Title: Empty Chairs

Author: Concupid

Pairing: Howard/Vince

Rating: PG

Warnings: slightly angsty

Summary: After the events of "Chokes", Howard is on his way to being a "serious actor".

Author's note: This was written for the amazing lj use="bluestocking79" and is a very late birthday gift. Typically, my cute little idea has gotten a bit long so I'll post it in chapters.

Things were a bit weird when Howard came back from Denmark but Vince assumed it would pass. Why wouldn't it? They'd been friends for nearly twelve years. In order to make the math work, Vince was now ten when he began working at the Zooniverse. You don't chuck twelve years of friendship over a cheeky kiss at a party. Sure, he'd been a bit over-zealous and maybe Howard had a moment of confusion, but those things happened in the course of a friendship.

Didn't they? If you could get stranded on a desert island, lead a mutant revolution and see Bob Fossil dance; then surely a kiss and the occasional feel up couldn't be out of line. On the spectrum of weird moments, a little tongue had to fall below grating a man's cheese head or being wooed by a transsexual Merman. It shouldn't have been a big deal, but it was and then Howard went away. Then he came back but he went away again and Vince wasn't sure what was worse: Howard coming and going or Howard just being gone for good. It wasn't fair to Adam, really.

Now Howard was filming a proper movie with Your Gin Horrormeister or whatever his name was. He simply had to have Howard to star in his new opus, "The Failure". Apparently, the camera loved the failure in Howard's little chocolate brown eyes.

Howard called once a month and they always ended up fighting. Vince would plan all month how he would apologize but then he'd hear Howard's voice...

He didn't even know why he was angry. Of all his delusions of grandeur, the dream of being a great actor was one of Howard's oldest. Now that Howard couldn't dream of running his own zoo, he needed something to keep him dreaming.

Howard was due back in two months, but he'd already been offered a role on an American crime show with a bunch of letters in the title. He was being asked to play a man who failed at a suicide attempt. There was a wacky American sitcom that wanted Howard to play a failed actor. There was an even wackier Canadian sitcom that wanted Howard to play a failed businessman. The only offer from a BBC show was a wacky sitcom that wanted Howard to play a failed piece of cheddar. Howard said he couldn't take the role, it would be disrespectful to Tommy. Howard could be gone for a long time. Vince was going to need something to keep himself occupied.