Summary: Well they say he changes when the sun goes down, ‘round here...
A/N: Series 2, after Nanageddon era. Vince is still very much a goth fairy. So much love to froglett_29 for betaing this so fabulously for me!
Blame: Fall Out Boy. The boards. This pic.
Disclaimer: As if. Not mine, etc.
He was riding the juju, deep within the jazz trance, letting the notes wrap around his mind and flow through, skittering off across the room like it belonged, like it owned Howard and right then both knew it and he surrendered, willing, utterly, to the free beats that held him so tightly. He was alive, he was scatting, could feel his whole conscious devoured into this one single state as the jazz flared brightly around him. He was... he was snapping out of it with a jolt as the front door slammed and a high-pitched squeal of laughter galloped up the stairs.
Vince. Home. Probably drunk.
This was confirmed as the raven-haired waif appeared, tripping his way up to the top of the stairs, clutching the banister for some much needed support. His scandalously skinny frame was dripping in black clothing and various spiky metal things – his latest obsession being the ‘goth’ look, apparently to match his hair – so many teasing rips, holes and cuts showing the briefest glimpse of deathly pale skin. Vince grinned as he caught Howard’s eye, oblivious to the glare and the jazz that skittered around the edges of the room, slinking back from this loud Electro nightmare that had stolen its consort.
They took a moment to let the room settle, Howard reaching over to turn off the stereo with a heavy sigh (assuming that Vince’s next move would be to tell him to turn it off or struggle to do it himself), Vince leaning against the wall to catch his breath as every colour from the white of the sofa to the red of the wallpaper began to sway from side to side, mixing and giggling as they did so. He ignored it, focusing glassy eyes on Howard with a sly smile and a sniff, dully aware of how quiet the room had become.
Vince staggered over to him in a few long, stumbling steps, smelling of booze and sweat and something else so tangible Howard leant in closer to catch it again. He was grinning lazily, his eyes not quite focused as one hand groped for the wall (several metres to his left, in fact) and the other clutched for Howard’s shirt, holding on tight as he unsteadily pulled himself up – concentrating only on being where he was and staying in that exact spot. Swaying back for a worrying split second, he swung back and then his head dived forward in a flash of raven hair, his lips clumsily against Howard’s neck.
All Howard could do was tense up for the briefest moment as the rush of hot breath swarmed over his shoulder and that previously soft scent now engulfed him, smothering his senses – and then Vince had pulled away, stumbled backwards over his own platform boots and ended up splayed ungracefully on the floor, legs apart and one arm flopped across his chest.
He had passed out cold.
Howard had managed to gather Vince’s gangly limbs together modestly, pick him up, carry him easily to his bedroom (the studs on his t-shirt probably weighed more than his whole body, if he was honest) and place him carefully down on his bed, trying not to shiver as the tips of Vince’s fingers brushed the back of his neck accidentally as he unlooped his thin arm from around his shoulders. That was the simple part.
The hard part would be now leaving the room without doing something they – he – would deeply regret in the morning. Vince would be utterly oblivious, it seemed, though the angelic frozen expression gracing his features looked as if he could wake from a shallow dream any moment now.
His hand twitched. Fingers itching, he could feel them reaching out to brush a stray lock of black hair from over Vince’s face, so desperate for one little touch, steady himself, keep him happy for just a little bit longer...
‘Oh bloody hell.’ He muttered, clutching his hand to his chest and dashing out of the room.
Vince did not stir the whole night, nor the next morning, not even by mid afternoon when he would usually be shopping or painting or whatever it was he did to amuse himself. He just slept, barely moving, occasionally mumbling something incoherent before closing his parted lips and resuming his silence, each hour that crawled by seeming longer than the previous.
Howard had begun fretting by half one that afternoon. Vince moping around with a hangover, he could deal with. Vince apparently having slipped into a coma, he was not so sure about. It did not feel natural to be so alone, no one to swap friendly banter with, no one there to tell him to sort his hair out and give him unnecessary fashion advice. What was he without all that? He felt helpless.
Just after dusk, Howard poured out his seventh cup of tea that day and made his way into Vince’s room, ready to sit by his bed and maybe just watch his friend sleep for a while, study every pale feature and wonder he ever bothered hiding any of it with pointless sparkly make up, maybe stare at the pages of a book and pretend he was reading it while his eyes glazed over the same sentence a hundred times. He was doggedly determined to be there when Vince awoke, although he had to repeatedly silence the part of him that wondered what Vince would actually make of this gesture.
The light was off when he entered, the streetlamp outside highlighting the room and the bed in a pale orange. He could just make out the lithe figure in the middle of the mattress, just a sheet to cover him that was currently glowing on the edge of every curve. Howard flicked the light switch.
