Length: 1-5k words
Notes: HUGE thanks to both beatle_becks and tartpants who helped unravel this mess from my brain! I seriously could NOT have done this without your help! Time periods and perspectives jump around and alternates a lot, and this includes both Boosh slash and RPS. Scenes range from one sentence to several paragraphs.
Hiding by ailcia
He could hear him giggling in the other room.
His giggle was extraordinary. His full-blown laugh was a brilliant barking thing, a loud chuckle mixed with an excited yelp. It was captured on many a DVD commentary and interview… but his giggle was as high pitched as any schoolgirl’s, and not very subtle. Especially if he was doing what Julian thought he might be doing.
Julian shook his head fondly, and scooped the tea bag out of his brew. Bending down to get the milk out the fridge, and the sugar from the cupboard, he heard a muffled thump followed by a swift curse. Julian stifled a laugh, and carried on making his tea… he’d probably fallen off the sofa in those boots. Julian couldn’t say he didn’t deserve it.
Finishing his tea, he carried the cup in the direction of the living room, pausing to listen outside the interconnecting door. Julian heard a shuffling noise, and then a scraping noise… then suddenly all was silent.
Julian took this as his cue. He placed the cup on the kitchen table, where it would be safe, and walked predictably into the room.
He was greeted with Noel, launching himself at him from his perch on the back of the sofa and wrapping himself around Julian’s torso. Julian laughed and wrapped his arms around his still-giggling lover…
“Stop laughing, you mother!”
“I can’t help it! How on earth did you do it?”
“A stone! It was lurking behind the rubbish bin, waiting to ambush me! That sneaky pebble, there!”
“See, that’s funny to me… stop shaking your fist at oblivious rocks!”
“Oh, stop whining… we’ll have you at Naboo’s soon enough… hang on, stop!”
“Sorry, little man, dropped you a bit, there… here, try again. Can you bear any weight on it?”
“Bear any weight on it? You sound like a midwife!”
“Shut up… try and walk on it.”
“Okay… well you’ve definitely done something there.”
“Oh, you think so?! Don’t! No, wait – Ahaaargh!”
“You okay, Vince? … Vince? You’ve gone paler than a eskimo’s bridal gown…”
“T-t-that’s my look!”
“This is not your look… here, give me your arm… right, lean on me, and we’ll get you to Naboo.”
“Thanks, Howard… sorry for shouting earlier.”
“About ten seconds ago.”
“Oh, right, yeah. Sorry. No worries… you’re just lucky I passed: you could have been stranded for ages… no one except me goes past the Jungle Room anymore… and they wouldn’t have seen you behind that bush!”
“… Um, yeah. Yeah, I know… cheers…”
“… Why were you wearing such high heels anyway?”
He flung open the door to the toilets… and of course, there was Julian. He was sitting on the sinks, long legs crossed underneath him, quietly smoking a fag. The noise from the overhead club thumped through the ceiling and rang from the mirrors surrounding them. Julian exhaled noisily, looking as though he was enjoying his solitude.
Noel stalked across to him, and took his hand forcefully, “Come on, lazy bones… out.”
Julian moaned through his cigarette, and rested his head against the mirror, “But they’re all trying to get off with me! I don’t like it, can’t we go home?”
“No, we have to meet the fans… they’re paying for our home, after all. Plus, I need some protection: it’s like a jungle out there!” Noel pulled a face as they re-entered the aftershow, hand in hand.
He knew the work-shy idiot was concealed somewhere in the zoo… and Howard was going to find him and give him what for. Before Fossil did.
Julian looked skeptical, frowning up at him, arms crossed across his chest, “I don’t think so, somehow.”
“Oh come on – it’ll be wicked!” Noel was pleased with his plan, and couldn’t believe Julian didn’t want to aid him in some way… bloody spoilsport. He knew he’d do this… there was always something.
Julian gave him a long-suffering smile, and put his hands behind his head as he leaned back, “I fail to see how hiding under his bed is going to be that entertaining.”
“That’s because you don’t know him, Ju!” Noel bounded across to Julian, and stood in front of him, hands on hips. “I’m telling you! He’s terrified – it’s hilarious! He’ll actually have a heart attack!”
Julian frowned slightly, still smiling, “But, I don’t want to give him a heart attack… that’s just mean.”
Noel knew he was being teased, and he felt suddenly exasperated by the other man. “Oh, come off it… you know what I mean! All we have to do, right, is creep under there tonight, wait for a little bit… the minute he comes in the room, we leap out and bang! Mike’s on the floor, in a puddle of his own making, and we’ve paid him back for the Socks of Jelly fiasco, yeah?”
