Note: Written for naiad in the Yuletide 2007 Challenge. I love this show, I love its OTP - but I couldn't resist the challenge of writing Nathan and Vince.

Vince did not recognize Nathan right away. It had been 12 years after all, and although one could still find the 16-year-old conquering Canal Street in his face and the lines of his body, the man in the smart suit was a long away from that wide-eyed boy.

Nathan, on the other hand, recognized Vince right away. It had been a distinctive laugh from across the bar that made him push his way through the crowd until he was right behind him. Vince was better dressed, yes, but other than that, Nathan would have known him anywhere. Except that, now past forty, Vince appeared to be much more attractive -- or maybe it was that Nathan could now see what his younger self hadn't been able to.

Vince was no wallflower, far from it, and Nathan found himself pausing before making contact in order to look unnoticed. Vince was talking animatedly to a gorgeous bloke who was hanging on to his every word, although Nathan suspected it had not so much to do with Vince's opinion about the latest reincarnation of the Doctor -- some things apparently never changed -- as with his sparkling blue eyes, unselfconscious smile and broad shoulders. Nathan himself found this combination rather fetching as well, but he pulled himself together long enough to tap Vince on the shoulder and interrupt.

"Hiya Vince," he said simply, and smiled as he saw Vince's mind race to try and place him. He did not come to his aid, instead he just stood there and smiled widely, unable to stop himself. He had not expected to be so happy to see Vince Tyler after all these years. Then Vince finally made the connection and blurted out: "Oh my god, it's Nathan Maloney! Blimey but you've grown!"

Nathan found himself hugged tightly, pressed against a chest broader than he seemed to remember, and he hugged back enthusiastically. He could tell the questions would start pouring out of Vince's mouth any second, so he held up one finger to stop the flood temporarily: "How about we get out of here, Vince, and catch up somewhere a little... quieter?"

This was how Nathan found himself facing Vince across a table in a nice little restaurant down the street from the bar where they'd run into each other. Vince had already extracted the most important details of Nathan's life from him and had promised to drop by Nathan's successful club in the heart of London before he flew back to the States.

"So, you're still with Stuart, then?" Nathan had lost touch with Hazel some time ago, but he had heard of Stuart's PR agency taking off in Seattle a while back. Vince smiled amusedly at this, and Nathan felt sixteen again, as if he had been caught stalking Stuart Alan Jones. But he was no longer that star-struck boy, so he just shrugged and grinned. Vince laughed and Nathan could see him relax, as if reassured that they would not repeat old patterns.

"Yeah, me and Stuart are still at it. Old married couple, he calls us, although I refuse to see myself as old." Nathan leaned back and observed the ease of Vince's reply. Whatever arrangement the two had found for themselves, it had obviously calmed most of Vince's insecurities. Interesting. He decided that this was a line of inquiry worth pursuing.

"Aww, you're definitely not old, Vince -- had that bloke back at the bar all over you. Could have pulled him, easy, if I hadn't interrupted. Sorry." Nathan gave Vince his most disarming smile, slightly disconcerted by how easy he found it to flirt with Vince, just a little bit. And by how curious he was to see whether Vince would laugh at him for doing it -- or maybe take him up on it.

"Ah, don't worry, I got his number," Vince smiled right back at him, and Nathan realized that he wouldn't mind in the least if it was the latter. "Besides, this is much more fun. I'd always kind of wondered what had happened to you once you left Manchester. Hazel was right worried about you for a bit. But looks to me as if you turned out alright..."

The teasing cock of Vince's head as he gave Nathan a deliberate once-over made Nathan swallow. He suddenly realized that it was not him doing the pulling tonight, and the realization sent a surprised tingle down his spine. Shaking his head, he laughed out loud and leaned back, adjusting himself in his seat as anticipation pooled in his stomach.

This was not a game Nathan had ever expected to play with Vince, of all people, but he knew how it would end -- most pleasurably for both of them, no doubt.

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