Suddenly, the figure sprung up and launched itself at Howard, who screamed and dropped his cup with a loud shatter as Vince landed on him, dragging him to the floor and rolling him over so he was pinned down and straddled. He did not have another chance to make a sound as this unnaturally strong body held his arms flat by his sides and a swish of thick hair smothered his face, something sharp and pointed grazing hard against his neck, as he struggled and Vince pressed down against him.
He was absolutely trapped for a panicked moment. But then the struggling paid off as he managed to bring up his knee and use the momentary distraction to push Vince off him, backing away as quickly as his petrified limbs would let him.
‘What the hell are those?!’ Howard yelled, scrambling to get back on his feet as Vince sat casually back on his heels, viewing him with a mixture of confusion and amusement as though he had not just tried to rape him. Or something.
‘Th-those! In your mouth! On your teeth!’ he shrieked, now pointing his arm shakily in Vince’s direction.
‘Wha-oh. Oh. I have fangs,’ Vince stated needlessly, running his tongue over the offending items. ‘Cool.’
‘No, Vince, that is not cool. This is not good. You’re a bloody vampire!’
‘We’ll talk to Naboo about it later, yeah? Right now, I think we should pick up where we left off...’ He straightened up and advanced towards him with a pointy grin, sliding his tongue across his top lip as Howard backed away hurriedly, quickly waving his arms out in front of him to shield himself.
‘NO! Vince, please, this isn’t right. We’ve got to set some ground rules if you’re going to come anywhere near me with th-those – don’t look at me like that.’ He added, as Vince lowered his head and looked up at him with wide watery eyes. ‘Rule number one – No. Biting.’
‘Oh, but Howard...’
‘Vince, promise me. I don’t want to wake up tomorrow to find you chewing on my neck.’
‘Alright!’ He threw up his hands in protest. ‘I won’t bite you.’
‘I promise I won’t bite you. Alright, Howard? Can we go talk to Naboo now? Get this sorted.’
‘Right. You first.’
‘Can I have a nibble?’
‘Hey, Naboo! You’re looking great today, you know that?’ Howard exclaimed loudly as he walked into the living room and spotted the shaman slumped on the sofa, watching the free Sky channels he had got Pete to link up for them.
‘What do you want?’ Naboo sighed, not even bothering to look up from the television.
‘What have you done this time?’
‘Vince... might have gotten himself turned into a vampire.’
‘A vampire! You know, creature of the night, blood sucker, Nosferatu, and all that!’
‘And how’d that happen?’
‘Uh... Vince?’ Howard glanced back towards the corridor to see Vince staring at the floor, toeing the carpet with the tip of a black suede boot. ‘How did this happen?’
‘I was at the Black Spider again last night-’
‘- and I met this other gorgeous goth girl, right? We were just chatting, you know what I’m like, she was buying me drinks, I thought it was alright! Said she’d seen me on the cover of Goth Weekly. I ended up going back to hers, yeah, we were on her sofa and the next thing I know she’s biting me! Proper going at my neck but I thought it was just her kink, yeah? And by the time she’d cut open her wrist and was making me drink, I was getting into it! Didn’t know she was a vampire, did I?’
Howard ignored the heavy acid feeling in his stomach. Naboo was looking both bored and exasperated. ‘You muppet! Weren’t it obvious?’
‘I uh... um, didn’t know she was like that, you know, I didn’t think...’ He said, faltering. He glanced over to Howard for reassurance, but found he was staring fixatedly at the floor. ‘Right.’
‘I’m going to have to sort this out now. Do you have any idea how hard it is to reverse this kind of black magic? Why do I always have to do everything!’ Naboo glared at the pair of them.
‘Don’t let Vince bite anyone!’ He warned, as he stormed off to his room.
The pair were back in Vince’s room, Howard collapsed heavily in the chair he had been in for most of the day while the new-found vampire was prancing through his wardrobe, declaring that the new fangs needed a whole new outfit to match. Clothes were flying out at an alarming rate, some only just missing Howard, until finally Vince stepped out and turned on the spot saying ‘Well? What do you think?’
He looked rather much like he did when he was a straightforward goth, but now the shirt was more gothic, the boots were pointier and, to Howard’s utter dismay, he had cape. A big, silky black and red sheet that Vince insisted on flapping around as he strutted over to a mirror, flicking his hair to match his walk.
Luckily for him, the myth that vampires had no reflection was completely false. He spun happily in front of his full-length mirror, checking out his new look from every possible angle and giggling with every annoyed sigh that came from Howard’s side of the room.
