Disclaimer: The only place I own The Mighty Boosh is in my dreams…Everywhere else it belongs to Noel and Julian x

A/N: I wrote this as an English assignment about bullying and peer pressure, and I thought I'd put it on here to see what people thought. (My teacher loved it; I got a B+. But then I'm not sure she even knows what The Mighty Boosh is, so the characterisation may have gone over her head…)

The last few sentences of the fic weren't in my original submission, I just added them coz I loves them ;)

Also, for anyone from America reading this, I think year 8 is the same as 9th grade. But I could be wrong :)


I remember the first time I met him. Howard Moon. I was 13, just starting year 8, and he was the geeky new kid who claimed to be the same age as us, but had obviously been held back for at least three or four years. Everyone thought he was a bit of a joke to be honest, he was way too tall and skinny and had a crap little moustache which just looked like a coffee stain. And his eyes were way too small.

He never really fit in with anyone, preferring to spend his lunchtimes in the library, listening to jazz on his walkman and talking to Lester the old librarian. But all the same, although I would never admit it to anyone, I found him sort of endearing, kind of like an ugly puppy.

Then my mate Trish started spreading it round the school that he was gay. She had no proof of course, it was just that no-one had ever seen him out with a girl. The fact that no-one had ever seen him out full stop did nothing to squash the rumour.

It hurt me though, because although I had no idea whether Howard was gay or not, I knew that I was. Or at least that I fancied guys anyway. Of course these days being bisexual is no big deal. It's like my trademark look; 'bisexual chic'. But back then, at that school, with that crowd…I don't know why I hung out with them really; they were all just homophobic bullies. But if you weren't in with them, you were out. And if you were out, they could cause trouble. So I stayed within the group. Safe.
So when me and 'my gang' saw him reading a book on poetry behind the bike shed where we had been going to have a smoke, we couldn't resist the urge to have a go at him. Well, the others couldn't, I just kind of followed them.

Ryan went right up to him and towered above him. Howard only realised we were there because a shadow had fallen across his book. When he saw all of us standing there, his face fell.

"W-what do you want?" he asked, clearly terrified.

"This is our spot, freak."

Howard stood up and made to leave; clearly terrified that no-one could see us. He had to brush past Ryan in order to move.

"Hey! Did you guys see that? The fucking fag just touched me! You're sick."

He grabbed Howard and threw him to the ground and kicked him in the ribs again and again. Howard just lay there, cowering, coughing up blood.

"Leave it out, Ryan." I told him, unable to bear it anymore. Ryan turned to stare at me.

"Why do you care so much, hmm? Is he your boyfriend?" the way he said the word 'boyfriend' made it sound like he was asking if Howard were my own personal rent-boy.

"As if!" I tried to make a joke of it, painfully aware of everyone staring at me. My 'friends' in something bordering disgust, and Howard in hopeful thanks.

Ryan stepped towards me menacingly. "Really? Because I cant see any other reason for you to stick up for him. Maybe you'd like the same treatment?"

I swallowed. "Piss off. As if I'm gay!"

"Well then why stick up for the fag?"

"It's not exactly fair is it? You're at least twice his size." Ryan may not have been taller than Howard, but he was built. Almost freakishly so considering he was only 13.

I realised I must have said the wrong thing when he began to grin evilly at me, his head turning from me to Howard. "You're more his size, aren't you?"

"Eh?"

"You. Are more his size. So you take him on."

"No way, that's not what I…"

"Kick him, Noir, or I will kick your fucking head in."

I swallowed nervously. I could tell he was deadly serious. So I did. I turned to Howard and I kicked him, again and again, trying to ignore the look in his eyes and the jeers of the rest of the group. We only left him alone when the bell rang for lessons. I glanced over my shoulder and saw him still lying on the floor, to weak to even get up.

He left not long after that. I left too, moved schools so I didn't have to see Trish or Ryan or any of the others. My new school was much better, I even had a few boyfriends and no-one turned a hair.

.

