Magic Potion

Valentine’s Day isn’t always fluffy and lovely. Especially if magic is involved.


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Magic Potion by thymeth

“I really don’t like doing this,” Naboo said, searching the shelf.

“Don’t worry,” Howard said, “I won’t screw it up.”

“Ok,” Naboo said, handing Howard a tiny flask, “In her drink, and make sure you’re the first person she sees.”

“Right,” Howard said, “Thanks, Naboo.”

He pocketed the flask and left the kiosk, grinning to himself. This year Mrs Gideon would be his Valentine. Ok, so he was using magic, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

And these were desperate times.

The next day he found the flask in his jacket pocket.

And he did not remember what to do with it.

So he drank it himself and went into the keeper’s lodge to make himself a cup of tea.

Vince looked up from his magazine as the door opened.

“Alright, Howard,” he said.

“Yeah, fine,” Howard answered and went over to the teapot, “Want a cup?”

“Sure, yeah.”

A few minutes later Howard handed him a cup.

“Thanks,” Vince said, still reading.

“What are you doing tonight?”


“Nothing? But it’s Valentine’s Day.”

Vince shrugged. “I know.”

“Do you want to have dinner with me?”

“What?” Vince looked up at Howard standing next to him. His eyebrows were raised in a questioningly hopeful way.

“I thought you were going to ask Mrs Gideon,” Vince said. He couldn’t let himself believe Howard had just said that. He must have misheard

“Fuck her,” Howard answered, “Do you want to be my Valentine?”

Vince stared at him. He had to be joking.

But something wasn’t quite right. Howard was never that serious when he was mucking about, there was always some glimmer in his eyes that betrayed him.

There wasn’t now.

He was being serious.

“Don’t fuck with my head, Howard,” Vince said and rose to tidy away the empty cup.

“I’m not,” Howard said, following him.

“Look,” Vince said, turning to face him, “I…”

But before he could get any further, Howard’s hands were on his cheeks and he was kissing him.

“What are you doing?” Vince exclaimed, finally managing to pull away. This was not happening.

“I love you, Vince,” Howard said, moving closer.

“What? No!” Vince cried, trying to back away. But he bumped into the kitchen top and was trapped.

“I do. I love you.”

And he meant it. Vince could see in his eyes that he did.

Except that he didn’t, usually. He was always going on about some chick or other he had met and not got off with. And Vince would listen and sympathise and imagine wrapping his arms around him, telling him it’d be alright and kissing him till he smiled again.

But that was all day-dreaming.

He had always known it wouldn’t happen.

That it mustn’t happen. Their friendship was too valuable for that.

Howard’s hand was inching its way up Vince’s arm.

“Howard, don’t,” he said, feeling his resolution slip from him.

“I know you want me,” Howard whispered, his lips almost touching Vince’s ear, “You always have. I know you’ve been watching me.”

“Don’t…” Vince tried, fighting a losing battle with himself, his eyes closing and his face moving closer to Howard’s.

Howard’s lips were on his jawbone. And Vince could not stop himself and slipped his arms around him, pulling him closer as he leant against the kitchen top, Howard’s lips on his neck and his fingers in Howard’s hair.

“I love you,” Howard whispered between kisses, fingers creeping up Vince’s back inside his t-shirt.

Vince woke in an empty bed the next morning.

Howard was sweeping, his back turned, as Vince arrived at the zoo.

“Hey, Howard,” he called.

Howard stopped and turned slowly. And something was wrong, Vince knew the instant their eyes met.

“I’m sorry,” Howard said awkwardly and dropped his head.

“Don’t worry about it,” Vince said, “You had to be here earlier than me.”

“No, not that,” Howard said, so quietly Vince could hardly hear him, “I… I’m not in love with you.”


Howard looked up.

“I’m not in love with you. I wasn’t myself, I… I had drunk a magic potion. That wasn’t me yesterday.”

“But you…” Vince began. Howard had been so sincere last night, it had been so real, so perfect.

Too perfect.

Of course magic had been involved. Howard would never behave like that all by himself.

“I’m sorry,” Howard said again and turned away.

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