‘You’ve gone wrong, Vince. This isn’t natural.’
‘That’s alright though, ain’t it? I really am the Shoreditch Vampire!’ He grinned with another twirl of his cape, the flash of fangs making Howard whip his gaze towards the wall instead, desperate to avoid any visual reminders of this... impairment.
‘That’s just great, little man. Now what are we going to do about this situation?’
‘Chill out, Naboo’s on it! He’ll have us sorted out in no time!’
‘And until then?’
‘Howard, just relax!’
‘I can’t! Not when you’ve got those things attached to your teeth!’ he said, gesturing to the fangs without daring to look at them.
He was doing it again. Howard could tell without even having to look up, could suddenly sense Vince stalking closer to him without making a sound, closing the already tiny precious gap that separated him from certain bloody death. Hot breath was nibbling at his ear before he had the chance to move, then he jumping up so fast the chair was knocked over and Vince had to unwillingly take a step back.
‘I’m going to make a cup of tea!’ he squeaked, sprinting out of the room once more.
He made it to the kitchen unscathed, leaning heavily against the sideboard in despair before shaking his head and moving to fill up the kettle and turn it on. Footsteps approaching down the corridor announced Vince’s arrival – almost as if he was making an effort to be a little less inconspicuous. The sound stopped at the edge of the lounge.
‘What?’ he snapped, throwing the teabags viciously into the pot.
‘If I promise not to bite you, will you... hold me? I feel scared, Howard.’
‘I’m not sure I can do that, Vince,’ he replied without even turning around. Don’t look at his eyes don’t look at his eyes.
‘Howard.’ And then he was standing behind him, his lips possibly mere inches from Howard’s neck and he was not enjoying this anymore, at all. Not that he ever had been, it was just now... it felt a little more dangerous.
He did not want Vince being so good at that damn creepy-vampire-stealth thing already.
Howard ducked and backed away quickly, hitting the refrigerator and wishing there was a convenient hole to hide away safely in. He tried normality for the time being. ‘Do you uh, want a cup of tea?’
Vince looked as though he was considering this, staring at Howard, so intent and unreadable. ‘Yeah, alright.’ He turned and walked off to sit down leisurely on the sofa, leaving Howard cowering in a corner of the kitchen.
The kettle clicked off with a loud whistle. Startled back into mobility, Howard stumbled towards the cupboard and began clattering together mugs, shakily pouring water into the pot, desperate to gain any sense of control in this increasingly bizarre situation. He was beginning to think he preferred Vince when he was comatose. Less dangerous. Disturbing. Certainly felt a lot less like he was being strung along on another of Vince’s brainless adventures he always got dragged into; he fumed, automatically reaching for the sugar as he poured out Vince’s cup and carried it slowly over to the sofa.
He was not there just to be Vince’s sidekick, he was a leader! No man would make a fool out of him, no sir. He was Howard Moon, man of action, the maverick, he was as unmovable as an overweight donkey, he... he was forgetting everything he was trying to inwardly rant about as Vince looked up with those wide blue eyes and grinned – no, smiled at him, cradling his cup with both hands.
He just nodded stiffly and rushed out to pour his own. It was just the bad vampire juju, he repeatedly told himself. No mortal’s eyes could be that hypnotic.
‘Vince!’ Howard suddenly exclaimed, looking over to where the vampire was stretched out over a chair.
‘I’m not doing anything!’
‘You’re staring at my neck again!’
Vince blinked at him for a moment, before biting his lip (a gesture far more obvious that it should have been) and muttering, ‘... wasn’t.’
Howard glared, shrugging it off with a violent twitch of his shoulders and turning back to his copy of the Global Explorer, scanning an article about rare sightings of a three humped porpoise in Wales before glancing back up and realising Vince was still looking at him.
‘I told you to stop it! Can’t you go and annoy someone else?’
'Bollo’s out DJing, Naboo told me not to go anywhere near him or he might accidentally stake me. Oh come on Howard, I’m bored! Can’t we do something?’
‘What, go out hunting together? Make us up some nice rare steak for dinner?’
‘Howard, don’t be like that. It’s not my fault, yeah?’
‘You’re the one who went home with a bloody vampire and let her nibble on your neck!’
‘Alright, I had noticed! What do you want me to say, I’m sorry? Because I’m not, Howard, I’m just getting on with my life! It’s what I do, yeah? And you know what I think?’
‘What?’ he growled, albeit quietly.
‘I don’t think you care about the vampire thing.’ He held up a finger as Howard tried to protest, his tone now darkening. ‘Not this much. I think you’re just jealous because I went off with someone else, instead of staying in and mopping around with you.’ Vince levelled his shoulders, a triumphant smile adorning his face as Howard stared at him, momentarily unable to reply.
