Hide Your Love

It's a normal night in the Zooniverse until Vince invites a girlfriend around! Howard gets jealous and realises his feelings for Vince.


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Notes: Disclaimer: The Boosh doesn’t belong to me… unfortunately. I wouldn’t be writing a fic about it if it did, I’d be making an episode out of this, that’s for sure! 😀

Hide Your Love by Haribo

Another day at the zoo was drawing to a close, and all of the had left, leaving the animals to relax and socialise. Bainbridge left the zoo (closely followed by an over-eager Bob Fossil, staring up at him in admiration), and all was quiet.

Well.. apart from the Keeper’s Lodge.

“You should never doubt a man and his dreams, Vince. My mind is writhing with thoughts which would probably blow up this entire zoo if I spoke them.”

“Oh yeah, so what are they, then? Try it.”

“Well… I can’t. It’s a fact of nature. Howard Moon’s thoughts are too deep for human ears, yes indeedy sir.”

It was another average night for Howard and Vince, who were beginning their night shift in the Zooniverse, even though they had also filled in the evening and the morning shift. They just took it for granted that that’s they were supposed to every day.

Vince sat down daintily on the sofa next to Howard and handed him a fresh cup of coffee. Howard curled his lips up into a small, tight smile, which seemed to be all he could manage. Vince, on the other hand, sat in the chair and stared happily in to space, with a huge, dazed grin spread across his face.

“What are you smiling about?” Howard questioned, sounding more forceful than he intended.

“I just imagined what Bollo would look like if I gave him a makeover,” Vince replied. “I could give him a mullet, but that would just be a starter. I could brighten him up with some glittery eye shadow, maybe a bit of bright lipstick to balance out the colour in his face. And I could throw in a few of my fresh off-cuts to emphasize his hair up top.. It would be genius!”

Howard sighed. He was used to Vince’s crazy ideas, but they never failed to amaze him. He loved
Vince’s broad imagination, it was as beautiful as his exterior. But he couldn’t show him that he thought that.

“That’s not ‘genius’, that’s completely cruel. I don’t think Bollo would take too kindly to being smothered with make up, and why would he want your old pieces of hair in his proud gorilla-mane? A gorilla is an animal of natural pride Vince, unlike you.”

“I’m proud of my look! Jagger is jealous of my style. You don’t know anything about style. And anyway—Bollo would be up for a makeover. He’s always up for it.” He paused and turned to stare thoughtfully at Howard, trying but failing to engage eye contact. “What’s up with you today though, Howard? You seem grumpier than usual.” Vince reached for Howard’s arm, and gave it a concerned squeeze.

“Don’t touch me, Vince,” Howard snapped as he quickly pulled his arm away. It always killed Howard inside when he said that, but he had to at least sound as if he didn’t need to be comforted. “There’s nothing wrong with me. I just have internal matters which I need to attend to. And I need to settle them with myself in private.”

“Okay, whatever moody,” Vince joked. He pulled his bright yellow phone out of his pocket and began to text. “Anyway, I’m going to invite a girl around if you’re not up for anything. I’m bored and I can’t be bothered attempting to socialise with you all night when you’re in this mood.” And with that, Vince launched himself up off the sofa and walked into the small bathroom to gussy up before his electro-girl friend arrived.

As Vince left the room, Howard sunk back into the chair, mentally drained and upset. He really loved Vince—everything about his sunshine personality and constantly happy and energetic character made him warm and fuzzy on the inside—and often other places, too. Yet he couldn’t bring himself to tell Vince how he felt. He was sure that it would break up their relationship. He loved being best friends with Vince, they were so close. But he just longed to be a little bit closer. Any time that Vince got even slight attention from girls it made him insanely jealous—and tonight was no exception.

A knock on the door broke Howard’s train of thoughts and brought him back to reality. He sighed, straightened his clothes swiftly and tugged open the door. “Hello, can I help you?”, Howard said to the flamboyantly dressed girl, who didn’t appear to be much older than a teenager.

“Yeah, are you Vince’s Dad? I’m looking for Vince. He told me to come to the zoo. How retro.” The Electro girl squinted at Howard, as if trying to find a resemblance between him and Vince. She then made a hand gesture towards Howard which he wasn’t familiar with (which ended up to be the “Electro” hand gesture), and pushed passed him into the lived in, messy cabin which he happily shared with Vince.

“Alright,” Vince remarked bluntly as he walked towards the girl. “Howard, meet Neon. She’s well hot.” He pulled Neon up to his chest, put his arms around her stomach, rested his head on the girl’s shoulder and grinned at Howard, as if he knew Howard’s feelings and was trying to make him jealous. Well, if that was his aim, it definitely worked.

“Um, yes. Hello Neon. Nice… name?” Howard shot a worried look at Vince and sat back down on the chair, picking up Vince’s colourful mobile phone. “As it happens, Vince, I have a date with Mrs Gideon tonight. We’re going to sit by the lion enclosure, eat a candlelit meal and recite beat poetry from the 1950s. So if you’ll excuse me, I have a call to make.” And with that, Howard held up the mobile phone, pretended to dial the number and walked out of the room. He just wanted to make Vince jealous.

