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The Complete Fic Directory
- All I Do Each Night Is Rehearse The Pray Routine
- An Act Of Un-Remembrance
- Better Than Today - Kylie Minogue
- Breathe Out
- Christmas Shopping
- Default Settings/Do You Love Me? [Part One]
- Displacement Theory [Blue]
- DJ (I Could Be Dancing) - Alphabeat
- Ends (Loose And Otherwise) [Ends]
- Fine Time To Lose Your Mind - Jack McManus
- Flat Tyres And Palm Prints [Birth]
- Friends: A Dictionary [Friends]
- From Angels To The Moon/The Soup
- Green Light [Green]
- Hell Raisers
- Home Invasion
- In My Veins
- It Was The Death Of Something [Death]
- Just Like Children [Children]
- Kiss And Make Up
- The Last Time
- Lonely At Christmas
- Love Songs
- Midnight Sun
- Months Go By [Months]
- More Important Than Fear
- Muddied Stars [Brown]
- Not Enough
- Of Peacocks
- On The Subject Of Angels [Orange]
- Playing House [Parents]
- The Price Of Friendship
- The Prize
- Post-Match Analysis
- Secret Admirer
- Secret Agent Owen
- Shine - Skies Of America
- Slow Dancing In A Burning Room
- So Good To See You
- Stage Fright
- Stay (Oh Darlin')
- Study In Motion
- Summertime Feeling - S Club 7
- That Night In Amsterdam/Do You Love Me? [Part Two]
- Three Sets Of Three
- Twenty-Nine (And A Half)
- Under A Colourless Sky [Colourless]
- We Found Something That Belongs To You [Outsides]
- We Were Strangers Once [Strangers]
- What Did You Say This Time?
- What Will The Papers Say? [Purple]
- White Out [White]
- The Wordsmith/Breathe In
- Yesterday's Promise
- 3-0 Defeats
- Barlow's Music Shop Series
- Fanfiction Challenges
- The Postcard Prompts
- OT3, OT4 & OT5
- Stories By Band Member
- Stories By Ship
- Stories By Genre
- Stories By Era
- Band-Free AUs
- Prompt Requests
- Other Fandom Fics
- Follow Me
Kiss And Make Up
“Oi, Howard, mate, could you lend us one of your phones for a sec?”
They were the words that would later lead Howard to long for a nice big brick wall to bash his head against. Not that he was that happy to hear them at the time either.
“Why?” he asked Robbie, patting down his pockets as he said it.
“Watch out, Rob, Dougie’s grumpy today,” Gary remarked from his place in the corner of the room and from the sofa Mark smirked into his tea.
“Just need to text the Mrs something,” Robbie shrugged, but something in his forcedly casual tone alerted Gary instantly.
“I thought you two were joined at the hip,” he commented.
“We are, but keep it quiet Gaz or you’ll ruin my reputation,” Robbie grinned.
“Robbie, lad, I do nothing but enhance your reputation actually. So whatever it is you’re planning; stop it, now,” Gary warned, though he was smirking slightly. Mark still said nothing, hiding behind his mug of tea and looking at Robbie with curiosity.
“I’m not up to anything, I just need to borrow a mate’s phone...” Robbie tried.
“You could borrow my phone if you want,” Mark offered and Robbie shot him a warning look.
“I’ve asked Howard now,” he shot back and Mark narrowed his eyes slightly.
“What are you up to?” he asked.
“Nothing! I told you, just need to text the Mrs,” Robbie insisted quickly. Mark and Gary exchanged a look and Robbie pouted at them.
“Don’t you trust me?” he asked with exaggerated disappointment. Mark and Gary looked at each other once more and then looked back at Robbie.
“No,” they said in unison.
Before Robbie had time to reply, Howard’s phone came flying at him from across the room, hitting him square in the chest.
“I want it back mind,” Howard warned, flopping back down onto the sofa and grabbing up his headphones. Mark watched him, waiting for the headphones to go on before leaning back slightly to meet Gary’s eyes around the back of Howard’s head. He rolled his eyes and Gary chuckled, looking back down at his paper and shaking his head.
“Him and Jay still haven’t kissed and made up yet,” Mark explained to Robbie.
“You don’t say,” Robbie smirked, pulling a face.