‘Vince, I don’t-’
‘Hey Howard, it’s Naboo!’ he said, apparently already forgetting their conversation as the sparkle returned to his voice. Howard looked. Naboo was standing just outside his bedroom – his first appearance in many hours – turban askew and a trace of stubble across his chin. He glared at the pair of them.
‘Oi Howard, come with me will ya.’ He beckoned him with a lazy wave of his hand, turning around to shuffle back into his room. Howard followed after a shrug to Vince.
‘What is it?’ he asked, when they were both inside, Naboo perched on the edge of his bed and Howard hovering by the door.
‘I’ve found how to make Vince back to normal.’
‘Well that’s great, Naboo! What do we have to do?’
‘The thing is, you’ve gotta let him feed off ya.’
Howard stared at him, dumbfounded. ‘What?’
‘He’s got to drink pure uninfected blood as part of the ritual. It’s the only way to turn him back to normal.’
‘He’s... Vince is going to... he has to bite me!’ he said, his voice hitting soprano.
‘Who has to bite you, Howard?’ Vince asked nonchalantly, strolling into the room as he heard the voices rise. ‘How come they get to and I don’t?’
‘No Vince, you get to bite me.’ He slumped.
Vince suddenly lit up. ‘Really? That’s excellent!’
‘Yeah, really great.’ Howard fell back against the wall with a long sigh, rubbing a hand across his face roughly.
‘Howard... Oh come on Howard, it’ll be alright. I promise I’ll be gentle. Just one bite then it’ll all be over, imagine that! Back to normal!’
‘I’ll stop wearing the cape?’
‘Hey Vince, Naboo gave me the chant you’ve got to say before we... you know.’
‘What is it, then?’
Howard looked down at the scrap of paper he was clutching. ‘“One, two, three, four,
I don’t want fangs anymore.
Five, six, seven, eight,
To get rid of these would be great.” Catchy.’ He looked up at Vince again with a barely suppressed grin.
‘No way! What, do you want me to wear a miniskirt and do a little routine while I’m at it, yeah?’
‘No,’ Howard lied.
Vince eyed him for a second before shrugging. ‘Suppose we’d better get ready, then?’
‘Yeah,’ he breathed.
For the second time that week, the living room had been turned into some kind of ritualistic den, the curtains drawn, lights off, the only illumination coming from the seemingly endless amount of candles circling the large space that had been cleared in the middle of the room. Incense must have been burning somewhere, as the room felt heavy and scented, drawing the unsuspecting occupant into a deep sense of pure relaxation.
It looked more like a method of seduction than a way of getting rid of vampirism, Howard noted.
Vince came up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder, smirking slightly as he jumped and shrank back. ‘Sorry. Ready, then?’ He grinned fully and brushed past, stepping over the ring of fire to settle himself in the centre. ‘Come on, Howard.’
Taking a long, steady breath (it felt like his last), he followed Vince in and sat in front of him, cross-legged. ‘Right. Um, you ready?’
Vince nodded, eyes now fixed on the paper in his hands. ‘Here we go, then,’ he muttered quietly.
He sat up straight, closed his eyes and began the chant, his hands resting on his folded legs. Slow and whispered at first, his lips pursed. Howard found himself staring, transfixed, as each word was formed and flowed into the next. Bad vampire juju, part of him tried to protest, but that was duly ignored and instead he let the remarkable sounds wash over him in a crescendo, hypnotic and pure and feeling very much like a deep jazz trance, the minutes stretching on in that endless way...
Any thoughts of jazz were promptly pushed aside as the chanting stopped and suddenly they were back to the first time Vince had shown off his new accessories, Howard pinned roughly to the floor and Vince on top, straddling him, dominating. This time there was no struggle, however, just surrender and sheer trust.
Vince seemed aware of this as he swooped down – slower this time, softer – placing his lips crushingly against Howard’s shoulder, the lightest graze of teeth before he moved up, a flicker of tongue against the base of his neck, a kiss to his throat, another faint nibble on his chin and then Vince was above him, grinning down, his eyes sparkling as his head tilted and he lowered himself to press their lips together.
Oh. Oh. This was new. Was this part of the ritual? Vince’s tongue sliding down next to his and his hands on either side of his head, fitting so well together he thinks this surely has to be part of the ritual, it must be, has to be because nothing in life feels this good. He let a hand creep up to stroke up Vince’s side, smooth down his back and eventually run through his hair, feeling as good – better, even – than it has always looked.