The other man sighed as he stood up, hands shoved firmly in pockets, and smiled triumphantly, “Ahhh, but I wasn’t a victim of the Socks of Jelly, was I? That was just you, remember?”
Noel nodded, “Yeah, I know, but…”
Julian continued his train of thought, moving slowly closer to Noel, “See, I can’t help but think that there is some secret, ulterior motive to you getting me to join in…”
“What? What are you on about?” Noel felt the heat flush to his face, but he still regarded Julian with a look he reserved especially for stupidity. He’d been known to make clowns rethink their life choices before, with that look.
The taller man leaned in a little closer, and Noel could feel his breath upon his face as Julian towered above him. A small chill ran up his spine.
Julian smiled devilishly, “You want me in a small, enclosed space… having to squeeze up close together… in the dark… me, all to yourself… breathing the same air… “ He raised his eyebrows impishly.
Julian laughed deeply, and rewarded him with a really rather excellent kiss.
He reached behind him, grasping the thighs pushing up against his arse… he teetered on the brink, quivering… then let himself fall into the golden haze… vaguely feeling the other man collapse, sweating, next to him.
He would be sore in the morning.
And he wouldn’t be able to look at this table without blushing for a long time, either… so he wouldn’t. He would look away, instead.
Howard tightened his grip around Vince’s neck. The wire fence buckled slightly beneath their combined pressure.
Vince coughed and shuddered beneath his fingers, and scratched Howard’s hands desperately with his fingers, clawing at them. “Howard! I’m sorry!”
Howard ignored him and leaned in close, feeling more furious with the minute electro-lover than he had ever felt before. This was saying something. All Howard could see was red, all he could feel was Vince’s warm skin, and all he could hear was the rasping noises Vince made as the two sides of his windpipe brushed momentarily against each other.
“You ever say that about Tommy to me again, Vince, and I swear I’ll kill you…. what do you know about it, eh?”
He was inches from Vince’s frightened eyes, as Vince fought to speak, “I didn’t know! I didn’t!”
Vince was the only person he could ever overpower, and he knew it. He also knew he had never wanted to before… but Vince’s off-hand insult of Tommy, the man he had loved all those years ago, had completley demolished the carefully constructed wall he’d built around those memories. He’d never said anything since the end, so Vince couldn’t have known… but still…
He realised, as if in slow-motion, that Vince’s lips were slowly staining a faint blue colour. He let go.
Vince fell to the floor in a heap and curled up, shuddering and gasping… and Howard held himself back from kicking him as he walked away…
The second the words left his mouth, he knew he’d said the wrong thing. But not only the wrong thing, but the most deeply hurtful and mean-spirited wrong thing. The words had been hurled in the heat of the moment, when his tongue was sharper than his brain.
Julian looked down at his feet immediately, hoping desperately that Noel hadn’t heard what he’d just said… hoping he’d already stormed out beyond earshot. Hoping he hadn’t heard what Julian sometimes thought of him, but always refrained from saying. Otherwise Julian’s pride and need to have the last word might have just caused irreparable damage.
He risked a glance upwards.
Noel was framed in the doorway, one hand on the frame, motionless. Then slowly, agonizingly so, he turned to face Julian. His face was, as ever, pale… but completely stony, devoid of it’s usual warmth or smile. His eyes blazed like blue-ice as he glared. Julian felt his insides shrivel at that look of tight-lipped fury. There was one second of calm before the storm, where they both stood staring at one another, trembling. Then Noel gave an ugly sneer – or grimace – baring his teeth as he hissed.
“Fuck you, Julian.”
The smaller man turned on his spurs and stalked out without a backward glance. The door slammed loudly.
They were going to get caught, one of these days. All it took was for one person to walk into the room, and it would all be over…
It added a lot of excitement to an already-thrilling situation, he thought.
Vince grinned to himself as he put the finishing touches on his creation. He’d spent all day making it… and he now owed Leroy 600 euros and a bag of Bovril hula-hoops for covering his shift at the zoo. His hair was full of powder, and his hands ached from all the delicate maneouvers they’d been called on to perform. It had been a complete day full of hard-work, something Vince, coming as he did from a Royal line, was certainly not used to.
Dropping the final piece into place, Vince took a step backwards and admired the view. He suddenly felt very proud of himself.
Totally worth it.
There was a shuffling at the door to the cabin and, throwing a sheet over his masterpiece, Vince turned to see a rather miserable-looking Howard enter. With a sigh, Howard took off his green jacket and, dropping it onto the table, flung himself with a sigh on the sofa. He looked completely dejected, fiddling with the seams on a cushion and avoiding Vince’s eye.
