Naboo’s Magic Dust

It’s Valentine’s Day and neither Howard nor Vince have the guts to do anything about it. So Naboo fixes it with his “magic” dust.


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Chapter Notes: Written for the Valentine’s Day challenge. And huge thanks to inigosolo for excellent beta.

Naboo pinched the bridge of his nose. He was getting very tired of this now.

“I want him to be my Valentine,” Howard said, again.

“All you have to do is tell him,” Naboo said, for the millionth time this last week, or so it seemed.

“I can’t do that!” Howard answered, as usual, “I’m supposed to be in love with Mrs Gideon.”

“But you’re not.”

“That’s not the point.”

“What is the point?”

Howard hesitated.

“Er, I don’t know?”

“Well, I think you should do something about it,” Naboo said, standing up, “Not just talk about it.” And he went to the door, hoping Howard would get his drift.

“Yes, but what if he doesn’t want to? What if he laughs or something?”

“You won’t know ‘til you try, will you?”

“Yes, but…” Howard moaned.

“Look, I’m on a busy schedule. Go.”



“Fine,” Howard said and rose, “Thanks. I think.”

He left and Naboo shut the door behind him.

They were useless, those two. Why could they not just sort it out for themselves?

He went to the tiny kitchen and began making himself a cup of tea.


Naboo sighed. Not again!

“Yes?” he said and Vince’s head appeared in the doorway.

“Do you have a minute?”

“I suppose,” Naboo said and went back to the sitting room, teacup in hand.

“Thanks,” Vince said and took the cup, “Just what I need.” And he flopped down between the pillows, sipping the tea.



Naboo sighed and sat down.

“Never mind. What is it now?”

“It’s him again,” Vince said, “Don’t you have any sugar?”

“No,” Naboo snapped, “Sorry. What’s he done?”

“No sugar? Oh, well, never mind. He’s always watching me. Every time I look in his direction, I catch him looking away. And the rest of the time I can feel his eyes on me. Burning, like… like… See? I can’t even think of a proper simile, that’s how badly he’s gotten to me. Can’t you get him to make a move or something?”

“Can’t you get him to make a move or something?” Naboo asked back.

“No,” Vince said and rolled his eyes, “I’m Vince Noir, not some soppy, poetry-writing school girl.”

“Who said anything about poetry?” Naboo asked, confused.

“What? No-one.”

“Right. Well, I think you should talk to him rather than to me.”

“That’s not going to happen.”

Naboo sighed again. They were completely useless.

“Fine,” he said, “If that’s all, you’d better go. I’m a busy man.”

Vince finished the tea and rose.

“I’m not asking him if that’s what you think,” he said, handing Naboo the empty cup, and left, closing the door behind him.

Naboo went back to the kitchen, to make himself a second cup of tea.

The door opened again.

“Go away!” Naboo shouted, “I’m busy!”

“Naboo, it’s me,” came a deep, gruff voice, “I’ll go away.”

“Oh, sorry, Bollo,” Naboo called out, “Don’t go. Come in.”

“Trouble?” Bollo asked from the doorway, his tiny eyes concerned.

“It’s Howard and Vince,” Naboo said, “They want to be each other’s Valentines but neither of them has the guts to ask the other. And I’m tired as a dormouse of listening to them complaining to me all the time.”

“Hmm,” Bollo said and scratched his head, “What about your love potion?”

“Don’t have any left.”

Bollo frowned and continued scratching his head.

But then an idea fell into Naboo’s head.

“Bollo,” he said, unable to stop himself smiling, “I think we might just be able to fix this without the love potion.”


“It’s Valentine’s Day. If we tell them that my magic dust has side-effects on Valentine’s Day…”

“What side-effects?”

“Wait and see,” Naboo said and pushed past him and back to the sitting room where he began rummaging through his jars.

“Here it is! Bollo, go and fetch Howard and Vince. But separately, ok? Say that I need to see them. Take them to the kiosk. Hurry!”

“Bollo said you wanted to see me?” Howard said, padding towards the kiosk.

“Yes,” Naboo said and lifted the didgeridoo, “Close your eyes.”

“Why?” Howard said, frowning deeply.

“I’m going to dust you,” Naboo said, “And you don’t want it in your eyes.”

“And the dusting will…?”

“The dusting will make Vince fall in love with you,” Naboo said, “He’ll be unable to resist you if you ask him to be your Valentine.”

“I thought your magic dust gave people weird dreams…”

“It has an extra side-effect on Valentine’s Day,” Naboo said, “It will make people fall in love with you. Trust me, it’s safe.”

“Oh. Ok,” Howard said and dutifully closed his eyes.

Naboo puffed reddish-brown magic dust in his face.

Howard sneezed and opened his eyes tentatively.

“Now what?”

“Go and ask him,” Naboo said, “It’ll stop working at midnight.”

“But that’s less than an hour away!” Howard exclaimed.

“Then hurry!”

“Ok. Thanks, Naboo!” Howard said and almost skipped away.

“And don’t forget to ask him!”

Minutes later, Vince arrived.

“Bollo said you wanted to talk to me.”

“Yes,” Naboo said, “I’ve got something that might help you.”


