Fairy Lights and Fireflies

Bollo was asleep under the wrapping paper, Naboo had passed out drunk on eggnog and Vince was sitting cross-legged on the floor staring at the blinking fairy lights.


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Fairy Lights and Fireflies by thymeth

Bollo was asleep under the wrapping paper, Naboo had passed out drunk on eggnog and Vince was sitting cross-legged on the floor staring at the blinking fairy lights. An average Christmas in other words, Howard thought as he sipped his sherry.

“Howard?” Vince asked.


“Do you think, before electricity, that they used real fairies on Christmas trees?”

Howard smiled to himself. Vince asked the silliest questions when he was drunk.

“I’m sure they did.”

“How do you suppose they kept the fairies on the trees? Wouldn’t they fly away?”

“Your guess is as good as mine.”

“Maybe that’s why baubles were invented. So the fairies could admire their reflection and not fly away,” Vince mused and turned to Howard with a serious expression on his face, “Fairies are very vain, you know.”

“I did not know that,” Howard answered.

“They are,” Vince confirmed, “Very vain. Do you want me to tell you about them?”

“Sure,” Howard said. There would be no point in saying no; Vince would carry on anyway.

Vince shifted closer so that he sat at Howard’s feet.

“Fairies,” he said, “are about this big and they come in all kinds of colours. Most of them have butterfly wings, but some have wings more like moths. They live in the grass, among the flowers, and fly around sipping nectar. A bit like hummingbirds. Imagine that.”

“Fascinating,” Howard said, not really paying attention. The gentle hum of Vince’s voice was lulling him almost to sleep.

“And they make their own light,” Vince said, “In their tummies. Genius. They don’t sleep during the summer ‘cause they hibernate in the winter. So they use the light to find flowers and each other at night. I’ve seen them dance.”

Howard glanced down at the dark head so close to his knee.

“Have you?”

“Yeah,” Vince said with one of his little laughs, “When I was a child.”

“What was it like?” Vince sat still a moment, not answering.

“Shiny,” he said at last. Howard could not see his face but he was probably staring out into thin air, lost in thought.

A heavy warmth pressed itself to Howard’s leg and, looking down, he saw Vince leaning against him.

“They’re so beautiful, fairies,” Vince said and dropped his head onto Howard’s knee.

It did not matter how beautiful fairies were, Howard thought, Vince was far more beautiful than them any day. He let his finger brush lightly over one of the tufts of hair scattered there on his thigh.

Vince did not seem to mind so Howard continued, running his fingers through his hair.

Then something warm touched his fingertips and he looked down and saw that Vince had shifted his head. Howard’s hand was now splayed out on his cheek. And Vince was humming quietly to himself, smiling softly, his eyes closed.

So Howard did not pull his hand to himself, but stroked Vince’s soft cheek and watched him, so beautiful.

“Do you want to see the fairies?” Vince asked suddenly. Howard almost jumped and yanked his hand to himself.

“Sure,” he said, still slightly shaken.

“Brilliant,” Vince said and rose, “Stand up.”

Howard did so and followed Vince out into the middle of the room.

“We have to summon them up,” Vince said, “Just copy my movements, yeah?”

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Howard asked, remembering much too clearly what happened the last time Vince had tried to summon up something.

“What? Yeah,” Vince said, “I did this all the time when I was a child. Don’t worry, it’s safe.”

“Ok,” Howard said, meeting Vince’s shining eyes.



“Ok, let’s do this,” Vince said, “Take my hands.” He held out his hands towards Howard. Howard glanced up at his face again and took them.

“And repeat after me,” Vince said, lifting their hands out to the side, “Ooohii. Hihihi. Laaa la-la-la. La-la-la.” Howard’s brows furrowed slightly at the strange sounds.

“Ooohi?” he said and glanced up at Vince who was nodding, “Hi hi hi. Laaa la-la-la. La la la?” Vince nodded again, smiling, and lifted their arms over their heads.

“Omiih, omiih. Laaa la-la-la.”

Howard repeated the words, frowning a little. He was still buzzed from the sherry, but that did not stop him feeling exceedingly stupid.

Vince released his hands and began patting himself on the head, humming the oddest melody Howard had ever heard. He mimicked the movements, trying to follow the song.

Then Vince took a step closer and slipped is hands to Howard’s cheeks. Howard backed away in surprise. Vince had raised his eyebrows and was nudging his head, as if telling Howard to copy him.

So Howard lifted his hands to Vince’s cheeks and lay them to rest there.

He met Vince’s eyes.

Vince was leaning closer.

And Howard watched, darting from one eye to the other.

Then suddenly Vince’s fingers dug deeper into his cheeks and he leant up and their lips met.

But this time Howard did not step back or pull away.

Vince’s mouth was warm and soft and Howard closed his eyes and forgot everything.

The kiss ended and Howard opened his eyes and saw Vince smiling and biting his lip, his head to one side.

“So?” Howard began, unsure what to do now.

“Yeah,” Vince said and slipped his hands into the back pockets of his trousers, “Well, there mightn’t actually be any fairies here…”

“What do you mean?” Howard asked, dropping his hands to his sides.

“I haven’t actually seen any fairies.”

“But you said…” Howard began, confused.

“Yeah,” Vince giggled and dropped his head, “I thought I did once, but it turned out I was just doped out on a dodgy mushroom stew Brian had made. They were probably just fireflies.”

“But,” Howard said, “what was all this about?”

Vince giggled again and lifted his head and met Howard’s eyes.

“I wanted to kiss you.”

And Howard could not help smiling. Vince was so adorable.

“And,” Vince said, “that dance was very funny.”

“Haha,” Howard said, “Come here, you.” And he slipped his hands to Vince’s hips and pulled him close and kissed him.

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