The next time I saw Howard, I was 16. It was over halfway through the GCSE year, and I was taking the bus back from school. Then he got on the bus and my heart froze. He looked almost exactly the same, except he'd filled out more so his height sort of suited him. He was a lot cuter than I remembered too. Still had that stupid moustache though. As the only seat free on the whole bus was next to me, he had no choice but to sit there. I sat there; tense, as the bus pulled away. I felt so guilty about what I had done, I'd thought about him a lot over the past three years. In order to take my mind off the boy sat next to me, I opened up my English book and began to read. Poetry. I hate poetry, to me it just seems like crap songs with no music. Give me Electro beats any day. I became aware that Howard was reading over my shoulder, and turned to smile at him. He flushed and looked away.

"Hi." I said.

He looked at me, surprised. To be fair, if someone spoke to me on a bus I'd be surprised too. Especially if the last time I saw them they were kicking the shit out of me.

He held out his hand. "Howard. Howard Moon."

"Vince." I shook his hand.

"So…do you like poetry?" I couldn't believe it. It couldn't be more obvious that he didn't remember me. Of course, I had changed a lot since then. I float about on the winds of fashion, never keeping the same look for longer than a few months. Even Brian (my guardian) used to say he couldn't recognise me in my school pictures a year after they were taken. "No, not really. It's just school work."

"Oh." he looked embarrassed and turned away. I studied him, trying to find something to talk about. I recognised the green jacket he was wearing as zoo uniform.

"Do you work at the zoo?"

He turned back to me. "Yeah."

"Wow! That must be genius! I love animals, I can talk to them." his mouth twitched slightly, clearly thinking I was barmy.

"You can talk to animals?"

"Yeah! It's coz I was raised in the forest by Bryan Ferry…"

.

That was the start of it. From then on we often met on the bus and chatted. After a few weeks I got his number, and we started meeting up for coffee every now and again. Just as friends though; I mean, it wasn't like I fancied him or anything. At least, I didn't think so…It was during one of those meetings that he asked me to work at the zoo. He was complaining about his insane manager, Bob Fossil, and how he had ordered Howard to find a new trainee zookeeper. Apparently, rumour was, the owner had fed the last one to the lions and Fossil was trying to cover up bad press.

"Seriously, Vince, the guy's a lunatic." Howard sighed, putting down his coffee. "I don't know how he expects me to find someone to work there."

"Mmm." I said, trying to act like I knew what that was like. "I'm having a terrible time at school. All this work, it's a nightmare. It's not even what I want to do!"

"No?"

"No way. I wanna be a pop star! Vince Noir, rock and roll star, that's me!"

Howard suddenly got an excited glimmer in his eye. "Hey! Why don't you come and work at the zoo!"

"Huh?"

"Yeah! It'd be great! You would have loads of time to practise music, and we'd be able to work together! You did say you loved animals."

"But what about my GCSEs?"

Howard made an impatient gesture. "They're not important! Real life skills, sir, that's what you need!" his excitement was infectious, so I agreed.

.

And so that's how I ended up at the zoo, with Howard Moon. And I love my life, I really do; wouldn't change it for the world. But sometimes, when I look at Howard, I can still see him lying in the dirt, whimpering as I kicked him. He told me about it once; about the time these kids attacked him. Said he was in hospital for 3 weeks afterwards with internal injuries. I had to act all sympathetic and surprised, whilst I was burning with guilt and shame and rage inside. He even said he could forgive them, which made me feel worse because I know that he was just saying that.

And I know that he can never find out it was me, because if he did I'd lose him. And I couldn't bear that, not now I've finally figured out how I feel. It's not really that much of a surprise really; I always did think he was sort of sweet…

I keep my secret, knowing that if anyone ever found out I will lose the only man I've ever loved. The man I loved since I was 13. The man who is my reason for waking up in the morning, my reason for living, my everything.

And the only man who could never love me back.


Please review! This is my first fic, so any suggestions on how to improve my writing style, etc would be greatly loved! But please don't be too harsh! :)

If anyone is offended and thinks it should be 'M' rated, let me know and i'll change it.