“Yeah,” he said and held up the didgeridoo, “I’ll dust you and Howard won’t be able to resist you.”

“But that’s your crazy dream machine,” Vince said.

“It’s Valentine’s Day today,” Naboo explained, “It has an extra side-effect.”

“Making Howard fall in love with me?”


“Brilliant,” Vince said, “Dust me, magic man!”

And Naboo blew the reddish-brown dust in Vince’s face, too.

“But it’ll only last ‘til midnight,” Naboo said, “So you’d better go and find him now!”

“Thanks, Naboo,” Vince shouted over his shoulder as he danced away.

Naboo closed the kiosk and met Bollo in the sitting room.

“I’m exhausted, Bollo,” he said and collapsed into warm, strong arms.

Howard sat outside the keeper’s hut, twiddling his fingers in rather a forced manner. Vince would come soon. They always had supper together when they worked late.

He would come.


Howard looked around again.

He would come.

He had to come!

His hands were itching and his stomach was tight. Had he eaten something that had disagreed with him?

“Hey, Howard!”

Howard looked up and his heart jumped in his chest as he saw Vince coming towards him.

“Hey, Vince,” he stuttered, his fingers twisting even worse, palms clammy.

“So, supper, yeah?” Vince said, smiling his tiny smile.

“Er, yeah,” Howard said and got up, his eyes on the ground.

He followed Vince inside, frowning. What good would Naboo’s magic dust do if he could not even make himself look at Vince?

Vince turned to him as the door swung shut.

“Supper, yeah,” Howard said and passed, head bowed.

Vince frowned slightly. Was this the way the magic dust worked, Howard ignoring him?

“So,” he said conversationally and went to lean against the worktop very close to where Howard was mixing something, “How was your day?”

“Er… Good,” Howard said.

“Good,” said Vince.

And they fell silent.

Vince watched Howard for a couple of minutes.

Had Naboo made a mistake?

Howard should be all over him like some love-crazed limpet by now.



He turned and glanced at the clock on the wall.

“Hmm, half past eleven. It’s getting late.”

“Er, yeah…” Howard said. He would have to do something now or else the magic dust would stop working.

He drew a deep breath.


Vince bit his lip, forcing himself not to smile.


“I was thinking, since it’s, well, you know, Valentine’s Day…”

“Yeah?” Vince said expectantly, hardly noticing how he was edging closer to Howard.

“Do you…” Howard tried, his hands shaking slightly, “Do you want to be my Valentine?”

There. He had said it.

And the hut suddenly seemed very much quieter.

He sighed and turned away.

Naboo had been known to be wrong before.

It had not worked.

“Of course I do!” Vince exclaimed.

“Oh, ok, sorry,” Howard said, before realising what Vince had just said and turning back, “What?!”

“Of course I’ll be your Valentine,” Vince said again.

Howard stared at him and Vince could not help himself, Howard was just so cute, and he wrapped his arms around his neck.

“Er, Vince?” Howard tried.

“Howard,” Vince said, moving closer, “Shut up.”

Neither heard the clock strike twelve.

“Howard?” Vince asked as they lay naked on the sleeping bags scattered on the floor.

“Mm-hmm?” Howard said, not wanting to open his eyes.

“I have to tell you something.”


“I… I sort of… sort of put a spell on you…”

“Hmm?” Howard said, not really listening.

“I sort of put a spell on you.”

“No, you’ve got it all wrong,” Howard said drowsily, “I put a spell on you.”

“What? No, I put one on you.”

“I went to Naboo.”

“So did I.”

“You did?”


“Oh. Oh, well.”

“So you don’t mind?”

Howard smiled and snuggled closer to Vince’s neck.


“Oh, good. Good night, Howard.”

“Good night, love,” Howard answered.

“Naboo! Naboo!”

Naboo opened his eyes drowsily and sat up. He was still at the kiosk.

Why was he still at the kiosk?

“Naboo!” came the very loud voice again.

“What?” he tried, his voice a mere croak.

“We just wanted to thank you,” Vince said, his face swimming in and out of focus.

“Oh, right,” Naboo said and rubbed his eyes.

“Yeah, your magic dust’s side-effect was brilliant,” Howard said and Naboo saw he was holding Vince’s hand.

“Good,” Naboo said, “Yeah. Except that my magic dust doesn’t have side-effects.”

“What?” Vince said.

“No side-effects?” Howard said, “But that means… That means I bloody did that all by myself! Oh, Naboo, that’s so embarrassing!”

“It worked, though, didn’t it?” Naboo said, the bright light hurting his head.

“Yeah, but…”

“Then shut up,” he snapped, “And go away.”

“Alright,” Vince said and pulled Howard with him, “Come on.”

“See you later, then,” Howard called from the door, “You rotten little trickster, you.”

“Shut up, Howard,” Vince said as the door shut, “Bye, Naboo. Thanks!”

“Er, yeah, whatever,” Naboo said and clutched his head as he dropped back down among the pillows.

But the pillows were moving.

And breathing.

He forced his eyes open again, squinting down.

And found Bollo, sleeping.

Naboo shrugged and lay down again, head on Bollo’s chest, and fell asleep as Vince and Howard went back to work, very much happier than usual.

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