“They are worse than an old married couple. Oh, when it’s good no one can get a word in edgeways, but the minute they start to notice each other’s bad habits? Everything becomes a battle ground! You know Jay actually slammed a mug down on my piano yesterday? I could’ve killed him!” Gary sighed, still shaking his head and browsing his paper with disinterest. Mark laughed brightly.
“Not as much as you could’ve killed Howard for provoking him,” he put in.
“How did I miss this?!” Robbie enquired.
“You were riding round the stadium on your bike,” Mark told him.
“Instead of doing work like the rest of us......oh look, Markie, the X Factor is in town, fancy auditioning?” Gary had become distracted and Robbie saw his chance.
“Would you give me a yes?” Mark was asking as Robbie quietly backed out of the room. Pocketing Howard’s phone he shut the dressing room door behind him and headed off down the corridor in the direction of the dancers’ room.
As he rounded the corner he came bowling into the exact woman he was looking for; Welly crashed into him square in the chest. She jumped slightly then smiled when she saw it was him.
“Morning – have you lot got Jay in there with you?” Robbie asked and Welly frowned.
“No...why?” she asked, immediately suspicious. It wouldn’t be the first time Howard had sent someone down to the dancers to try and divulge Jason’s whereabouts. In fact, over the course of their epic, two-week-long battle of wills, Howard had sent Mark, Kim, Mike, two engineers and a wardrobe assistant in search of Jason. Every time the dancers stayed firm; they loved Howard and Jason, but Jason was always the man they sided with when it came down to it. Howard suspected it was his own fault – in rare moments where he and Jason weren’t competing and vying for attention he often took time to assure anyone who would listen that Jason was, and always had been, the better dancer of the two.
“Calm down, I’m not playing messenger, he’s just managed to disappear and I thought he might want some company,” Robbie covered. Welly studied him a moment, her eyes scanning him fiercely before her expression wavered and she relaxed a little.
“He’s really not with us, think he went off outside somewhere,” she shrugged and Robbie nodded thoughtfully. This would require him to think on his feet.
“Hey, Welly, would you mind if I borrowed your phone a second?” he asked, praying silently that Welly would be the dancer most likely to have Jason’s phone number saved. Welly’s guard was up again and for a moment Robbie wondered if she could read minds, but, slowly, probably cautious of irritating someone who was technically her employer, she reached into the pocket of her tracksuit bottoms and handed him a phone.
“What do you need it for?” she asked before she let him take it away from her.
“Just need to...um...text the...just sending Mark a text to tell him I’ll be late to soundcheck,” Robbie nodded vaguely, scrolling hastily through her contacts until he found what he was looking for.
“I don’t have Mark’s number,” Welly said, eyebrows quirking, on the defensive again.
“It’s alright, that’s one number I know off by heart,” Robbie winked then he turned his attention back to the screen. His tongue poked out slightly as he concentrated on the screen, firing out a text then handing Welly her phone back.
“Cheers Welly, you’re a star,” he called over his shoulder, hurrying off down the corridor. Welly shook her head slightly and continued on her way.
‘Dance off in 5B. U shud come 2. C u there.x’ – Those were the words that Jason would later wish he had had the willpower to resist.
“Phone?” Howard demanded as Robbie stepped back into the dressing room. Mark and Gary were at the keyboard in the corner now and they both looked up as Robbie flung himself down onto the sofa.
“Sure...oh...shit, sorry How, think I left it...” Robbie began.
“Rob,” Howard groaned.
“You left it?” Mark asked from across the room.
“Come on How, come help me look where I put it down,” Robbie suggested, ignoring Mark.
“Look on your own, I can’t be arsed,” Howard huffed.
“Fine then, you won’t get your phone back,” Rob shrugged.
“Oh God, don’t you pair start,” Gary remarked wryly.
“Looks like the band’s splitting up again,” Mark grinned.
“Come on, it’ll take your mind off Jay,” Robbie pressed, still ignoring the other two men in the room.
“Fuck off, I’m not thinking about Jay,” Howard muttered.
“Of course you’re not. And I’m not thinking about a jam doughnut with a side-helping of chocolate sauce,” Gary put in.
“Go on Howard, either cheer up or admit you miss him,” Mark tried.
“I don’t fucking miss him,” Howard snapped. Mark hid a smirk.
“Look will you just come with me?” Robbie sighed, conscious he was on a time limit.
“Go on, go with him, me and Mark will be just fine without your miserable mug moping round,” Gary chuckled. And, with all the sulkiness of a toddler having a tantrum, Howard huffed out a breath and pushed himself up.