Vince laughed at the thought of the date actually happening. If Mrs. Gideon couldn’t even remember Howard’s name, she was barely going to go out of her way to sit in a zoo with a Jazz freak. But he couldn’t help feeling jealous at the same time. Why did Howard like people other than him? He was perfect, once you’ve set your eyes on Noir you’ll never love anyone else. Well—that’s what Vince thought anyway. Even though he had a girl around, the idea of Howard dating someone made Vince angry. Well, a little bit angry.. but mostly upset.

Vince suddenly realised he had been daydreaming for a little bit too long, and he was still clenching on to Neon with a hold stronger than Root Booster itself. “Let me go, Vince!” she squealed for the tenth time, and Vince dropped his arms quickly to remove them from the awkward situation.

“I’m sorry. I was just thinking about something… important..”

“Yeah, well, you’ve freaked me out now, okay? I don’t want to hang out with a pervert who won’t let go of me and won’t answer me when I speak. I’m out of here.” And with that, Neon turned round and stormed out of the door.

“Wait…!” Vince called after her, but it just turned in to a quiet mumble. Because he didn’t actually care about Neon at all. He wanted her to leave. He wanted Howard. His mind filled up with his name, his face, his voice… everything about him couldn’t have been more perfect. He sat down on the sofa, covered his face with his hands and tried to mentally figure out a solution to his Howard-based problem.

As Vince sat down on the sofa, Howard sat down on top of the cages outside of the hut and took a deep breath as a tear escaped from his eye. “Howard Moon, man of action,” he run through his head. “Men of action don’t cry.. they face their problems head on.” But he still couldn’t control the tears, which began to flow more freely down his rugged cheeks in to his tangled moustache.

After attempting to dry his eyes, Howard decided he would listen to his thoughts, face his fears and live up to his name. So he stood up, lifted his head high and tried to look and think positive. He walked slowly towards the door and paused behind it, ready to see the obscurely dressed couple sitting happily in the room. He quickly summoned up the last of his courage and pushed open the door…

… To find Vince sitting on the chair, head back, knees to his chest, face cupped in his hands and muttering incomprehensible words unhappily under his breathe. Howard was completely took back by this. He’d never seen Vince unhappy before… he was a sunshine kid! Always grinning, always content, no matter what was happening. “V-Vince..?!?” Howard stuttered nervously, running towards his friend. “What’s happened? Where’s Neon gone?”

Vince lifted his hands away from his face to reveal his angular features, looking far too stressed to be Vince. “Neon’s gone. She left, I freaked her out.”

“How did that happen?” Howard questioned, sitting down next to Vince and looking at him. He noticed that he was able to look Vince in the eye; he’d never been able to do that before with anyone. “Why would anyone leave you, Vince? That just.. doesn’t happen to you.”

“Well it did,” Vince snapped unhappily, sounding more angry than he’d anticipated. He toned down his voice, trying to sound as calm as he could. “I was just thinking about something… someone… and I completely forgot I was still clutching on to Neon. She thinks I’m a pervert. It’s weird Howard, I’ve never felt like that before. Anyway, I thought you were meeting Mrs. Gideon?”

“Um.. she had to attend an important meeting about French bookmarks. She sent her apologies to me.” Howard shifted up closer to Vince and lay a hand on his knee gently, trying his best to do comfort. “Actually Vince, when I was sat outside, I was thinking about someone too.”

Vince leaned towards Howard and inspected his face. “Have you been crying?” Vince asked, noticing the faint puffy pink colour underneath Howard’s eyes.

“Um, no..”

“It’s okay Howard, everyone needs to cry sometimes. Even people like you.” Vince held his hand up to Howard’s face and gently wiped underneath his eyes.

Howard beamed back at Vince, a huge smile which he never thought he’d be able to manage. “Thanks, little man.” He quickly squeezed Vince’s leg and pulled his hand away as Vince stood up.

“Anyway, I got some tasty tunes ready for me and Neon to listen to, but I don’t think she’ll be able to hear them right now for some reason. Fancy listening to them with me?” Vince pulled a dodgy shape and grinned down at Howard.

“And what would they be..?” Howard grimaced at the thought of having to sit through a whole Numan album.

“I got my whole back catalogue of the Rolling Stones out, ready for the occasion. It’s genius music, you should really give it a go.” Vince looked at Howard hopefully, like a child waiting for their mum to agree to buying them a chocolate bar.

Howard would have usually automatically said no, but there was something about tonight which really made him let his guard down. The look on Vince’s face was so happy, so hopeful, he just couldn’t say no. “Oh, alright then. I guess I’ll give it a go.”

Vince almost exploded with happiness when Howard agreed to letting him play the Rolling Stones. Maybe Howard was just doing it for him—but that was even better.

He run to the CD player, quickly filing through his many CDs until he found a yellow one titled ‘Goats Head Soup’. “Genius,” he muttered under his breath, and quickly flicked through to the song he wanted.

