was just that his feelings had come out in a really twisted fashion. Vince knew he was never, ever going to be worth anything in Pete's eyes, but Pete had clearly realised that Vince meant everything to Howard. That made a difference. Vince swallowed.

"Yeah, awright. See ya."

"Right, bye," Pete muttered, staring at the counter-top.

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The flat was totally quiet when they got back in. Vince had spent the journey sunk in an uncharacteristic silence. He'd told Howard the basis of what had happened with Pete, including the bit about looking after him. Howard had been deeply affronted.

"What? Look after me? I don't need looking after, no sir, Howard Moon relies on himself and only himself..."

"Right. I'll remember that when you get yourself into another life-threatening situation and want me to dig you out of it. Remember, if it wasn't for me you'd be Mrs Gregg!"

Howard had turned a pale shade of green and had shut up.

As they let themselves into their flat, Howard suddenly had an idea.

"Hey, Vince, you up for some music tonight? We can muck around like we used to, it'll be fun!"

Vince pulled a face. "Howard Moon? Suggesting an evening of fun? Quick, call the emergency services..." He had to break off as Howard had begun tickling him mercilessly. Eventually he collapsed onto the sofa, a giggling wreck. "Okay, okay! Stop, stop! We'll listen to some music, fine! Just not jazz, okay? I'm still not well enough for that." He pulled an invalid face.

"No, not jazz. I had another idea." Howard went into their bedroom, and most unusually for him, started riffling around in Vince's stack of CDs. He'd heard one particular song that he thought would be great for Vince to let rip to. Aha.

He walked back into the living room with the CD clasped in his hand. Vince peered at the cover.

"Lily Allen? Howard, you gone mental or sommat?"

"Just listen, Vince, and let rip!"

There was a pause as the CD player booted up. Then a carnival-esque tune started up.

Look inside

Look inside your tiny mind

Then look a bit harder

"Genius Howard!" Vince called out, from the sofa. Howard grinned.

Cause we're so uninspired

So sick and tired

Of all the hatred you harbour

Howard pulled Vince up off the sofa, and the younger man started prancing around the living room, holding up a hairbrush from the side as an imaginary microphone.

So you say

It's not okay to be gay

Well I think you're just evil

You're just some racist

Who can't tie my laces

Your point of view is medieval

"Get ready for the chorus, Vince!" Howard shouted. Vince laughed from across the other side of the room, and jumped up onto the sofa.

Fuck you (Fuck you)

Fuck you very, very much

Cause we hate what you do

And we hate your whole crew

So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you (Fuck you)

Fuck you very, very much

Cause your words don't translate

And it's getting quite late

So please don't stay in touch

Vince got off the sofa, and Howard pulled him into a hug. They danced around the living room together, belting out the words with real feeling, both of them laughing at the same time.

Do you

Do you get a little kick

Out of being small-minded?

You want to be like your father

It's approval you're after

Well that's not how you find it

Do you

Do you really enjoy living a life

That's so hateful?

Cause there's a hole where your soul should be

You're losing control a bit

And it's really distasteful

Fuck you (Fuck you)

Fuck you very, very much

Cause we hate what you do

And we hate your whole crew

So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you (Fuck you)

Fuck you very, very much

Cause your words don't translate

And it's getting quite late

So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you (Fuck you, fuck you)

Fuck you (Fuck you, fuck you)

Fuck you

Vince was really getting into the chorus. Howard laughed as he watched Vince flick his hair about and mime flipping the finger at Pete.

You say

You think we need to go to war

Well you're already in one

Cause it's people like you

That need to get slew

No one wants your opinion

Fuck you (Fuck you)

Fuck you very, very much

Cause we hate what you do

And we hate your whole crew

So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you (Fuck you)

Fuck you very, very much

Cause your words don't translate

And it's getting quite late

So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you (Fuck you)

Fuck you (Fuck you)

Fuck you (Fuck you)

Fuck you (Fuck you)

Fuck you (Fuck you)

Howard and Vince collapsed on the sofa laughing hysterically, wiping tears from their eyes.

Six Years Later

Vince staggered into the lounge, cradling a Barcardi Breezer in one hand and a large glass of red wine in the other.

"Ugh, thank God," he said. "I'm knackered."

"Don't be stupid," his husband returned good-naturedly. "You love it."

"True." Vince sat down on the sofa beside Howard and cuddled up, handing the wine to him.

"Anything good on tele?"

"Nah. I could do with an early night, though." Vince looked up. He knew what that look and tone of voice meant.

"Oh, but I'm so tired," he mock-whined, fluttering his eyelashes.

"Too tired for this, my darling?" Howard murmured, running his hand over his husband's lap. Vince inhaled sharply, almost tipping his bacardi over himself.

"It's a good thing that Carmel sleeps so deeply," Vince muttered, his breath hitching as Howard's hand crept up the waistband of his jeans. "I wouldn't like having to explain this to a three-year-old."

Howard worked his hand inside Vince's jeans. "You're doing the sex talk though. You'd be far better at it than I am, plus, you're more like a girl." Vince didn't have enough power left in his brain to organize a coherent comeback. Instead he merely gasped slightly as Howard started to play with his quickly hardening package.

"Well, she'll need me to learn how to accessorise, that's true." Howard took his hand out of his husband's trousers, and stood up, holding his glass.

"Come on Mr Moon. Bedtime. Let's check on Carmel before we go." Together they crossed to the door of the spare bedroom, opened it a crack and peeped in. The room was a riot of pink decoration, piles of cuddly toys, barbies and glittery hair accessories in either pink or purple. Fast asleep in the bed with 'Princess' emblazoned across the side was a tiny three-year-old girl with fluffy black hair and pale skin. When she was awake, you could see her eyes were almost the exact same shade of brown as Howard's.

Together Howard and Vince shut the door to their adopted daughter's room, and crossed to their own, shutting the door gently behind them.

That is it, my friends! Fin. Finito. Finished! What did you think? Please review, it took me ages to think how to come up with an ending. Sorry if it's too mushy for some of you, I just couldn't resist. Oh, and thank you to brokenmoonlight for your review, I know that scene could have done with a bit of work, but I did write it in a hurry! But it's always good to have constructive criticism, so thank you (big fan of your stuff by the way!) Lyrics belong to Lily Allen's 'Fuck You' – an absolutely brilliant song, if you haven't heard it listen to it! I was listening to it at work today and it just seemed the perfect song to sum it all up!