Vince had pretty good idea of why. Hiding his smile, he made a show of just noticing Howard, and placed himself in front of the disguised beauty, “Heya! Alright?”
Howard glanced up at him and nodded, “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“You don’t look it,” Vince sauntered across the room, and sat next to his best friend.
He felt Howard shift away from him silently… Vince wasn’t worried. He just waited. Eventually, just like he knew he would, Howard threw the cushion down.
“It’s not fair! This isn’t how it’s supposed to be!”
“What do you mean ‘how it’s supposed to be’, you crazy psychic wizard?”
Howard looked simultaneously pained and exasperated, “This was a special day for me… I have been working here at this zoo the longest out of everyone here. Mine should be remembered!”
Vince acted innocent – he was planning on taking this show to the top, Hollywood would be asking for him any day once they got wind of this – “Your what, eh?”
The other man seemed to slump at this, looking very hurt. “I can’t believe you didn’t remember!” he whined. Vince was mildly surprised by how upset Howard seemed to be… it’d never been like this before. “You! My zoo-partner! Didn’t remember!” Howard sighed and looked at his hands, “I guess no one bothers about men of action, such as me… that’ll be it…”
Now for the crunch. Clapping Howard on the knee, Vince stood, “Nevermind all that now! Anyway, who cares?” He walked back to his masterpiece.
He heard Howard behind him, voice reaching shouting level, “I care, Vince! You’re so selfish! After all the stuff I do for you, you couldn’t even remember-”
His rant was cut short as Vince turned, whipping away the sheet, displaying the hidden brilliance. Howard looked shocked for a second, then the surprise melted away to be replaced by a slow, broad smile that crept across his face and lighted up his eyes. It was a brilliant thing to watch. He looked up at Vince with an expression almost like wonder…
Vince held a deep green board made of painted marzipan, covered in black-icing musical notes. On it was a huge yellow cake, shaped like a trumpet and decorated with golden-yellow and black piping. A heavy scent of vanilla wafted from it, and at the bottom of the cake, along with four sparkling candles, was words written in painstaking, shaky icing:
“Happy Birthday, Maverick.”
Vince grinned shyly, looking as pleased as punch, “Naboo helped me with the spelling…”
A knock on the door woke him up. He found that he’d fallen asleep in his clothes, on the sofa, again.
Julian stood with a groan, stretching to try and work the kink out of his back. It didn’t work, and he half-stumbled in the direction of the door. What idiot would be calling on him at this time at night?
He opened the door, and there was Noel. He should have known, really.
Noel looked, in a word, awful. Lit as he was by the flourescent street-lamp, he looked drawn and pale. His hair was no longer fashionably-ruffled, more like the hairstyle of a wind tunnel-loving cockatoo. He was hunched over himself, arms crossed closely over his thin chest. Mascara – which Julian knew had been perfectly crafted earlier in the evening – was now painted in tracks down his cheeks… Noel had obviously tried to wipe these away, but had missed some.
He’d been out at some charity event tonight. Julian had been too tired to go and watch him perform, now he wished he had. He had seen him dolled up before he left, though… Noel always put such an effort into his appearance whenever he went anywhere. He was as if he were living up to some sort of perfect ideal he’d set himself the challenge of recreating.
Julian preferred him when he was completely natural, devoid of make-up and glitter, and wearing nothing but a smile.
“Can I come in?” Noel mumbled the pointless question at his feet, avoiding Julian’s eyes.
Julian didn’t move from where he stood, he merely watched as Noel’s Adam’s apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed thickly. Noel looked up at him, eyes red and a little wild. Noel’s lips twitched, his voice frantic, “I just couldn’t do it anymore… I don’t know what they want!” His hands shook as he clenched them.
Wordlessly, Julian opened the door wide, and Noel shot into the house, barrelling straight into Julian’s chest. Julian duly took him into his arms, and held him close, burying his face into Noel’s hair as the younger man shook against him. He frowned.
As if wrapping his arms around him was going to keep Noel safe from all the shite.
It might not be a consistent solution, but it was the best one they had, and they would carry it out time and time again.
He loved him. From his scruffy hair down to his freakishly-long toes.
Lying on the floor of the cabin with him in the middle of the night, sleeping bags and limbs entwined, just clarified everything… it was as if silence and midnight took away all the shit, all the distractions of the zoo and various girls and pretentions… it was just them. Only them. Hidden from the world.
All his shallowness went, disappeared – none of it mattered anyway. Likewise, Howard’s preoccupations about intelligence and standing seemed so inconsequential.
He wished it could stay just them forever: no doubt something would rip them apart sooner or later.
But for now, he was perfectly happy with later…