“Fine,” he muttered.
Five minutes later and Robbie had managed to persuade Howard into checking down the back of a sofa in the middle of one of the dancers’ rooms whilst he stood at the door, peering down the corridor.
“Are you sure you had it in here?” Howard was grumbling when Robbie finally spotted what he was looking for. Acting quickly he leapt across the room and grabbed Howard’s arm, bundling him from the room.
“Actually mate, I’ve just had a brain wave, I think I had it in here. But I’ve got to go, so good luck looking and I’ll see you later...” Robbie babbled as he pushed Howard down the corridor and into the room at the end of it. Before Howard had time to react, Robbie slammed the door shut behind him, shutting him in the room and holding it closed.
“Hang on, Rob, what the...” Howard shouted through the door, then he stopped abruptly.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” another voice asked. Robbie grinned, his plan was working. Now to find a way of keeping 5B closed for however long it took.
“This is your fault you know.”
They were the first words either one of them had uttered to the other since they had been trapped in the room. Despite a lot of initial noise as they had both attempted to get the door to open, neither one had directly addressed the other, opting instead for cursing and shouting after Rob whilst pretending not to notice each other. After ten minutes they had exhausted themselves and, whilst Howard stayed where he had collapsed at the door, Jason got up and sat on the opposite side of the room, maintaining a pointed distance and looking anywhere but at Howard. Even as he spoke he didn’t look at Howard, sitting with his back to him, his knees up to his chest and his chin resting on them. Howard rolled his eyes as Jason broke the silence. Always having to fill everything with words, even when he didn’t have to talk he just couldn’t help himself.
“How the fuck is this my fault?!” Howard demanded.
“Because you fell for whatever stupid trick he played on you,” Jason shot back sharply, glowering briefly at Howard before turning away again.
“Oh yeah, well how did you end up in here then?” Howard asked him, pulling a face.
“I got a text off Welly,” Jason muttered to his shoes. Howard rolled his eyes.
“Of course you did,” he said under his breath. He hadn’t intended Jason to hear, but he did and he turned around, looking at Howard angrily.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” he asked angrily.
“Oh what do you think it means, Jay?” Howard sneered childishly.
“That you’re a jealous git,” Jason offered up.
“Sure, that’s what the problem is here,” Howard said, leaning his head back against the door.
“You are so full of it – you get so fucking jealous but you’re the one with the millions of numbers on your phone that you call whenever you fancy a fuck. I talk to people, I find out about them, get to know them,” Jason retorted.
“You have your share,” Howard tried but Jason laughed bitterly.
“I promise you Howard I don’t,” he said, his voice suddenly a little softer, a little more vulnerable. Howard looked over at him then, his own expression softening briefly. But then his anger surged and he looked away.
“Well I’m fed up of being the bad guy, ok? So just shut the fuck up and stop blaming me. You’re the one who wanted him back in the band,” Howard sighed.
Another silence fell upon them and Howard reached into his pocket, pulling out a packet of cigarettes and a lighter. When Jason noticed what he was doing his expression hardened, vulnerability gone in an instant.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Well by the sound of your screeching I’d say you already know,” Howard told him.
“Put it out,” Jason protested as Howard lit his cigarette.
“Why should I?” Howard sulked.
“Just do it would you?!” Jason sighed. Howard pulled a face but, despite himself, he put out his cigarette choosing to play with his lighter instead.
Flicking his lighter absently and watching the flame flicker out and in, Howard didn’t notice the string of his hoody, dangling dangerously close to the flame. But Jason did. Before Howard had time to notice the smell of smouldering fabric, Jason had all but leapt from the other side of the room.
“What are you...” Howard began, and then he noticed the smoulder turn into a flame. Jason grabbed the hoody and pulled it off Howard, throwing it down. They both watched the small fire for a moment before Jason pulled off his own hoody and beat the fire out.
“You idiot,” Jason murmured, though his voice was anything but angry. Silence fell again.
“You don’t want to be one of those people,” Howard said quietly after a few minutes had passed between them. Jason glanced over at him slowly.
“Why not?” he asked. Howard looked down at his hands.
“I hurt those people. But I don’t want to hurt you,” he whispered.
“I don’t...” Jason began but Howard looked up at him.