He hit play and walked back towards Howard slowly, in time with the piano riff.

“What’s this, Vince?” Howard questioned sceptically. He could have sworn he’d heard the riff before… and it definitely wasn’t the kind of thing he expected Vince to choose.

“It’s a track from the Stones. It’s called Hide Your Love. It’s one of my favourites.” Vince started to dance around in front of Howard, waving his arm around his head and clicking his heels like a cowboy.

Howard watched Vince dance, obviously surprised by his choice of song. “But… this is practically country music! You don’t like this, I thought you were all bleeps and screeches!”

Vince rolled his eyes. “The Rolling Stones are a rock band. Jagger practically invented rock music!”

Howard scrunched up his nose and narrowed his eyes. “… Mick Jagger was in a band?! I thought he was the god of Electro ponces around the globe!”

Vince sighed heavily. “Howard, for a man who claims to know everything, it surprises me how little you know. Everyone knows who Jagger is!”

“Well alright but—”

Howard was cut short by Vince covering his mouth with his hand. “Shh… this is my favourite bit.”

Vince stood back and danced, quietly singing along with the song.

“Why do you hide… why do you hide your love?”

Howard knew that Vince was singing along to the song but he felt it directed at him. Because he did hide his love for Vince… he didn’t think anything of it before tonight. But when he saw Vince with Neon, he realised that the jealousy was something more than it should be. He just want to show Vince his affection, let him know what he felt… even though he knew Vince wouldn’t feel the same. Electro princesses don’t fall in love with jazz mavericks.

“I… I don’t know,” Howard answered to Vince’s rhetorical lyric-question. He didn’t mean to answer out loud, and slapped his hand to his mouth as curse words he wasn’t aware he even knew flew around his brain.

Vince stopped dancing and looked at Howard. “What did you say, Howard?”

“Nothing,” he replied from under his hand. He slowly dropped his hand to reveal a very red face. “I didn’t say anything, Vince.”

Vince walked over and turned the music down so it was just a faint mumble in the background. “You… you answered the question didn’t you. I heard you.”

Howard expect Vince to burst out into fits of laughter just like he did in the Tundra, but this time was different. Instead of his eyes creasing up with laughter, they showed more serious emotion than Howard had ever seen Vince manage (apart from the time his hairdryer broke). He stared at Howard, only breaking eye contact to sit down next to him.

Howard shook his head slightly, but Vince knew what he heard. “It’s alright Howard. If I know what you were saying… I feel the same way too.”

Howard looked at Vince, his eyes actually going wide with surprise. “You know Vince… that’s the last thing I thought I’d hear you say.”

“What… shouldn’t I have said it? I’m sorry Howard. I didn’t mean to—”

“No Vince; it’s exactly what I wanted to hear. Possibly the best sentence I’ve ever heard in my life. But I just… didn’t expect you to say that.”

Vince shuffled along the sofa and leaned in to Howard, resting his whole side on the bigger man’s chest. Howard lifted his arm around Vince, slowly and awkwardly, and finally rested it on his shoulder. It was the first time he’d had proper contact with another human… and he liked it very much. It just made the moment even better that it was Vince.

Vince sighed deeply into Howard’s chest, and Howard’s heart fluttered. “I felt that,” Vince said, grinning up at him. He moved one hand up his chest slowly, running his fingers over the soft material of Howard’s t-shirt and finally stopping his hand over where Howard’s heart is. “And again,” Vince giggled.

Howard closed his eyes and made the most of the moment. He didn’t want it to end. They sat there for some time in a comfortable silence, Vince resting his hand on Howard’s chest, gently massaging with the tips of his fingers while Howard carefully twirled a lock of Vince’s perfect hair around his finger delicately.

Time passed, the CD finished and all was silent. The clock ticked steadily in the background; Howard looked up to check the time and saw that it was 1:45am. “Vince,” he whispered.

“Hm?” Vince replied sleepily. “I was just nodding off then, I’m really comfy.”

“I was just about to say that I want to go to sleep… and I can’t sleep sitting up.”

Vince sat up slowly, stretched, and moved to the end of the sofa. “Lie down,” he ordered.

Howard did as he was told, leaning over and lying flat on the sofa, his long limbs only just fitting across the length of the chair. Vince shuffled down the sofa and lay down slowly, facing Howard. He moved his body forward so both of their bodies were touching.

Vince leaned his head into Howard’s neck and brushed it lightly with his lips. He felt for one of Howard’s hands, grabbed it with both of his and held it to his heart. “Can you feel it?” he said quietly.

Vince felt him nod and felt Howard’s hand slither around his body and to his back, where he pulled Vince in closer to his chest and left his hand there, gently caressing his neck.

Vince buried his head back in to Howard’s neck and left it there, feeling more comfortable with Howard than he ever had before. “I love you,” he whispered.

And this time, Howard wasn’t going to hide it.

“I love you too, Vince.”

End Notes: Thank you for reading, please let me know what you think! 🙂