Their lips were still together, the feel of Vince so close against him something beyond divine. With a hesitant reluctance Vince pulled away, but was back against Howard’s skin in moments with the same steady passion that was building to a crescendo like the already forgotten chant. With a fiery hint of need he was now pressing his teeth, lips and tongue to all the skin that could be reached, nimble hands quickly working the buttons of Howard’s shirt and pulling it off with the same speed, the nimbleness then turning to devilishness as the lips teased and the fingers taunted.
Maybe it is the devil’s work, this feeling, Howard mused, but as two fingers trace his hips he forgets to care.
Vince had already managed to slide off Howard’s trousers and was running his tongue lightly up the inside of his thigh, fingers now digging into his hips and leaving little red ovals as he held him down. It is all about control, though for a moment Howard stroked a single finger down his neck and he shivered, almost purring, before quickly moving back up to crush those lips again.
Howard’s hands skimmed over that lithe body, past that slender waist and those hopelessly skinny hips, until his fingertips were brushing the inside of his thighs and Vince bucked involuntarily downward at the lightest touch, pressing himself harder against Howard with eyes closed and a dent on his bottom lip where he had been biting too hard. Skin so smooth, a little cold to the touch, but nevertheless right now it belonged to him and he was going to use it in any way he could discover.
Vince made a grab for his wrists and caught them, bringing them up above Howard’s head and pinning them there with one hand while he began another gentle assault across his cheek, lips, a flash of tongue and a little teeth. His free hand scraped down Howard’s chest and fisted in the elastic on his boxers, yanking them down with brutal force before the touch became unbearably gentle again, and he delicately stroked the underside of his cock.
He’s done this before, Howard thought with a groan, but the thought neither shocks nor annoys him. No. It was just practice, everything was just practice ready to lead them both into this exquisite moment, allow them to share whatever passionate madness had currently swamped them both. Another kiss and Vince’s hand was moving, rubbing him with the delectable sensitively he had been craving without even realising it, everything else still open to exploration as Howard’s hands were freed and he grabbed Vince roughly by the shoulders to hold him down.
Within moments the touch was gone and Vince was undoing his own tight jeans, kicking them off from around his ankles and freeing his own cock, stroking it for only a second before pressing himself fully back on top of Howard and sliding his tongue up his neck, ending with a hurried kiss and a fumble lower down. Carefully, he spread apart his legs and ran a caressing finger along the crack, finding his hole in a matter of seconds and then slowly, gently, carefully and perfectly, pushing harder against it as Howard bucked suddenly.
As he entered, his lips found Howard’s shoulder and suddenly he was biting down, hard, harder than before and the skin broke, blood oozing to the surface and a tongue already there to lap it up like champagne. It wasn’t pain, it just felt like reality and Howard’s fingers clenched hard into Vince’s ribs, bruising him for sure but he needed to hold something real lest he slip away. A long breath escaped him as Vince continued to thrust and suck and touch, everything now seeming like an extended blur of a few seconds, a rushing gasp of this breathless moment that lived forever as they writhed in time.
Then Vince kissed the wound, thrusting one last time with a heavy determination and together they came, gasps and moans and so many incoherent words tripping off the tongue. The room seemed to swirl and distort with them.
They collapsed heavily, panting and entwined, before sharing one last gentle look and drifting off to a shared deep slumber.
They woke up several hours later, entwined as much as they were before and feeling a little stickier. Howard squinted as he felt a line of harsh sunlight falling across his face as it peaked through a gap in the curtains, then rubbed a hand over both eyes to clear his head and snuggled down against Vince once more to hide from the intruding light. Wait. Light. Vince. Vampire.
‘Vince! Sunlight! And you’re not dead! This is great! You’re cured!’ Howard was suddenly up on his knees and shaking him roughly, a wild grin spreading across his face as Vince unwillingly opened his eyes and attempted to hear what was being shouted at him, for a moment too disorientated to really pay attention to whatever urgent news this was. A moment later and the now ex-vampire stared up at Howard blankly, blinking against the glaringly bright reflection off Howard’s torso, before slowly running his tongue over the top row of his teeth and realising that yes, his fangs had gone.
‘Aw, genius!’ he said, grinning up at him, eyes sparkling with the same transfixing shine as before.
There was a moment’s pause as they just looked at each other, bathing in the dawn light, and then Vince was arching up to kiss him firmly on the mouth and Howard was moving his hands up to run through his hair and it felt like the beginning of last night all over again, only sweeter, lighter. Howard pulled back, albeit slowly, for a moment.
‘Vince, about all that extra stuff last night, everything but the, you know... that wasn’t part of the ritual, was it?’
‘No, not really.’
‘That was alright though, yeah?’
‘Wanna do it again?’