“You’re different. You’re...special,” he explained. Jason looked at him carefully, his blue eyes bright with something Howard couldn’t place. Then, slowly, Jason reached a hand across and put it on top of Howard’s. Howard looked down, but squeezed Jason’s hand all the same.
“So...you want to get out of here?” Jason offered him and Howard looked up. Jason was smiling mischievously back at him and he couldn’t stop a small smile of his own from creeping up on him.
“I’d love to,” he replied.
“Good. Now give me a leg up,” Jason beamed.
“A what?” Howard frowned and Jason laughed.
“A boost; there’s a vent up there that I am just about skinny enough to fit through, I just need someone strong enough to lift me,” he explained.
“That sounded like a challenge,” Howard grinned.
“Good, I know you like a challenge,” Jason winked.
“Any luck?” Howard bellowed vaguely when Jason had been gone for a significant amount of time.
“Depends on your definition of luck,” Jason’s voice drifted back and Howard frowned.
“That’s it, I’m coming up there!” he yelled and he looked around the room for something to stand on, eventually spotting a chair and bringing it over so he could hoist himself up. Crawling through the cramped space he spotted Jason immediately and crawled over to him, looking down at whatever it was Jason was staring at. Down below Robbie had wedged five tables into place around the room’s door, jamming it firmly shut.
“That’s why we couldn’t get out then...” Howard remarked.
“We have bigger problems, Rob’s left us a guard dog...guess he really wants us to kiss and make up,” Jason smiled slightly, glancing at Howard. Howard smiled a little shyly.
“What do you mean a guard dog?” he changed the subject.
“Look,” Jason shifted slightly to let Howard peer down. And, sure enough, sitting obediently in the corridor, was a dog. Which, when it noticed Howard peering down at it, began to bark, jumping up and down excitedly. Howard watched it a moment then frowned, squinting a little.
“Jay...is that...a poodle?”
On the stage, Mark and Gary were sitting side by side, looking out at all the empty seats.
“Afternoon,” Rob called over to them as he spotted them, coming over to join them and sitting down in between them, slinging an arm over each of their shoulders.
“Heya Rob,” Mark smiled.
“Have you seen Jay or Howard on your travels? It’s sound check in ten minutes you know,” Gary remarked casually and Robbie hesitated. A hesitation that immediately got both Mark and Gary’s attention.
“Um...no?” Robbie tried. Mark and Gary looked from him to each other and back again.
“What did you do?” they asked in unison.
“Nothing!” Robbie protested. But, at that moment, a loud bang from the b-stage foiled any hope Robbie had of convincing them.
Jason and Howard, having decided to take their chances against Robbie’s guard-poodle and climbed down onto the tables outside the door, had had to run half the length of the stadium, ducking down corridors and running for their lives as a hoard of dogs – all of them Robbie’s loyal servants – chased them relentlessly. Jason, thinking quickly, pulled Howard after him down a corridor Howard didn’t recognise until they got to the end of it; the route to the understage area. Usually the area was only used by the dancers and the crew, but Howard knew that it was their best hope of escape. He and Jason had had to scramble, but they had just made it through the door at the end in time, slamming it behind them to the sound of many barks of protestation.
“What’s the best way to the stage from here?” Howard has asked. Jason simply pulled him off once more. In the end it was by accident that they found their way out – Jason’s sudden turn to press his lips against Howard’s catching the older man off balance and causing him to brace his weight against a console, pressing several buttons at once and finding himself unable to care about the chaos he could be about to cause.
Mark, Gary and Robbie turned in unison, just in time to see Jason and Howard rise on a platform from under the b-stage, a shower of yellow ticker-tape flying everywhere around them, their arms locked around each other and, Robbie was almost sure, their lips locked together.
“Well Rob, it was nice knowing you,” Gary sighed absently.
“What? Why?” Robbie complained.
“The crew are going to kill you for this mess,” Gary chuckled. Mark, however, simply raised an eyebrow, watching Jason and Howard’s continued embrace.
“Blimey Rob, what did you do to them?” he laughed.
Over on the B-stage Jason laughed against Howard’s lips.
“Friends again?” he grinned mischievously up at Howard. Howard smirked and leant their foreheads together.
“Is that what they’re calling it these days?” he replied before capturing Jason’s lips once more as crew scurried around them, trying to work out what had happened. And, from somewhere in the corridors of the stadium, the sound of barking could be heard as the poodle army turned their attention to a passing dancer instead.